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Foreign PolicyTheories, Actors, Cases

Foreign Policy: Theories, Actors, Cases (3rd edn)

Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield, and Tim Dunne
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date: 07 December 2023

p. 1478. Implementation and behaviourlocked

p. 1478. Implementation and behaviourlocked

  • Elisabetta Brighi
  •  and Christopher Hill


This chapter examines the ‘implementation phase’ of foreign policy making — that is, the period in which decisions are translated into action. It first considers the theoretical problems involved in deciding where a foreign policy action ends and its environment begins. It then explores the range of problems encountered by states when trying to implement their foreign policies, as well as the instruments — diplomatic, military, economic, and cultural — at their disposal. In particular, it explains the distinction between power as a means and power as a context. It concludes by highlighting the endless loops that connect — and blur together — ends and means in foreign policy, along with the key lessons which practitioners need to bear in mind. The chapter argues that foreign policy decisions are best understood through the strategic–relational model.

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