Revolutionary States, Leaders, and Foreign Relations: A Comparative Study of China, Cuba, and Iran

Revolutionary States, Leaders, and Foreign Relations: A Comparative Study of China, Cuba, and Iran

Revolutionary States, Leaders, and Foreign Relations: A Comparative Study of China, Cuba, and Iran

Revolutionary States, Leaders, and Foreign Relations: A Comparative Study of China, Cuba, and Iran

Synopsis

This book compares and contrasts the foreign relations strategies of China, Cuba, and Iran in the first decade of their post-revolutionary periods. Among a variety of explanatory variables, leadership, particularly the type of revolutionary leaders, played a significant role in explaining the outcome of the policymaking process in each case. Three distinct patterns of foreign relations strategies are evident among all three revolutionary regimes in the ten-year period: Two-Track, Conflictual, and Conciliatory. This book is a valuable source for both experts and non-experts alike in providing insight into the foreign relations of revolutionary regimes in developing countries and in helping U.S. policymakers anticipate behaviors of future revolutionary leaders.

Excerpt

The contribution of Professor Sadri's study may be assessed from three perspectives. First, his plea for a better understanding of the behavior of revolutionary states, especially those of the Third World, is fully compatible with the age-old awareness in the political science community of the general need to bridge the persistent gap between the study of comparative politics and international relations. More than three decades ago, I reiterated this need in suggesting the “dynamic triangular interaction” approach to the study of foreign policy and applied it to the foreign policy of Iran. Quincy Wright, who was then the preeminent American specialist on international relations and law, considered my study to be a “a basis for a theory of international politics and particularly of the foreign policy of small states.” I consider Sadri's study helpful in narrowing the divide between the literature on revolution and on international relations.

Second, Sadri strikes a healthy balance in comparing the foreign policy behavior of China, Cuba and Iran in the first decade after revolution in terms of differences and similarities. He points out the differences in size and resources, military capability, character of non-alignment strategies, institutions, and leadership, although the greatest emphasis is placed on the phenomenon of leadership. He also outlines similarities such as radical departure of revolutionary regimes from the foreign policy orientation of the old regimes, particularly in relations with the United States, the common element of “nationalism” as a major influence in foreign policy making in spite of Communist and Islamist ideologies at work, and the rise of moderating influences in the shaping of foreign policy.

Regarding this latter observation, Sadri seems to be closer to the position of Kenneth N. Waltz who, like other neorealists, claims that revolutionary states will be “socialized” to the international system rather than to Henry Kissinger, who like other classical realists, generally views revolutionary regimes as a threat to the

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