Isolationism and Domestic Politics
Isolationism has long been seen as a reaction against domestic economic conditions or a threatening international environment, but domestic politics could equally spur such a reaction. Disagreement with current foreign policy or opposition to political parties directing foreign policy may provoke negative feelings on the general prospect of international engagement. Some of what appears to be isolationism, then, is not a universal rejection of international intervention but is instead contingent on partisan control of the executive. Data from the American National Election Studies confirms this: copartisans of the president are substantially less likely to agree with isolationist statements or simultaneously to support isolationism and specific interventionist policies. In addition to further illuminating the sources of public opinion about foreign policy, these findings suggest that some common measures of isolationism may not measure what they intend to measure.
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