In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Regime Change and Its Impact on Foreign Policy: The Portuguese Case Nancy Bermeo Much has been written on the domestic determinants of foreign policy. From Kant's work on the association between democracy and war, to more recent work in the field of international politics, scholars have urged us to recognize that relations between states are often shaped by relations within states. Karl Deutsch argues that international policy is shaped primarily by domestic factors (Deutsch 1968). Peter Katzenstein argues that "international political economy remains unintelligible without a systematic analysis of domestic structures ," (Katzenstein 1978: 5) James Rosenau argues that "a nation's foreign policy reflects its way of life . . ." (Rosenau 1967: 2) and Bruce Moon suggests that today's foreign policy theory "must be centered to a significant extent on domestic regimes" (Moon 1985: 328). There is certainly no consensus on the explanatory weight of domestic factors-nor on which domestic factors are most important. Peter Gourevitch, for example, suggests that "the character of [a domestic] political system might have little impact on the content of various policies" (Gourevitch 1977: 312). But many scholars agree with Richard Rosecrance that "foreign policy objectives are . . . shaped by internal forces to a greater degree than before" (Rosecrance 1973: 166) and that they therefore merit new attention. Many of the studies cited above analyze the impact of domestic factors on foreign policy by comparing several states. In this essay, I compare two regimes in the same state, analyzing how Portuguese foreign policy was affected by redemocratization. This approach has the advantage of holding variables like political culture and economic structure constant, thus enabling us to focus on regime type itself. How did the ouster of the dictatorship and the transformation of the Portuguese regime affect foreign policy? If the studies cited Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Volume 6, 1988. 7 8 Nancy Bermeo above are correct, the effects should have been substantial, yet to what extent can changed policies be attributed to regime transformation per se and not to other factors? This essay addresses these related questions through a three part discussion. The first part concerns how the Portuguese regime was transformed. The second concerns how foreign policy changed during the transitional and constitutional governments of the post-revolutionary period and the third explains the changes observed. Regime Transformation The Salazar-Caetano dictatorship was overthrown on 25 April 1974 by a small group of middle-ranking career officers who came to be known as the MFA, the Armed Forces Movement. The group brought down the oldest dictatorship in the world in less than fortyeight hours. Since only a few secret police rose to defend the regime, the coup involved almost no loss of life (Porch 1977: 93). The MFA had emerged from a series of professional frustrations associated with Portugal's colonial wars in Africa. At the strategiclevel , the captains and majors who organized the movement were increasingly convinced that they were involved in a war they could not win. Ill-equipped, and fighting on three separate fronts in a territory twenty-two times the size of Portugal itself, they had verysound reasons for feeling discouraged. The withdrawal of the United States from Indochina contributed to their sense of futility. Personal reasons compelled these officers to act as well. Measured on a per capita basis, Portugal was fielding the fourth largest military organization in the world (USACDA 1983: 38-74). One out of every four men of military age was in the armed forces (Maxwell 1979: 14). As the ranks of enlisted men expanded, middle ranking officers were called on repeatedly to lead combat missions while their senior officers enjoyed the good life on the mainland. Salaries were low and the little prestige accorded professional officers was threatend when university educated draftees were offered quick commissions and the same privileges as career officers. (Rodrigues, Borga and Cardoso 1974). The MFA's willingness to organize the coup and to act against the orders of senior officers was also fueled by class divisions within the military itself. There were unmistakable class differences between middle-ranking and high-ranking officers. The high-ranking officers had chosen their careers before the colonial wars began—when the nation's...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 7-25
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.