Presidential Saber Rattling: Causes and Consequences

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The founders of the American republic believed presidents should be wise and virtuous statesmen consistently advocating community interests when conducting American foreign policy. Yet the most common theoretical model used today for explaining the behavior of politicians is grounded in self-interest, rather than community interest. This book investigates whether past presidents acted as noble statesmen or were driven by such self-interested motivations as re-election, passion, partisanship, media frenzy and increasing domestic support. The book also examines the consequences for the nation of presidential behavior driven by self-interest. Between 1945 and 2008, presidents issued 4,269 threats to nineteen different countries. Professor B. Dan Wood evaluates the causes and consequences of these threats, revealing the nature of presidential foreign policy representation and its consistency with the founding fathers' intentions.