Foreign Policy Reversal

Rajesh M. Basrur

in International Relations Theory and South Asia

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780198069652
Published online January 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199082742 | DOI:
Foreign Policy Reversal

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This chapter discusses the general problem of policy reversal through the analysis of a specific issue: the change in Sri Lanka’s policy orientation toward India from the mid-1990s onward. It argues that, Sri Lankan policy underwent a remarkable transformation only partly as a result of structural factors, and to a significant degree as a result of decisions taken at the level of the policy maker. It demonstrates that this change can only be explained by a theoretically pluralist approach which combines the power structures that are the focus of realism along with the individual decision making that liberal theorists favour.

Keywords: India; Sri Lanka; foreign policy; policy reversal; realism; liberalism; Gustavsson; levels of analysis

Chapter.  7168 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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