How attentive are political leaders to public opinion on issues involving international politics? This is a book about conflicts and fears: how domestic concerns are drawing countries in Europe into international events. There has been a lot of research into why the US and UK militaries intervened in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflict zones. But why is France taking its military to Libya, Mali and deeper into Africa? Why has Poland become deeply engaged in Ukraine's politics? Why is Sweden, which has not fought a war since 1814, concerned with the fierce internal wars in Iraq and Syria? Are countries simply protecting their national interests, or is domestic xenophobia playing a part?
In Fear and the Making of Foreign Policy, Raymond Taras explains the causal mechanisms propelling these three EU states to become engaged in outside conflicts and tells the story of when and why xenophobia at home is converted into xenophobia abroad. It includes chapter length case studies of France, Poland and Sweden, together with counterpoints from the USA, China, Iran and Turkey, that investigate the role that human phobias play in international politics. It examines countries whose policy responses to 'strangers' at home and 'friends' or 'foes' abroad are dramatically dissimilar. It addresses the phenomena of social fears, moral panic and declinism of the West through the prism of xenophobic attitudes and their often underestimated consequences.