Partisan Interventions European Party Politics and Peace Enforcement in the Balkans

by Brian C. Rathbun

Partisan Interventions European Party Politics and Peace Enforcement in the Balkans Synopsis

Ideological differences among political parties result in consistently different understandings of the national interest, Brian C. Rathbun shows. These differences between parties are critical as major international events unfold. In the first comprehensive treatment of the effects of partisan politics in foreign affairs, Rathbun examines domestic party disagreements across the 1990s in Britain, France, and Germany regarding humanitarian interventions and the creation of a European Union security force. The different reactions of the left and the right in the Western European nations had, for example, profound implications for the resolution of conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo. Rathbun argues that leftist parties, compared to their rightist counterparts, believe less in the efficacy of force, are more willing to rely on multilateral cooperation to realize their goals, and have a broader conception of the national interest that includes the promotion of human rights abroad. Cultural factors, such as a nation's unique history with the use of force, do not constrain partisan debate but rather make particular issues controversial and help parties resolve value conflicts. Partisan Interventions is based on interviews with dozens of senior party and government officials. Rathbun draws on the experiences of former foreign and defense ministers, heads of the armed services, ambassadors to the United Nations and NATO, and party spokespersons on foreign and defense policy.

Partisan Interventions European Party Politics and Peace Enforcement in the Balkans Press Reviews

Partisan Interventions makes a compelling argument for explaining European states' foreign policies toward the Balkans in the 1990s. The book is especially noteworthy for its four fascinating case studies based on a rich trove of interviews with high-level participants. Even readers who have followed these policy processes carefully will learn important new information. -Wade Jacoby, Brigham Young University We repeatedly hear that domestic politics matters in international relations, but few scholars systematically explore that possibility. By taking partisan politics seriously, Brian C. Rathbun adds an important and long-absent dimension to our explanations of comparative foreign policy. Partisan Interventions will serve as a model of how to address theoretically important questions with a sophisticated research design. -Elizabeth Kier, University of Washington This is an excellent book about the domestic sources of foreign and defense policy in three major European states. It brings out the interplay among party ideology, partisan competition, political leadership, and policy change as French, British, and German governments responded to the collapse of Yugoslavia and to the difficult conditions of the post-Cold War European order. -William Wallace, London School of Economics The best kind of scholarly book, Partisan Interventions combines clear analysis with a wealth of information to demonstrate the importance of domestic politics in the making of democratic foreign policy-without pretending that it is the only prism through which to see the issue. Brian C. Rathbun offers great insights into the history of European engagement in the Balkans in the 1990s and explains how and why political parties take the positions they do. Wonderfully, he shows that while self-interest matters, so do ideas. This is an excellent book for theoreticians, historians, and practitioners. -Anthony Lake, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and former Clinton National Security Adviser, 1993-97

Book Information

ISBN: 9780801442551
Publication date: 2nd December 2004
Author: Brian C. Rathbun
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 242 pages
Categories: European history,

About Brian C. Rathbun

Brian C. Rathbun is Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Partisan Interventions: European Party Politics and Peace Enforcement in the Balkans, also from Cornell, and Trust in International Cooperation: International Security Institutions, Domestic Politics, and American Multilateralism.

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