1st Edition

U.S. Global Leadership Role and Domestic Polarization A Role Theory Approach

By Gordon M. Friedrichs Copyright 2021
    248 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this book Gordon Friedrichs offers a pioneering insight into the implications of domestic polarization for U.S. foreign policymaking and the exercise of America’s international leadership role.

    Through a mixed-method design and a rich dataset consisting of polarization data, congressional debates and letters, as well as co-sponsorship coalitions, Friedrichs applies role theory to analyze three polarization effects for U.S. leadership role-taking: a sorting effect, a partisan warfare, and an institutional corrosion effect. These effects are deployed in two comparative case studies: The Iran nuclear crisis as well as the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Friedrichs effectively exposes the drivers of polarization and how this extreme divergence has translated into partisan warfare as well as institutional corrosion, affecting direction and performance of the U.S. global leadership role.

    Through advancing role theory beyond other studies and developing the concept of "diagonal contestation" as a mechanism that allows us to locate polarization within a "two-level role game" between agent and structure, U.S. Global Leadership Role and Domestic Polarization is a rich resource for scholars of international relations, foreign policy analysis, American government and polarization.

    1. Polarized at Home, Bound to Lead Abroad

    2. Role Theory and International Leadership: A Two-Level Role Game

    3. The U.S. Leadership Role in Nuclear Nonproliferation

    4. The Role of Congress and Domestic Contestation of U.S. Leadership in the Iran Nuclear Crisis

    5. The U.S. Leadership Role in Global Trade

    6. Domestic Contestation of U.S. Trade Leadership: The Negotiation and (failed) Implementation of the Transpacific Partnership Agreement

    7. Conclusion


    Gordon Friedrichs is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (Heidelberg University). His research deals predominately with U.S. foreign policy, domestic polarization and populism, and international relations theory, as well as Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.

    "This book is indispensable reading for understanding the dynamics of US foreign policy in an era of polarization within American society. It is also a major contribution to the latest scholarship applying role theory to the study of foreign policy and international relations."

    Stephen Walker, Arizona State University

    "A great contribution to the role theory literature in that it connects domestic processes of role contestation and political polarization with the ability of the United States to perform its role as global leader."

    Klaus Brummer, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany

    "Scholars have been studying the causes and consequences of party polarization within American political institutions for years. U.S. Global Leadership and Domestic Polarization takes those learned lessons and applies them to American leadership abroad. Friedrichs provides real insight through a rich and multi-method approach. The inevitable conclusion the reader reaches from this important study is that the consequences of polarization may be even greater on the world stage than they have been in the domestic realm."

    Sean Theriault, University of Texas, Austin