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Role Quests in the Post-Cold War Era Foreign Policies in Transition by Professor Philippe G. Le Prestre

Role Quests in the Post-Cold War Era Foreign Policies in Transition


Role Quests in the Post-Cold War Era Foreign Policies in Transition by Professor Philippe G. Le Prestre

A state's articulation of its national role betrays its preferences and an image of the world, triggers expectations, and influences the definition of the situation and of available options. Extending Kal Holsti's early work on the usefulness of the concept of role, Role Quests in the Post-Cold War Era examines the nature, evolution, and origins of role conceptions, key aspects largely ignored in a literature obsessed with the quest for immediate relevance. For each country contributors present the major foreign policy debate that took place at the end of the Cold War and examine, through an analysis of major speeches, the relative weight of identity and international status in the definition of the national role. Uncovering the different roles that states claim for themselves allows reflection on the possibility of international cooperation in the maintenance of international order. This study helps assess the importance of identity in national role conceptions, identify potential conflicts arising from the clash of roles masquerading as interests, and clarifies existing contradictions in prevailing roles. Contributors include Caroline Alain, Onnig Beylerian, Christophe Canivet, Jean-Rene Chotard, Andre Donneur, Philippe G. Le Prestre, Paul Letourneau, Jacques Levesque, Alexander Macleod, Marie-Elisabeth Rakel, Jean-Francois Thibeault, and Charles Thumerelle.


Role Quests in the Post-Cold War Era enhances one's understanding of the relative significance of international relations as opposed to foreign policy theory and sheds light on current policy choices confronting major actors in world politics in an era of substantial systemic change. David Haglund, Department of Political Studies, Queen's University.

A valuable contribution to scholarship as both an aid to understanding the foreign policies of important countries in the changing international environment of the 1990s and a systematic comparative analysis of the usefulness of the concept of role in studying foreign policy. The authors and editor have done a remarkable job of completing complex analyses of contemporary foreign policy in the early 1990s and tying these together in an integrated study. Readers will find the study a rewarding one. Robert Boardman, Department of Political Science, Dalhousie University.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th March 1997


Professor Philippe G. Le Prestre

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McGill-Queen's University Press


336 pages


Central government policies



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