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Combating the Phantom Menace: Foreign Ideas, Domestic Political Change and Responses to Globalization

Geoffry L. Taubman

Columbia University

International Studies Association
41st Annual Convention
Los Angeles, CA
March 14-18, 2000


A more porous world has been one of the defining characteristics of the modern era, propelled by economic trends, telecommunication advances and inexpensive transportation. Tangible benefits have resulted from heightened international openness, which is the degree of interchange between the domestic and international realms. Living standards have been elevated due to the economic efficiencies associated with global trade and investment while scientific and intellectual advancement has been fostered by the diminishing barriers which have separated individuals and organizations located in different lands. Models which favor intensified globalization presently dominate political discourse in almost every corner of the planet as barriers to foreign trade, investment, travel and communication continue to erode. 1

This trend has not been wholeheartedly embraced as international openness represents a double-edged sword, generating benefits for state and society while creating conditions that have proven to be detrimental to a government’s continued political survival. Political risks emanate from both the international and domestic levels and a two-level approach recognizes that international openness provides opportunities and resources for rivals inside and outside of the state to challenge an incumbent regime. 2

Policies which expand participation in inter-state activities like foreign trade may produce absolute gains for participating states, yet create conditions which shift the relative balance of economic and military power in favor of foreign powers as well as foster dependence upon potentially inaccessible sources of vital goods. However, decision-makers do not simply reflect upon these material considerations of how a country’s "war machine"–one’s own and that of rivals–can be strengthened or weakened by foreign commerce and other forms of international openness in an unforgiving anarchic environment.

They are also aware of the hazards which accrue to incumbent governments by allowing foreign actors the means to establish channels of influence "around" leading state officials and directly with societal groups within the state by exploiting relations of asymmetric dependence. 3 Focusing upon the internal consequences of domestic-international interaction corresponds with Peter Gourevitch’s "second image reversed" approach to the international sources of domestic politics, which describes how international "economic relations and military pressures constrain an entire range of domestic behaviors, from policy decisions to political forms." 4

In addition to economic and military factors, though, the political survival of sitting governments has been affected by ideational factors. Ideas, which encompass ideologies, information and images, are not only useful tools that guide leaders towards satisfactory solutions to identified problems. They are also a phantom menace, representing a potent, sometimes uncontrollable force with the capacity to spark domestic unrest and destabilize a formerly unchallenged status quo. The existence of competing ideologies, countervailing information and compelling images can represent a significant domestic political hazard to rulers whose legitimacy and hold on power depend upon a placid domestic ideational climate. Ideas have been utilized by political actors as focal points around which an opposition can rally, sparking the formation of organized counter-elite or broad-based societal movements against the incumbent regime.

Ideas have played an independent or intervening role in the process of domestic political change but how does this relate to our discussion on the impact of, and responses to, international openness? Accompanying the international spread of goods and capital has been a similar diffusion of ideologies and information since any foreign access into the domestic domain provides an opening for the transnational diffusion of ideological alternatives and socioeconomic comparisons into new settings. Just as exposing the domestic economy to the global market and foreign investment can create difficulties for regimes, opening the domestic political arena to foreign flows of ideologies, information and images can create problems for regimes of an equivalent or even greater magnitude.

And many novel ideas that have entered into the domestic arena have originated from the foreign realm and have influenced domestic policy outcomes. In fact, few areas of what have traditionally been considered internal matters–including such core issues as the role of the state in national economic affairs, the rules which determine the scope and legitimacy of political participation for the citizenry, the rights granted to minority populations in the social and political life of the nation–have been untouched by external belief systems and worldviews.

No nation, theoretically, is immune from the systemic effects of anarchy, so all governments are expected to possess at least some material concerns of international openness, including its impact upon the relative inter-state balance of economic and military power. It is not the case, however, that all governments are equally distressed (or blasé) about the ideational consequences of international openness and its influence upon domestic politics. Since the domestic political climate has been informed and inflamed by the inclusion of foreign ideas, some ruling elites have felt compelled to vigorously pursue strategies of ideational protectionism, which aims to keep these external contagions from entering into and corrupting the polity, even if it conflicts with the attainment of other goals which depend upon cooperation with foreign actors.

So rather than passively allowing unwanted and politically hazardous ideas to reach the populace, governments, in order to maintain a favorable governing climate, have responded by targeting those cross-national pathways which permit ideologies, information and images to infiltrate the domestic arena from abroad. Restrictions on public access to foreign radio outlets, television broadcasts and newspapers, by way of censorship and jamming, represent some of the more conspicuous efforts to impede public access to differing belief systems, provocative political doctrines and alternative suppliers of news and data. However, protectionist-minded leaders have also shunned engagement in seemingly apolitical activities like foreign trade, scientific collaboration and tourism, since the establishment of any conduits linking the domestic and international realms can assist in the diffusion of provocative ideas.

Thus, appraisals of the political repercussions of unfettered access to ideas represent a key element of the decision-maker’s determination of the feasibility and scope of international openness, with some governments more prone to initiate restrictive measures on contacts with the world beyond their territorial borders. Globalization, characterized by deeper state involvement in foreign affairs, has sometimes produced momentous, unexpected and undesirable domestic effects which incumbent governments have had to face.


Assessments of Competition in the Marketplace of Ideas

Increased exposure to foreign flows of ideologies, information and images has represented a significant and even politically lethal consequence of international exposure that leads logically to the question of how government authorities assess and respond to ideational competition. To understand the political dynamics of this competition, one can utilize the analogy of the marketplace.

The marketplace of ideas shares some characteristics of the economic marketplace where "consumers" (e.g., political elites, societal actors, the public) are hunting for ideologies and information from "suppliers" (e.g., "experts", political entrepreneurs, ideologues). One can speak of a demand for and supply of ideas and information in the marketplace and the degree of demand and supply creates a "space" which represents a "realm of political possibilities" in the domestic arena. The more ideational space which exists, the greater the universe of potential political outcomes which can occur in the domestic arena.

Furthermore, if ideational demand increases, then so does the likelihood that searches for alternative ideologies will be launched. By the same token, these inquiries are less likely to be initiated if there is limited interest among political actors in upsetting the status quo. Extensive ideational searches have motivated political actors to initiate significant changes to the status quo–up to and including removal of the incumbent leadership associated with now-discredited policies and the values and beliefs associated with those policies.

That there may be heightened domestic interest in new ideas, though, does not address whether the demand is being satisfied or imply that the breadth of ideational supply is uniform across state borders. The size of that domestic supply is of considerable importance since the greater the supply of ideas which can be examined, the more likely that political entrepreneurs will become familiar with–and implement–wide-ranging changes to the domestic arena. Correspondingly, political actors with access to an abridged supply of alternative ideologies are less likely to initiate significant revisions to existing policies and practices.

Liberal philosophers and scholars contend that state and society benefit from the fullest exposure to a wide range of ideas or from the greatest amount of ideational space. John Stuart Mill has vigorously articulated the need for an active marketplace of ideas, writing that,

There must be discussion, to show how experience is to be interpreted. Wrong opinion and practices gradually yield to fact and argument: but facts and arguments, to produce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it. 5

In a richer ideational setting, it is presumed, more information is obtainable to evaluate claims of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of present-day policies. Arguments can be investigated more closely with logical contradictions disclosed. Myths, under the harsh light of public scrutiny, can be effectively discredited by revealing factual inaccuracies. 6

This belief in the salutary benefits of ideational competition is premised upon the existence of conditions of "perfect competition" in the domestic marketplace. Challenging the status quo and questioning existing policies are seen as integral components of domestic political life, which feeds demand for novel ideologies and information. To address potential demand, an expanded stock of ideas in the marketplace to draw upon (or shop among) has been viewed by scholars and statesmen as a positive development, necessary for inducing and assisting needed shifts in state policies.

For instance, Mikhail Gorbachev commented early in his rule in a 1985 speech promoting economic reform that, "We have not yet learned proper managerial skills as [are] required by a modern economy," and subsequently engaged in efforts to gradually expand the degree of Soviet debate of existing policies as well as internal exposure to capitalist models in order to advance perestroika 7 . In a similar vein, Peter Haas has explored how membership in transnational epistemic communities has enabled policy-minded scientists to draw upon this larger pool of knowledge in order to advance beneficial changes in national environmental practices. 8 Ultimately, this favorable take on ideational competition argues that if these ideas resonate with key political actors and are amenable with the existing domestic political structure and prevailing norms of the nation, "bad" ideas will be forced out while "good" ideas are adopted and operationalized by decision-makers. In sum, a more active domestic marketplace of ideas expands the realm of political outcomes and the likelihood of changes taking place in domestic and foreign policy.

However, the conventional wisdom about the benefits of ideational competition contains a blind spot about the consequences and limitations of an expanded and more dynamic marketplace. The optimistic, or perhaps functionalist, viewpoint expressed by most authors is usually derived from observations of polities governed by rulers and/or rules which desire or at least tolerate a pluralism of ideas and information. Ideational clashes and policy debates in Europe and the United States, the focus of most studies, have resulted in important and usually peaceful changes to domestic and foreign policies. Incumbent officials may not always concur with criticisms of the status quo or the proposals which are offered to fix those alleged problems, but in the realms that are commonly examined, dissent and pluralism are sanctioned component of political life. Challenges to existing policies and discussions of new, sometimes markedly different, blueprints are not forbidden and even sought out by political entrepreneurs.

In many polities, though, incumbent leaders have no desire to see the appearance of ideational nonconformity or originality in the polity, preferring to see such heretical thinking banished from the domestic arena. While many would concur with Mill’s assessment of the desirability of a competition of beliefs and worldviews in the domestic arena, the clash of ideas can be noisy, even violent, and result in marked degrees of internal change including the ouster of leaders associated with the "losing" ideational camp. Ideas are not merely tools utilized by ruling elites to guide leaders towards efficiently rectifying an identified problem but represent a potent political force with the capacity to spark domestic unrest or unsettle a formerly unchallenged status quo. How does greater ideational demand and supply–which characterizes a more dynamic marketplace of ideas–threaten a sitting government’s political survival?

We must commence with the less than startling assertion that incumbent leaders wish to remain incumbent and are keen to threats, domestic and foreign, which may prematurely bring their rule to a close. Leaders are protective of their sovereignty and efforts by foreign actors to undermine state autonomy in the international arena but a regime’s political survival can also be jeopardized by a weakening of its legitimacy, which Lamounier defines as "acquiescence motivated by subjective agreement with given norms and values." 9

Governments encumbered with decreased legitimacy are more likely to face challenges to their rule and leaderships have exhibited alarm that such domestic acquiescence will be eroded as a consequence of vigorous ideational competition. Leaders which feel that they are relying upon fragile forms of legitimacy are particularly wary of heightened ideational openness in the polity. Fragility is a function of ruling elite evaluations of the degree of internalization of governing doctrines and norms and/or public assessments of their stewardship. The greater the pessimism of their evaluations, the more likely that these governments will judge their legitimacy, and therefore their incumbency, to be tenuous.

Rulers differ in their appraisals of the domestic appeal of governing ideologies but the existence of ideational pluralism in the polity is usually interpreted as a significant political threat to those regimes which perceive their hold on power as dependent upon a "tame" ideational climate. In particular, governments whose justification for continued rule is based upon exclusivist ideological mandates are generally less tolerant of dissent to ruling norms and values. 10 Juan Linz observes that totalitarian leaders derive much of their "sense of mission" from a commitment to some holistic conception of man and society, yet when they lose "full control over the formulation or interpretation of the ideological heritage or content" in the polity, political problems follow. 11

Not all totalitarian regimes are fearful of exposure to unlike ideologies nor are all democracies complacent in the face of ideational pluralism, but for leaderships clinging to self-serving ideological rationales, the presence and diffusion of ideological alternatives which could garner significant support in the domestic arena is normally viewed as deleterious to their incumbency. Familiarity with a broader range of alternatives can place ruling officials in an uncomfortable position if domestic political actors begin to explore options which, if put into practice, would impinge upon their policy prerogatives, agenda and even their continued rule. Ideas may act as road maps which "increase actor’s clarity about goals or ends-means relationships" but they can also direct those actors into uncharted territory with unexpected domestic political consequences. 12

An incumbent administration’s political longevity can be placed at risk when motivated political entrepreneurs hunt for and become familiar with ideological alternatives which conflict with current value systems and practices. Domestic groups armed with attractive alternative ideational frameworks will be more able to mobilize support and eventually force policy shifts and even leadership changes to take place. 13 Alternatives can also shed a less flattering light on the justifications and credibility of government policies as well as prompt societal reevaluations of particular domestic practices and even the legitimacy of the incumbent regime.

Moreover, it is not only domestic exposure to a multiplicity of ideologies and belief systems which contributes to perceptions of fragility but to a multiplicity of information and images as well, especially when that data calls into question an administration’s performance legitimacy. Domestic perceptions of economic distress have been quite corrosive to regimes as traditional rationales for maintaining incumbency without public accountability have been eroded by the pervasiveness of democratic norms since the second world war. 14

In other words, comparisons–assessments of "better" or "worse"–constructed by an observer of one’s political, economic and social lifestyles versus someone else’s can be powerful political spurs to action. Awareness of relative deficiencies of material goods or political freedoms, and so forth, compared with counterparts living under different administrations, eras or countries has provided the stimulus for delegitimation and generated interest into why such a situation is tolerated by the incumbent government or the political system in general. The steady erosion and collapse of Communist power in Eastern Europe in 1989, for instance, has been linked to the unflattering socioeconomic contrasts of life on each side of the Iron Curtain, which were increasingly evident and demoralizing to populations in the eastern bloc. Lawrence Stone concludes in his study of the causes of internal political violence, "Human satisfaction is related not to existing conditions but to the condition of a social group against which the individual measures his situation." 15

Thus, ideational competition is not always desired by ruling elites and, as we will see, governments which feel threatened by a proliferation of alternatives and comparisons in the polity have not hesitated to intervene in this marketplace.

Causes of Bounded Innovation

Despite the internal changes which ideational influences have wrought, Jeffrey Checkel has noted that "the same norm will have a dramatic constitutive impact in one state but fail to do so in others." 16 The ideas that underpin the foundation of Western liberalism, while widely diffused, have not remade the political, social and economic practices of every country. 17 Ideationalists recognize, counter to neofunctionalist and rational choice theory, that the "best" idea or path is not always available for decision-makers to evaluate and implement.

In what has been termed the "politics of bounded innovation," 18 Judith Goldstein observes that individuals seeking new ideas to inject into domestic political discourse select among a finite supply, though it is assumed that a relatively broad range of alternatives nonetheless exists for interested parties to consider. 19 So how does the process of ideational selection become constricted and why are particular ideas notaccessible to political entrepreneurs at a particular time or place? And why do policy outcomes in states vary despite being exposed to similar international ideational forces?

One approach emphasizes cognitive factors inherent to all human beings as the cause for the bounded nature of ideational exposure. Robert Jervis has studied how efforts to maintain cognitive consistency results in individuals ignoring or misremembering discrepant information and ideas as well as rejecting contrary evidence. Individuals are predisposed to see what they want to see. 20 According to Herbert Simon, people possess a limited ability to process information, which constrains the volume of ideational substance that can be evaluated or acted upon. 21 Therefore, the cognitive approach finds that the greatest impediment to ideational exposure stems from the limitations of the human mind.

A related viewpoint centers upon cultural explanations, which emphasize that particular nationalities or ethnicities are deeply embedded with a unique set of historical and social characteristics. Checkel claims that the salience of foreign ideas in the domestic polity can be hindered by the lack of a cultural match, which he defines as a "cultural understanding that social entities belong to a common social category." Applying his argument to the uneven influence of international human rights norms in several European countries, post-war Germany is depicted as relatively unmoved by the evolving post-war definition of identity, a definition incompatible with the specific normative conception of citizenship and minority rights held by most Germans. 22

Cognitive factors can reduce the quantity of ideational substance which people can survey and appraise while particular national cultures may limit the acceptance of alien norms, yet neither explanation provide much insight into cross-national differences which have appeared in ideational demand and supply. Additionally, cultural arguments risk overstating the degree of national (or, as Samuel Huntington would argue, civilizational) homogeneity that exists and therefore are not well equipped to anticipate shifts, sometimes rapid, that have occurred in the political and social practices of those countries. 23

Rather than relying upon this universal, primordial and perhaps rigid understanding of the barriers that affect the operation of the ideational marketplace, another approach instead focuses upon domestic structure and how certain arrangements of political and societal institutions are less amenable to advancing ideational flows into the polity. Depictions of the ideational marketplace note the facilitating role of domestic institutions which mediate and incorporate new ideas into the existing political framework. Institutions comprise the arena where ideas are translated into legislation; the set of rules which delimit the behavior and normative practices of policymakers; and the bureaucracy which interprets and modifies those ideas for domestic practices. 24

I would maintain that there are three primary ways in which domestic institutions influence the operation of the ideational marketplace and, furthermore, each of these institutional functions can be manipulated by ruling authorities who feel compelled to regulate the demand and supply of ideologies and information in the domestic arena. As will be shown later, domestic institutions involved in the dissemination of ideologies and information have been constructed or reshaped to reflect the political needs of incumbent leaderships reliant upon fragile forms of legitimacy.

First, institutions affect the diffusion of ideas and information to individuals in the domestic arena, including processes of transnational diffusion. Governments have at their disposal a variety of measures, including rules on media ownership and centralization, censorship laws and travel and visa regulations which help to determine the breadth of ideational exposure. Actions which obstruct ideational diffusion will result in a smaller sample of novel belief systems, worldviews, etc., for people to become familiar with. For instance, James Moltz notes that many Soviets, including individuals located in the highest circles of power, not only were unaware of the depth of the economic difficulties facing the U.S.S.R. in the early 1980s, which suppressed interest in looking for alternatives, but were not even cognizant of alternative East Asian and Western economic models. This ignorance stemmed from Communist Party rules and practices which discouraged the study of non-Communist economic ideas until after Gorbachev’s accession to power. 25

Second, institutional bodies and practices influence the amount of ideational sharing enjoyed by the citizenry. Within a given domestic structure, different carriers (e.g., policymakers, non-governmental organizations, epistemic communities) can be identified who, by various means and pathways, transmit their ideas to a larger domestic audience. 26 If the process of turning theory into practice requires sparking an informed dialogue among policy elites, voters, or other groupings of political and societal actors as ideational accounts generally maintain, then, by definition, multiple participants are required. An ideology provoking a reexamination of existing policies or a disconcerting nugget of data may sway the minds of a particular individual but significant policy impact requires reaching a larger audience.

For example, John Maynard Keynes’ innovative ideas on monetary policy were incorporated into American policy only after a group of entrepreneurial individuals took advantage of the flexible administrative arrangements of the federal government to convince key officials in the Franklin Roosevelt administration to enact new policies based on the teachings of the British economist. 27 In contrast, the limited access which norm entrepreneurs had to key decision-makers in state-dominated domestic structures like those in the pre-1985 Soviet Union and Eastern Europe blocked novel ideas and information from reaching a broader audience. 28 Thus, political practices may discourage challenges to orthodoxy and discussions of alternatives while governing norms may sharply delimit the scope and diversity of public discourse.

Third, domestic institutions determine what kinds of political responses can be formulated, by governing elites and opposition elements, in response to ideational challenges. The appearance of discontent with the economic and/or political status quo and the ideas which underpin those fruitless policies, does not mean that policy change or action against an incumbent government will ensue but there must be the means to act upon that discontent. A potential opposition guided by some competing ideology must have the ability to coalesce, communicate and mobilize 29 . Whether it involves competing in an election, creating a cabal or agitating in the streets, political entrepreneurs must organize a network of supporters and activists.

Governments, though, are not always amenable towards allowing the citizenry "to express their interests, passions and ideas, exchange information, achieve mutual goals, make demands on the state and hold state officials accountable" with some leaderships perceiving any challenges to ruling authority as a mortal threat. 30 Of course, that a government forbids autonomous action by non-ruling forces does not mean that organizational opposition is nonexistent but the establishment of such barriers does raise the costs of expanding the scope of acceptable political discussion and action.

It is generally assumed that the benefits of ideational competition are generated when the invisible hand of the ideational marketplace operates, which allows individuals to diffuse, share and act upon the strongest ideas. From a domestic institutional perspective, this means that there are no monopolies of information or media access; there are low barriers to entry into the public sphere for idea-laden entrepreneurs; and that multiple forums exist for the public to confront and evaluate ideas. 31

Yet as Thomas Risse succinctly notes, ideas do not flow freely. Impediments to foreign ideational flows and limitations to their policy impact can be the unplanned result of poor institutional design. Countries differ in the access provided to political entrepreneurs to transmit novel ideas to key political and societal actors, the level of polarization in society and the strength and rigidity of policy networks which connect state and societal actors. Consequently, the reach and impact of new ideologies and information can be muffled by particular constellations of state autonomy, societal organization and the linkages which bind (or separate) state and society. 32

However, the institutional pathways and barriers which impact upon the capacity of political entrepreneurs to search for and disseminate ideas are usually taken as given in most analyses, much as the universe of ideas available to interested parties in the domestic realm is considered to be an exogenous factor. Political officials are not portrayed as deliberately creating or refashioning domestic institutions but, in fact, the ideational marketplace has been consciously and actively manipulated by ruling elites in order to restrict flows of ideologies and information from coming to the attention of a larger elite and/or mass audience.

The ideational marketplace can be artificially warped by the presence or creation of political and media institutions which impede the ability of suppliers, foreign and domestic, of ideas from reaching consumers in the marketplace. 33 As Jack Snyder and Karen Ballentine have argued, perfect competition in the domestic marketplace of ideas is an ideal type and political actors have constructed "multiple barriers to entry" in order to prevent a free, unencumbered flow of ideas and information into the domestic arena. Distortions transpire when the government impedes access to the ideational marketplace by regulating media channels or permitting monopolistic or oligopolistic suppliers to dominate, thus limiting the number of options for the "consumer" to shop among in the political marketplace. 34 Agency matters, in other words, and a fuller understanding of the "differential diffusion" of well-circulated norms cannot be accomplished without considering how incumbent officials are shaped by as well as shape the domestic ideational marketplace. 35

Manipulating the Marketplace of Ideas

Governments do not react passively to the ideational flows that enter into their domain but enact measures and devise institutional frameworks which are meant to calibrate the degree and scope of ideational competition to their liking. In some cases, political entrepreneurs hunting for new ideas have determined that existing practices and institutions are choking off access to a broader range of ideas and subsequently resolve to open up the polity to greater ideational inflows. For instance, the breathtaking changes in Soviet policy which Gorbachev initiated could not have happened had the General Secretary not deliberately reorganized domestic political institutions in order to allow a new and more innovative generation of policy entrepreneurs input into a political process dominated by Brezhnev-era Party hacks. 36

Considering, though, how ideas have produced tangible, disruptive and on occasion unpredictable political results, a sizable number of incumbent governments have adopted the opposite strategy of curtailing the ideational marketplace by targeting those institutions which contribute to ideational supply and demand in the polity. Leaders who perceive their political survival as linked to the degree and scope of activity in the domestic ideational marketplace are, in effect, trying to retain what Steven Lukes describes as the "third face of power," which is the ability to influence the wants and desires of the populace. 37 Governments which can suppress domestic ideational demand and supply are better equipped to preempt challenges to their rule.

Thus, the ideational marketplace, like the economic marketplace, is rarely free from political manipulation and the thrust of strategies pursued by concerned incumbent rulers is to "shrink" the marketplace and therefore constrict the universe of political possibilities. In the following section, I will show that processes of demand and supply are potentially controllable and that if concerned governments wish to establish greater control over marketplace activity, they must regulate inflows of foreign as well as domestic sources of ideas.

The Subjective Sources of Ideational Demand

Strategies designed to lessen domestic interest in evaluating and putting into practice new ideas can be better understood by first considering what factors heighten ideational demand. Most polities are not in constant states of ideational flux and leaders are not always facing strong internal pressures to overhaul the status quo. Ideational demand is spurred by perceptions that current government policies and practices are inadequate, that something is "wrong" with the status quo. 38 Once deficiencies are detected in existing policies, the belief systems and values upon which those discredited policies are founded will be reevaluated. In other words, if it’s broke, fix it, with the latter "it" referring to the beliefs and worldviews underlying those flawed policies.

While the basic logic of ideational demand is sound, most analyses on the subject ignore how one recognizes the failure of existing policies or consider that such negative judgments represent an intersubjective determination. In certain cases, identifying the catalyst behind extensive policy transformations has been easy to pinpoint. For instance, the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars, Paul Schroeder has asserted, sparked a transformation among all European statesmen,

in the fields of ideas, collective mentalities and outlooks...What happened, in the last analysis, was a general recognition by the states of Europe that they could not pursue the old politics any longer and had to try something new and different. 39

As a consequence of this elite consensus about the shortcomings of the offense-prone, zero-sum approach to international politics, European leaders demonstrated a willingness to explore fresh concepts of security, which led to the creation of the Concert of Europe. 40 Similarly, Kathleen McNamara contends that the shift in Europe towards monetarist policies in the 1970s (later copied by the United States), was due, in part, from the creation of an ideational consensus among policy elites, fostered by shared experience of stagflation and the inability of Keynesian policies to alleviate the pain. 41

However, episodes of ideational searching and policy change have taken place without the occurrence of a watershed event. In many cases, in fact, the identification of problems is not drawn against some universally accepted standard but often represents a "political construction…Policymaking is not simply problem-solving. It is also a matter of setting up and defining problems in the first place." 42 This approach meshes with Alexander Wendt’s theoretical focus upon the social construction of state behavior.

Collective meanings and interpretations are formed as a consequence of repeated interactions among political actors and this "intersubjective knowledge" not only shapes agent identities but the policies which they select and maintain. These collective meanings and interpretations, though, are fluid, so when agents develop new assessments of the status quo, marked shifts in attitudes towards existing practices and the ideological foundation upon which they are premised should follow. Thus, changes in political behavior are initiated when actors develop reasons to think in "novel terms" and identify practices which have perpetuated unfavorable outcomes. 43 Wendt applies his argument to alterations and variations in foreign policies and theorizing about how "anarchy is what states make of it" but his approach can also be applied to intra-state affairs.

Since collective appraisals of the status quo are subjectively constructed, governments can seek to influence these processes of evaluation, particularly in preventing the forging of widely-expressed negative evaluations, which as we noted above can be politically explosive. A key component of this strategy is to obstruct the formulation of socioeconomic comparisons in order to safeguard a government’s performance legitimacy and those comparisons have often been based upon contrasts with foreign lands. Determinations that your situation is worse than that of people who reside in different countries (or eras) are more difficult to compose in the absence of knowledge of other cases; in other words, comparisons cannot be constituted without reference to an "other." Thus, information and data contributing to perceptions of deficiencies in the government’s performance can be quite hazardous to a regime’s continued political survival.

Socioeconomic and sociopolitical comparisons often draw upon foreign sources and the authorities have frequently resorted to machinations designed to prevent citizens from being able to make balanced cross-national comparisons. 44 Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink note that "increasingly, citizens make judgments about whether their government is better than alternatives (in the international and regional arena) and by seeing what other people and countries say about their country" and domestic legitimacy can be shaken by knowledge of these poor foreign evaluations. 45 George Kennan presciently recognized the political salience of cross-national comparisons and, as the Cold War was beginning to heat up, called for the development of strong, internal open societies and markets in the Western bloc. The architect of the American containment strategy argued that "...the communist regime in Eastern Europe…would never be able to stand the comparison and the spectacle of a happier and more successful life just across the fence…[which] would be bound in the end to have a disintegrating and eroding effect on the communist world." 46

Ultimately, feelings of relative deprivation have fueled the anger and grievances of non-ruling elites and masses, which in turn nurtures civil violence and domestic upheaval. 47 Thus, the foundation of a government’s legitimacy can be shaken by greater domestic awareness of competing ideologies and unflattering socioeconomic comparisons. The reign of some incumbent administrations has been cut short when elites and/or mass segments of the public question the ideological basis for their rule as well as their economic performance.

The power and perils of ideational expeditions sparked by transnational comparisons is illustrated in Iran during the summer of 1999, when the government struggled with growing domestic unrest and demands for alterations to the governing practices of the Islamic regime. According to Thomas Friedman, the protests, the largest since the 1979 revolution, stemmed largely from "too many young people know[ing] how the rest of the world is living and they want a slice of it. But their Government can’t deliver it…" The solution devised by the government to these protests, in addition to deploying force against the protesters, has been "to try to get young people not to want the life style others have by trying to shut out the world." 48 Subsequently, there has been elevated interest in proponents of belief systems and worldviews markedly different than those followed since the revolution.

Cross-national lifestyle comparisons have also been formulated by utilizing media accounts, personal observations and other, usually unofficial and unapproved sources of information and images but they have also resulted from taking a "fresh look" at the status quo. Situations once perceived by individuals as satisfactory can become recategorized as intolerable and in desperate need of change. These fresh looks can shed a different light on the justifications and credibility of government policies as well as prompt societal reevaluations of particular domestic practices. For instance, Vladimir Lenin commented that revolutions require the citizenry be "unable to live in the old way." For the future leader of the Bolshevik Revolution, then a teenager, this revelation happened after Lenin read a book by a radical socialist writer which "made me over completely." 49

Thus, governments have reasoned that internal clamor for change can be forestalled by preventing the citizenry from being able to draw unflattering contrasts of their economic, political and social condition with other countries. In order to accomplish this task, states will tailor policies in order to obtain a degree of international openness which will not stoke domestic ideational demand by blocking access to disparaging foreign sources of data and ideologies. And to prevent similar flashes of insight from inspiring future revolutionary leaders, wider public access to equally provocative writings, including those written by exiled and foreign authors, has been targeted by government officials, including Lenin and his successors and blocking access to influences which spark reviews of governing norms and belief systems.

Contributions to Ideational Supply

Ideational demand is sparked by a realization (often brought about with foreign ideologies and information) that current practices are inadequate and, therefore, that the beliefs and worldviews underlying those policies are flawed. Political entrepreneurs then respond to these "policy windows" and "problem windows" by initiating searches for novel ideologies and models. 50

Yet even if political entrepreneurs are probing for replacements to governing ideas, it does not mean that they have access to a wide array of choices to select among and, like demand, ideational supply varies across polities. The existence of a marketplace with diminished ideational supply means that discredited practices and leaders are less likely to be replaced with something "better" if they are unaware of options to the status quo. As Giovanni Sartori writes, the prospects for political change are less likely in societies comprised of,

people who have never been offered alternatives….Innumerable people cannot prefer something to something else because they have no "else" in sight; they simply live with and encapsulated within, the human (or inhumane) condition they find. 51

Adam Przeworski contends that until "some alternative is organized in such a way as to present a real choice for isolated individuals," even discredited regimes will avoid removal. 52 If "the definition of the alternatives is the supreme instrument of power...because the definition of alternatives is the choice of conflicts and the choice of conflicts allocates power," then incumbent regimes that are able to limit awareness of options to the status quo strengthen their grip on power. 53

Unsurprisingly, incumbent leaders who dread the domestic consequences of a marketplace well-stocked with ideological alternatives have responded by trying to winnow the supply available to elites and the general public. The sources of unwanted heterodoxy are not simply located within state borders and, in fact, many of the most incendiary and thought-provoking ideas which have contributed to domestic turmoil and guided opposition leaders have originated from abroad.

The German authors of Communism affected change in Russia (as did Lenin’s contributions for numerous other nations), French doctrines of the Enlightenment sparked political unrest throughout Europe, and so forth. 54 More recently, Joseph Nye and Francis Fukuyama have written, from a celebratory perspective, of the global dominance of Western ideas. 55 Nations exposed to the well-circulated liberal economic and political ideologies, which form the normative foundation of many Western states, will succumb to this "soft power" and eventually adopt democratic and/or free-market practices. 56 From the viewpoint of the "target" state, though, competition with these attractive alternatives will lead to an unwanted transformation which will increase the chances of local elites ending up in the dustbin of history.

The connection between exposure to an augmented supply of political alternatives and domestic political change has been explored more systematically by the literature on the "third wave" of global democratization, an era which has seen the replacement of non-democratic regimes with democracies over the past two decades. Samuel Huntington has claimed that non-democratic rule is difficult to sustain in societies where free flows of information exist. 57 Once political entrepreneurs, particularly those already dissatisfied with the status quo, become cognizant of the existence and feasibility of attractive alternative political and social models, they will use those ideas to guide their own efforts to foster changes. Thus, as the citizenry in these lands become alerted to the success–or at least the emergence–of pro-democracy movements elsewhere, non-democratic regimes will eventually engage in destabilizing and usually losing battles with popular local imitators, according to Huntington.

International norms, mostly originating from North America and Europe, have guided efforts at changes within multiple domestic arenas around the globe and, interestingly, in some cases, the progenitors of novel ideational influences did not intend or (desire) to see their ideas put into practice in foreign lands. Among the most dramatic cases of internal change in this century is the rapid disintegration of colonialism which occurred in much of Africa and Asia after World War II. The collapse of a political order based upon discriminatory practices against native (non-European) populations was primarily a consequence of the inclusion of alternative anti-colonial, egalitarian norms into domestic political dialogue. 58 Ironically, these provocative ideas had been espoused by the European powers themselves during World War II, expressed in documents like the Atlantic Charter, and eventually came to the attention and use of local colonial audiences in settings already bubbling with discontent against the metropole. 59

Therefore, the marketplace of ideas cannot be conceived of as domestic in nature, any more than the economic marketplace can be accurately modeled without factoring in the foreign realm. Pinpointing the sources of ideational demand and supply leads us logically to questions of how ideas diffuse from the external milieu to the internal marketplace and whether specific international conduits can be identified. How do these ideas travel into the domestic arena, can one identify channels of transnational diffusion and what measures have been undertaken to keep unwanted ideologies and information from entering into the polity?


Ideational Protectionism

Leaders whose incumbency is maintained by obviating challenges to their ideological and performance legitimacy are particularly interested in restricting the scope and breadth of ideational competition in the polity. As noted above, a marketplace with lessened ideational demand and supply is one where the potential for domestic political change is reduced. Furthermore, to effectively preempt the appearance of heterodoxy, government efforts must target foreign as well as domestic ideational sources of demand and supply since imported ideological alternatives and socioeconomic comparisons have contributed to internal political upheaval and leadership.

In the realm of economic policy, political leaders have advocated forms of protectionism, designed to protect domestic producers by impeding or banning the importation of foreign goods and services. Protectionist strategies may not represent sensible long-term textbook economic thinking but domestic political and/or national security interests have led government to supersede such logic and implement these policies nonetheless. 60 Similarly, the goal of ideational protectionism is to prevent domestic political change and leadership turnover by keeping out imported ideological alternatives and socioeconomic comparisons in order to establish greater control over the marketplace of ideas.

To understand how skittish leaderships have responded to the real threat of intangible ideas, one must examine the tangible pathways by which ideologies, information and images travel from the external milieu into the internal marketplace and whether specific international conduits can be identified. John Donne declared three centuries ago that "no man is an island" and an equivalent statement can be made today about nation-states (including islands themselves). Particularly since the twentieth century, the scope and depth of globalization has grown due to a number economic, political and technological trends, which have laid the groundwork for the spread of ideas across national boundaries. 61 No one method of diffusion exists but any channel which allows citizens access to some "window to the world"–via personal observation, inter-personal contact or types of mass media–represents a potential conduit to a wider array of ideologies, information and images.

The dissemination of ideas across national borders can be accomplished deliberately, as governments, intergovernmental organizations and private organizations have engaged in a variety of strategies to target foreign audiences with desired norms, values and viewpoints. Educational exchanges (like IREX), international radio and television broadcasting (like the BBC and the Voice of America) and the foreign distribution of written materials are among a wide number of techniques which have been utilized to purposely increase the supply of ideologies, information and images in other lands. Actors engaging such strategies of ideational propagation may view their efforts as cooperative or coercive in nature but the intent is to introduce new ideas to foreign publics. 62

However, the transnational dissemination of foreign ideologies and information has not always resulted from some intentional plan and even the most innocuous forms of interaction in the foreign realm have proven to be politically hazardous to incumbency. Private and public agents in other countries may not intend to promote alternative values and norms or to highlight differing lifestyles to foreign audiences yet do so nonetheless. While the American government and non-governmental organizations have established Television Marti, the United States Information Agency and Amnesty International with the expressed purpose of showcasing and spreading desired norms and practices to the rest of the world, Hollywood, Wall Street, the American military and tourists have accomplished similar tasks, perhaps more successfully.

Similarly, scientists–who in the course of their work are generally provided with more opportunities to travel abroad, read foreign literature and meet foreigners than many segments of society. In the course of their work, they have often become familiar with, as well as have disseminated, more than just interesting scientific theories but galvanizing political and economic ideas as well. In many countries, scientists have represented one of the few conduits with regular and relatively unfiltered access to the outside world and, perhaps unsurprisingly, have played a key role in informing the polity with novel ideas which have challenged and sometimes disrupted government domestic and foreign policies. 63

Consequently, as the degree of openness to the international realm expands, the number of foreign ideational sources which can be accessed in the domestic arena increases. Policies fostering international openness facilitate the establishment of cross-national contacts, which can open the floodgates to incoming ideologies and information. The interactions which are a component of any act of international openness return us to the crux of Wendt’s constructivist approach–how actors formulate, question and eventually reformulate collective meanings. His model is premised upon the existence of repeated interpersonal contacts and even seemingly apolitical cross-national interactions form the basis of the "social acts" which guide and constrain political actors. 64

What these interactions are actually composed of is largely left unanswered by theorists like Wendt but it appears that much of the substance of international openness consists of inter-personal meetings between government officials, soldiers, scientists, tourists or any members of society. However, Wendt and other like-minded scholars do not consider the opposing argument: that interrupting those interactions should also have an impact upon processes of intersubjectivity, with decreased opportunities for intercommunication among agents resulting in reduced challenges to the existing practices and governing ideologies which form the basis of an incumbent’s legitimacy. 65

Similarly, Finnemore and Sikkink have formulated a "norm life cycle" by which norms enter into political dialogue and influence domestic political practices. In their framework, the life cycle commences with "norm emergence" and "norm acceptance" in which political agents become cognizant of new norms and which they persuade others to adopt. 66 The authors’ argument is premised upon the existence of public institutions, outlets and "organizational platforms" where political entrepreneurs can study and promote particular norms. 67

But without domestic institutions to foster the emergence and acceptance of ideological alternatives, new norms are unlikely to be internalized, the final step of their model, or acquire that taken-for-granted quality which Finnemore and Sikkink state are necessary for political change to occur. Norm emergence and acceptance have, in fact, been blocked by incumbent regimes, a counterfactual consideration not addressed in their model, who can intervene in this multi-stage process of preference formation and knowledge creation by not permitting political entrepreneurs from utilizing those outlets and platforms. 68

As a consequence, incumbent leaders preoccupied with concerns about the fragility of their legitimacy have adopted comprehensive–and costly–plans to seal the polity off from potential sources of external ideational influences and cross-national interactions. Joseph Stalin, the long-time Soviet dictator, was particularly vigilant, repeatedly adopted policies of ideational protectionism which greatly restricted access to the non-Soviet world. During his long reign, almost every conceivable connection between the domestic and international arenas was either severed or closely monitored by the Soviet authorities.

Stalin reversed his predecessor’s policies on foreign trade, ending policies which encouraged foreign investment and technology transfer. Despite public statements of the need for a vibrant scientific establishment, in order to meet Stalin’s ambitious economic plans, the Communist Party cut off Soviet scientists’ extensive contacts with their European and American colleagues. Even during most of the second world war, Stalin followed a course which largely kept American and British soldiers, officers and representatives from entering the country, even when such actions impeded the receipt of badly-needed Lend Lease aid. Notably, all these decisions engendered significant material opportunity costs, impeding the achievement of stated economic and military goals. Nonetheless, the Party stayed loyal to this course of action in order to maintain a placid ideational marketplace for Stalin, who never shook his pessimistic analysis of the invariably vulnerable position of the Soviet Union vis-à-vis the international system, the Communist Party in relation to Soviet society and even Stalin within the Party itself. 69

Though not nearly to the same extent as Stalin, the Chinese Communist Party under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s and 1990s has also grappled with the consequences of greater international openness which resulted from the "Open Door" reforms which invited in foreigners and their investment. Conservative members of the ruling elite, while fully aware of the rapid economic growth which was being generated by Deng’s reforms, launched a vigorous "anti-spiritual pollution" campaign nonetheless, concerned that the "contagions" which the enhanced exposure to the non-Chinese world was engendering would undermine their rule. A similar conundrum has faced the Chinese authorities with the Internet, simultaneously encouraging the spread of this vital economic and communications tool while implementing extensive (though not necessarily enforceable) restrictions on its use because of fears of widespread access to unwanted alternative ideological frameworks devoid of "Chinese characteristics." 70

If an incumbent government’s goal is to curb activity in the domestic marketplace of ideas and maintain ideational hegemony in order to protect its hold on power, then connections between the domestic and international realms must be monitored or even terminated in order to accomplish this aim. Governments fearful of unfettered ideational competition have designed policies of international openness and revamped domestic institutions with the intent of shielding their populace from unwanted ideational influences. Political entrepreneurs have been prevented from familiarity with a broader range of ideologies and information as well as the opportunity to persuade a larger audience to adopt new practices, thus impeding processes of intersubjectivity. As the opportunities for state involvement in foreign affairs–e.g., inter-state trade, military alliances, cultural exchanges–grow, the stronger the likelihood that elites and masses in participating states will have contact with foreign information, ideas and markets as well as with foreigners themselves.

The creation of domestic audiences possessing greater familiarity with foreign ideational influences can have deleterious domestic consequences for the continued reign of a government whose legitimacy rests upon having its ideological rationales or assessments of its performance unchallenged. Effectively restricting the number of cross-border sources of ideological alternatives and socioeconomic comparisons requires monitoring the degree of international openness which exists in the polity in order to establish greater command over the internal dynamics of ideational demand and supply. Thus, international openness is a necessary condition for the establishment of any form of interaction among actors in the international system and incumbent officials which are uncomfortable with governing a polity possessing greater exposure to the outside world will sacrifice absolute and even relative material gains if one wishes to cut off those sources and shield the populace.

Governments which cannot tolerate a broadening of contacts between the domestic and international arenas preclude the consideration of an extensive array of foreign policy options. This includes decisions to engage in international cooperation, which does not simply entail the mutual adjustment of policies between two nations but requires a willingness to allow agents and influences from abroad to enter into the domestic realm. 71 Every mode of international openness, economic and non-economic, requires, at a minimum, some sort of interchange between a segment of the populace in the participating states, ranging from soldiers and scientists to businesspeople and governing elites. Practically speaking then, without the connections and contacts which traverse national borders, policy adjustment cannot be accomplished.

Subsequently, opportunities for foreign trade and aid may be spurned, not only due to leadership fears of external economic manipulation or as a means to bribe competing domestic interests, but because of suspicions about the foreign personnel which accompany such transactions. Scientific collaboration may be declined, not only due to concerns of foreign states acquiring relative technological gains from such arrangements but from government apprehension of what non-scientific topics may be discussed between scientists. Travel and exchange programs which permit citizens from different countries to meet and interact may also be restricted or prohibited by regimes alarmed of what tales they may bring home and share in the domestic arena.

Ultimately, though, strategies of closure meant to sustain a sitting government’s rule by keeping out foreign economic and ideational influences can be self-defeating when it comes at the price of reduced economic efficiency and a less dynamic scientific establishment. Those leaders which shun international openness in order to preserve a complacent domestic climate and inhibit the formation of internal challenges to their rule may weaken nonetheless due to an inability to satisfy internal economic needs or maintain an adequate military base with a sheltered economy and scientific network.

Controlling and/or delimiting the degree of international openness in the domestic arena has represented the highest political priority for some incumbent leaders and have subsequently adopted measures to impede the intermingling of foreign agents and influences with domestic actors and institutions. Though few states have gone to the extreme lengths of a North Korea or of a China during the period of the Cultural Revolution to withdraw from the outside world, many more states have endeavored to moderate their involvement in cross-boundary activities ranging from international trade and scientific collaboration to the receipt of foreign aid and tourists. Whether such policies of self-isolation can be effectively maintained in an era of more intense globalization is an open question.



Note 1: Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, The Commanding Heights, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998); Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, (New York: Farrar Straus Giraux, 1999). Back.

Note 2: Robert Putnam, "Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: the Logic of Two-Level Games," International Organization, 42:3, Summer 1988, pp. 427-460. For an interesting application of Putnam’s model to balance of power dynamics, see Steven David, "Explaining Third World Alignment," World Politics, 43:2, January 1991, pp. 233-256. Back.

Note 3: Albert O. Hirschman, National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade, (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1980); other. Back.

Note 4: Peter Gourevitch, "The Second Image Reversed: The International Sources of Domestic Politics," International Organization, 32:4, Autumn 1978, p. 911. Back.

Note 5: John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 23. Back.

Note 6: Jack Snyder and Karen Ballentine, "Nationalism and the Marketplace of Ideas," International Security, 21:2, Fall 1996, pp. 5-40. Back.

Note 7: Quoted in James Clay Moltz, "Commonwealth Economics in Perspective: Lessons from the East Asian Model," Soviet Economy, 7:4, 1991, p. 344. Back.

Note 8: Peter Haas, "Introduction: Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination," International Organization, 46:1, Winter 1992, pp. 1-35, and Peter Haas, "Do Regimes Matter? Epistemic Communities and Mediterranean Pollution Control," International Organization, 43:3, Summer 1989, pp. 377-403. Back.

Note 9: Adam Przeworski, Democracy and the Market, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 54n2. Back.

Note 10: Juan Linz, "Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes" in Fred Greenstein and Nelson Polsby, eds. The Handbook of Political Science, (Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1975), pp. 264-300; Guillermo O’Donnell and Philippe C. Schmitter, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies, Vol. 3, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), chap. 5; Przeworski, Democracy and the Market, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 103; and Guillermo O’Donnell, "Introduction to the Latin American Cases," in Guillermo O’Donnell, Philippe Schmitter, and Laurence Whitehead, eds., Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Latin America, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986). Back.

Note 11: Juan Linz, "Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes," p. 197. Back.

Note 12: Judith Goldstein and Robert Keohane, "Ideas and Foreign Policy: An Analytical Framework," in Judith Goldstein and Robert Keohane, ed., Ideas and Foreign Policy: Beliefs, Institutions and Political Change, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), p. 3. Back.

Note 13: Przeworski, "Some Problems in the Study of the Transition to Democracy," p. 52; Przeworski, Democracy and the Market, pp. 103-104; Stepan, pp. 47-48; Bova, p. 123. Back.

Note 14: Huntington, The Third Wave, pp. 45-46, 50-53; Huntington, "Democracy's Third Wave," pp. 4-5; O’Donnell, "Introduction to the Latin American Cases," p. 15; Richard Joseph, "Africa: The Rebirth of Political Freedom," Journal of Democracy, 2:4, Fall 1991, pp. 20-21; Michael Waller, The End of the Communist Power Monopoly, (New York: Manchester University Press, 1993), pp. 197-198. Back.

Note 15: John Urry, Reference Groups and the Theory of Revolution, (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973), p. 86.Back.

Note 16: Jeffrey T. Checkel, "Norms, Institutions and National Identity in Contemporary Europe," International Studies Quarterly, 43:1 March 1999, p. 85. Back.

Note 17: However, Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History," The National Interest, 16, Summer 1989, pp. 3-18, argues that the adoption of Western economic, social and political throughout the globe will inevitably occur. Back.

Note 18: Margaret Weir, "Ideas and the Politics of Bounded Innovation," in Sven Steinmo, Kathleen Thelen and Frank Longstreth, eds., Structuring Politics: Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Analysis, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 188-216. Back.

Note 19: Judith Goldstein, Ideas, Interests and American Trade Policy, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), p. 15. Back.

Note 20: Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), chap. 4. Back.

Note 21: Herbert Simon, "From Substantive to Procedural Rationality," in Frank Hahn and Martin Hollis, eds., Philosophy and Economic Theory, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), pp. 72-74; Philip E. Tetlock and Charles McGuire, Jr., "Cognitive Perspectives on Foreign Policy," in Political Behavior Annual, p. 150. Back.

Note 22: Checkel, "Norms, Institutions and National Identity in Contemporary Europe," pp. 96-107 Samuel Huntington’s celebrated "clash of civilization" argument utilizes an analogous though less sophisticated formula, contending that the eight cultural divisions of the world represent impenetrable barriers which thwart the receipt and implementation of ideas and values to individuals not of the same civilization. See Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs, 72:4, September/October 1993, pp. 22-49. Back.

Note 23: Huntington’s arguments in the "Clash of Civilization" (themes of which can also be found in an earlier work, "Will More Countries Become Democratic," Political Science Quarterly, Summer 1984, pp. 192-217) have been subject to this critique. Back.

Note 24: Goldstein and Keohane, p. 20. Also see Albert Yee, "The Causal Effects of Ideas on Politics," International Organization, 50:1, Winter 1996, p. 88 and Goldstein, Ideas, Interests and American Trade Policy, pp. 181-82. Back.

Note 25: Moltz, "Commonwealth Economics in Perspective: Lessons from the East Asian Model," pp. 351-353. Back.

Note 26: Yee, "The Causal Effects of Ideas on Politics." Also see Evangelista, "The Paradox of State Strength: Transnational Relations, Domestic Structures, and Security Policy in Russia and the Soviet Union," pp. 157-166; Thomas Risse-Kappen, "Bringing Transnational Relations Back In: Introduction," in Thomas Risse-Kappen, ed., Bringing Transnational Relations Back In: Non-State Actors, Domestic Structures and International Institutions, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995); and Peter Haas, "Introduction: Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination," International Organization, 46:1, pp. 1-35. Back.

Note 27: Margaret Weir, "Ideas and Politics: The Acceptance of Keynesianism in Britain and the United States," in Peter A. Hall, The Political Power of Economic Ideas: Keynesianism across Nations, (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1989). Weir’s theory focuses upon the differing recruitment procedures and degree of hierarchy in government agencies in the United States and Britain and its effect upon the acceptance and operationalization of Keynesianism. Back.

Note 28: Risse-Kappen, "Bringing Transnational Relations Back In: Introduction," pp. 23,28; Matthew Evangelista, "Transnational Relations, Domestic Structures and Security Policy in the USSR and Russia," in Thomas Risse-Kappen, ed., Bringing Transnational Relations Back In: Non-State Actors, Domestic Structures and International Institutions, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 146-188; Patricia Chilton, "Mechanics of Change: Social Movements, Transnational Coalitions and The Transformation Process in Eastern Europe," in Thomas Risse-Kappen, ed., Bringing Transnational Relations Back In: Non-State Actors, Domestic Structures and International Institutions, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 189-226; Mendelson, "Internal Battles and External Wars: Politics, Learning and the Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan." Back.

Note 29: Furthermore, Huntington has studied the relationship between the existence of significant political change and the capacity of domestic institutions to channel the aspirations of societal forces within the boundaries of the existing political structure of the state. Rising political participation can evolve into a serious problem if the established political and social institutions of the nation are not designed to deal with such an influx and/or if key domestic actors are not cognizant of the appropriate rules and practices by which the political arena should be governed. When those legislative and bureaucratic bodies prove incapable of satisfying the aspirations and demands of politically-active forces, "rapid, fundamental and violent domestic change in the dominant values and myths of a society, in its political institutions, social structure, leadership and government activity and policies" is a realistic possibility. See Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), p. 264. Back.

Note 30: Quoted in Larry Diamond, "Toward Democratic Consolidation," in Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner, eds., The Global Resurgence of Democracy, 2nd edition, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1996), p. 228. Similarly, Martin Whyte, "Urban China: A Civil Society in the Making?," in Arthur Rosenbaum, ed., State and Society in China: The Consequences of Reform, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992) writes that political systems "dedicated to a totalitarian program will try insofar as possible to prevent or limit the emergence of a civil society." Also see E. Gyimah-Boadi, "Civil Society in Africa," Journal of Democracy, April 1996 and Aleksandr Smolar, "From Opposition to Atomization," Journal of Democracy, January 1996. Back.

Note 31: Snyder and Ballentine, p. 12n23. Back.

Note 32: Thomas Risse-Kappen, "Ideas Do Not Flow Freely," International Organization, 48:2, Spring 1994, pp. 185-214; Risse-Kappen, "Bringing Transnational Relations Back In: Introduction," pp. 25-28; Yee, "The Causal Effects of Ideas on Politics." Back.

Note 33: Snyder and Ballentine, pp. 7-9. Back.

Note 34: The focus of these authors is more upon media institutions and access to alternative domestic and foreign sources rather my analysis of a broader range of cross-national contacts. For instance in Weimar Germany, the driving force behind ideational monopolization was industrialist Alfred Hugenberg’s Telegraph Union wire service, which controlled more than half of the country’s press. As a result of this state-sanctioned dominance, few alternative sources of news which did not incorporate Hugenberg’s hyper-nationalist slant were available to most German citizens. By the same token, inter-war Japanese governments designated themselves as the sole providers of information and ideology for the country, with alternative suppliers forbidden to furnish ideas which challenged the regime line on domestic and foreign policy. See Snyder and Ballentine, pp. 11-12; Saburo Ienaga, The Pacific War, 1931-1945, (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978), chap. 2. Back.

Note 35: Brian Greene, "State Identity and International Norms: The Logic of a Constructivist Two-Level Game," presented at the 1999 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Atlanta, GA; Checkel, "Norms, Institutions and National Identity in Contemporary Europe," International Studies Quarterly, 43:1 March 1999, p. 84. Back.

Note 36: Checkel, Ideas and International Political Change: Soviet/Russian Behavior and the End of the Cold War; Mendelson, "Internal Battles and External Wars: Politics, Learning and the Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan"; Evangelista, "The Paradox of State Strength: Transnational Relations, Domestic Structures, and Security Policy in Russia and the Soviet Union." Back.

Note 37: Steven Lukes, Power: A Radical View, (London: Macmillan, 1974), p. 23. Back.

Note 38: Goldstein, Ideas, Interests and American Trade Policy, p. 12. Back.

Note 39: Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848, p. viii. Back.

Note 40: Ibid, pp.394-395, chap. 12. Back.

Note 41: Kathleen R. McNamara, The Currency of Ideas, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998). Also see Margaret Weir, "Ideas and Politics: The Acceptance of Keynesianism in Britain and the United States," in Peter A. Hall, The Political Power of Economic Ideas: Keynesianism across Nations, (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1989), pp. 53-86; Eleanor Hadley, "The Diffusion of Keynesian Ideas in Japan," in Peter A. Hall, The Political Power of Economic Ideas: Keynesianism across Nations, (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1989), pp. 291-309; John S. Odell, US International Monetary Policy: Markets, Powers and Ideas as Sources of Change, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982), chaps. 2, 8. For a similar study of the victory of Stalinist economic models in the Soviet Union and China, see Nina Halpern, "Creating Socialist Economies: Stalinist Political Economy and the Impact of Ideas," in Goldstein and Keohane, Ideas and Foreign Policy, pp. 87-110. Back.

Note 42: Quoted in Richard Rose, "What is Lesson-Drawing?" Journal of Public Policy, 11:1, January-March 1991, p. 11 (my emphasis). Robert Jervis, Perceptions and Misperceptions, pp. 19-20, similarly argues that leaders are rarely in agreement about when an international crisis (or "fires") is occurring. Jonathan DiCicco, "The Domestic Politics of Status Quo Evaluations,"presented at the 1999 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Atlanta, GA, p. 1, similarly notes that "domestic political factors impact the formation and alteration of states’ status quo evalutions," meaning that different domestic actors may possess quite unlike views of existing conditions. Back.

Note 43: Alexander Wendt, "Anarchy Is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics," International Organization, 46:2, Spring 1992, pp. 391-425. Back.

Note 44: The information upon which people formulate these comparisons does not have to accurate or correct, only familiar. Back.

Note 45: Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink, "Norm Dynamics and Political Change," International Organization, 52:4, Autumn 1998, p. 903. Juan Linz, The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes: Crisis, Breakdown and Reequilibration, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1978), p. 20, makes a similar point about the foreign components of domestic appraisals, writing that the "response of leading actors in the international political and economic system becomes another factor in judging the efficacy of policies." Back.

Note 46: Quoted in Maryann K. Cusimano, Beyond Sovereignty: Issues for a Global Agenda, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000), p. 16. Kennan did not specify how citizens of the Eastern bloc would become familiar with life on the other side of the "Iron Curtain." Back.

Note 47: See Urry, pp. 71-73, for a survey of theories which link comparisons to the outbreak of revolution. Some authors, like Liah Greenfeld and Mark Katz, explicitly link perceptions that one’s nation is "falling behind" to domestic upheaval, leadership turnover and the adoption of radical foreign policies. Katz, draws upon Greenfeld’s study of ressentiment, "a psychological state resulting from suppressed feelings of envy and hatred…" caused by negative cross-national comparisons. See Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), p. 15, and Mark N. Katz, "Ressentiment in the Foreign Policy of Revolutionary Regimes," presented at the 1999 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Atlanta, GA. Back.

Note 48: Thomas Friedman, "Ayatollah Deng," New York Times, 20 July 1999, p. A21. Also see Chris Hedges, "Iran is Unable to Stem West’s Cultural Invasion," New York Times, 28 March 1992, p. 11. Back.

Note 49: Quoted in Theda Skocpol, States and Revolution, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), p. 47 and Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Lenin Anthology, (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1975), pp. xxix-xxx. A similar process may be occurring in China, at least according to the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has engaged in an escalating campaign to suppress the Falun Gong spiritual sect, now viewed by the regime as potential threats to the party’s primacy in domestic affairs. As a self-described loyal member of the CCP stated, "Before I read that book [written by the founder of Falun Gong, who lives in exile in the United States], I really had no world view. I never asked the question, What’s the purpose of life? After I read it, everything changed for me." Subsequently, he adopted a more hostile view towards the CCP, in which he and other Falun Gong participants (including other CCP members) now feel has neglected a spiritual void which had been previously unnoticed. See John Pomfret, "Beijing Fears Sect’s Pull on Communist Hearts," Washington Post, 28 July 1999, p. A1. Back.

Note 50: John Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies, second ed., (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), chaps. 1, 8; Jack Walker, "The Diffusion Of Knowledge, Policy Communities and Agenda Setting: The Relationship of Knowledge and Power," in John Tropman, Milan Dluhy and Roger Lind, eds., New Strategic Perspectives on Social Policy, (New York: Pergamon Press, 1981), pp. 75-96. Back.

Note 51: Giovanni Sartori, "How Far Can Free Government Travel," Journal of Democracy, 6:3, July 1993, p. 103. Also see Kingdon, pp. 170, 174. Back.

Note 52: Przeworski, "Some Problems in the Study of the Transition to Democracy," p. 52. Also see Przeworski, Democracy and the Market; Alfred Stepan, "On the Tasks of a Democratic Opposition," Journal of Democracy, 1:2, Spring 1990, pp. 47-48; Russell Bova, "Political Dynamics of a Post-Communist Transition: A Comparative Perspective," World Politics, 44:1, October 1991, p. 123; Nancy Bermeo, "Rethinking Regime Change," Comparative Politics, 22:3, April 1990, p. 368. Back.

Note 53: E.E. Schattschneider, Semi-Sovereign People, p. 68. Back.

Note 54: Of course, that is not to claim that all novel and disruptive doctrines, tenets and belief systems originate from abroad. Back.

Note 55: Joseph Nye, Bound to Lead, (New York: Basic Books, 1990), chap. 1; Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History," The National Interest, 16, Summer 1989, pp. 3-18. Back.

Note 56: Nye, Bound to Lead, p. 32. Back.

Note 57: Samuel Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991), chap. 2; Samuel Huntington, "Democracy’s Third Wave," in Larry Diamond and Mark Plattner, eds., The Global Resurgence of Democracy, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993), pp. 6-8. Back.

Note 58: Neta C. Crawford, "Decolonization as an International Norm: The Evolution of Practices, Arguments and Beliefs," in Laura W. Reed and Carl Kaysen, eds., Emerging Norms of Justified Intervention, (Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Scientists, 1993), pp. 37-61; Robert Jackson, Quasi-States: Sovereignty, International Relations and the Third World, (London: Cambridge University Press, 1990), chap. 1; Robert Jackson, "The Weight of Ideas in Decolonization: Normative Change in International Relations," in Judith Goldstein and Robert Keohane, ed., Ideas and Foreign Policy: Beliefs, Institutions and Political Change, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), pp. 119-122. Back.

Note 59: Prime Minister Winston Churchill had not intended to dismantle the British Empire when he signed onto the Atlantic Charter. However, local political entrepreneurs seized upon this public commitment favoring national self-determination to set into motion changes in the system of governance while metropole leaders were unable to sustain the legitimacy of a system which designated second-class status for the colonial populace. In fact, the British Prime Minister’s agreement in August 1940 to the Atlantic Charter, which had been conceived by President Roosevelt produced a type of "blowback" effect (Jack Snyder, Myths of Empire, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press, 1991), pp. 41-42). The British War Cabinet did not share President Roosevelt’s interpretation of the Charter, instead viewing the joint declaration as "directed to the nations of Europe whom we hoped to free from Nazi tyranny and was not intended to deal with the internal affairs of the British Empire…" However, an embattled Churchill who desperately needed American military support did not have the luxury of contesting this difference of opinion with President Roosevelt. See Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994), pp. 390-391, 401. Back.

Note 60: Robert Gilpin, The Political Economy of International Relations, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), chap. 2; E.M. Earl, "Adam Smith, Alexander Hamilton, Friedrich List: the Economic Foundations of Military Power," in Peter Paret, ed., Makers of Modern Strategy, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), pp. 217-261, and Alexander Hamilton, "Report on Manufacturers (December 5, 1791)," in Morton J. Frisch, ed., Selected Writings and Speeches of Alexander Hamilton, (Washington: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1985), pp. 277-318. Back.

Note 61: Though the pace and opportunities for ideational may have changed, the international dissemination of ideas is not a phenomenon of this century. For an interesting examination of early ideational diffusion, see Jerry Bentley, Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges In Pre-Modern Times, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). Back.

Note 62: J. M. Mitchell, International Cultural Relations, (London: Allen & Unwin, 1986), chaps. 1-2, adopts a positive perspective on the uses of cultural diplomacy and relations. Cf. Andrew M. Scott, The Revolution in Statecraft: Informal Penetration, (New York: Random House, 1965) who views such activities as a potentially powerful tool to utilize against vulnerable foes. Along those same lines, James Tyson, U.S. International Broadcasting and National Security, (New York: Ramapo Press, 1983), p. 51, cites a 1963 Radio Free Europe memorandum which stated that the purpose of the American-funded organization was to "break the Communist monopoly over news and information...and increase East European awareness of Western standards." Back.

Note 63: Andrei Sakharov and Fang Lizhi are just two examples of scientists, from the Soviet Union and China, respectively, who were among their country’s most prominent dissidents. Back.

Note 64: Wendt, "Anarchy is What States Make of It," pp. 405-06. Back.

Note 65: A recent example of a conscious attempt to restrict inter-state interactions in order to prevent changes in collective meanings is taking place in Jordan, where political entrepreneurs are leading an "anti-normalization movement," which seeks to ostracize any Jordanians who have cordial relations with Israelis. The goal, according to Ali Abu Sukar, one of the leaders of the movement, is to prevent "any activity that would break the psychological barrier of hostility between Arabs and the Jewish state." Otherwise, Sukar is concerned that "our sons, our children will look upon the Israelis as friends if we have a normal relationship with these people," which he describes as a danger. Thus, to prevent a further shift away from the widespread negative attitudes directed towards Israel, politicians, academics, artists and journalists are being pressured into ending contacts with their Jewish neighbor in order to preempt the embrace of even more cooperative policies by the Jordanian government. See William A. Orme, Jr., "Blacklist of Israel’s Friends Drawn Up in Jordan," New York Times, 15 October 1999, p. A3. Back.

Note 66: Finnemore and Sikkink, pp. 887, 895. Back.

Note 67: Ibid, pp. 896-901. Back.

Note 68: They do write that "completion of the ‘life cycle’ is not an inevitable process" (p. 895), but the hypotheses they list for explaining why some norms do not emerge focus mostly upon intrinsic qualities of the norms themselves or the impact of international legitimation (pp. 905-08) and not on efforts by governments themselves. Back.

Note 69: For a more detailed discussion of Stalin’s behavior towards international openness, see Geoffry L. Taubman, The Dangers of International Openness, chap. 3. Back.

Note 70: Ibid, chap. 4. Also see Geoffry L. Taubman, "A Not-So-World Wide Web: The Internet, China and the Challenges of Non-democratic Rule," Political Communication, 15, 1998, pp. 255-272. Back.

Note 71: The definition of international openness is adapted from the definition of international cooperation provided by Robert Keohane in After Hegemony, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), p. 51. Back.