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Explaining unilateralism in foreign security policy : the case of Japan’s withdrawal from the Washington System, 1922-1936

Abstract : This thesis aims at assessing the causes of Japan's decision to withdraw in 1936 from the so-called Washington system of naval arms control. The existing literature is weak in the field of political science and fails to efficiently systematize the different variables to understand the highly complex Japanese decision-making process. To better understand this process helps in addressing a more general question: Why do states choose to pursue an independent and unilateral foreign security policy instead of a cooperative approach, despite the cost a withdrawal may engender? This thesis' theoretical framework is based on the academic literature on civil-military relations, and proposes the following hypothesis: Changes in the international system affect the relative influence different domestic institutions have on the formulation of foreign policy. In case of emerging international tensions, the military’s expertise acquires new importance for the formulation of foreign policy. In such a scenario, the arms control agreement does not survive if the military establishment advocates against the maintenance of the agreement. The military establishment opposes the agreement if it is so intrusive into its traditional sphere of responsibility that it negatively affects its ability to deal with a worsening security environment. The level of influence the military establishment possesses over the formulation of foreign security policy and the intensity of conflict in civil-military relations are the two variables of the thesis, which account for a state's propensity to privilege a unilateral approach to its foreign security policy.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 11:24:30 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-03647077, version 1



Lionel P. Fatton. Explaining unilateralism in foreign security policy : the case of Japan’s withdrawal from the Washington System, 1922-1936. Political science. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015IEPP0044⟩. ⟨tel-03647077⟩



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