Foreign Policy Theory in Menem's Argentina

Foreign Policy Theory in Menem's Argentina

Foreign Policy Theory in Menem's Argentina

Foreign Policy Theory in Menem's Argentina

Synopsis

"A sophisticated challenge to mainstream international relations theory... defines the theoretical bases on which governing elites in the Third World, especially democratic elites, could sustain effective and development-oriented foreign policies."--Juan M. del Aguila, Emory University

Carlos Escudé explains the rationale for dramatic changes in Argentina's foreign policy following the inauguration of President Carlos Menem in 1989. After decades of confrontation with the West, Argentina has abandoned an intermediate-range ballistic missile project, left the nonaligned movement, thrown in with the U. S. in the Gulf War, reestablished friendly relations with Britain, and undertaken a course of unilateral disarmament.
Escudé argues that these changes reflect Argentina's recognition that citizens of poor and vulnerable nations are asked to pay the price of attempts to engage in power politics and that those attempts often endanger the nation's citizens and increase its subordination in world affairs. Moreover, he argues that mainstream international-relations theory tends to obscure such processes by dealing with states as if they were individuals whose ultimate priority is "survival," or political independence. The state-as-person fiction generalized in I-R discourse obscures the fact that in a democracy the citizens and not the state are paramount. Following this distinction to its logical consequences, Escudé undertakes a thorough deconstruction of I-R theory from a "citizen-centric" perspective--the perspective, he argues, that has inspired the Menem government's dovish foreign policies.

This project was written under the auspices of the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University.

Carlos Escudé is professor of international relations at Di Tella University and the Argentine Foreign Service Academy and was advisor to the foreign minister of Argentina on matters related to foreign policy strategy. His publications include Gran Bretaña, Estados Unidos y la Declinación Argentina, 1942-1949; El Fracaso del Proyecto Argentino: Educación y Desarrollo; and Realismo Periferico.

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