Domestic Foundations of American Foreign Policy

As the Hoover Institution’s Working Group on Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy considers the components and viability of a foreign policy strategy, one critical area of inquiry must be the domestic issues that might enable or constrain such a strategy. For this essay series, we asked the members of the working group to consider to what extent the president’s ability to implement a robust and coherent foreign policy is constrained by recent domestic political and economic challenges. This prompt elicited a surprising range of views about constraints, or lack thereof. The rough consensus that emerges from these essays, however, is that political dysfunction and economic difficulties pose few near-term limitations but that longer- term trends — especially those involving internal and external drivers of the defense budget and political dysfunction that hinders progress on budgetary challenges— could degrade American power over an extended period of time.