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Learn more. This concluding article looks at the findings of the special issue through the lens of the Swiss experience. It traces the development of Swiss peace promotion activities, emphasising the emergence of a fully institutionalized peace policy since the end of the Cold War. Drawing on role theory, it makes sense of this process by referring to changes in the structure of the international system, altered role expectations by external actors, as well as internal processes of role contestation. In comparison to other small states, the article argues that Switzerland can be seen as a paradigmatic case on some levels.
This special issue addressed how small states in Western Europe have incorporated peace promotion in their foreign policies. The various case studies reveal common elements such as the contribution of peace promotion to a niche foreign policy as well as differences — for example the historic roots and types of interventions small states pursue. In all cases, small states' peace policies have undergone significant change since the end of the Cold War period.
They brought an increased emphasis on collective security, conflict management, and global governance, coupled with effects of the European Union's reinforced Common Foreign and Security Policy CFSP.
This concluding article looks at these findings through the lens of the Swiss case. Indeed, promotion of peace is an important component of Switzerland's foreign policy.
It is enshrined in the Swiss constitution and represents one of five core foreign policy objectives. While peace promotion has been part of Swiss foreign policy since the end of the 19th century, management of today's peace policy differs considerably: peace promotion has rested on solid legal ground since , has considerable resources at its disposal, and is fully anchored institutionally within the FDFA. The first section briefly introduces role theory as developed by Thies , which provides the basis for the analysis.
The second section looks at how the permanent features of Swiss foreign policy, i. The third section reviews the development of Swiss peace promotion since the 19th century, taking stock of historical turning points and qualitative changes in comparison with other Western European small states. This section introduces basic concepts of role theory literature with the aim of establishing background to understand how small states incorporated peace promotion in their foreign policies.
The impact of roles in shaping an individual's behavior has interested sociologists, social psychologists, and anthropologists since the early s e. Holsti was the first to introduce role theory in the foreign policy literature. Structural factors were only included in role theory research two decades later. Studying the congruence of role conceptions and role enactment, Walker a thus developed an exchange theory of foreign policy that links different levels of analysis.
In doing so, Walker revitalized the concept of role prescriptions. They had earlier been defined by Holsti as norms and expectations that external cultures, societies, institutions, or groups attach to particular positions Holsti : This opened connections to the constructivist approach to IR research Thies and Breuning Indeed, in the constructivist language, role prescriptions are intersubjectively shared norms and expectations forming the social structure of the international system Benes : 6. Much of the role theory literature was preoccupied with showing that roles matter in foreign policy e.
Yet there has been little theorizing on the mechanisms to assess foreign policy change from a role theory perspective Harnisch : In the following, three mechanisms are identified that help account for foreign policy change via role conceptions. As this article will show, these mechanisms help to make sense of peace policy development in Switzerland as well as in other Western European small states.
The first mechanism pertains to structural changes. When the configuration of the international system changes — for example, transformation from a bipolar to a multipolar system — national role conceptions and, in the same vein, foreign policy behavior adapt. As a consequence, political elites adopt a new set of preferences, and these influence the policy options available to them Walker b.
The second mechanism stresses the interaction between a country's political elites and other actors in the international system. States respond to other actors' cues and demands, adapting their own role concept accordingly Rosenau Hence changing expectations towards a state's behavior can lead to modification of the policies it pursues. The third mechanism focuses on domestic politics, assuming that foreign policy behavior is the result of a process of constant domestic role contestation, in which proponents of differing role conceptions negotiate a dominant view of the state's role in the international system Cantir and Kaarbo Therefore, if the relative influence of elite fractions pushing other role conceptions changes, foreign policy outcomes may change as well.
This means that changes are likely to happen if the political power structure changes, for example, after elections, if influential individuals within the elite are replaced, or if interest groups decide to mobilize and challenge the dominant role conception Harnisch The first feature, which appears evident when one locates the country on a world map, is Switzerland's status as a small state. This goes back to the country's origins in when three valleys in central Switzerland united their struggle against the counts of Habsburg. According to the foundational myth embodied by the national hero Wilhelm Tell, the foundation of Switzerland was a struggle for autonomy and freedom by a small confederacy against a much more powerful occupying force Bergier As a result, Swiss foreign policy sought to ensure a collective defense against possible intruders, while at the same time remaining neutral.
The two world wars, in which Switzerland remained uninvolved, solidified the image that Switzerland, being smaller and less powerful than its neighbors, should refrain from competing with the big powers but adopt a niche foreign policy in order to maintain its independence. The second permanent feature of Swiss foreign policy, neutrality, is commonly known.
It dates back several centuries. Switzerland has used neutrality in its external relations since the defeat in the Battle of Marignano in and in particular since the Thirty Years War in the 17th century, before receiving international recognition as a permanently neutral state at the Vienna Congress in Neutrality was thus enshrined as a crucial instrument of Swiss security and foreign policy.
Internationally, neutrality signaled to the great powers that Swiss territory would not be used by their enemies, and it therefore prevented Switzerland from being drawn into wars. Small state identity and neutrality are both relatively vague concepts, since they fail to specify specific foreign policy outcomes.
They leave a lot of room for interpretation and negotiation among various forces in Swiss domestic politics, and indeed, the political implications of neutrality on foreign policy have been the subject of great debate. Rhinow provides an overview of the current, highly politicized debate about the role of neutrality in Swiss foreign policy. However, they function as the raw material from which national role conceptions are derived. For example, Switzerland has long stayed outside of supranational organizations, such as the EU and the UN.
On the other hand, neutrality has always had an idealistic dimension. The link between national role conceptions and peace policy is evident in other small states as well.
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Likewise, as Devine's article illustrates, Ireland's historic experience of colonialism forms the ideational background against which the country's peace policy has developed in recent years. Both Norway and Ireland thus exemplify the link between peace promotion and national identity, giving rise to historically rooted peace policies. Switzerland's dual role conception, balancing an isolationist stance with a more active mediation role, has shaped its peace promotion activities.
This section looks at the main phases of Switzerland's peace promotion. After , Switzerland's foreign policy developed slowly, as the country often relied on prominent industrialists in its external relations.
Important in this regard was the contribution to international arbitration, as Switzerland frequently hosted and provided judges for ad hoc courts — most famously in in the Alabama case between the U. Another instrument of peace promotion consisted of hosting international conferences and organizations, the first being two conferences in and that resulted in the signature of the first Geneva Conventions and creation of the ICRC.
Thus Switzerland's early peace promotion efforts reflect the missionary thought of neutrality, rooted in the belief that neutral small states are particularly qualified to settle disputes. World War II was a turning point in Swiss foreign policy.