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For most of the period after World War II until the fall of the Soviet empire, there was a remarkable consensus in the United States in support of our policies toward the Soviet Union. This consensus resulted in enormous defense expenditures and in the development of a system of alliances that spanned the globe and marked a vast expansion of America's overseas obligations.
Compound Dilemmas addresses the question of how such widespread domestic support for a very expensive and continual arms race developed. Current models of the arms race often fail to explain the persistence of American support or the pattern of the U.S. response to Soviet actions. Michael D. McGinnis and John T. Williams use social choice theory to offer a new understanding of popular support for U.S. Cold War policies, including the American arms buildup. The authors consider the use domestic actors made of information about Soviet military expenditures in developing consensus on the size and nature of the appropriate American military response. In addition, their use of game theory and statistical analysis offers new insights into how these methods might be employed to understand foreign policy questions.
This book will appeal to political scientists interested particularly in methodology, international relations, and American aspects of the political system. It will also be of interest to readers seeking information about the Cold War and its arms race.