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What role does public opinion play in national security?

What role does public opinion (both national and international) play in the development of the US national security policy? What about other actors like the special interest groups, think tanks, influential citizens, foreign governments, etc.?

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Because of the impact of nearly instantaneous communication and the ability of a single person to impact thousands of others through online chat, blogs and news sites, the American government has to pay some attention to public opinion as it relates to national security issues. In the past a misstep by the government was easily covered up since few people had access to information and most people got their news from one of three major TV stations. Now however, anyone can project their opinions, beliefs and facts onto the world stage in a matter of seconds.
The Vietnam War is an example of public opinion impacting national security practice. It had been deemed that stopping the spread of Communism by aiding South Vietnam was in the national security of America. However, as the ...

Solution Summary

This discussion examines public opinion and how it affects the development of a policy for national security. Other factors that influence policy making such as interest groups, think tanks and foreign governments are also discussed. Over 500 words of original text.