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The United States decision to promote NATO expansion: Security interests, interest group lobbying, and national identity

Posted on:2005-06-27Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:University of California, Santa BarbaraCandidate:Huebner-Monien, SabineFull Text:PDF
GTID:1456390008487673Subject:Political science
This study seeks to analyze U.S. foreign policy-making in the context of the profound structural changes that characterize the post-Cold War era. More specifically, it investigates which factors can best explain the decision of the Clinton administration to promote NATO expansion. This foreign policy decision initially seemed counter-intuitive given not only the goal of establishing a more cooperative relationship with Russia and the focus of the administration on domestic issues, but also the predictions of international relations theory that without a unifying external threat NATO would eventually disintegrate. To explain the U.S. decision to endorse the inclusion of three East Central European states into the Western Alliance, this study examines explanations derived from three different theoretical approaches, namely structural realism, domestic factor explanations and a national identity approach. It discusses in detail the available evidence supporting the different theories' claims. The study concludes that while both structural realist explanations focusing on U.S.-Russian relations and domestic factor explanations emphasizing the lobbying of arms manufacturers and ethnic groups provide important insights into the U.S. decision to promote NATO expansion, they are limited. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the Clinton administration's decision to include Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic into the Atlantic alliance, we need to use an identity approach which holds that the definition of national identity builds the basis for the definition of national interests and thus for foreign policy decisions. This approach builds on the constructivist insight that national identities are not given and stable but rather socially constructed and historically contingent. It holds that the U.S. national identity is redefined by every administration drawing on a number of factors including American foreign policy traditions and past political experiences. Rather than systemic incentives or interest group pressure, it is the Clinton administration's definition of U.S identity, its belief in a strategy of "engagement and enlargement," which accounts for its decision to integrate Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic into the Atlantic alliance.
Keywords/Search Tags:Promote NATO expansion, Decision, National identity, Foreign policy
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