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Article

The Politics of Digital (Human) Rights  

Ben Wagner, Andy Sanchez, Marie-Therese Sekwenz, Sofie Dideriksen, and Dave Murray-Rust

Basic human rights, like freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and privacy, are being radically transformed by new technologies. The manifestation of these rights in online spaces is known as “digital rights,” which can be impeded or empowered through the design, governance, and litigation of emerging technologies. Design defines how people encounter the digital world. Some design choices can exploit the right to privacy by commodifying attention through tactics that keep users addicted to maximize profitability; similar design mechanisms and vulnerabilities have facilitated the abuse of journalists and human rights advocates across the globe. But design can also empower human rights, providing novel tools of resistance, accountability, and accessibility, as well as the inclusion of previously underserved voices in the development process. The new capabilities offered by these technologies often transcend political boundaries, presenting complex challenges for meaningful governance and regulation. To address these challenges, collaborations like the Internet Governance Forum and NETmundial have brought together stakeholders from governments, nonprofits, industry, and academia, with efforts to address digital rights like universal internet access. Concurrently, economic forces and international trade negotiations can have substantial impacts on digital rights, with attempts to enforce steeper restrictions on intellectual property. Private actors have also fought to ensure their digital rights through litigation. In Europe, landmark cases have reshaped the international management of data and privacy. In India, indefinite shutdowns of the internet by the government were found to be unconstitutional, establishing online accessibility as a fundamental human right, intimately tied with the right to assembly. And in Africa, litigation has helped ensure freedom of speech and of the press, rights that may affect more individualsas digital technologies continue to shape media. These three spheres—design, diplomacy, and law—illustrate the complexity and ongoing debate to define, protect, and communicate digital rights.

Article

The Politics of Regional Integration in Africa  

Paul-Henri Bischoff

On the African continent, a commitment to Pan-African unity and multilateral organization exists next to a postcolonial society whose 54 Westphalian states interpret the commitment to unity and integration to different degrees. The tension between a long-term Pan-African vision for a unified continent that prospers and is economically self-empowered, and the national concerns of governing state-centered elites with immediate domestic security and political and economic interests, lies at the heart of the politics surrounding African integration and affects both the continent and its regions. The politics of integration demand that a patchwork of regionalisms be consolidated; states give up on multiple memberships; and designated regional economic communities (RECs) take the lead on integration or subordinate themselves to the strategy and complement the institutions of the African Union (AU). In the interest of widening the social base of regional organization, politics needs to recognize and give status to informal regional actors engaged in bottom-up regionalism. Of issue in the politics of integration and regionalism are themes of norm adaptation, norm implementation, intergovernmentalism and supra-nationality, democracy, and authoritarianism.

Article

Private Military and Security Companies  

Berenike Prem and Elke Krahmann

While early private military and security companies (PMSCs) were likened to mercenaries, today most scholars agree that PMSCs constitute a new phenomenon. They are organized as legitimate corporate entities, have a distinct legal status, and provide a wide range of military and security services. This definition reflects the evolution of the PMSC industry, which has moved beyond combat services to supply everything from transport, logistics, and maintenance to military and police training, demining, intelligence, risk analysis, armed and unarmed protective services, anti-piracy measures, border protection, and drone operations. Not only have PMSC services diversified, but so has their client base. In addition to industrialized and failed states, transnational corporations, international organizations, and even NGOs increasingly make use of PMSCs. There are several explanations for the growing recourse to these companies. Functional explanations see the employment of PMSCs as a rational response to the glaring gap between demand and supply in the market for force. Ideational and constructivist approaches, by contrast, impute national differences in the outsourcing of military and security services to dominant beliefs and norms about the appropriate relationship between the state and the market. The consequences of using PMSCs, including the accountability, effectiveness, and state control of PMSCs, issues of gender and racial equality, and theoretical implications for the location of political authority and the public good character of security are key issues. So is the question of suitable forms of regulation for the industry, including national and international laws, informal industry self-regulations, and hybrid regulatory approaches such as multi-stakeholder initiatives and standard setting schemes.

Article

Process Tracing Methods and International Studies  

Derek Beach

Process tracing (PT) is a case study method that enables scholars to study how causal processes (also known as causal mechanisms) play out in real-world cases. Despite the increasing popularity of the method in international studies, there is still considerable disagreement among scholars about how to understand the process actually being traced and how these processes can be studied empirically. This article tries to bring clarity to these disagreements by arguing that there is not one correct variant of PT, but instead several distinct variants of PT methods that differ based on the positions scholars take on what is being traced and how it can be traced. First, some scholars work with simple, abstract (minimalist) process theories, whereas others disaggregate process theories into parts composed of actors engaging in activities. Second, some scholars contend that inferences that assess the difference that a process makes for outcomes can only be made through controlled comparisons of cases. Others posit that we should study processes through the empirical traces left by their operation within cases. Finally, there are scholars who contend that causal processes in international studies involve social actors, meaning that more interpretive methods should be combined with more traditional PT. The article illustrates how different variants of PT have been used in published work within international studies, followed by a discussion of key challenges with using PT methods.

Article

Prospect Theory and Foreign Policy Analysis  

Jeffrey W. Taliaferro

Prospect theory is one of the most influential behavioral theories in the international relations (IR) field, particularly among scholars of security studies, political psychology, and foreign policy analysis. Developed by Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, prospect theory provides key insights into decision making under conditions of risk and uncertainty. For example, most individuals are risk averse to secure gains, but risk acceptant to avoid losses (loss aversion). In addition, most people value items they already posses more than they value items they want to acquire (endowment effect), and tend to be risk averse if they perceive themselves to be facing gains relative to their reference point (risk propensity). Prospect theory has generated an enormous volume of scholarship in IR, which can be divided into two “generations”. The first generation (1990–1999) sought to establish prospect theory’s plausibility in the “real world” by testing hypotheses derived from it against subjective expected-utility theory or rational choice models of foreign policy decision making. The second generation (2000–present) began to incorporate concepts associated with prospect theory and related experimental literature on group risk taking into existing mid-level theories of IR and foreign policy behavior. Two substantive areas covered by scholars during this period are coercive diplomacy and great power intervention in the periphery as they relate to loss aversion. Both generations of prospect theory literature suffer from conceptual and methodological difficulties, mainly around the issues of reference point selection, framing, and preference reversal outside laboratory settings.

Article

Public Diplomacy  

Nancy Snow

Public diplomacy is a subfield of political science and international relations that involves study of the process and practice by which nation-states and other international actors engage global publics to serve their interests. It developed during the Cold War as an outgrowth of the rise of mass media and public opinion drivers in foreign policy management. The United States, in a bipolar ideological struggle with the Soviet Union, recognized that gaining public support for policy goals among foreign populations worked better at times through direct engagement than traditional, often closed-door, government-to-government contact. Public diplomacy is still not a defined academic field with an underlying theory, although its proximity to the originator of soft power, Joseph Nye, places it closer to the neoliberal school that emphasizes multilateral pluralistic approaches in international relations. The term is a normative replacement for the more pejorative-laden propaganda, centralizes the role of the civilian in international relations to elevate public engagement above the level of manipulation associated with government or corporate propaganda. Building mutual understanding among the actors involved is the value commonly associated with public diplomacy outcomes of an exchange or cultural nature, along with information activities that prioritize the foreign policy goals and national interests of a particular state. In the mid-20th century, public diplomacy’s emphasis was less scholarly and more practical—to influence foreign opinion in competition with nation-state rivals. In the post-Cold War period, the United States in particular pursued market democracy expansion in the newly industrializing countries of the East. Soft power, the negative and positive attraction that flows from an international actor’s culture and behavior, became the favored term associated with public diplomacy. After 9/11, messaging and making a case for one’s agenda to win the hearts and minds of a Muslim-majority public became predominant against the backdrop of a U.S.-led global war on terrorism and two active interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Public diplomacy was utilized in one-way communication campaigns such as the Shared Values Initiative of the U.S. Department of State, which backfired when its target-country audiences rejected the embedded messages as self-serving propaganda. In the 21st century, global civil society and its enemies are on the level of any diplomat or culture minister in matters of public diplomacy. Narrative competition in a digital and networked era is much deeper, broader, and adversarial while the mainstream news media, which formerly set how and what we think about, no longer holds dominance over national and international narratives. Interstate competition has shifted to competition from nonstate actors who use social media as a form of information and influence warfare in international relations. As disparate scholars and practitioners continue to acknowledge public diplomacy approaches, the research agenda will remain case-driven, corporate-centric (with the infusion of public relations), less theoretical, and more global than its Anglo-American roots.

Article

Public Perceptions of International Terrorism  

Nazli Avdan

Terrorist violence appeals to and pivots on the creation and dissemination of fear. In that respect, it hinges on public perceptions and threat manufacturing to have policy impact. Scholars have long recognized that terrorist actors appeal to multiple audiences, including the public audience. By sowing fear, actors hope that the public will put pressure on the target regime to enact policy concessions to militants or that policymakers, fearing the erosion of public support, will bend to the terrorists’ demands. Recognizing this, it behooves scholars to delineate the mechanisms that shape perceptions and parse the different types of emotional and cognitive responses that terrorist violence arouses. Violence inculcates a range of public responses, most notably, anxiety, fear, anger, and perceptions of threat. These responses may vary with individual demographics, such as gender and age, but are also guided by the political environment in which individuals are embedded. Variegated emotive responses have important policy consequences as distinct emotions are associated with different policy demands. On the whole, psychological reactions to terrorism underlie the effectiveness of terrorism and have downstream social, political, and cultural ramifications.

Article

Regime Type, Foreign Policy, and International Relations  

Joe D. Hagan

One of the most prevalent ideas in the literature of international relations (IR) is that domestic political patterns are linked to foreign policy via the concept of political regime (democracy, anocracy, and autocracy). Since the beginning of the 21st century, the regime-type foreign policy nexus has gained ample theoretical and empirical credibility in IR theory. There are four areas of research on regime type and foreign policy: the first considers democratic peace literature focused on authoritarian and democratic foreign policies; the second deals with democratization and war literature that highlights the foreign policies of anocracies; the third uses the common large-N data sets and research design and unpacks democratic and authoritarian regimes (separately) to identify subtypes of each regime type; and the fourth is the so-called politics and war literature. The politics and war literature is fragmented, with authors pursuing separate and evidently incomplete lines of argument. There are three steps for integrating the key insights of the politics and war literature: First is the intensification of domestic opposition to established elites; second, the adoption of new ruling strategies as a means for leaders to cope with rising domestic political crises and to control their hold over the regime; and third, the occurrence of international crises, in which larger aspects of domestic politics persist or emerge and affect decisions involving the threat of war.

Article

Reimagining Africa: A Continent in Transition and Its Implications for World Order  

Clement Adibe

Africa has made significant progress at home and on the world stage that belies its image as the backwater of the global system. Far from being marginalized, African states have exercised their agency in the international system through an extensive mechanism of institutionalized diplomacy—anchored on the African Union (AU)—that they have forged over several decades of collective action. Changes are taking place in 21st-century Africa as a result of these collective efforts. Socioeconomic data from the African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations, and the World Bank, indicate the economic, political, and demographic forces that are remaking Africa. Finally, the changes in Africa have implications for the evolving world order. Objective conditions warrant a reimagining of Africa as an agent in the international system, rather than as a passive victim of a predatory, anarchical order. Current challenges facing the post-war liberal international order make such reimagination imperative.

Article

Researching Modern Economic Sanctions  

Menevis Cilizoglu and Bryan R. Early

Economic sanctions are an integral part of states’ foreign policy repertoire. Increasingly, major powers and international organizations rely on sanctions to address an incredibly diverse array of issues—from fighting corruption to the prevention of nuclear weapons. How policy makers employ economic sanctions evolved over time, especially over the past two decades. The recognition of the adverse humanitarian impact of economic sanctions in the late 1990s and the “War on Terrorism” following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have led to major changes in the design and enforcement patterns of economic sanctions. Academics’ understanding of how these coercive tools work, when they are utilized, what consequences they create, and when they succeed are still heavily shaped by research findings based on observations from the latter half of the 20th century. Insights based on past sanctions episodes may not fully apply to how sanctions policies are being currently used. In the latter half of the 20th century, the majority of sanctions cases were initiated by the United States, targeted governments, and involved restrictions on international trade. In the last two decades, however, additional actors, such as the European Union, the United Nations, and China, have emerged as major senders. Modern sanctions now most commonly involve targeted and financial sanctions and are imposed against individuals, organizations, and firms. The changing nature of the senders, targets, stakeholders, and economic tools associated with sanctions policies have important implications for their enforcement, effectiveness, and consequences. The legal-regulatory and bureaucratic infrastructure needed to implement and enforce modern economic sanctions has also become far more robust. This evolution of modern sanctions has provided the scholarly community with plenty of opportunities to explore new questions about economic coercion and revisit old ones. The research agenda on economic sanctions must evolve to remain relevant in understanding why and how modern sanctions are used and what their consequences are.

Article

Revisionism in International Relations  

Jonathan M. DiCicco and Victor M. Sanchez

International relations analysts often differentiate between status-quo and revisionist states. Revisionist states favor modifications to the prevailing order: its rules and norms, its distribution of goods or benefits, its implicit structure or hierarchy, its social rankings that afford status or recognition, its division of territory among sovereign entities, and more. Analyses of revisionist states’ foreign policies and behaviors have explored sources and types of revisionism, choices of revisionist strategies, the interplay of revisionist and status-quo states, and the prospects for peaceful or violent change in the system. Intuitive but imprecise, the concepts of revisionism and revisionist states often are used without explicit definition, reflective discussion, or rigorous operationalization. For these reasons, efforts to conceptualize and measure revisionism merit special attention. Highlighted works promise to improve understanding of revisionism as a phenomenon, as well as its use in theoretical and empirical analyses of international conflict, war, and the peaceful accommodation of rising powers. Three questions guide the survey. First, who is seeking to revise what? This question opens a foray into the realm of the status quo and its distinct components, particularly in the context of rising and resurgent powers. Second, what is revisionism, and how is it detected or recognized? This question prompts an exploration of the concept and how it is brought to life in scholarly analyses. The third guiding question invites theoretical perspective: How does revisionism help one understand international relations? Provisional answers to that question open avenues for future inquiry.

Article

Rogue State Behavior  

Nikolaos Lampas

“Outcasts,” “pariah states,” “outlaw states,” “rogue states,” “terrorist sponsor states,” “states of concern,” “axis of evil”. … Throughout the history of the discipline of international relations, these terms have been used to describe a small group of states that have been marginalized by the international community due to their aggressive behavior. The concept of rogue states is by no means new. Historically, rogue entities included countries like Russia, during the Bolshevik era, and South Africa during the Cold War. Since the end of the Cold War, the international community has become much more concerned about the threat of rogue states. The reason for that relates to the combined effect of transnational terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In their simplest form, “rogue states” can be defined as aggressive states that seek to upset the balance of power of the international system either by acquiring weapons of mass destruction or by sponsoring international terrorism. However, this definition is problematic because the international community has consistently misapplied the criteria designating a rogue state and, in many cases, has effectively elevated the threat originating from these countries. Therefore, the existing literature has devoted significant attention to answering the following questions: How is a “rogue state” defined? How did the concept of “rogue states” evolve over time? How can the threat of “rogue states” be dealt with? The related literature focuses on a broad range of issues, from the objectivity of the designation to the efficacy of countermeasures against these states. It includes authors who write from realist, liberalist, critical, rationalist, culturalist, structuralist, and postcolonial perspectives, among others. Perhaps the most important aspect of the concept of “rogue states” relates to the fact that the United States labeled them as one of the most important threats to the stability of the international system. For the United States, “rogue states” replaced the threat of the Soviet Union, as evidenced by the transformation of U.S. national security policy following the demise of its former rival. However, unlike the Soviet Union, in the perception of the United States, “rogue states” were undeterrable and difficult to bargain with. Moreover, the United States argued that “rogue states” held a fundamentally different vision of the international community. Countries like Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Libya became the epicenter of the U.S. national security strategy. However, the United States continues to define “rogue states” based on their external characteristics, and this has contributed to the adoption of largely inconsistent policies that exacerbated their threat. Therefore, the contemporary use of the “rogue state” label is essentially an American creation, a way for the United States to reassess the post–Cold War security environment and structure its foreign and national security policies. Most of the international community has avoided adopting this narrative and the policies that it justified.

Article

Role Theory and Foreign Policy  

Cameron Thies

Role theory is an approach to the study of foreign policy that developed in the interdisciplinary field of social psychology and can be appropriately applied at the individual, state, and system level analyses. Role theory, which first attracted attention in the foreign policy literature after the publication of K. J. Holsti’s 1970 study of national role conception, does not refer to a single theory, but rather a family of theories, an approach, or perspective that begins with the concept of role as central to social life. The major independent variables in the study of roles include role expectations, role demands, role location, and audience effects (including cues). In addition, role theory contains its own model of social identity based on three crucial dimensions: status, value, and involvement. The 1987 publication of Stephen G. Walker’s edited volume, Role Theory and Foreign Policy Analysis, set the stage for further advances in the use of role theory in both the fields of foreign policy and international relations. According to Walker, role theory has a rich language of descriptive concepts, the organizational potential to bridge levels of analyses, and numerous explanatory advantages. This makes role theory an extremely valuable approach to foreign policy analysis. Role theory also offers a way of bringing greater integration between foreign policy analysis and international relations, especially through constructivist meta-theory.

Article

Russia and Foreign Policy  

Robert H. Donaldson

Russian foreign policy has both been similar and unique to that of other great powers. As a general rule of statecraft, Russia has pursued balance-of-power policies, which essentially involves the mobilization of power to countervail the power of an enemy or a potential adversary. The enduring goals pursued by Russian foreign policy have placed primary emphasis on ensuring national security, promoting the economic wellbeing of the country, and enhancing national prestige. The dominant theme in the Russian foreign policy under the tsars is that of expansionism. No single motive force can be found to explain tsarist Russian expansionism; rather, the influences of geography, regime type, the international system, and ideology all weigh in, though in different proportions at different times. The ideology known as Marxism–Leninism has also had a significant effect on Soviet and post-Soviet policy. Meanwhile, Russian Federation president Boris Yeltsin’s primary aim in foreign policy, like Mikhail Gorbachev’s before him, was to create a nonthreatening external environment that would be most conducive to his country’s internal economic and political development. On the other hand, Vladimir Putin pursued a pragmatic, cautious, and nuanced policy. The most visible change that Putin brought to Russia’s foreign policy was a heightened level of presidential activism. In his second presidential term, Putin further changed the direction of Russian foreign policy, increasingly demanding that Russia be recognized as a great power and be given commensurate weight in the resolution of global issues.

Article

Small Group Effects on Foreign Policy Decision Making  

Jean A. Garrison

The core decision-making literature argues that leaders and their advisors operate within a political and social context that determines when and how they matter to foreign policy decision making. Small groups and powerful leaders become important when they have an active interest in and involvement with the issue under discussion; when the problem is perceived to be a crisis and important to the future of the regime; in novel situations requiring more than simple application of existing standard operating procedures; and when high-level diplomacy is involved. Irving Janis’s groupthink and Graham Allison’s bureaucratic politics serve as the starting point in the study of small groups and foreign policy decision making. There are three distinct structural arrangements of decision groups: formalistic/hierarchical, competitive, and collegial advisory structures, which vary based on their centralization and how open they are to the input of various members of the decision group. Considering the leader, group members, and influence patterns, it is possible to see that decision making within a group rests on the symbiotic relationship between the leader and members of the group or among group members themselves. Indeed, the interaction among group members creates particular patterns of behavior that affect how the group functions and how the policy process will evolve and likely influence policy outcomes. Ultimately, small group decision making must overcome the consistent challenge to differentiate its role in foreign policy analysis from other decision units and expand further beyond the American context.

Article

Small States  

Yee-Kuang Heng

Scholarship in international studies has usually tended to focus on the great powers. Yet, studying small state behavior can in fact reveal deep-seated structural changes in the international system and provide significant insights into the management of power asymmetries. Overcoming the methodological limitations of gigantism in scholarship and case study selection is another epistemological benefit. Rather than conventional assumptions of weaknesses and vulnerabilities, research on small states has moved in fascinating directions toward exploring the various strategies and power capabilities that small states must use to manage their relationships with great powers. This means, even in some cases, attempts to forcibly shape their external environments through military instruments not usually associated with the category of small states. Clearly, small states are not necessarily hapless or passive. Even in terms of power capabilities that often define their weaknesses, some small states have in fact adroitly deployed niche hard power military capabilities and soft power assets as part of their playbook. These small states have projected influence in ways that belie their size constraints. Shared philosophies and mutual learning processes tend to underpin small state strategies seeking to maximize whatever influence and power they have. These include forming coalitions, principled support for international institutions, and harnessing globalization to promote their development and security interests. As globalization has supercharged the rapid economic development of some small states, the vicissitudes that come with interdependence have also injected a new understanding of vulnerability beyond that of simply military conflict. To further complicate the security environment, strategic competition between the major powers inevitably impacts on small states. How small states boost their “relevance” vis-à-vis the great powers has broader implications for questions that have animated the academy, such as power transitions and the Thucydides Trap in the international system. While exogenous systemic variables no doubt remain the focus of analysis, emerging research shows how endogenous variables such as elite perceptions, geostrategic locations and availability of military and economic resources can play a key role determining the choices small states make.

Article

South African Foreign Policy  

Fritz Nganje and Odilile Ayodele

In its foreign policy posture and ambitions, post-apartheid South Africa is like no other country on the continent, having earned the reputation of punching above its weight. Upon rejoining the international community in the mid-1990s based on a new democratic and African identity, it laid out and invested considerable material and intellectual resources in pursuing a vision of the world that was consistent with the ideals and aspirations of the indigenous anti-apartheid movement. This translated into a commitment to foreground the ideals of human rights, democratic governance, and socioeconomic justice in its foreign relations, which had been reoriented away from their Western focus during the apartheid period, to give expression to post-apartheid South Africa’s new role conception as a champion of the marginalized interests for Africa and rest of the Global South. Since the start of the 21st century, this new foreign policy orientation and its underlying principles have passed through various gradations, reflecting not only the personal idiosyncrasies of successive presidents but also changes in the domestic environment as well as lessons learned by the new crop of leaders in Pretoria, as they sought to navigate a complex and fluid continental and global environment. From a rather naive attempt to domesticate international politics by projecting its constitutional values onto the world stage during the presidency of Nelson Mandela, South Africa would be socialized into, and embrace gradually, the logic of realpolitik, even as it continued to espouse an ethical foreign policy, much to the chagrin of the detractors of the government of the African National Congress within and outside the country. With the fading away of the global liberal democratic consensus into which post-apartheid South Africa was born, coupled with a crumbling of the material and moral base that had at some point inspired a sense of South African exceptionalism, Pretoria’s irreversible march into an unashamedly pragmatic and interest-driven foreign policy posture is near complete.

Article

South Asia and Foreign Policy  

Sumit Ganguly

There has been a pronounced dearth of scholarly literature on foreign and security policy in South Asia. Fortunately, there is a significant transformation under way. The amount of South Asian case materials that have been effectively integrated into the mainstream of the foreign and security policy literature is slowly expanding. Furthermore, the bulk of the scholarship on these subjects emanating from the region had been quintessentially devoid of theoretical substance. This, too, is undergoing a change. The neglect of South Asia is baffling considering that the region offers a rich array of cases pertaining to questions of comparative foreign policy, interstate conflicts, regional crises, and the effects of nuclear proliferation, among other issues. There are a variety of plausible reasons to explain the marginalization of South Asian foreign policy studies. One, at the level of the global system, the South Asian states (with the exception of Pakistan) sought to self-consciously exclude themselves from the tensions of the Cold War international order. Also, India was one of the principal exponents of the doctrine of nonalignment. After several decades of systematic neglect, however, there are signs that scholars are beginning to integrate the study of India and South Asia into the study of international relations, foreign policy, and strategic studies. This newfound scholarly interest in the South Asian region can be attributed to a host of actors, such as India’s remarkable economic growth of the past decade or so, Pakistan’s political fragility, and the acquisition of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan.

Article

South–South Cooperation in the 21st Century: An Analysis From Latin America  

Gladys Lechini and Carla Morasso

During the first decade of the 21st century, the international system underwent a process of transformation in which emerging actors gained prominence, promoting a new stage that enabled the resurgence of South–South cooperation (SSC). The field of international relations approached this phenomenon mainly through studies of international development cooperation, but also from a foreign policy analysis approach. Although at the beginning of the century attention was focused especially on emerging countries like China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, among others, the consolidation of SSC between middle-income countries, particularly in Latin America, gave rise to a broad debate on the distinct identities of the Southern partners. Considering the substantial literature produced, and emphasizing a perspective rooted in Latin America, SSC is analyzed with the goals of contributing to understand SSC from its conceptual formulation, link SSC to foreign policy considerations, and, finally, understand how SSC has affected the International Development Cooperation System.

Article

Strategic Relationships in Post-Communist Foreign Policies  

Jason E. Strakes, Mikhail A. Molchanov, and David J. Galbreath

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the relationships of elite/citizen preferences and strategies—and its consequent impact on the perceived role of their countries in the greater international system—it is necessary to put an emphasis on interactions within and across contrasting areas of the formerly communist world. Until recently, the systematic investigation of foreign policy-making processes has been a relatively neglected dimension within the general domain of post-communist studies. During the mid-to-late 1990s, various scholars addressed ideological redefinition in post-communist states. Other scholars have addressed the foreign policy trajectory of the newly independent states from the perspective of governance, institutional structure, and state capacity. Among the analytic tools that have been adopted to evaluate the international activities of post-communist states in recent years is the burgeoning concept of “multi-vector” foreign policy. However, due to the vast cross-regional scope and complexity of the former Soviet region, it has become more analytically useful to identify this group of countries in terms of their location in separate and respective geographic subregions. Two regional overviews provide a synthesis of the four analytic foci: national identity, political transition, rationality, and regionalism. The first offers an assessment of the foreign policy decisions and strategies of the Baltic republics since 1990–1. The second evaluates the foreign relations between the Russian Federation and the five independent republics of Central Asia.