The University of Nebraska at Kearney was recently awarded a grant from the Dirksen Congressional Center. The grant will be used by UNK Political Science professor James S. Scott on his project titled, “Choosing to Lead: Congressional Foreign Policy Entrepreneurs and U.S. Foreign Policy.”
Scott, in partnership with professor Ralph G. Carter from Texas Christian University, will examine the role some members of Congress have on the foreign policy of the United States.
Scott said, “Within Congress, certain members who we call foreign policy entrepreneurs, seem to commit themselves to foreign policy issues.” According to Scott, “They seek to shape the policy agenda, drive Congress to take action, and enact their policy preferences.”
Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., serves as an example of a foreign policy entrepreneur. “Senator Hagel’s work on global warming, such as the resolution he co-authored with Senator Byrd to stop approval of climate treaties which damage the United States economy or exempt developing states, qualifies his efforts as entrepreneurial,” said Scott.
The increased role of Congress in international politics makes foreign policy entrepreneurs central to the study of U.S. foreign policy. “Virtually every foreign policy decision now has some congressional mark, and some decisions are driven more by Congress than any other institution. The interests and behaviors of foreign policy entrepreneurs are therefore important for understanding why the United States acts as it does in the world,” Scott said.
The $3,000 grant was awarded from the Dirksen Congressional Center. The money will be used to support student research assistants as well as travel expenses. “The grant will enable us to travel to Washington, D.C. and interview a number of current foreign policy entrepreneurs,” said Scott. The project will produce a book and other publications to further the knowledge about how Congress develops foreign policy.