Bipartisanship and U.S. Foreign Policy: Cooperation in a Polarized Age

In today’s polarized political climate, how does bipartisanship still find its way into U.S. foreign policy? Join us on Thursday, October 19th as we explore this important topic with Dr. Jordan Tama, a U.S. foreign policy expert and Professor at the School of International Service at American University.

As the nation mourns with the Israeli people in the wake of the recent attack by Hamas, the need for bipartisan solutions is more apparent than ever. This discussion will highlight the broader implications of U.S. foreign policy decisions and how bipartisan cooperation can impact global stability, peace, and diplomacy. It’s an opportunity to gain deeper insights into how diplomacy and bipartisan cooperation can be effective in responding to international conflicts.

Dr. Tama’s latest book, Bipartisanship & U.S. Foreign Policy: Cooperation in a Polarized Age (Oxford University Press), reveals a surprising trend: Democrats and Republicans often find common ground on international issues. Based on extensive data and over 100 interviews with foreign policy experts, this book sheds light on the factors that either promote or hinder bipartisan efforts, offering a nuanced understanding of how U.S. policymakers navigate complex international issues.

Like all USCHS programs, this webinar is free and open to the public; registration is required.

About the Author

Dr. Jordan Tama serves as Provost Associate Professor at the School of International Service at American University, holds a Non-Resident Senior Fellowship at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and co-directs Bridging the Gap. His specialization lies in the politics and process of U.S. foreign policy and national security.

Dr. Tama’s other publications include Rivals for Power: Presidential-Congressional Relations, Sixth Edition, co-edited with USCHS Board Member James A. Thurber (Rowman and Littlefield); Terrorism and National Security Reform: How Commissions Can Drive Change During Crises (Cambridge University Press); and A Creative Tension: The Foreign Policy Roles of the President and Congress, co-authored with Lee H. Hamilton (Woodrow Wilson Center Press). He also wrote journal articles, book chapters, policy reports, and articles for major newspapers and policy magazines.

Beyond academia, he served as a fellow on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. House of Representatives, a foreign policy speechwriter to former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton, and a national security advisor to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

In an era of ever-increasing polarization in the US Congress, American foreign policy remains marked by frequent bipartisanship. In Bipartisanship and US Foreign Policy, Jordan Tama shows that, even as polarization in American politics reaches new heights, Democrats and Republicans in Washington continue to cooperate on important international issues. Looking closely at congressional voting patterns and recent debates over military action, economic sanctions, international trade, and foreign policy spending, Tama reveals that bipartisanship remains surprisingly common when US elected officials turn their attention overseas. Yet bipartisanship today rarely involves complete unity. Instead, bipartisan coalitions spanning members of both parties often coexist with intra-party divisions or disagreement between Congress and the president, making it difficult for the United States to speak with one voice on the global stage. Drawing on new data and interviews of more than 100 foreign policy practitioners, this book documents the persistence of bipartisanship on international issues and highlights key factors that facilitate or impede cooperation on foreign policy challenges.