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The Dutch Foreign Policy Elite: A Descriptive Study of Perceptions and Attitudes

Peter R. Baehr
International Studies Quarterly
Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jun., 1980), pp. 223-261
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The International Studies Association
DOI: 10.2307/2600201
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2600201
Page Count: 39
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The Dutch Foreign Policy Elite: A Descriptive Study of Perceptions and Attitudes
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Abstract

This study deals with aspects of the foreign policy-making process in a small Western European industrialized democracy: the Netherlands. A group of researchers from several Dutch universities carried out a research project regarding perceptions and attitudes held by members of the Dutch foreign policy elite. Interviews were held with members of the bureaucracy and the parliament (the formal elite) and with leading members of the churches, business, public interest groups, newsmedia and universities, political parties, advisory councils, and labor unions (the informal elite). An analysis is presented of problems of democratic control over foreign policy, as perceived by the elite. The perceptions of the elite of Dutch influence and power in world politics are dealt with, as well as the question whether the Netherlands should be seen as a "small nation" (and with what kind of consequences). Finally, three specific aspects of Dutch foreign policy are discussed: security policy, European unification, and development aid. The study is built in part on previous work, mainly by American authors, that has used the foreign policy-making machinery of the United States as its point of reference. Some of the conclusions of this article could well be used for comparative purposes, especially in the case of countries such as Norway and Sweden, in which similar studies have been conducted.

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