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Friendship and Foreign Policy

Berenskoetter, Felix and van Hoef, Yuri (2017) 'Friendship and Foreign Policy.' In: Thies, Cameron, (ed.), Oxford Encyclopedia of Foreign Policy Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Abstract

This article discusses how international friendship affects the making and conduct of foreign policy, an angle that is largely neglected in the FPA and IR literature. Because friendship constitutes the Other as familiar rather than foreign and implies a significant degree of trust, analysts need to pay careful attention to the various ways close bonds develop and ‘work’ across state boundaries. More specifically, they need to understand how seeking friends can be an explicit goal of foreign policy and how established friendships function by studying their discursive, emotional and practical expressions and their impact on decision-making in concrete situations and as a disposition for cooperation in the long term. Tracing these bonds and associated practices, especially the informal ones, across levels is an analytical challenge. The aim of this article is to offer some guidance. It starts with presenting a reading of international friendship as a particular relationship of mutually agreed role identities embedded in a strong cognitive, normative and emotional bond revolving around a shared idea of order. In a second step, we highlight three types of practices unique to this relationship: providing privileged/special access, solidarity and support in times of need, as well as resolve and negative Othering against third parties. The third section then discusses how friendship bonds and associated practices can be observed across three levels: political leaders, government bureaucracies, and civil society, illustrated through examples from (primarily) Franco-German and US-UK relations. In doing so, the article does not simply offer a summary of existing accounts, but seeks to advance the still young literature on international friendship.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.429
Depositing User: Felix Berenskoetter
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2017 07:43
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/24164

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