A new book by Steven Kull and I.M. Destler.
Do American policymakers really know what the American public wants in US foreign policy? Through extensive interviews with members of the policy community, the authors, Steven Kull and I.M. Destler, reveal a pervasive belief -- especially in Congress -- that, in the wake of the cold war, the public is showing a new isolationism: opposition to foreign aid, hostility to the United Nations and aversion to contributing US troops to peacekeeping operations. This view of the public has in turn had a significant impact on US foreign policy.

What Other's Have to say about Misreading the Public:

"Misreading the Public demonstrates loud and clear that the conventional wisdom is wrong -- the American people are interested in international affairs and do support an active US international role, in cooperation with friends and allies." -Lee H. Hamilton, Former Ranking Democrat, US House International Relations Committee

"This is a very important work that will become one of the 'must read' books on public opinion. Through interviews with leaders in the media, Congress, and the executive branch, Kull and Destler are able to probe the most difficult problem in public opinion research -- the impact of public opinion on foreign policy. This is a landmark study of great importance." -Ole R. Holsti, Duke University

"This is an interesting, engaging, and important book on public opinion and foreign policy. It is original and iconoclastic, successfully demolishing the myth that American public opinion would like to disengage the nation from foreign policy initiatives in the post-cold war period." -Robert Y. Shapiro, Columbia University

"Misreading the Public is a landmark study that shows public opinion research at its very best. It documents three important findings about the American public in a scrupulously fair and impartial fashion. It shows that Americans are not as isolationist, anti-UN, anti-UN peacekeeping, or anti-foreign aid as Washington policy makers believe; it demonstrates that Americans do not approach foreign policy from a narrow what's-in-it-for-us self-interest, but from a deeply moral commitment to our national responsibility for maintaining world peace and well-being; and it nails the fact that members of Congress systematically misread, misinterpret, and distort the public's stance on foreign policy. Setting the record straight on such an important subject is heartening news for America and the world." -Daniel Yankelovich, President and Founder, Public Agenda

"Kull and Destler have written an important book, based on careful research. They explain why Americans are pragmatic internationalists and counter the conventional wisdom of 'new isolationism.' The book also poses a challenge to U.S. political leaders to build a post-cold war engagement with the world based on the attitudes of the public toward this new era. I hope the candidates -- and the campaign managers -- for the 2000 elections read this book." -Robert B. Zoellick, Former Under Secretary of State and White House Deputy Chief of Staff; President and CEO, Center for Strategic & International Studies

Steven Kull is director of the Center for the Study of Policy Attitudes and the Program on International Policy Attitudes and a fellow at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland. I.M. Destler is a professor at the Maryland School of Public Affairs, director of CISSM and a visiting fellow at the Institute for International Economics.

Purchase Misreading the Public

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