Event Details

Come join PCFR on April 25 for a timely discussion with author and professor Dr. Jeff Friedman as he discusses the effect of presidential politics on U.S. foreign policy in his new book, The Commander-in-Chief Test.

Americans frequently criticize US foreign policy for being overly costly and excessively militaristic. With its rising defense budgets and open-ended "forever wars," US foreign policy often appears disconnected from public opinion, reflecting the views of elites and special interests rather than the attitudes of ordinary citizens. The Commander-in-Chief Test argues that this conventional wisdom underestimates the role public opinion plays in shaping foreign policy. Dr. Jeff Friedman's insights offer important lessons on how the politics of image-making impacts foreign policy and how the public should choose its president.

There will be time for Q&A, so get reading and come prepared with questions!

Why is this Important for Arizona?

With the upcoming U.S. presidential election, this discussion will offer a fresh perspective on Americans' frustrations with the cost and scope of US foreign policy. The book challenges the notion that foreign policy decisions are solely driven by elites, highlighting the significant role of public opinion. With insights into the disconnect between public sentiment and foreign policy actions, particularly regarding rising defense budgets and "forever wars," the event sheds light on how voters prioritize leaders with the right attributes for an effective commander-in-chief. This discussion is crucial for Arizonans, offering valuable lessons on the impact of image-making on foreign policy and empowering them to assess leadership choices in alignment with public preferences.

The views expressed are solely those of the speaker and moderator and not those of PCFR, which takes no institutional position on policy.


  • Dr. Jeffrey Friedman (Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College)

    Dr. Jeffrey Friedman

    Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College


    Dr. Jeff Friedman is an Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. His research examines the politics and psychology of foreign policy decision-making. He is the author of two books: "The Commander-in-Chief Test: Public Opinion and the Politics of Image-Making in U.S. Foreign Policy" (Cornell, 2023) and "War and Chance: Assessing Uncertainty in International Politics" (Oxford, 2019), which won the Peter Katzenstein Award for an outstanding "first book" on international relations. He has held research positions with the World Bank, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, France.

    Personal website: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/friedman/

    Book website: https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501772924/the-commander-in-chief-test/

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