Party preferences and institutional transformation: : revisiting France's relationship with NATO (and the common wisdom on Gaullism)

Hofmann, Stephanie C.

In: Journal of strategic studies. - 2016, p. 1-27

Abstract: France's so-called exceptionalism in multilateral security policy is often explained with its Gaullist political culture. However, a closer look shows that Gaullism cannot easily capture different French policies, particularly toward NATO. To unearth what can explain policy variance, this paper asks the question of whether French political parties value NATO differently and, if so, to what effect? Looking at French governments from 1991 to 2014, I argue that political parties in France carry different values, which lead them to interpret NATO's role for France's security policy differently. As a result, French parties in power encouraged, delayed, or halted NATO institutional transformation at specific junctures. This argument builds on the insights of the study of ideational factors in IR and the study of party politics in Comparative Politics. Through an analysis of French governments' policy preferences toward NATO, this paper stresses that institutional transformation can be understood through the study of veto points in conjunction with national preference formation.

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Academic Departments > International Relations/Political Science Department
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 Record created 2017-05-16, last modified 2017-05-16

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