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Introducing Foreign Policy Analysis

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1 Introducing Foreign Policy Analysis
Week 8: Concepts and Approaches in Politics and International Relations

2 Introduction to Foreign Policy
Why is foreign policy important? Link between the external and the internal Ways to look at foreign policy Area Specialist IR theorist Public Intellectual

3 Defining Foreign Policy
How do we define foreign policy? Chris Hill (2004: 3): ‘Is the focus to be reduced to the rump of what diplomats say to each other, which would leave out many of the most interesting aspects of international politics, or should it be widened to include almost everything that emanates from every actor on the world scene?’ This is an important question, because if we do think of foreign policy as something minimal then affects how we think foreign policy is made and who makes it. Hill argues that, ‘this genuine dilemma over what foreign policy includes has led some to assume that its contents is not minimal, and that agency lies elsewhere, with transnational enterprises of various kinds.’

4 Defining Foreign Policy
How do we define foreign policy? Definition 1: ‘the sum of external relations conducted by an independent actor (usually a state) in international relations.’ ‘foreign POLICY’: focusing on politics High vs. Low politics Definition 1: Hill argues that the idea of foreign policy also implies ‘politics’ on one hand and ‘coherence’ on the other. What we mean by politics is ‘actions, statements and values relating to how the actor wishes to advance its main objectives and to shape the external world. Hill points out that to a large extent decision-makers determine what it foreign policy. However, in a time where external decisions are not necessarily taken by foreign offices, this begs the question of who are foreign policy-makers? Perhaps this question can be answered when we break politics down into ‘high’ and ‘low’ politics. High: in the sense of serious conflict touching on the state’s most basic concerns – whether security or financial (Vital to the national interest) Low: in the sense of routine exchanges contained within knowable limits and rarely reaching the public realm.

5 Defining Foreign Policy
How do we define foreign policy? Definition 2: ‘the pursuit of a foreign policy is about the effort to carry through some generally conceived strategy, usually on the basis of a degree of rationality, in the sense that objectives, time-frames and instruments are at least brought into focus. Thus foreign policy must always be seen as a way of trying to hold together or make sense of the various activities which the state or even the wider community is engaged in internationally.’

6 Defining Foreign Policy
How do we define foreign policy? Definition 3: In short, the focal political point of an actor’s external relations.

7 Approaches to foreign policy
Realism What are the basic tenants of realism? What problems can we see in realism’s ability to explain foreign policy? Can we make a distinction between ‘foreign policy’ and ‘international relations’? Realism is often seen as a theory of foreign policy because of its concentration on states. It is a state-centric theory where the key variable is the structure of the international system (ie. Anarchy). What problems can we see in realisms ability to examine foreign policy? While realism does look at the state as being the primary actor, it does not look inside the state. Rather the state is a black-box. Kenneth Waltz has said, in relation particularly to neo-realism, that realism is a theory of international relations and not foreign policy. (See Waltz, Kenneth N "Evaluating Theories." American Political Science Review 91(4): ). Can we make this distinction between international relations and foreign policy? As Hill points out (p.7), Waltz has been inconsistent, since much of his work specifically deals with differences between foreign policy making in the US and UK. Important for us, neo-realism brings in the level of analysis debate. Neo-realists argue that foreign policy analysis operates at the level of the explanation of particular unites (i.e. states).

8 Approaches to Foreign Policy
Rational or public choice What is rationality in this context? What are the problems of the rational/public choice approach? Rational choice approaches to foreign policy are fairly new since foreign policy analysis was largely a reaction to the idea that states are unitary rational actors, associated with the realist paradigm. Rational choice approaches to foreign policy allow for us to account for the collective action problem in the foreign policy process, particularly that of policy implementation. ‘Public choice theory addresses this very problem of collective action, and the converse, that policies agreed jointly (often bipartisanly) may be remote from the actual preferences of individual politicians – let alone those of the voters.’ P-9- Can we see in problems with rational choice approaches to foreign policy? Hill argues, ‘like game theory, public choice can be of considerable heuristic use, but to start from an assumption of unitary decision-making optimizing given preferences, with the influences which shape preferences bracketed out, limits the applicability to actual cases.’

9 Approaches to Foreign Policy
Post-Modernism What is post-modernism? Where does discourse theory come into it? Can we see any problems with a post-modernist approach to foreign policy? Particularly popular amongst European academics, post-positivism[PIR1] has brought a new perspective to bear on foreign policy. Like a discussion of realism, we are labelling a very large academic sub-group onto one label. In general, they reject the scientific approach to foreign policy. This does not mean that they do not attempt to understand foreign policy. Instead, they see language as being crucial to national identity, on which the representation of outsiders (the ‘other’) will be a significant influence.  [PIR1]Post-positivism

10 Approaches to Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) What is FPA? Where does the focus lie? How does it differ from other approaches? Can we see any problems with FPA? FPA enquires into the motives and other sources of the behaviour of international actors, particularly states, but not excluding others. While FPA has never been seen as a meta-theory, it has produced what has been called middle-range theories, of which we will discuss. Important to Hill is to rework FPA by taking into account the changing politics of foreign policy.

11 Changing Politics of Foreign Policy?
Has the nature of foreign policy changed? No: power matters, state-led Yes:…

12 Changing Politics of Foreign Policy?
The end of the Cold War the collapse of certain international institutions, changed the balance of power, but also represented the destruction of a major trans-national ideology Do we have a new ideology to replace international socialism? If so, what are its effects on international relations and foreign policy?

13 Changing Politics of Foreign Policy?
Globalisation Has it made foreign policy redundant? Does the state still matter? No Yes While the role of the state has changed, it has not disappeared or become irrelevant. Hill argues that this is unlikely to happen because public interests are best suited in smaller entities and second, the management of global governance is impossible considering the logistical nightmare that it would entail. Hill finds that globalisation is far more important for how it has changed the relationship between traditional foreign policy and foreign economic policy. Overall, the latter is part of the former, since traditional foreign policy is no longer only about strategic security.

14 Changing Politics of Foreign Policy?
Human Rights and Intervention World system qualified state sovereignty Is this a part of globalization? Has the Iraq conflict been a set-back for humanitarian intervention?

15 Analysing foreign policy
Do the changes in the international system change the way we must think about foreign policy? Where does agency lie? Can we distinguish between ‘foreign’ and ‘domestic’ policies? How do we observe the ‘external’? Does this mean that everything which has a system that projects outwards is foreign policy?

16 Analysing foreign policy
Do the changes in the international system change the way we must think about foreign policy? Finally, FPA must face the normative issues which its positivist roots have tended to obscure. For example, is how we think about foreign policy dominated by how we think foreign policy should happen (e.g. democratically)? How far should foreign policy be accountable to its citizens? Does this allow us talk about good and bad foreign policy in both a normative and positive context?

17 In Conclusion What is foreign policy?
What role does FPA play in explaining it? Has the nature of foreign policy changed? Where does this leave us?

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