State Level of Analysis

Topics: Policy, Government, Foreign policy Pages: 6 (2062 words) Published: March 22, 2012
According to Chittick & Pingel (as quoted in the text), what is important from the state level perspective is how a country’s political structure and political forces and substantial actors within the country cause its government to decide to adopt one foreign policy or another. This is more so given the fact that policy making must occur within the context of a political structure and states are the most important part of that structure. Since the variety involved in the process of Foreign Policy making defies a single-study approach when viewed comparatively, it is apt to look at variables that define that process such as Type of Government, Situation and Policy. Making Foreign Policy - Type of Government

The type of government a state runs, be it extremely authoritarian or unfettered democratic, inevitably affects the policy making process. The more authoritarian, the narrower the segment of government involved in the process while on the other end of the spectrum, the process in democracies is more open to inputs from a wide array of actors: legislators, media, public opinion, opposition parties and other foreign policy-making agents that influence government policy. President Olusegun Obasanjo complied with the International Court ruling and ceded the Bakassi Peninsula resorting to resettling those whose native homeland had gone to neighbouring Chad but this has yet to be ratified by the National Assembly. Making Foreign Policy – Situation

Situation is another variable in this process as it introduces difference to policy making given the situation, whether it is a crisis situation or a noncrisis situation. Where the noncrisis situation involves the daily run of maintaining cordiality with states in the international arena and is likely to be dominated by the leader and a small group of advisers, the former has the tendency of involving a rally effect which is the propensity of the public and other domestic political actors to support the leader during a crisis spell which occurs when decision makers are surprised by an event, feel militarily threatened and believe there is too short a time to debate but just enough time to react. Making Foreign Policy – Type of Policy

Most times, the issue-area involved, the “type” of policy also injects variety into the entire policy making process. Issues that have little immediate or obvious impact on the citizens – termed pure foreign policy issues – are left in the hands of a narrow range of decision makers in the executive branch with little or no domestic opposition or even notice. The decision of Nigeria to lead the contingent of African leaders that went negotiate an agreement between opposing parties to the results of the elections held in Cote D’Ivoire late last year was a purely foreign policy move. On the other hand, policy that immediately impacts domestically is called intermestic policy and this, the executive leaders cannot simply fashion to their liking. A host of other actors, legislators, interest groups, foreign-policy-interested parties and other activities are involved and often clash due to varying interests. Foreign trade, because of its impact on international relations and the domestic economy, is a classic example of an intermestic issue. Making Foreign Policy – Political Culture

A state’s political culture rubs off on its Foreign Policy. This culture embodies a society’s firmly held traditional values and its fundamental practices that are often difficult to change. The leaders share in these political values and thus formulate policies that are compatible with them and in situations where they do not share these values, they would want to avoid the political backlash that may be the fallout of countering the political culture obtainable. To analyse a state’s political culture is to answer the questions of “how a people feel about themselves and their country, how they view others and what role they think their country should...
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