PUBLICATIONS

BOOKS

NATIONAL ROLE CONCEPTIONS IN A NEW MILLENNIUM: DEFINING A PLACE IN A CHANGING WORLD

(CO-EDITED WITH MICHAEL GROSSMAN AND FRANCIS SHORTGEN)

2022 (Routledge)


Since the end of the Cold War, the international system has been characterized by the preponderance of American power. Yet in the past decade, US relative power has declined, and the international system has begun to move from unipolarity, dominated by Washington, to one characterized by multiple new rising power centers and an increase in multipolarity. These changes have led national leaders to redefining how they see their country’s place in the global hierarchy as well as the roles they believe their countries should play internationally. This book will aim to investigate the changes through the lens of role theory which provides us with an opportunity to investigate the transformation of the international system through an examination of the role conceptions espoused by the different global actors.


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US GLOBAL LEADERSHIP ROLE AND DOMESTIC POLARIZATION: A ROLE THEORY APPROACH

2021 (Routledge)


In this book Gordon Friedrichs offers a pioneering insight into the implications of domestic polarization for U.S. foreign policymaking and the exercise of America’s international leadership role. Through a mixed-method design and a rich dataset consisting of polarization data, congressional debates and letters, as well as co-sponsorship coalitions, Friedrichs applies role theory to analyze three polarization effects for U.S. leadership role-taking: a sorting effect, a partisan warfare, and an institutional corrosion effect. These effects are deployed in two comparative case studies: The Iran nuclear crisis as well as the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Friedrichs effectively exposes the drivers of polarization and how this extreme divergence has translated into partisan warfare as well as institutional corrosion, affecting direction and performance of the U.S. global leadership role. Through advancing role theory beyond other studies and developing the concept of "diagonal contestation" as a mechanism that allows us to locate polarization within a "two-level role game" between agent and structure, U.S. Global Leadership Role and Domestic Polarization is a rich resource for scholars of international relations, foreign policy analysis, American government and polarization.


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THE POLITICS OF RESILIENCE AND TRANSATLANTIC ORDER: ENDURING CRISIS?

(CO-EDITED WITH SEBASTIAN HARNISCH AND CAMERON THIES)

2019 (Routledge)


This edited volume bridges the "analytical divide" between studies of transatlantic relations, democratic peace theory, and foreign policy analysis, and improves our theoretical understanding of the logic of crises prevention and resolution. The recent rise of populism and polarization in both the U.S.A and Europe adds to a host of foreign policy crises that have emerged in transatlantic relations over the last two decades. Through examining how democracies can manage to sustain and maintain mechanisms of crisis resilience that are embedded in the democratic peace, and particularly transatlantic relations, this book helps enhance the understanding of inter-democratic crisis resolution across issue areas. In doing so, it addresses some of the most important and prevalent crises of our time, such as anti-terrorism intervention in Afghanistan; Iran’s nuclear program; burden-sharing within North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO; key aspects of the international order, such as binding norms for cyber security and the integration of China into the Western-led international economic order; as well as domestic order shifts, such as the British vote to leave the European Union (EU) and the impact of the Trump administration populist foreign policy on transatlantic crisis resolution. This book will be of key interest to students and scholars of International Relations, Transatlantic Studies, Foreign Policy Analysis, and Comparative Politics.


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PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES



POPULIST MINDS THINK ALIKE? NATIONAL IDENTITY CONCEPTIONS AND FOREIGN POLICY PREFERENCES OF POPULIST LEADERS

2022: Foreign Policy Analysis 18(2).


The global wave of populism has recently drawn the attention of foreign policy analysts. Despite significant contributions, we still know little about populist leaders’ conceptions of their nation's identity and how these inform foreign policy preferences. What understanding do populists have regarding what their nation stands for and how high it stands in comparison to others? In this article, I introduce a theoretical model of identity-driven foreign policymaking that examines the national identity conceptions of six populist leaders and their non-populist predecessors via an original quantitative content analysis of foreign policy speeches. The article further assesses whether this identity conception translates into foreign policy preferences for revisionism toward the liberal international order by examining voting behavior in the UN General Assembly. The article contributes to conceptual and methodological approaches in foreign policy analysis to study individuals, as well as provides comparative empirical evidence for what drives populists’ foreign policy thinking.


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THE EFFECTS OF POLARIZATION FOR U.S. FOREIGN POLICY BEHAVIOR IN INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS: REVISITING THE TWO-LEVEL GAME

2022: International Studies Review 24(1).


Polarization has been a prevalent phenomenon in US politics, yet its foreign policy implications remain understudied. A common assumption is that polarization undermines the utilization of United States’ material power via a coherent grand strategy. In this article, I argue that polarization does not make the United States incapable of enacting a foreign policy per se but instead affects US foreign policy conduct, power, and strategy toward international negotiations. The effects of domestic polarization for US foreign policy behavior in international negotiations are best understood via an advanced application of the “two-level game” model, which conceptualizes a state's domestic politics as a determinant factor for the executive branch's approach toward foreign affairs. I identify three effects polarization has on US foreign policy: (1) a sorting effect, which produces homogenous partisan coalitions with divergent foreign policy preferences and inclines the executive to pursue an obstinate international negotiation conduct; (2) a partisan conflict effect, which weakens Congress as a veto player and reduces United States’ bargaining power; and, finally, (3) an institutional corrosion effect, which inclines the executive branch to manipulate domestic support and to politicize international negotiations at home. In sum, domestic polarization increases the opportunity costs for US foreign policy toward international negotiations and contributes to global instability. Anecdotal evidence from US foreign policy over the last decade offers support for these effects, but further empirical research is needed to better understand when they are most impactful and in which combination these effects appear.


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POLARIZATION AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY: KEY DEBATES AND NEW FINDINGS (CO-AUTHORED WITH JORDAN TAMA)

2022: International Politics. Online first.


Polarization in the USA has been on the rise for several decades. In this context, few observers expect politics today to stop “at the water’s edge,” as the old cliché goes. But key questions about the relationship between polarization and US foreign policy remain to be fully answered. To what extent are American ideas about foreign policy now polarized along partisan lines? How is polarization changing the foreign policy behavior of the US Congress and President? And how is polarization altering the effectiveness of US foreign policy and influencing America’s role in the world? In this introductory article to our special issue “Domestic Polarization and US Foreign Policy: Ideas, Institutions, and Policy Implications,” we provide an overview of key debates and existing knowledge about these questions, highlight important new findings from the contributions to the special issue, and suggest avenues for further research on this increasingly important topic.

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POLARIZED WE TRADE? INTRA-PARTY POLARIZATION AND U.S. TRADE POLICY

2022: International Politics.


Research indicates that polarization has led to an increasing dispersion between moderate and more extreme voters within both parties. Intraparty polarization supposedly affects the nature of interparty competition as it creates political space for new political realignments and the rise of anti-establishment candidates. This article examines the extent and impact of intraparty polarization in Congress on US trade policy. Specifically, the article examines whether (and which) trade policy preferences are distributed within and between both parties, as well as how intraparty polarization has influenced the outcome of US trade negotiations. It is theorized that intraparty polarization causes crosscutting legislative coalitions around specific trade policies and political realignments around ideological factions, with consequences for the outcome of trade negotiations. By relying on a unique dataset of congressional letters and co-sponsorship legislation, the article first derives trade policy preferences from members of Congress and computes their ideological means. Two contemporary cases of US trade policy are examined: The Transpacific Partnership Agreement and the US–Mexico–Canada Agreement. Via a structured-focused comparison of both cases, the paper finally assesses under which combinations of preference-based and ideology-based intraparty polarization Congress manages to ratify trade agreements. Findings suggest that both parties are intrinsically polarized between free trade and fair trade preferences yet show variance in their degree of ideology-based intraparty polarization. These findings contribute to existing work on bipartisanship as well as factions in the foreign policy realm, as it shows under which circumstances legislators can build crosscutting coalitions around foreign policies.

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FROM FACTIONS TO FRACTIONS: INDIA’S FOREIGN POLICY ROLES ACROSS DIFFERENT PARTY SYSTEMS

2019: India Review 18(2)


India’s government under Narendra Modi represents a return to single party rule. This paper investigates whether and why single party governments in India differ in their extremity of foreign policies from coalition governments. It particularly focuses on how different forms of government influence the saliency, contestation, and enactment of national conceptions about India’s global role. First, I situate India within the academic debate regarding coalitional governments and foreign policy. I suggest that one reason why India challenges scholars‘ assumption is the missing link between partisan conceptions of India’s global role and their institutional representation. Second, I propose a role theoretical approach and argue that the process of self-identification, consisting of ego and anticipated alter expectations, conditions a state’s role set and extreme foreign policy. It is hypothesized that the nature of contestation of national role conceptions varies between factions and fractions because of the nature of India’s party system, as well as the relative significance of external others for India’s identity. Third, I examine instances of role-taking in the field of nuclearization and Sino-Indian relations. Findings suggest that contested role conceptions during single-party rule caused more extreme variances in international role-taking, while coalition governments proved to induce more complementary role-taking processes.


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ALLIANCES REBALANCED? THE SOCIAL MEANING OF THE U.S. PIVOT AND ALLIES’ RESPONSES IN NORTHEAST ASIA

(CO-AUTHORED WITH SEBASTIAN HARNISCH)

The Korean Journal of International Studies Vol. 15, No. 1


Pundits and policymakers have articulated growing concerns about a coming clash between the U.S. and China. In this view, the U.S. Pivot to Asia is a (merely hidden) attempt of the Obama administration to preempt the competition with Beijing through strengthening a formidable web of military alliances and partnerships to frustrate Chinese ambitions. If this interpretation was true, U.S. allies in the region would heed Washington’s call to arms, because their military dependence would make them comply. Our role theoretical appraisal of the U.S. Pivot and reactions suggests that the material dynamics of security dilemmas in the region have been exaggerated: both, factions within the U.S. and U.S.’ allies, Japan and South Korea, differ considerably in casting China as a military threat while they continue to treat China as an economic partner. Focusing on the social structure of security dilemmas, we examine role taking behavior by U.S. allies in all three dimensions of the Pivot. We find that security dynamics depend as much on the role-taking of U.S. allies, and their respective historical experiences, as on the alleged intentions of the two protagonists. It follows that security cooperation and/ or competition in Asia is what concerned states as role holder make of it.


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UNDER REVIEW



WHEN LEADERS DISAPPOINT - REJECTION AND DENIAL OF LEADERSHIP ROLES IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS (WITH ÁINE FELLENZ)

Under Review at International Politics


International leadership failure by states is an underdeveloped concept in International Relations. Existing approaches commonly equate leadership with hegemony, arguing that leadership success and failure are contingent on primacy or shared material interests among states. In this article, we introduce a role theoretical approach, which defines international leadership as a social role that emerges from shared expectations among states pertaining to leadership purpose, group cohesion, and time horizon. Accordingly, leadership failure occurs when role expectations between states diverge, and a leader is thus unable to generate commensurate follower roles. Four leader-follower constellations can be distinguished: leadership enactment, denial, rejection, and vacuum. The paper explores scope conditions for leadership failure in two case studies. The first case involves Brazil’s attempted leadership role in response to the Latin American migration crisis. The second case looks at Indonesia’s attempted leadership role in the South China Sea dispute. The empirical findings contribute to existing work on hegemony and leadership in international relations theory by showing that leadership failure comes in different variants and these variants are contingent on shared role expectations and altercasting capacity of states involved.

The polarization of U.S. alliances: Domestic division and U.S. commitments to international security

in preparation

Under what conditions do alliance commitments polarize U.S. domestic foreign policy elites? This paper theorizes that U.S. responses to global challenges involving U.S. allies are negatively affected by ideological and affective polarization as they prohibit the U.S. to send credible signals of resolve to both allies and adversaries. Ideological polarization causes legislators to contend the nature of the threat as well as the foreign policy instruments necessary to support the alliance. Affective polarization causes legislators to politicize U.S. alliances in order to obstruct the domestic political opponent’s political agenda. Two longitudinal case study analyses of congressional debates and letters reveal the degree of domestic division and foreign policy consequences of each polarization effect. The first case involves allies’ concerns about a more assertive China in the South China Sea since 2013. The second case looks at eastern European allies’ balancing vis-à-vis Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Prior research has produced a rich scholarship on the causes and consequences of polarization in American politics. More recently, scholars of International Relations have investigated the extent and impact of polarization for the making and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. This paper contributes to this line of work as it sheds light on how U.S. polarization has become a filter of international commitments and alliances, with serious implications for the future U.S. contribution to international security.