Legislatures play a larger foreign policy role in democratic countries, but even in other states legislative authority is constrained by many factors.
One of these is that chief executives usually have b in the realm of foreign policy.
Tradition is a second factor that works to the advantage of chief executives n foreign policy making. The leadership has historically run foreign policy in virtually all countries, especially in time of war and other crises.
Third is the belief that a unified national voice is important to a successful foreign policy.
Fourth, legislators tend to focus on domestic policy because, accurately or not, most voters perceive it to be more important than foreign policy and make voting decisions based on this sense of priority.
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Cultural Groups- Many countries have ethnic, racial, religious, or other cultural groups that have emotional or political ties to another country.
Economic Groups- They lobby their government s for favourable legislation and for support of their interests in other countries.
Issue-oriented Groups- Groups of this type are not based on any narrow socioeconomic category such as ethnicity economics. Instead they draw their membership from people who have a common policy goal.
Transnational Interest Groups- Increasing interdependence and modern communications give interest groups the need and ability to lobby across borders.
In democracies, the public usually plays only a limited role in determining foreign policy.
Public Interest in Foreign Policy- One reason for the publicâ€™s limited role is that few citizens ordinarily pay much attention to international issues. Instead, whatever political interest they do have tends to focus on domestic issues.
Channels of Public Opinion Influence Foreign Policy- Research shows that both elected and appointed officials are concerned with public opinion and that it constraints what they do.
One reason is that most decision makers in a democracy believe that public opinion is a legitimate factor that should be considered when determining which policy is to be adopted.
Second, leaders also believe that policy is more apt to be successful if it is backed by public opinion.
Third, decision makers are wary of public retribution in the next election if they ignore majority opinion.
Dimensions of Foreign Policy Opinion
The Leader-citizen opinion gap in the United States and other countries, whereby the opinions of those who are the leaders of government, business, the media, and the other areas often vary from the opinions of the general public.
The Gender opinion gap- areas of both convergence and divergence of public opinion when gender is considered.