The domestic sources of détente: State-society relations and foreign policy change during the Cold War

Angelos Chryssogelos, Benjamin Martill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research on foreign policy change claims leaders seek to restructure their country's foreign relations when internal and external opportunity structures are permissive. However, a number of prominent efforts at achieving change have occurred during times of considerable domestic upheaval and rigid international constraints. To understand why, this article examines three well-known cases of Cold War foreign policy change, focusing on the external relations of Charles de Gaulle in France, John G. Diefenbaker in Canada, and Willy Brandt in West Germany. These cases suggest that domestic upheaval and foreign policy change were inextricably interwoven and that efforts to effect strategic change on a grand scale were motivated by a desire to respond to the demands of marginalized domestic constituencies without incurring the costs of domestic reform. Our analysis suggests key moments of international change are best understood as domestic incorporation strategies rather than instances of significant and principled foreign policy change.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberorab003
JournalForeign Policy Analysis
Volume17
Issue number2
Early online date16 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Cold War
  • foreign policy change
  • state-society relations
  • European security
  • political parties

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