Campus Units

Political Science

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

After the End: Making U.S. Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War World

First Page


Last Page



How successful are interest groups in shaping American foreign policy? How successful are the media in affecting foreign affairs? During the cold war, the usual answer to both questions was "not much." With the exception of some ethnic and economic groups under speciiic circumstances, most analysts would conclude that interest groups did not fare very well, and the media largely played a supportive role to official policy, at least until the Vietnam War.1 With the end of the cold war, however, are the answers to these questions likely to be the same?

In this chapter, I discuss the access, involvement, and influence of these two nongovernmental actors in the foreign policy process after the cold war. In particular, I focus upon how and why the role of interest groups and the media in foreign policy have changed in recent years. In doing so, I shall explore several domestic and international factors that have increased interest group and media access to the foreign policy decision-making machinery, discuss how new and differing interest groups and media flourish in this changed environment, and analyze how more and more foreign policy decisions have moved away from the crisis to the structural and strategic varieties, a change that enhances the impact of interest groups and the media on the foreign policy process? Finally, and as others have done before, I take up the more difficult issue of relative influence of these actors in this new environment.


This is a chapter from After the End: Making U.S. Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War World, James M. Scott (ed.) (1998), 170-198. Posted with permission

Copyright Owner

Duke University Press



File Format