World Politics Question #8

Whoops -- so busy grading papers that I forgot to post this last night!

The place we left off in class on Tuesday concerned the proper basis for policymaking, especially for the making of foreign policy. We talked a lot about "interests," but this introduces a dilemma: if states have real, objective interests, then they ought to follow them even if their publics disagree, but if states do not have real, objective interests (as Wolfers appears to argue) then the entire debate about "interests" is just a political game. This suggests the following question: is public opinion, or the will of the people, a sufficient basis for state policy? Or should we be looking for something else, something outside of what people might think, as the proper foundation for state action?

It might be easiest to try to tackle this question with an example. Alternatively, click over here and bounce off of what Liz already posted.

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