Fitting national interests with populist opportunities: intervention politics on the European radical right

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Abstract

As European radical right parties grow in influence, and as foreign and security policy becomes more politicised, these parties have increasing potential to shape national debates on international affairs. This paper shows how radical right opposition parties seek to exploit policy dilemmas surrounding military intervention according to the nature of the political opportunity these dilemmas present in specific national settings. Its findings are based on qualitative comparative case studies of Front National, AfD and UKIP responses to intervention debates surrounding the Syrian civil war in France, Germany and the UK. I find that non-intervention is not an absolute value for radical right parties. Whilst liberal-humanitarian interventions are uniformly rejected, interventions on national security grounds, whether to combat Jihadist threats or prevent uncontrolled migration, prompt a range of responses shaped by the domestic political context. Yet even where these parties back intervention in votes, their discourse focuses on fitting the issue to the populist dimensions of their political agenda, especially attacking mainstream rivals for incompetence, duplicity or incoherence, and failing to protect the sovereignty and ethnic integrity of the nation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Relations
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • European politics
  • foreign policy
  • military intervention
  • populism
  • radical right

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