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Jordan Tama, Special Issue International Politics

Jordan Tama headshot

On issues ranging from climate change to Israel, Democrats and Republicans have grown farther apart in recent years. This polarization has weakened the capacity of Congress and President to address key challenges, and damaged America’s global standing. Yet at the same time, Democrats and Republicans in Congress continue to join together and enact important legislation in some key areas of foreign policy – as they have repeatedly done in the past year on Ukraine military aid and Russia sanctions.

SIS Professor Jordan Tama and Professor Gordon Friedrichs of the University of Freiburg co-edited an October 2022 special issue of International Politics that focuses on polarization and U.S. foreign policy. The special issue’s 13 articles illustrate the prevalence of ideological, social and partisan divisions in U.S. foreign policy, but also suggest the need to incorporate nuance into claims about polarization.

The special issue is available with free access during March 2023. The contributors examine a variety of foreign policy themes, finding that attitudes of Democrats and Republicans are diverging on many, but not all, foreign policy issues. Second, they consider foreign policy institutions, showing that polarization is weakening the social fabric and lawmaking capacity of Congress, but that bipartisan legislation on foreign policy remains common. Finally, the special issue authors consider foreign policy effectiveness, demonstrating how polarization makes it harder for the US to carry out successful policies and reduces the willingness of people in other countries to cooperate with the US.

Check out this special issue of International Politics here.