Explaining the Quest for European Strategic Autonomy: A Neoclassical Realist Analysis
Abstract: This thesis will be studying the EUs Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the notion of strategic autonomy, asking why at this particular time does the EU strive for strategic autonomy. This research puzzle together with the research question What factors are behind the EUs sudden strive for strategic autonomy and how can it best be theoretically explained? provides the focus of this thesis. We will be using a qualitative content analysis as a method to bring clarity to the puzzle and answer the question. The thesis will be arguing that while the traditional mainstream theories of liberalism, realism and constructivism has partial answers to the question, we will be arguing that the best theoretical understanding of why strategic autonomy has become such an important concept is neoclassical realism. Neoclassical realism is a much more comprehensive analytical tool for analysing international politics than liberalism and realism since it combines the international system level with the domestic level institutions, this makes it the preferred theory to answer the research puzzle.
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