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Kai Oppermann: Role Theory, Foreign Policy, and the Social Construction of Sovereignty: Brexit Stage Right (co-authored with Ryan Beasley and Juliet Kaarbo), in:Global Studies Quarterly, Online First (2021), Doi: 10.1093 / isagsq / ksab001.

The international roles states play in world politics are bound up with the ways in which sovereignty is constructed within the international system. While scholarship on sovereignty has recognized its social construction, and role research emphasizes social interactions as shaping roles and role behaviors, little work has explored the relationship between sovereignty and roles. Linking roles and sovereignty offers a distinct perspective on the social construction of sovereignty, providing a broad conception of socialization, emphasizing agency, and bridging domestic politics and international relations. We develop the concept of a “sovereignty-role nexus” through an examination of Brexit, revealing, through processes of role contestation and role socialization, multiple and competing constructions of the nature and value of sovereignty. While Brexit is unique, we suggest that these dynamics will affect other cases where states face role changes linked to sovereignty concerns.

Kai Oppermann: Clashing Traditions: German Foreign Policy in a New Era (co-authored with Jamie Gaskarth), in:International Studies Perspectives, 22 (1) (2021), 84-105, Doi: 10.1093 / isp / ekz017.

A series of crises over the last decade have put pressure on Europe's fundamental ordering principles. In response, German policymakers have scrambled to reinterpret Germany's foreign policy for a new era. To understand this process, the authors utilize an interpretivist approach, analyzing the discourse of German foreign policymakers through the lens of four traditions of thought informing debates: regionalism, pacifism, realism, and hegemonism. The article suggests that despite serious challenges, prevailing patterns of belief centered round regionalism and pacifism, supported by a particular civilian understanding of hegemony, persist. Yet, Germany's allies are challenging this framework and calling for it to accept more responsibility for regional and global security. As a result, a realist tradition is reemerging in Germany's discourse. The taxonomy provided here allows a richer understanding of these debates as well as an appreciation of how policymakers mobilize ideas to resist or enable policy change.

Kai Oppermann: Poliheuristic Theory and Germany’s (Non-) Participation in Multinational Military Interventions. The Non-compensatory Principle, Coalition Politics and Political Survival (co-authored with Klaus Brummer), in:German Politics, 30 (1) (2021), 106-121, Doi: 10.1080 / 09644008.2019.1568992.

This article employs the poliheuristic theory of decision-making (PHT) to analyze German decisions to participate in, or abstain from, multinational military operations. PHT represents one of the leading theoretical efforts at bridging the cognitive-rationalist divide in foreign policy analysis. The theory posits a two-stage model of foreign policy-making: in the first stage, actors rely on a non-compensatory strategy as a cognitive shortcut to eliminate unacceptable alternatives and to reduce the choice set. In the second stage, actors switch to a compensatory mode of information-processing and select the alternative which maximises expected utility. While there is broad agreement that the non-compensatory dimension at the first stage of PHT concerns the domestic repercussions of foreign policy, it is less clear how this "domestic politics" dimension should be operationalized. This article contributes to this debate by specifying the operationalization of the non-compenstaory principle in the context of coalition foreign policy making in parliamentary democracies. Specifically, it suggests that the non-compensatory dimension in coalition foreign policy consists of the expected impact of foreign policy on coalition survival. Empirically, the article argues that PHT sheds important new light on arguably some of the most controversial military deployment decisions (Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, Libya) of post-unification Germany.

Kai Oppermann: Narrative Genres of Brexit: The Leave Campaign and the Success of Romance (co-authored with Alexander Spencer), in:Journal of European Public Policy, 27 (5) (2020), 666-684, Doi: 10.1080 / 13501763.2019.1662828.

This article argues that the Leave narrative was successful in the 2016 referendum in part because it conformed to one of the well-established narrative genres of tragedy, comedy, satire and romance. These genres are story telling conventions that orientate audiences and guide the interpretation of the story being told. Specifically, the article shows that the Leave campaign constructed a largely consistent romantic narrative, while the Remain campaign mixed narrative genres. This difference in ‘genre consistency’ contributed to the success of Leave and the failure of Remain in the referendum. The investigation into the role of genre consistency adds to theoretical scholarship on narrative dominance in political discourse which has so far focused on the narrator, the structure and content of the story or the audience. The analysis points to structural similarities between the romantic genre and populist narratives more generally which enables populism to tap into the power of romance.

Kai Oppermann: Who Gets What in Foreign Affairs? Explaining the Allocation of Foreign Ministries in Coalition Governments (co-authored with Klaus Brummer), in:Government and Opposition, 55 (2) (2020), 241-259, Doi: 10.1017 / gov.2018.19.

In coalition governments, political parties are concerned not only with how many but also with which departments they control. The foreign ministry is among the most highly considered prices in coalition negotiations. This article develops hypotheses to explain under which conditions the foreign ministry is likely to be allocated to a "junior coalition partner". The factors that are hypothesized to affect the allocation are: the relative size of coalition parties; the proximity of their foreign policy positions; the party family of the junior coalition party; the salience of foreign policy to the coalition parties; and past allocations of the foreign ministry to junior coalition partners. Employing a crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis, the article demonstrates that although the conjunction of the junior partner being relatively large and it having led the foreign ministry in the past is not sufficient by itself, those two factors are very influential in the junior partner being allocated the foreign ministry.

Kai Oppermann: The Party Politics of Learning from Failure: The German Greens and the Lessons Drawn from the 2013 General Election (co-authored with Alexander Bürgin), in: Environmental Politics, Online First (2020), Doi: 10.1080 / 09644016.2020.1741769.

Exploring the party political learning of the German Greens, a powerful agent of environmental policy in European politics, we identify the strategic and programmatic lessons learned from their failure in the 2013 general elections and explain the party politics that facilitated these lessons. We advance research on learning from failures by understanding failures not as objective facts but as constructed in political discourse. Tracing the main discursive elements of failure constructions, we argue that such constructions empower agents of learning and direct what actors learn from failures. Party elites might engage in strategic constructions of failures to promote their agenda and position in the party. Empirically tracing how the party political discourse of the German Greens constructed the 2013 elections as a failure, we demonstrate how this discursive construction intertwines with party politics and helped shift the intra-party balance of power and political direction of the Greens.

Kai Oppermann: Narrative Genres of Brexit: The Leave Campaign and the Success of Romance (co-authored with Alexander Spencer), in: Journal of European Public Policy, Online First (2019), Doi: 10.1080 / 13501763.2019.1662828.

This article argues that the Leave narrative was successful in the 2016 referendum in part because it conformed to one of the well-established narrative genres of tragedy, comedy, satire and romance. These genres are story telling conventions that orientate audiences and guide the interpretation of the story being told. Specifically, the article shows that the Leave campaign constructed a largely consistent romantic narrative, while the Remain campaign mixed narrative genres. This difference in ‘genre consistency’ contributed to the success of Leave and the failure of Remain in the referendum. The investigation into the role of genre consistency adds to theoretical scholarship on narrative dominance in political discourse which has so far focused on the narrator, the structure and content of the story or the audience. The analysis points to structural similarities between the romantic genre and populist narratives more generally which enables populism to tap into the power of romance.

Kai Oppermann: British Foreign Policy after Brexit: Losing Europe and Finding a Role (co-authored with Ryan Beasley and Juliet Kaarbo), in: International Relations, Online First (2019), Doi: 10.1177 / 0047117819864421.

British foreign policy stands at a turning point following the 2016 ‘Brexit’ referendum. Drawing on role theory, we trace the United Kingdom’s efforts to establish new foreign policy roles as it interacts with the concerned international actors. We find that the pro-Brexit desire to ‘take back control’ has not yet translated into a cogent foreign policy direction. In its efforts to avoid adopting the role of isolate, the United Kingdom has projected a disoriented foreign policy containing elements of partially incompatible roles such as great power, global trading state, leader of the Commonwealth, regional partner to the European Union (EU) and faithful ally to the United States. The international community has, through processes of socialization and alter-casting, largely rejected these efforts. These role conflicts between the United Kingdom and international actors, as well as conflicts among its different role aspirations, have pressed UK policies towards its unwanted isolationist role, potentially shaping its long-term foreign policy orientation post-Brexit.

Kullik, Jakob (2019): Under the Radar: The Strategic Importance of Rare Earths for Economic and Military Security in the West, Working Paper 13/2019, Federal Academy for Security Policy.

Rare earths are raw materials of strategic importance for the economic and military security of the West. They are indispensable in numerous civil and military technologies. The People's Republic of China is the world's largest producer of rare earths, which poses a considerable risk to the security of supply in the West. For too long, this issue has remained under the policymakers' radar and has not been addressed. This working paper shows the risks of the Chinese monopoly on rare earths and discusses possible solutions.

Antje Nötzold: From the "ring of friends" to the "ring of fire". The European Union and its neighbors, in: Political opinion, Vol. 64, issue 554 (February 2019), pp. 93-97.

As a peace project and due to its economic success after the collapse of the Soviet-ruled Eastern Bloc, the European Union (EU) has become extremely attractive to its neighboring countries. For the EU, a successful transformation of its Eastern European neighbors based on its model was of central interest. As part of the accession process, it was able to exert a considerable influence on domestic political reforms and ensure stability in its eastern neighborhood. At the beginning of the 2000s, however, it was clear that the stabilization and structuring policy of the European Union could no longer take place through the association process in the course of accession. The big enlargement round of 2004, in which ten countries joined, the upcoming accession of Bulgaria and Romania and the promised prospect of accession for the countries of the Western Balkans changed the EU's external border and with it the challenges in the new neighborhood ...

Kai Oppermann: The Ontological Security of Special Relationships: The Case of Germany’s Relations with Israel (co-authored with Mischa Hansel), in: European Journal of International Security, Online First (2018), https://doi.org/10.1017/eis.2018.18.

This article suggests studying special relationships in international politics from an ontological security perspective. It argues that conceptualizing the partners to special relationships as ontological security-seekers provides a promising theoretical angle to address gaps in our understanding of three important dimensions of such relations: their emergence and stability; the processes and practices of maintaining them; and the power relations within special relations. The article illustrates its theoretical argument in a case study on the German-Israeli relationship. The close partnership between the two countries that has developed since the Holocaust ranks as one of the most remarkable examples of special relationships in the international arena. We argue that foregrounding the ontological security which the special relationship provides in particular for Germany sheds important new light on how German-Israeli relations have developed. Specifically, we hold that Germany’s ontological security needs already were an important driver in establishing the relationship and have been a key stabilizer of it ever since; that the ontological security perspective can make sense of three interrelated practices of maintaining the "specialness" of the relationship; and that the asymmetries between the ontological security needs of the two partners help account for Israel’s political leverage in the relationship.

Kai Oppermann: Who Gets What in Foreign Affairs? Explaining the Allocation of Foreign Ministries in Coalition Governments (co-authored with Klaus Brummer), in: Government and Opposition, Online First (2018), Doi: 10.1017 / gov.2018.19.

In coalition governments, political parties are concerned not only with how many but also with which departments they control. The foreign ministry is among the most highly considered prices in coalition negotiations. This article develops hypotheses to explain under which conditions the foreign ministry is likely to be allocated to a "junior coalition partner". The factors that are hypothesized to affect the allocation are: the relative size of coalition parties; the proximity of their foreign policy positions; the party family of the junior coalition party; the salience of foreign policy to the coalition parties; and past allocations of the foreign ministry to junior coalition partners. Employing a crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis, the article demonstrates that although the conjunction of the junior partner being relatively large and it having led the foreign ministry in the past is not sufficient by itself, those two factors are very influential in the junior partner being allocated the foreign ministry.

Kai Oppermann: Between a Rock and a Hard Place? Navigating Domestic and International Expectations on German Foreign Policy, in: German Politics, Online First (2018), Doi: 10.1080 / 09644008.2018.1481208.

This article takes stock of German foreign policy during Angela Merkel's third term in office (2013-17). It argues that the longer-term significance of Germany's foreign policy during this period is twofold. First, the Merkel government was confronted with multiple European and international crises which worked as a magnifying glass for the growing international expectations on Germany to become more actively engaged on the international stage. Second, the tenure of the Grand Coalition saw a significant shift in the German domestic foreign policy discourse that was marked by a concerted effort of leading decision-makers to make the case for Germany to accept greater international responsibilities. This emerging consensus among foreign policy elites expresses a changed self-conception of German foreign policy which, however, continues to be viewed with skepticism in the broader public. Informed by such a broad two-level perspective that focuses on the interplay between international and domestic expectations on German foreign policy, the article explores the record of the Grand Coalition in the main international crises it had to engage with. It suggests that the Merkel government was better able to live up to its own aspirations in two-level contexts which left it with greater domestic room for maneuver.

Kai Oppermann: Narrating Success and Failure: Congressional Debates on the ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’ (co-authored with Alexander Spencer), in: European Journal of International Relations, 24 (2) (2018), 268-292, Doi: 10.1177 / 1354066117743561.

This article applies a method of narrative analysis to investigate the discursive contestation over the ‘Iran nuclear deal’ in the US. Specifically, it explores the struggle in the US Congress between narratives constituting the deal as a US foreign policy success or failure. The article argues that foreign policy successes and failures are socially constructed through narratives and suggests how narrative analysis as a discourse-analytical method can be employed to trace discursive contests about such constructions. Based on insights from literary studies and narratology, it shows that stories of failures and successes follow similar structures and include a number of key elements, including: a particular setting; a negative / positive characterization of individual and collective decision-makers; and an emplotment of success or failure through the attribution of credit / blame and responsibility. The article foregrounds the importance of how stories are told as an explanation for the dominance or marginality of narratives in political discourse.

Kai Oppermann: Coalition Governance and Foreign Policy Decision Making (co-authored with Klaus Brummer and Niels van Willigen), in: European Political Science, 16 (4) (2017), 489-501, Doi: 10.1057 / s41304-016-0064-9.

Multi-party coalitions are an increasingly common type of government across different political regimes and world regions. Since they are the locus of national foreign policy making, the dynamics of coalition government have significant implications for international relations. Despite this growing significance, the foreign policy making of coalition governments is only partly understood. This symposium advances the study of coalition foreign policy in three closely related ways. First, it brings together in one place the state of the art in research on coalition foreign policy. Second, the symposium pushes the boundaries of our knowledge on four dimensions that are key to a comprehensive research agenda on coalition foreign policy: the foreign-policy outputs of multi-party coalitions; the process of foreign policy making in different types of coalitions; coalition foreign policy in the "Global South"; and coalition dynamics in non-democratic settings. Finally, the symposium puts forward promising avenues for further research by emphasizing, for instance, the value of theory-guided comparative research that employs multi-method strategies and transcends the space of Western European parliamentary democracies.

Kai Oppermann: Telling Stories of Failure: Narrative Constructions of Foreign Policy Fiascos (co-authored with Alexander Spencer), in: Journal of European Public Policy, 23 (5) (2016), 685-701, Doi: 10.1080 / 13501763.2015.1127272.

The contribution introduces narrative analysis as a discourse analytical method for investigating the social construction of foreign policy fiascos. Based on insights from literary studies and narratology it shows that stories of failure include a number of key elements, including a particular setting which defines appropriate behavior; the negative characterization of agents; as well as an emplotment of the "fiasco" through the attribution of cause and responsibility. The contribution illustrates this method through a narrative analysis of German media reporting on Germany's abstention in the United Nations Security Council vote on Resolution 1973 in March 2011 regarding the military intervention in Libya.

Kai Oppermann: Counterfactual Reasoning in Foreign Policy Analysis: The Case of German Non-participation in the Libya Intervention of 2011 (co-authored with Mischa Hansel), in: Foreign Policy Analysis, 12 (2) (2016), 109-127, Doi: 10.1111 / fpa.12054.

The abstention of the conservative-liberal government under Chancellor Angela Merkel on UN Security Council resolution 1973 marked the first occasion in which the Federal Republic of Germany stood against all three of its main Western partners, the US, France, and the UK, simultaneously, on a major foreign policy issue. Many accounts of this decision invoke the influence of electoral incentives. What is problematic, however, is that the causal weight attached to electoral politics is often left ambiguous and difficult to assess with traditional case study methods. The article, therefore, employs counterfactual reasoning to scrutinize “electoral politics” explanations of Germany's policy on Libya. Specifically, it develops counterfactuals in which decision making did not take place in the shadow of upcoming elections and investigates how other variables on different levels of analysis would have shaped decision making in the counterfactual scenarios. The findings suggest that electoral incentives did not decisively shift German foreign policy on Libya. More generally, the article speaks to the value of counterfactuals in foreign policy analysis.