Sailing the Water’s Edge: The Domestic Politics of American Foreign Policy

Authors: Helen V. Milner and Dustin Tingley
Publisher: Princeton University Press, 2015B_5_Milner_SailingTheWater'sEdge

When engaging with other countries, the U.S. government has a number of different policy instruments at its disposal, including foreign aid, international trade and the use of military force. But what determines which policies are chosen? Does the United States rely too much on the use of military power and coercion in its foreign policies? Sailing the Water’s Edge focuses on how domestic U.S. politics — in particular the interactions between the president, Congress, interest groups, bureaucratic institutions and the public — have influenced foreign policy choices since World War II and shows why presidents have more control over some policy instruments than others.

Helen Milner, Princeton’s B.C. Forbes Professor of Public Affairs and professor of politics and international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, and Dustin Tingley, professor of government at Harvard University, explore whether American foreign policy will remain guided by a grand strategy of liberal internationalism, what affects American foreign policy successes and failures, and the role of U.S. intelligence collection in shaping foreign policy. Sailing the Water’s Edge examines the importance of domestic political coalitions and institutions on the formation of American foreign policy.

All text and images courtesy of the publisher.

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ROBERT KEOHANE receives James Madison Award in American political science



Robert Keohane, professor of public and international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, received the 2014 James Madison Award from the American Political Science Association (APSA).

The award, given once every three years, “recognizes an American political scientist who has made a distinguished scholarly contribution to political science.” The official citation describes Keohane as a “complete scholar” and cites his extensive writing in the field of international politics, his mentorship of generations of students, his dedication to the discipline, and his commitment to the association as the basis for his award.

APSA also cited Keohane’s past work, including After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (1984) and Designing Social Inquiry (1994), as having had an impact on scholarship in international affairs for many years.

“We are thrilled that Bob received the James Madison Award,” said Cecilia Rouse, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School and the Lawrence and Shirley Katzman and Lewis and Anna Ernst Professor in the Economics of Education. “His work has had and continues to have a profound impact on the profession. We celebrate his honor as one of the leaders in political science.”

–By Eric Wilkens

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