week 2: introduction to foreign policy analysis. U.S. FOREIGN POLICY POLS 425 professor timothy c. lim / cal state los angeles [email protected] introduction to foreign policy analysis the study of foreign policy. review of key points from last week.
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review of key points from last week
special relationship between IR and foreign policy
so what is critical political analysis?
critical political analysis: six points
critical political analysis
“taken together, we believe that a critical approach to foreign policy offers significant potential for looking at foreign policy within a wider notion of politics than has traditionally been the case within FPA” (p. 6)
don’t worry (for now). things should become clearer as we proceed.
foreign policy analysis is a relatively recent field that stands in sharp contrast to the grand theories of IR (e.g., realism)
three seminal orparadigmaticworks
Decision-Making as an Approach to the Study of International Politics by RichardSnyder
Pre-Theories and Theories of Foreign Policy by JamesRosenau
Man-Mileau Relationship Hypotheses in the Context of International Politics by Harold and Margaret Sprout
small group decision-making (“groupthink”)
Refers to the process and structure of groups making foreign policy decisions. Group decision making tends to have its own dynamic, but a particularly important aspect is the tendency by participants to maintain group consensus and personal acceptance. The result is often a deterioration of decision-making quality.
organizational process and bureaucratic politics
Based on the idea that organizations and bureaucracies have their own interests and compete with other organizations to stay “on top.” Turf battles impact the decision-making process. Organizational dynamics (e.g., standard operating procedures) also shape responses and behavior.
comparative foreign policy
Focused on foreign policy events on a cross-national basis as a way to analyze and predict foreign policy behavior for all nations for all time. Effort proved less than successful.
psychological influences on foreign policy
Based on the premise that individual perceptions and cognitive processes had a profound impact on the policy making process. Psychological approaches focused attention on the mind of the foreign policy decision-maker.
societal milieux and foreign policy
Looked at the overarching social context in which decisions are made: culture, history, geography, economics, political institutions, military power, ideology, demographics, media, and so on. Researchers believed all these factors could play a role in the making of foreign policy.
changing gears …
theories offoreign policy
general notes about theory: definitions
simply put, theories are explanations of how something or some process works; theories are used to identify cause-and-effect relationships and to make predictions
anotherdefinition. a theory is a framework of analysis within which facts are not only selected, but also interpreted, organized, and fit together so that they create a coherent whole
a theory helps us explain or better understand the world in which we live
general notes about theory
theories are necessarily simplifications of a more complex whole; theories are not reality, but they are designed to tell use something meaningful and important about the real world
general notes about theory:additional points
first, the various theories of foreign policy are not dependent on whether they are accepted or even understood by policy makers themselves
second, theory and practice may be mutually constitutive
third, the theories we study are sometimes compatible, but sometimes contradictory
to realists, these are all fundamental truths about the the world; they are the rules by which world politics operate. such rules have consequences; they shape human behavior in particular ways
dictionary definition: “absence of government; the state of society where there is no law or supreme power; a state of lawlessness; political confusion.”
in realism, anarchy is not the absence of government per se, but is instead the absence of a sovereign authority that exists above the state. to (many) realists, moreover, the international system is not “confused,” but is governed by a structure of power dominated by the strongest states
in an anarchic system, an unavoidable logic prevails, one based on the notion,”survival of the fittest.”
in an anarchic world, only the strong survive and prosper; you can only count on yourself for help: friends are friends only when it serves their interests
one of the clearest enunciations of the principles and implications of anarchy can be found in a few good men …
what is realism?
a scene from a few good men: “you can’t handle the truth!”
what is the “truth” that tom cruise’s character cannot handle?
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realism is a diverse school of thought that includes several variants
the diversity of realism is also evident in specific theories of realism
anarchy is a variable condition; where it is strongest, the potential for conflict is highest; where it is attenuated, orderis stronger
conflict is not an assumption, but a prediction: realists predict conflict under certain conditions of anarchy
example. anti-US counterbalancing
prominent realists, such as waltz, predicted that the collapse of the soviet union would lead to immediate “counterbalancing” against theu.s.
it did not happen, but the failure to “predict” correctly was less a problemwith realism and more a problem with a misapplication of realist principlesand a failure to consider the “concrete”details of the post-cold war era
foreign policy analysts must not be dogmatic realists--or anti-realists. they should know theories without becoming overly committed to any one
the best approach is to embrace a constant dialogue between case expertise and general theory whenever possible
remember this saying …
the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing(Archilochus)
foreign policy analysts should be foxes and not hedgehogs