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1. There is a straightforward and important sense in which neorealist and other systemic theories are indeed theories of foreign policy.

2. The Core Sense of “A Theory of Foreign Policy”*Namely, the things that structural realist theory seeks to explain—such as balancing, the probability of major power war, or a general disposition to competitive interstate relations

3. A Theory of the Domestic-Political Process Generating Foreign Policies * Neoclassical economic theory, however, is very much a theory of the “foreign policies” of firms, in that it purports to explain why firms choose to produce certain quantities and to sell at certain prices under different market structures

4. A Theory to Account for States’ Foreign Policy Goals * balances of power may form even though no state deliberately seeks this result in choosing its foreign policies *State desires or goals are a fine subject for a theory, which in some particular context one might designate a theory of foreign policy

5. A Theory of Deliberate State Choice Making *IR theory is not a theory of foreign policy choices because systemic theory relies on an evolutionary mechanism, which does not assume that agents choose strategies at all.

6. SYSTEMIC VERSUS DOMESTIC-POLITICAL THEORIES OF FOREIGN POLICY *In the paradigmatic case of the first approach, a systemic IR theory is one that pictures states as unitary actors that are rational in the pursuit of their goals, whatever these may be. Rationality here entails that, in seeking their ends, states consider what other states are doing (or might do)—they are attentive to their “international environment

7. How Is Domestic Politics Important? *, Domestic politics can matter either (a) by causing states to pursue sub-optimal foreign policies, or (b) when differences in states’ political institutions, cultures, economic structures, or leadership goals unrelated to relative power are causally relevant to explaining different foreign policy choices

8. The Interdependence of Domestic-Political and Systemic Explanations *Critics of neorealism tend to see it as yielding incorrect postdictions; defenders argue that, properly interpreted, it yields accurate postdictions. The prevalence of such moves reflects as much on the state of development of systemic arguments about international politics as on their intrinsic merit and capabilities. S1-type arguments positing unitary, rational actors who can differ in both preferences and capabilities seem to me particularly underdeveloped

9. A Qualification *, a systemic IR theory as one that represents states as unitary actors, and by contrast define a domestic-political explanation of foreign policy as one that represents at least one state as nonunitary.

10. Structural realism is said to hold that one can understand the important features of states’ foreign policies without looking at domestic politics

11. The Core Sense of “A Theory of Foreign Policy” There is a straightforward and important sense in which neorealist and other

12. The neoclassical theory of markets explains the “international” actions of firms, just as systemic IR theory explains the other-regarding actions—that is, the foreign policies—of states

13. A Theory to Explain Particular Foreign Policy Moves *y of foreign policy is a theory of why particular states make particular foreign policy moves at particular times. By contrast, systemic IR theory at best explains general tendencies and regularities.

14. A Theory to Explain Differing Choices by Similarly Placed States *, systemic IR theories are not theories of foreign policy by definition. By definition, he says, systemic theories explain similarities in the behavior of states “similarly placed,” despite varying individual or “unit-level” properties.

15. How Important Is Domestic Politics? *If one adopts the broader S1 understanding of systemic IR theory, then the scope for domestic politics to matter to foreign policy is, by definition, greatly reduced. It is limited to cases where a state pursues a foreign policy that is suboptimal, by some standard, for reasons connected with domestic-political interactions.

16. Integrating the Domestic and International Levels of Analysis *There is a natural sense in which S1 systemic theories cleanly accomplish this task. S1 models that imagine unitary, rational states allow the states to vary in unit-level characteristics, such as their value for acquiring more territory, their costs for arming for or fighting a war, or their value for reneging on a free-trade agreement

17. CONCLUSION *In particular, there are (at least) two possible approaches to defining a systemic or structural explanation of foreign policy, and these imply in turn two distinct notions of what should count as a domestic-political explanation. In the first pair (S1/D1), a systemic IR theory pictures states as unitary, rational actors that consider what other states might do in choosing foreign policies. Correspondingly, a domestic-political explanation has some nonunitary state choosing suboptimal foreign policies due to domestic-political interactions

18. Defining the Normative Standard *The second, and closely related, issue that merits more attention is the definition of the normative standard against which one decides whether domestic politics matters in the sense of D1. As soon as an IR model represents a state as nonunitary, two possibilities arise.