Foreign Policy in the Fourth Dimension (FP4D): Locating time in decision-making

Ryan K. Beasley, Andy Hom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While international relations scholarship has taken a “temporal turn,” foreign policy decision-making (FPDM) research reveals little explicit theoretical attention to time. Time is an important aspect of several prominent frameworks, yet these either fail to make explicit their conception of time or fail to reflect upon the implications of their temporal assumptions and understandings. We address this lacuna by developing a timing perspective on FPDM. We present the central features of this perspective, including the nature of timing agency, temporal motivations, the timing of decision-making processes, and timing as a foreign policy tool. Illustrated with empirical examples, we show how timing plays out in FPDM and helps to shed new light on our understanding of crises and ways decision-makers may grapple with them. We conclude by considering the theoretical and empirical benefits and challenges of bridging FPDM with theoretical approaches to time.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberoraa028
JournalForeign Policy Analysis
Issue number2
Early online date16 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2021


  • foreign policy
  • timing
  • time
  • decision making

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