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This chapter describes interest, pressure, or advocacy groups, which organize separately from political parties, seeking to influence public opinion and public policy. It discusses the nature of these groups and what they do, before reviewing the debate on the power of interest groups, in particular whether business has a privileged position. Studies of interest groups show the importance of these groups to the delivery of public policy, which reveals a two-way relationship between groups and the state. There is a complex pattern of governance that makes policy-making complicated and difficult terrain for governments or regional and local agencies. In today's turbulent politics, there is room for new advocacy groups to upset the equilibrium. The very unpredictability of the interest group world and the appearance of actors skilled in the use of social media may provide opportunities to influence the political agenda and to engage in more disruptive politics.

Chapter

Paul E. J. Thomas and Stacey Frier

This chapter considers the ways in which backbench Members of Parliament (MPs) and peers campaign to change laws and government policies. Policy and legislative campaigning is often conducted by groups of MPs and peers who work together across party lines. Such groupings are commonly supported by external pressure groups, who help to keep the parliamentarians informed on the issue, and who can also provide resources to support campaigning activities. MPs and peers also coordinate their parliamentary activities with lobbying by their pressure group partners. The chapter first examines traditional assumptions about influencing government before turning to actors involved in campaigning to change law and policy. It also describes the formal parliamentary tools as well as informal means employed by backbenchers who campaign for policy or legislative change, along with contemporary developments regarding such activity.

Chapter

This work examines how domestic politics and culture shape US foreign policy, with particular emphasis on the role of institutions and processes. It considers the ways in which pressure groups and elites determine influence what the United States does abroad, the importance of regional shifts and media and their impact on the making of US foreign policy, and US relations with Europe, the Middle East, Russia, the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, and Africa. The text also discusses key issues relevant to American foreign policy, such as global terrorism, the global environment, gender, and religion. It argues that whoever resides in the White House will continue to give the military a central role in the conduct of US foreign policy, and that whoever ‘runs’ American foreign policy will still have to deal with the same challenges both at home and abroad.

Chapter

Valentina Aronica and Inderjeet Parmar

This chapter examines domestic factors that influence American foreign policy, focusing on the variety of ways in which pressure groups and elites determine and shape what the United States does in the international arena. It first considers how US foreign policy has evolved over time before discussing the US Constitution in terms of foreign policy making and implementation. It then explores institutional influences on foreign policy making, including Congress and the executive branch, as well as the role of ‘orthodox’ and ‘unorthodox’ actors involved in the making of foreign policy and how power is distributed among them. It also analyzes the Trump administration’s foreign policy, taking into account the ‘Trump Doctrine’ and the US strikes on Syria.