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Utopias, Counterfacturals and External Affairs: (Re)Visioning Foreign Policy in a small Country Context.

Ville Sinkkonen, Henri Vogt

Abstract


Abstract

This article analyses the difficulties of visionary foreign policy thinking, by presenting a unique experiment that we conducted in the small state context of Finland in 2013‒2014. We invited eminent International Relations scholars to write lengthy newspaper columns contemplating the country’s future foreign policy avenues. The starting point for these contributions was a counterfactual present wherein Finland could afford to expend a substantial amount of additional resources on its external affairs, without the traditional sense of cautiousness symptomatic of the country. The insights attained throughout the experiment warrant reflection upon the utility of such heuristic devices as tools for future-oriented policy making. The exercise highlights a number of issues pertaining to the relationship between the disciplinary contours of IR and the concrete challenges of the policy world. Above all, the article calls for a nuanced use of the structure-agency continuum for coming to terms with the everyday complexities of foreign policy making.

Keywords: Foreign policy, counterfactual, vision, utopia, scenario, small state, Finland

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Bibliography: Sinkkonen, Ville/Vogt, Henri: 1914: Utopias, Counterfacturals and External Affairs: (Re)Visioning Foreign Policy in a small Country Context., ERIS, 2-2015, pp. 66-83. https://doi.org/10.3224/eris.v2i2.20680


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