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Democratic Commitments:
Legislatures and International Cooperation
Lisa L. Martin

Paperback | 2000 | $46.00 | £38.95 | ISBN: 9780691009247
256 pp. | 7 3/4 x 10 | 13 tables, 14 line illus.
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From the refusal of the U.S. Congress to approve fast-track trade authority and certain foreign aid packages to the obstacles placed by Western European parliaments in the path of economic integration, legislatures often interfere with national leaders' efforts to reach and implement predictable international agreements. This seems to give an advantage to dictators, who can bluff with confidence and make decisions without consultation, and many assume that even democratic governments would do better to minimize political dissent and speak foreign policy from a single mouth. In this thoughtful, empirically grounded challenge to the assumption that messy domestic politics undermine democracies' ability to conduct international relations, Lisa Martin argues that legislatures--and particularly the apparently problematic openness of their proceedings--actually serve foreign policy well by giving credibility to the international commitments that are made.

Examining the American cases of economic sanctions, the use of executive agreements versus treaties, and food assistance, in addition to the establishment of the European Union, Martin concludes that--if institutionalized--even rancorous domestic conversations between executives and legislatures augment rather than impede states' international dealings. Such interactions strengthen and legitimize states' bargaining positions and international commitments, increasing their capacity to realize international cooperation. By expanding our comprehension of how domestic politics affect international dialogue, this work is a major advance in the field of international relations and critical reading for those who study or forge foreign policy.


"As a theoretically informed study of post-World War II legislative-executive relations in foreign policy in the United States--and what this might imply for international relations theory more generally--this book is a significant achievement."--Randolph Siverson, University of California-Davis

"The empirical work is conducted with hallmark Martin thoroughness.... This is a book that will be noted in the field."--Duncan Snidal, University of Chicago

Table of Contents:

Preface vii
CHAPTER 1 Introduction 3
CHAPTER 2 Theoretical Framework: Legislatures, Executives, and Commitment 21
CHAPTER 3 Institutions and Influence: Executive Agreements and Treaties 53
CHAPTER 4 Economic Sanctions: Domestic Conflict of Interest and International Cooperation 81
CHAPTER 5 U.S. Food-Aid Policy: The Politics of Delegation and Linkage 112
CHAPTER 6 National Parliaments and European Integration: Institutional Choice in EU Member States 147
CHAPTER 7 Implementing the EU's Internal Market: The Influence of National Parliaments 164
CHAPTER 8 Conclusion 190
References 203
Index 221

This book has been translated into:

  • Chinese (Simplified)

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