Oceans Apart: Ideologies of Extraterritorial Foreign Policy in Northern Europe and the USA
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In the study of international relations, domestic variables have rather seldom been used to explainphenomena on the international level. In comparative politics and historical sociology, explainingdomestic outcomes have been based upon reductionist concepts of the international system, if thislevel has been addressed at all. In the latter discipline, analysis is often truly sociological, while inthe former, economic models of action and systems are predominant.In contrast, this thesis is a demonstration of the utility of comparing states by using explanatoryvariables from international relations, while at the same time presenting a sociological analysis ofinternational institutions.The interplay between international and domestic politics is highlighted, asis the interplay between material and ideational incentives for action, since the state is embedded ina domestic as well as an international society. By combining the strategic and the habitual reservoirof action, interesting perspectives emerge through an empirical analysis of extraterritorial foreignpolicy. Extraterritorial foreign policy is maritime and naval state policies, and these policies wereshaped by domestic and international factors, just as the policies in turn shaped internationalrelations and institutions. It is argued here, that both the interplay between the domestic andinternational, and the combination of strategic and habitual state preferences can be studied byapplying a typology of states based on ideological principles and degrees of overseas interests.From the second half of the 17th century, the international system showed a higher degree ofhierarchical properties than what often portrayed in neorealism. Therefore, the moulding ofinternational institutions was highly dependent upon both preferences and ideational motives onbehalf of the strongest powers in the international system. For smaller states, the alternatives werebandwagoning or sovereignty-seeking behaviour. However, the nature and content of theinternational institutions created structures that could be utilised by all states in the internationalsociety. It is demonstrated here that the post-war era therefore led to a major upheaval in thehistory of the international system, since it represented more formal equality for all states in asystem where power was unevenly distributed. In spite of globalization and large-power rivalry, theautonomy of smaller states increased: sovereignty was transformed, not eroded. State autonomyincreased for the majority of states as liberalism increasingly was institutionalised on theinternational level. Nevertheless, the thesis demonstrates that historically, other organizations thanstates have also waged war and used political power at, and from, the sea.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
CopyrightHans Olav Stensli
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