Broadly speaking, foreign policy analysts consider two contexts when studying a
given state’s policy vis-à-vis the international environment: the systemic, which
pertains to the structural determinants of the external domain, and the domestic.
Predominant attention to the former is associated with realist schools of thought,
which start from the assumption that states, as unitary, rational actors, make and
implement foreign policy that is driven by national interests. On the other hand,
emphasis on the domestic environment is the proclivity of liberal-pluralist foreign
policy analysts (and, it should be noted, theorists within the fast evolving new
paradigm of constructivism, who also contend that ‘foreign policy behaviour is
often determined primarily by domestic politics’).