restricted access Introduction: Regime Transformation and Foreign Policy: Spain, Greece and Portugal
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Introduction Regime Transformation and Foreign Policy: Spain, Greece and Portugal Adamantia Pollis Within the last thirteen years three peripheral southern European states, Spain, Greece, and Portugal, have undergone radical regime transformations—from authoritarianism to democracy. In Portugal, a revolt of the military in April 1974 precipitated by the colonial wars in Africa, overthrew the nearly half a century old SalazarCaetano regime. In July of the same year the disastrous abortive attempt by Greece's military junta at a coup against President Makarios of Cyprus, precipitated the collapse of the seven year old Papadopoulos-Ioannides military dictatorship. And the following year, with the death of Franco in November 1975, nearly forty years of authoritarian rule in Spain came to an end. Although the process of regime transformation differed, as did the nature of their authoritarian regimes, in all three cases democratic regimes were consolidated within a span of several years. In the ensuing decade, moreover, the socialist party of each of the three countries had won an electoral victory. It is frequently presumed that radical regime changes are accompanied by a reorientation in foreign policy and that it is even more likely when political rule is in the hands of the socialists. The three studies in this volume analyze this issue, highlighting both the continuities and discontinuities in the construction and conduct of foreign policy. Two of the studies, Mujal-Leon's on Spain and particularly Bermeo's on Portugal, discuss elements of continuity which predate the transition to democratic rule. Coufoudakis' study of Greece concentrates heavily on a comparison of the post junta foreign policy of the conservatives with those of the socialists. A striking feature that emerges from these studies is the extent to which the foreign policies of the socialist governments in all three Journal of Modem Greek Studies, Volume 6, 1988. 2 Adamantia Pollis countries, while espousing a distinctly different ideology from those of their more conservative political rivals, when they hold the reigns of power, pursue foreign policies whose substance remains essentially unchanged. On one level, Spain, Greece and Portugal appear to have similar characteristics; recent democratization followed years of authoritarianism , a rapid rise of socialists to power, relative underdevelopment of the economy, and a position as a country peripheral to the European core. On the other hand, a comparison of the three highlights the extent to which differences in historical legacy and in their changing position in the world system has structured their respective leaders' perceptions and hence their conceptualization of their national interest. As a consequence, the contemporary formulation of foreign policy goals among the three countries articulate divergent long term objectives. Interestingly, subsequent to authoritarian rule, a consensus has emerged on foreign policy goals among all the major political parties within each country, albeit in Greece the consensus evolved gradually. There is greater cohesion on foreign policy among the conservative and social democratic political elites within Spain, Greece and Portugal (although at times with different strategies and differing emphases) than there is among their three socialist counterparts. It should be noted however, that for all major parties in all three countries there was agreement that their primary concern after the overthrow of their authoritarian regimes was the consolidation of democracy. While all three analysts document the essential continuity of foreign policy subsequent to regime change regardless of the ruling political party, there are marked differences among the three states in their definition of national interest and hence in their foreign policy goals and in their pursuit of specific objectives. For Greece, the central goal is severing its client relations with the United States by demanding equal treatment as an ally and taking independent foreign policy positions. For Portugal, it is turning its back on past colonial aspirations in Africa, entering the western bloc and becoming part of Europe. For Spain, it is abandoning isolationism and, simultaneously joining the western world and enhancing its autonomy by becoming an independent actor in the international scene, particularly in Latin America. The marked differences in the underlying premises of Spain's, Greece's, and Portugal's foreign policy stem largely from their disparate historical legacies. Modern Greece, it should be remembered , emerged from the Ottoman Empire in...