Interdisciplinary dynamics: explaining international security

Panel 15: Interdisciplinary dynamics: explaining international security

Panel has been cancelled

Chaired by: prof. dr. Wolfgang Wagner (VU), Dieuwertje Kuijpers, MSc (VU), prof. dr. Bertjan Verbeek (RU) , ,

Even though in the post 9/11 world national and international security issues have become ever more interwoven, theories of International Relations explain that same world by distinguishing these two realms as if they were largely independent. By looking at international security not as strictly international, but as a product of interaction between different levels of democratic political decision- and policy making - this panel aims to further explore the intersection between public administration and political science. By doing so, we will be able to discuss the multifaceted decision environment in which political actors weigh their options.
The branch of foreign policy analysis in the field of political science shows that there is a growing need for a more ‘hands on’ realistic theory that systematically describes what is actually going on. There is a growing body of empirical studies that tries to identify certain recurring relations or patterns that surround the decision of national governments in the realm of international politics. In the past, foreign policy decision making has been a ‘black box’, omitting potentially strong influences on the decision making. That, for instance, a government can only decide within their mandate. If parliamentary approval is needed in order to send troops, the options are different than for instance a Kim Yung Sun of North Korea. At the same time, the decision is subject to negotiation and consensus building. This is only one example of many; the political margin of movement could be limited by other democratic institutions (laws), national circumstances (pending parliamentary approval), international circumstances (bilateral relations with a certain ally) but by heuristics of the decision makers as well.
Since we cannot explain everything and would like to avoid opening a Pandora’s box, this panel aims at building further on the first few steps taken by the relative new theoretical approach of foreign policy analysis, and focus on the influence of democratic institutions and politics on decisions. How large is the influence of political party preference on decisions regarding international security? In the Netherlands, the government had to resign in 2010 over prolongement of the mission in Afghanistan when an opposition party refused to provide parliamentary approval. Do legislative constraints (like parliamentary approval) provide a new tool which can be used in the party political arena? Are these incidents, or do these incidents demonstrate an underlying mechanism in the decision making process? By discussing such recurring patterns identified by both political scientists and public administration scholars, we will try to find common ground on how democratic institutions and politics shape international security decisions.

This panel is open to all papers describing and explaining the relationship between democratic institutions or politics and international security. We will also welcome papers that aim to explain the national decision environment in which international decisions take form. We are open to a wide range of approaches l, welcoming papers with both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Linkage between the panel and a subtheme of the NIG research programme

Political institutions and democracy 

Public administration and political science discuss political institutions and democracy mostly in the area of domestic politics. In contrast, this panel aims at bringing together papers that examine political institutions and democratic politics in the realm of international security. This field of study has been dominated by theories and approaches in International Relations that emphasize systemic pressures and the international distribution of power, rather than domestic, let alone democratic politics as explanatory factors. However, a growing number of scholars have demonstrated the importance of democratic institutions (e.g. legislative constraints) and politics (e.g. party political preferences) for decision-making on security and defense. This panel calls for papers that address international security from such an perspective.