Foreign policy operational codes of European populist radical right leaders
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Recently, both in scholarly and policy circles, the populist radical right has been a popular and contested topic in Europe. Despite the increasing influence and visibility of European populist radical right (EPRR) parties and leaders, their foreign policy beliefs have not been studied thoroughly by scholars of International Relations (IR) and Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA), with a few descriptive exceptions. This study aims at filling this gap by linking the FPA and populist radical right literatures with an empirically and theoretically robust analysis. With an operational code analysis of the foreign policy beliefs of nine prominent EPRR leaders, this dissertation first seeks similarities or differences between EPRR leaders and also compare them to the average world leader, and then discuss the underlying reasons for the presence or lack of these similarities and differences. On the one hand, the results show that, in terms of beliefs about the political universe, the EPRR leaders can be grouped into two categories: Where nativism dominates over populism, the EPRR leaders’ beliefs about the political universe are more conflictual and vice versa. On the other hand, in terms of beliefs about foreign policy instruments, the general picture shows that the EPRR leaders are not and will not necessarily be conflictual. This study presents significant findings about the foreign policy beliefs of EPRR leaders and may also provide a basis for future research in this under-studied field.