Gaddis’ Lacuna: Foreign Policy Analysis and the End of the Cold War

IR Working Paper 1993/5

Author/s (editor/s):

Valerie M. Hudson

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 1993/5

Valerie M. Hudson, ‘Gaddis’ Lacuna: Foreign Policy Analysis and the End of the Cold War’, IR Working Paper 1993-5, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, October 1993.

John Lewis Gaddis has persuasively declared International Relations theory to be a failure. Though agreeing with his argument that IR’s mistake was to take a deterministic and hard science approach to understanding a subject matter that is not determined (human beings), I contend that there is a lacuna in his overview. There is a research agenda that has not treated international actors as undifferentiated molecules in a glass jar. Foreign Policy Analysis seeks to capture the rich detail of international relations as it is made by conscious, purposeful humans, acting singly and in groups. A survey of recent scholarship in FPA illustrates its explanatory potential as IR theory, and how it provides a basis for normative evaluation of foreign policy, as well.

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