Multilevel networks in British and German foreign policy, 1990-95
In the 1990s a consensus has emerged in international relations and foreign policy analysis according to which it has become necessary to move from single-level approaches towards multilevel theorising. The thesis suggests that the network approach is especially suited for the development of a multilevel theory of foreign policy decision-making because it has already been successfully applied to national, transnational and international levels of analysis. The thesis expands the scope of the network approach by proposing a 'multilevel network theory' that combines all three levels. Moreover, the thesis addresses the widespread criticism that network models fail to explain the process of decision-making by putting forward testable hypotheses regarding the exercise of pressure and the changing preferences among political actors. The aim of the approach is to examine how networks among national, transnational and international actors influence foreign policy making. The thesis suggests that the outcome of the decision-making process can be explained by the formation of a majority coalition in favour of a particular policy. In order to test the proposed multilevel network theory, the thesis examines four cases of foreign policy decision-making after the end of the Cold War. The case studies include: (1) the decision of the British government to support air strikes in Bosnia, (2) the abolition of the tactical air-to-surface missile project by the British government in 1993, (3) the first despatch of German Tornados to Bosnia, and (4) the reduction of German export controls on goods with civil and military applications ('dual-use'). By analysing cases in which two Western European governments had the final decision-making authority, the thesis illustrates how 'national' foreign policy decisions can be the consequences of domestic, transnational and international pressure.