Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Andrew Polsky

Committee Members

Yan Sun

Charles Tien

Subject Categories

Political Science


This study examines how Political Entrepreneurs in the United States Congress responded to human rights abuses in six countries during the 1970s and 1980s: Cambodia, El Salvador, South Africa, the Soviet Union, Taiwan, and Uganda. It presents a four-point model for approaching the study of United States human rights policy. The key element in all the cases is bonding social capital, also called affective politics. American policy towards the Soviet Union and Uganda both demonstrate the integration of international, transnational, and domestic politics. Taiwan receives special attention because U.S. Taiwan policy continues to exemplify the integration of international relations, transnational relations, and domestic politics.

The Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) represents Taiwanese-Americans who care about promoting democracy on Taiwan and, ultimately, Taiwan's legal status as an independent country. FAPA cultivates and sustains relationships with members of Congress and their staff to create the Taiwan Caucus in the House and Senate, second in influence only to the Israel Caucus, which is cultivated by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). This study investigates how the Taiwan Independence Movement (TIM) learned, in part from AIPAC, to become politically viable as an ethnic lobby in the 1980s after limited success in the 1960s and 1970s, despite lacking the voting power and financial resources of Jewish-Americans.

This study examines how bonding social capital (affective politics) is used to compensate for deficiencies in financial capital and voting power (rational politics), thus creating the political capital that political entrepreneurs use to shape U.S. foreign policy. Political entrepreneurs include citizens, congressional staff, and members of Congress, who have an impact on U.S. foreign policy that is greater than we would expect if we studied their resources by using only a rational choice framework. This study demonstrates that scholars of international relations, transnational politics and American politics can analyze the biographies of political entrepreneurs and their emotional relationships to more fully understand U.S. foreign policy.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.