Policy Windows for Foreign Policy Shifts in Latin American and Caribbean States

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    Policy Windows for Foreign Policy Shifts in Latin American and Caribbean States
    Ventanas de oportunidad para el cambio de política exterior en Latinoamérica y el Caribe

    Abstract

    Why do leaders choose to drastically alter their state’s international behavior? This
    article aims to identify common domestic and international conditions that led to a
    foreign policy shift (FPS). Given the difficulty associated with defining and measuring
    an FPS, this study advances a replicable and theoretically informed definition
    to guide case selection. This avoids both the type of selection bias evident in many
    previous qualitative analyses and the use of measurements that are not closely related
    to the concept as in preceding quantitative research designs. The subsequent
    historical analysis of FPSs in Latin America and the Caribbean between 1945 and
    2008 identifies two causal paths that led to FPS. By one account, growing discontent
    with longstanding dictatorships led to political polarization and subsequent succession
    crises, including civil wars and/or international military intervention, from
    which new regimes/leaders emerged. By another, international isolation worsened
    economic conditions, causing leaders to implement administrative reforms to alter
    their foreign policy by conceding to pressures from major powers.

    Italo Beltrão Sposito
    Universidade Federal do Tocantins (UFT), Brazil