Foreign policy is crucially important because it finds the state of foreign relationships or foreign affairs policy selected by the state to safeguards the national interests and to accomplish the goals. Such policies also come handy when answering the questions similar to ‘why do states behave the way they do in the international system?’ Let’s dig into it!
The key question of foreign policy and international relations is how you examine state behaviour. It is also the analysis problem. Students pursuing international relations and foreign policy-related courses must have to deal with such kind of assignments. Here, we have described different levels of analysis to examine state behaviour.
System-level: It is an analysis that examines state behaviour through the international system. Through this analysis, we can say that the international system is a cause whereas the state behaviour is an effect. The feature or quality of the international system causes the way to behave what they do. If there is a change in the international system will also cause a change in state behaviour. There are international system variables which can be said as the power of a state. We can see that few states are powerful whereas others are not.
For example; The cold war has two powerful states that are US and USSR. Today, the unipolar system is also explained as one superpower or hyperpower. It explains the behaviour of other states in the system. Thus, this analysis level can explain the intervention of the US in Iraq. The United States of America was focused on its dominance and to preserve them they crush all the challengers.
State-level: The state level is used to analyse the review and consider the foreign policy behaviour of states related to state characteristics. For instance, few university scholars say, all democracies behave in a specific way as they do not fight with other democracy countries whereas some students look in a different way as the behaviour of strong and weak states. Also, there are few scholars who say that the foreign policy behaviour of US is a cultural characteristic which is defined by the state's historical legacy, the religious and social traditions and the geographic and economic nature of the state.
The state-level analysis can describe the intervention of the US in Iraq. It can be explained as a function of US foreign policy missionary quality. The US always focused on an idealist streak in foreign policy.
Organisational level: This way of analysis is mainly used to find the way through which organisations involved in state function in order to influence the behaviour of foreign policy. Organisations interact with each other to make foreign policy and bargain which is compromised among the competitors. For example, Let's have a look at the Iraq war and explain it by finding the interests of the Department of Defence, US military, central intelligence agencies and the state department. For students, the key question for the organisation level can be "How did these organisations create US foreign policy". Students must have to be well-versed with the knowledge of the subject or topic and academic skills as well. If not they might need help from subject matter experts.
Individual-level: This level is used to analyse focuses on an individual or group of individual. As we know that every people make their own decisions within the nation and thus people develop foreign policy. Students enrolled in this field of study can focus on the roles of different leaders. The individual level of analysis explains World War II on the basis of the role of Hitler, cold war by studying Gorbachev.
Students pursuing the courses concerned with international relations and foreign theories will come to learn how to examine the foreign policy behaviour from several levels which are explained above.
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