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The Future of Foreign Policy Analysis

Christopher Hill


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Comment on this article   Foreign policy analysis (FPA) will have a future, whatever it may be termed. So long as foreign policies exist in the world – and they show no signs of disappearing – there will and should be people keen to analyze and evaluate them. It will be done, however, in a wide range of ways, not all of which will bear more than a passing resemblance to academic FPA. This essay sets out to analyze the “analysis,” and to relate the various manifestations of the subject to each other. On the basis of that survey, it then suggests the main lines of enquiry which, from both intellectual and political points of view, FPA needs to pursue in the coming decades. For, like any area of research and debate, the subject needs constantly to be reframed and reconfigured, as events, philosophical currents, and generational change pose constant challenges. The ghost of FPA past hangs over the present. Since modern academic life pays lip service to cumulative knowledge but in fact privileges new fashions, FPA is sometimes seen as having had its day. That day was between around 1954 and the early 1980s, when it was an important, indeed leading-edge field, focusing on decision making, bureaucratic politics, alliance politics, crises, and such instruments of foreign policy as coercive diplomacy ( Snyder et al. 1962 ; Hill and Light 1978 ; Hudson 1995, 2002 ). Thereafter it became ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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