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The Clash of IdeologiesMiddle Eastern Politics and American Security$
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Mark L. Haas

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199838424

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199838424.001.0001

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The Importance of Ideological Distance and Polarity to Foreign Policies

The Importance of Ideological Distance and Polarity to Foreign Policies

(p.3) Chapter 1 The Importance of Ideological Distance and Polarity to Foreign Policies
The Clash of Ideologies

Mark L. Haas

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops a causal logic that shows how ideologies tend to systematically shape states’ foreign policies. The central claim is that two variables—the degree of ideological differences dividing different groups of decision makers (“ideological distance”) and the number of prominent ideologies that are present in a particular system (“ideological polarity”)—are likely to have major effects on leaders’ core international security policies. The argument focuses on three major issues: an examination of how ideologies create various major threats and opportunities for leaders’ most important international and domestic interests; an analysis of how ideologies are likely to shape leaders’ alliance policies, including (somewhat paradoxically) the conditions under which ideological enemies are most likely to align; and a discussion of various strategies of regime promotion and the conditions under which they are most likely to be successful. After developing general hypotheses on these topics, the chapter applies its predictions to contemporary U.S.-Middle Eastern relations.

Keywords:   ideologies, foreign policies, alliances, regime promotion, U.S.-Middle Eastern relations, ideological distance, ideological polarity

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