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POLS 425 US Foreign Policy. The State-Level of Analysis February 7, 2007 Professor Timothy C. Lim California State University, Los Angeles. U.S. Foreign Policy The State Level of Analysis. Comparing Denmark and the Netherlands

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pols 425 us foreign policy

POLS 425 US Foreign Policy

The State-Level of Analysis

February 7, 2007

Professor Timothy C. Lim

California State University, Los Angeles

u s foreign policy the state level of analysis
U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Comparing Denmark and the Netherlands

  • Very similar countries, but different foreign policies: What is the source of their differences?
u s foreign policy the state level of analysis1
U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Comparing Denmark and the Netherlands

  • Denmark: “Cautiously Cooperative”; “Peaceful Nationalists”; and Peaceful (but passive) supporters of the international system
u s foreign policy the state level of analysis2
U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Comparing Denmark and the Netherlands

  • The Netherlands: International “Do-Gooders”; “Boldly Cooperative”; “International Legal Capital of the World”
u s foreign policy the state level of analysis3
U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Comparing Denmark and the Netherlands

  • Basic Point: The foreign policies of the two countries are not the same
      • To explain/understand differences in Danish and Dutch foreign policy—or to explain/understand nature of any country’s foreign policy—it is necessary to “go inside” each country
        • This includes examining a country’s national “self-image”
u s foreign policy the state level of analysis4
U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

“Going Inside” a Country

  • Two Basic Categories: Societal and Governmental Factors

Societal factors include: type of economic system, history and culture of the country, ethnic/racial/religious makeup, role of political parties and interest groups, the nature and function of the media in setting the public agenda

Governmental factors include the type of political system or regime, the division of powers, the role of bureaucracies, and other institutional features

u s foreign policy the state level of analysis5
U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

“Going Inside” a Country: Societal Factors

  • National Self-Image/National Identity
    • What is a national self-image?
    • How does a national self-image impact foreign policy?
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

“Going Inside” a Country: Societal Factors

  • National Self-Image: Some Examples

Netherlands: a country that should “do some good”

Canada: a “helpful fixer” and “peacekeeper par excellence”

Japan: a pacifist country and “a global player building a world where people can count on a better future”

Japan is officially a pacifist country, but pacifism has also become part of Japan’s national self-image

Netherlands is home to the International Court of Justice

Canada’s Peacekeeping Monument: The only monument of its kind in the world; it is dedicated to Canadian peacekeepers.

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

“Going Inside” a Country: Societal Factors

National Self-Image: Comparing Britain and Japan

From a realist perspective, both countries occupy similar positions in world system: major economic powers, comparable military capacity, close alliance with United States, and so on

  • Britain’s self-image still closely tied to its former hegemonic position in the world: The Great Power of the 19th Century
  • Japan’s post-war self-image reflects a fundamental distrust of military power

FOR CONSIDERATION ONLY: Do the differing self-images account for very different foreign policies? How?

u s foreign policy the state level of analysis8
U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

“Going Inside” a Country: Societal Factors

  • What is the American self-image, the American national identity?

Here is a representative example (a video made by high school students). If the embedded video does not work, you can view the video at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9UVzcvL1vs

u s foreign policy the state level of analysis9
U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

“Going Inside” a Country: Societal Factors

  • Can a national “self-image” have a concrete effect on the course of a country’s foreign policy? If so, how are its effects felt?
  • To answer this question, we must understand that national self-image is the basis for defining a “national interest” and the “national interest” is the basis for a defining a country’s foreign policy
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

“Going Inside” a Country: Societal Factors

Good and Bad Effects of National Self-Image

  • “The Good”: National self-image or identity creates basis for national unity, which is a critical element of a strong, cohesive society
  • Without a strong nationalidentity, things “fall apart”:Consider Iraq today
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

“Going Inside” a Country: Societal Factors

  • Good and Bad Effects of National Self-Image
    • The “Bad” (and the “Ugly”): Certain national self-images can create an uncritical, essentially passive public, which allows state leaders virtually free reign
    • This can lead to a very aggressive foreign policy subject to few, if any, domestic constraints
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

“Going Inside” a Country: Societal Factors

  • Good and Bad Effects of National Self-Image: The Role of Patriotism

Patriotism tells usthat any criticismof a country’sforeign policy is notonly illegitimate,but also dangerous

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

“Going Inside” a Country: Societal Factors

“Naturally the common people don't want war….That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Herman Goering, Second in command of the Third Reich

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Elements of National Self-Image

Two Basic Components

  • Idealized stereotypes of “us”: Usually as inherently good and well-meaning; noble and brave
  • Negative stereotypes of out-groups or “others”: Usually as bad or evil; misinformed, mistaken, or misguided; ignoble, cowardly and/or stupid
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Elements of National Self-Image

  • Some scholars--especially constructivists and idealists--tell us that images of ourselves and of others have the potential to materially influence, alter and shape the dynamics of international relations
  • In an important sense …

Image = Reality

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Significance of Negative Stereotypes

“Identity construction, and its intensity, determine anarchy and how much fear and competition results. Applied to international relations, then, the literature would suggest that changing intensities of in-identity affect the degree of outwardly directed realpolitik behavior, regardless of changes in the structural environment” (p. 83)

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Erosion of National Interests

  • How can “national interests” erode? How are national interests defined? Where does the national interest come from in the first place?

How does Samuel Huntington answer these questions in his article, “The Erosion of National Interests”?

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Erosion of National Interests

  • Basic Argument: Since the end of the Cold War, America’s national identity has been in danger of disintegrating, yet, without a sure sense of national identity, there is no way to define America’s national interest; Huntington suggests this could lead to national disaster
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Erosion of National Interests

  • Does Huntington’s argument follow or reject basic realist principles?
  • Is Huntington an idealist or a constructivist?
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Erosion of National Interests

  • Huntington as a constructivist
    • Huntington argues that American identity has, for a very long time, been based on the construction of an undesirable “other”—that is, an enemy who could be defined as the antithesis of American values and beliefs; this undesirable other was obviously the Soviet Union
    • The creation of an undesirable “other” served several important purposes:
      • First, essentially defined American national interest
      • Second, reinforced a common and cohesive identity among American people
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Erosion of National Interests

“The jealousy, envy, avarice incident to our nature [as Americans], and so common to a state of peace, prosperity, and conscious strength, were for a time in a great measure smothered and rendered inactive, while the deep-rooted principles of hate, and the powerful motive of revenge, instead of being turned against each other, were directed exclusively against the British nation”

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis
  • The Importance of the “Other” in American Foreign Policy

Though tongue-in-cheek andexaggerated, the film CanadianBacon (by Michael Moore)helps illustrate the idea andsignificance of the “Other”in American politics

Watch carefully, and see if youcan identify aspects of Neack’sand Huntington’s argumentsillustrated in the film

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Erosion of National Interests

  • The problem with immigrants, multiculturalism, and commercialism
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Culture and Institutions of Governance

  • Culture does not just affect the way people think about the world, but also influences the specific types of institutions constructed within a state and the foreign policy decision making authority allotted to those institutions
    • In a realist world, one wouldn’t expect to see huge differences between Israel and Japan (or Japan and Britain), particularly with regard to the institutional arrangements that determine their foreign policies, but there are major differences
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Culture and Institutions of Governance

  • Japan as an example: Military as an institution occupies subordinate position
    • No army, only a “Self-Defense Force”
    • Security-related institutions have little authority
    • JDA lacks cabinet-level status
    • Constitution is premised on pacifism
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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Culture and Institutions of Governance

  • Japanese “Peace Constitution,” Article 9:

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized”

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Culture and Institutions of Governance

  • Culture and Institutions in the United States

Military and security-related institutions occupy the center ofpower in the U.S.

Consider the “military-industrial complex”

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Culture, Institutions, and the Democratic Peace

  • The Culture of Democracy versus the Institutions of Democracy

Is a democratic culture naturally more peaceful?

Do the institutions of democracy make it more difficult to pursue wars of aggression?

Is a stable institutional structure more conducive to peace?

Do specific institutional arrangements matter (e.g. presidential versus parliamentary systems)?

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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe State Level of Analysis

Other Elements of State-Level Analysis

  • Partisan politics and intragovernmental divisions
  • Public Opinion
  • Interest Groups (including ethnic lobbies)
  • Media