Sibanda, Nkululeko (2012) British Party Politics and Foreign Policy: The Case of Zimbabwe. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The basic tenets of International Relations have become subject to uncertainty and debate. The academic consensus that dominated the field has cracked with further questions arising on the conventional assumptions’ claim to universality. Post-modernist thinkers, who have challenged its foundation on structured thinking, affirm that normalising discourses within traditional foreign policy position restricts academic advancement in the area. They challenge the notion that geopolitics and national politics are mutually exclusive. They argue for an interpretive approach of IR, which could show that some principles and understanding that shape domestic policymaking may affect foreign policy positions. Their interpretation of politics, including IR, is that, its fundamentals require an interpretive review of actions and their consequences. These reveal the socio-political and environmental influences that help shape policy, which traditional approaches to foreign relations fail to reveal. In over a century, the political situation in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe tilted towards the ideological position of the party in Britain. A debate about the nature of government, human rights, economics and Britain’s role in these, has characterised the foreign policy debate between the two states. The definition of these concepts has depended on the party running Downing Street. The emphasis on similar issues in the 1970s and 1980s differed to that of the late 1990s, indicating divergent interpretations of national interests, which most scholars regard as causal of the apolitical nature of IR. The high levels of public interest Rhodesian/Zimbabwean interests pushed foreign policy into the ideological field of domestic politics. This challenges the IR premises established by convention IR approaches. Thus, using the case study it is clear that dominated views of foreign relations are unable to verify the whole picture of what transpires in a political field.

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