Evaluation of Relative Importance of Democracy Promotion, Power
Politics, and Oil in Determining U.S. Foreign Policy Towards
Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabic After 9/11
All governments pursue in the course of their regular activities the development and execution of foreign policies, policies ideally designed to promote the interests of the nation-state and to position it favorably with respect to its competitors or neighbors (Sodaro, 2004). By definition, foreign policy in any country tends to be formed around nationalism,, defined as a consciously formulated set of political ideas that emphasize the distinctiveness and unity of the country, specifying common interests, and prescribing goals for action (Sodaro, 2004).
In the context of international affairs, foreign policies become key mechanism for structuring both bilateral and multilateral relationships between nation-states. Such policies are more than ideological positions; they are representative of the actual framework within which political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, and social interactions will occur.
There are any number of theories describing the policy formation process and orientation. Among those theories are rational choice or rational actor theory, a political science derivative of economics stemming from the assumption that human beings are motivated in their economic behavior by material self-interest. Rational choice or rational actor theory as articulated by, among others, Herbert A. Simon (1976) and Michael J. Sodaro (2004), asserts that individuals behave in politics on the basis of self-interest, seeking to increase their expected gains and reduce their expected losses or risks on the basis of personal preferences and priorities. Applied to foreign policy developed by the government and the political actors who comprise government, rational choice theory focuses on specific choices oriented toward improving national welfar...