Moral Movements and Foreign Policy

Moral Movements and Foreign Policy

Why do advocacy campaigns succeed in some cases but fail in others? What conditions motivate states to accept commitments championed by principled advocacy movements? Joshua Busby sheds light on these core questions through an investigation of four cases – developing country debt relief, climate change, AIDS, and the International Criminal Court – in the G-7 advanced industrialized countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Drawing on hundreds of interviews with policy practitioners, he employs qualitative, comparative case study methods, including process-tracing and typologies, and develops a framing/gatekeepers argument, emphasizing the ways in which advocacy campaigns use rhetoric to tap into the main cultural currents in the countries where they operate. Busby argues that when values and costs potentially pull in opposing directions, values will win if domestic gatekeepers who are able to block policy change believe that the values at stake are sufficiently important.


“Joshua Busby’s ground breaking study illuminates the brave new work of transnational movements and American foreign policy. This book is a wonderful combination of sophisticated theory and empirical case study. The role and significance of non-governmental actors is one of the great questions of world politics today. Busby’s study will be an indispensible guide to scholarship in this area for years to come.”
– G. John Ikenberry, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University

“Joshua Busby argues that states’ responses to demands by moral advocacy groups depend not only on material costs but also on the fit between advocates’ values and local cultural traditions; the role of policy gatekeepers; and how the ‘messengers’ behave. Interests, values, political context, and agency all matter in this nuanced and disciplined account.”
– Robert O. Keohane, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

“This path-breaking book moves the study of transnational advocacy movements considerably further by identifying scope conditions for the success or failure of particular campaigns. Busby also advances the scholarly debate beyond sterile controversies about the relative importance of material interests versus moral values in international politics. A must read!”
– Thomas Risse, Professor of International Politics, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

“This book makes a major contribution to the comparative study of advocacy movements by introducing the literature on gatekeepers/veto players. It is a variation on the political opportunity structure approach with special relevance to stable, democratic systems. The model provides a means by which to identify the individuals and agencies within a state that either prevent or promote moral action.”
– Nandini Deo, Lehigh University, American Journal of Sociology

"Drawing on hundreds of interviews and employing comparative case-study method, Moral Movements and Foreign Policy provides a rich account of the state responses to advocacy campaigns."
–Hayriye Ozen, Atilim University, Mobilization