A Theory of Foreign Policy
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This book presents a general explanation of how states develop their foreign policy. The theory stands in contrast to most approaches--which assume that states want to maximize security--by assuming that states pursue two things, or goods, through their foreign policy: change and maintenance. States, in other words, try both to change aspects of the international status quo that they don't like and maintain those aspects they do like. A state's ability to do so is largely a function of its relative capability, and since national capability is finite, a state must make trade-offs between policies designed to achieve change or maintenance.
Glenn Palmer and Clifton Morgan apply their theory to cases ranging from American foreign policy since World War II to Chinese foreign policy since 1949 to the Suez Canal Crisis. The many implications bear upon specific policies such as conflict initiation, foreign aid allocation, military spending, and alliance formation. Particularly useful are the implications for foreign policy substitutability. The authors also undertake statistical analyses of a wide range of behaviors, and these generally support the theory.
A Theory of Foreign Policy represents a major advance over traditional analyses of international relations. Not only do its empirical implications speak to a broader range of policies but, more importantly, the book illuminates the trade-offs decision makers face in selecting among policies to maximize utility, given a state's goals.
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in the behavior of recipient states. As such, states seeking greater change are expected to increase their foreign aid. And as expected, the United States has increased its foreign aid significantly. According to the World Bank, from 2000 to 2003, U.S. economic aid as a proportion of its GDP has risen from about 0.10 percent to about 0.14 percent. Further, policy statements indicate that the United States intends to increase its foreign aid even more. We have already alluded to President Bush’s
for continued or increased foreign aid, while other institutional actors (primarily the People’s Liberation Army) have significant political clout. Chinese aid has never reached very high levels, indicating that its effectiveness has never been terribly great. But that is not the end of our story. Our general theory can be applied to the phenomenon of foreign policy substitutability. Essentially, as we will argue in greater depth in chapter 7, when a state seeks to pursue one of our goods,
Certainly, the initiations of some military conflicts are preemptive and are attempts to protect the status quo; that is, the initiation of some disputes is maintenance seeking rather than change seeking. For instance, in our terms, Japan’s attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor in 1941 was “maintenance seeking.” Throughout 1941, the United States was attempting to convince the Japanese to remove its troops from East Asia, including parts of China. The American embargo on Japan was designed
environmental factors that affect the effectiveness of a state’s pursuit of its goals are the national capabilities of the state. We assume that the effectiveness of a state’s pursuit of change or maintenance varies with its relative capabilities. States with more resources, not surprisingly, are better able to achieve both change and maintenance than are the less capable. Nonetheless, we expect to see a difference between more and less capable states in the relative emphasis placed on change