A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

The Use of Force in Foreign Policy


Foreign policy analysis has been used effectively to explain the use of force. Several leading approaches and paradigms help explain the use of force as a tool of foreign policy. These approaches are based on the important preliminary step of opening up the black box of state, which highlights the importance of decision making for explaining international politics. The two primary approaches to explaining foreign policy analysis are rational choice theory and psychological theories.

Foreign policy analysis opens the door to a variety of novel and interesting topics. Many topics of domestic politics relate to international conflict, including democratic peace theory, selectorate theory, public opinion, domestic institutions, and leaders. Each of these topics is important for explaining the use of force in foreign policy. Future research on the use of force and international conflict should account for the importance of domestic politics. Studies of leaders, selectorate theory, and the bargaining model of war provide especially promising avenues for future research.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Quackenbush, Stephen L. and Thomas R. Guarrieri. 2017. “The Use of Force in Foreign Policy.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, ed. William R. Thompson. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. https://oxfordre.com/politics/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228637-e-497

START Author(s):