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How Has the Field of Foreign Policy Analysis Changed Over Time? Essay

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The essay progresses as follows: First foreign policy is described which will be linked to foreign policy analysis, then followed by an analysis of major approaches within the topic from foundational texts to the more contemporary texts and then finally an evaluation of FPA.

To understand foreign policy analysis, one must comprehend what foreign policy means as the two concepts co-exist together. Foreign policy is how states, institutions and people engage with each other in the International system which is shaped by history and institutional practices (Alden and Arnan, 2017, p.11).

Many criminal organizations, leaders, bureaucracies, non-governmental organizations influence the foreign policy that is adopted by the state which is important for decisions (Alden and Arnan, 2017, p.11).

Foreign policy analysis (FPA) further illustrates the idea of foreign policy, as FPA is the study of conduct and practice of relations between different actors which are mainly states in the International system (Alden and Arnan, 2017, p.13).

By investigating the decision making, the individual decision makers, process and conditions that affect the foreign policy and outcomes of these decisions, shows FPA is involved with not only actors concerned in the state’s decision making but also with different sub-national sources of influence upon state foreign policy (Alden and Arnan, 2017, p.13).

FPA focuses on the foreign policy process rather than the foreign policy outcomes, which is based on the belief that close inspection of actors, the levels of decision making and the wider context within which foreign policy choices are expressed would offer greater analytical purchase that can be discovered in using an IR approach (Alden and Arnan, 2017, p.13).

IR scholars have struggled with the agent-structure problem (Hudson, 2005, p.5).The agent-structure problem originated from the belief that human beings and their organizations are actors whose actions help transform society and society is made up of social relationships which structure interactions between actors (Wendt, 1987, p.337-338).

This incorporates both neo-realism and world system theories in which Neo-realists conceptualize system structures in individualist terms as limiting the choices of pre-existing state agents, whereas world-system theory conceptualize system structures in structuralist terms as generating state agents themselves (Wendt, 1987 p.338). This has created the agent-structure problem which is a two interrelated problem (Wendt, 1987, p.339).

There are three paradigmatic works which were developed in the 1950’s and 1960’s built the foundation of FPA which are Decision making as an approach to the study of international politics by Snyder, Bruck and Sapin (1954) which Snyder basically emphasizes on decision making as organizational behaviour by being determinants of actions adopted by officials(Hudson, 2005, p.5-6). This work is still evident today as one of the main characteristics of FPA is decision making as it affects outcomes in foreign policy however foreign policy is not all dependent on decision making as FPA has many determinants and has a complex nature.

Pre-theories and Theories of Foreign Policy by Rosenau(1966) encouraged the development of the actor specific theory in which he states that FPA is devoid of general theories and was a theory that mediated between grand principles and complex reality(Hudson, 2005, p.5-6). Rosenau(1966) insisted on the need to integrate information at several levels of analysis from individual leaders to the international system (Hudson, 2005, p.6).

The last paradigmatic work was Man–Milieu Relationship Hypotheses in the Context of International Politics by Sprout and Sprout (1965) which they suggested that analysing power capabilities within an interstate system, without reference to foreign policy undertakings which are associated with strategies, intentions and decisions were misguided (Hudson, 2005, p.6). Foreign policy undertaking is explained by the concept of psycho-milieu which is the international and operational environment or context as it is perceived and interpreted by these decision makers (Hudson, 2005, p.6).

Incongruities between the perceived and the real operational environments can occur, leading to less than satisfactory choices in foreign policy (Hudson, 2005, p.6-7).

However, these paradigmatic works might be seen as dated and not as relevant today because of the new approaches in FPA which have been brought by changes in history and time eg the end of the cold war increased integration and globalisation among the world powers through formal institutions, trade etc.

The origins of FPA come from its reaction towards the dominance of realism and its view of the state and its interaction with other states through bilateral relations and through institutions and a dissatisfaction with realism’s ability to provide explanations of foreign policy outcomes (Alden and Arnan, 2017, p.15).

This is further illustrated as realism has three main assumptions which one of them is groupism which focuses on the main notion of survival, in which humans survive by uniting together which in turn these human groups form a nation-state and the most important group cohesion is nationalism, however this causes potential conflict as realism claims that human beings put self-interest first which might differ from another human’s interest (Smith, Hadfield and Dunne, 2016, p.36).

The second is Egoism mainly focuses on the notion that self-interest influences political behaviour, which is because of selfish human nature (Smith, Hadfield and Dunne, 2016, p.36).

Power centrism is an important feature in international politics, this is because the survival of the state in the international stage of politics and also how the state conducts its relations with other states, this two reasons can be explained through inequalities of power through human affairs which the powerful states have a great social influence on weaker states and also powerful states have better resources than weaker states (Smith, Hadfield and Dunne, 2016, p.36-37).

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The realist approach develops an orientation towards the most powerful groups in IR in which the main component for decisions in foreign policy is national interest (Smith, Hadfield and Dunne, 2016, p.37).

However the lack of realist seeing cooperation in institutions and among states as a way of achieving foreign policy which their main critics are liberalists who mainly critic the realist pessimistic doctrine.

National interest is seen as decisions taken by leaders who promote a state’s prosperity and needs in international politics, the main assumption is that leaders act towards achieving the long term national interests of the state (Naeck, 2019, p.17).

According to Naeck (2019) as cited by Morgenthau (1949) assumes that” statesman act in terms of interest defined as power”(p.17). This is further illustrated by Morgenthau explaining that states need to acquire economic and military power to ensure the state’s survival, however he added that do not always pursue national interest which states can also act on moral grounds, this creates the tendency of states to achieve national interest defined in terms of power is more universal than their inclination to achieve interest in terms of common moral purposes (Nau, 2002 ,p.17).

However, not all decisions in foreign policy can be determined by National interest as today's world is complex and interconnected through institutions which may sometimes require a state to compromise their national interest perhaps due to a lack of power by the states to reinforce their interests or a larger threat that looms which binds states together.

The second classical FPA is behaviourism and rationalism which was conducted in the 1950s and 1960s that challenged some realist assumptions in IR (Alden and Arnan, 2017, p.16). Behaviourists sought to understand the process of foreign policy-making rather than examine the outcomes of foreign policy which scholars such as Robert Jervis and Harold Sprout examined the role of individual decision-makers and believed that decisions makers can unload the key variables that are linked to human agency which contributes to foreign decision making (Alden and Arnan, 2017, p.16).

Rational choice implies that no matter how actors behave they are expected utility maximizing agents which stems from microeconomics (Morin and Paquin, 2018 p.215). Rational choice, when applied with FPA, explains the position adopted by states e.g. when states who are subject to environmental deterioration and the least affected by abatement costs call for the adoption of international standards are those who gain the most (Morin and Paquin, 2018, p.215).

Rational choice theory considers that actors behaviour which integrate their own standards which determines the advantages and disadvantages of each option which results in rationality being broken down into three assumptions which the first is actors are conscious of making choices which are not bound to routine as some times routine in IR might not fulfil the state interest which shows rational choice has elements of realism, the second different actions by order of preference and lastly rational choice presumes actors act in accordance with the option that maximises their utility in IR by considering information available and the associated risks (Morin and Paquin, 2018 p.216).

Last Classical FPA is the Bureaucratic politics model in the 1960s was researched in Harvard on how institutions work and how they affect foreign policy outcomes (Qingmin, 2016, p.438).

[bookmark: _Hlk7450798]The main features are Political power is widely allocated among institutions at the state level, Within these institutions are participants in the policy process that have conflicting views on what they would like done on any given issue, Political leadership within or across institutions is used mainly through persuasion and Policymaking is a political process of building consensus and support for a policy among those participants who have the power to affect the outcome and who often disagree over what they think that the outcome should be(Qingmin, 2016, p.438).

Unlike their western counterparts they have been a scarcity in Chinese foreign policy study from bureaucratic politics is due to China's belief that it is at the centre of the world which influenced China's international behaviour because of this foreign policy making was made by structural factors which were implemented during the period of the cold war (Qingmin, 2016, p.440). It also was a closed society with one political party system (Qingmin, 2016, p.440).

Another approach that was proposed during the 1960s in which Rosenau advocated for this is contemporary foreign policy, which the main belief was through the use of natural science (which shows an aspect of behaviouralism) methodology FPA could lead to general theory (Smith, 1986, p.17).

Comparative foreign policy (CFP) rejected a case study approach in understanding FPA because most of the traditional theories focused more on the external environment of how states conduct foreign policy (Smith, 1986, p.18).

It is stated to be interdisciplinary in nature which dismisses the notions of realism as it believes foreign policy derives from many sources such as individual decision makers and organizational framework in which decisions are made (S. Lantis and Beasley, 2017, p.3).

However there was a decline towards CFP in the mid '70s which was because of the increased role in economic factors in IR due to the rise of economic interdependence, there was a decline in the role of the state as an actor in IR this because non state actors in this time was as equally important in influencing foreign policy decisions and no general theory of FPA could emerge from CFP (Smith, 1986, p.19-20).

Globalisation theory became popular in the 1980s, the first great debate of globalization focused on the three main approaches hyper globalist which advocated for the rise of the single market, global sceptic which mainly focused on the internationalization of states and transformational thesis which mainly centred around the transformational thesis which is mainly driven by a shift in space-time constitution of human civilization (Alden and Arnan, 2017, p.112-116).

In conclusion, FPA has contributed to the understanding of world politics due to many theories that were adopted or created in the eras of the cold war, the era of globalisation and integration which has helped various scholars to further understand and appreciate the multi-faceted of explaining foreign policy.

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