The Antinomies of Revolutionary Foreign Policy

  • Fred Halliday


The distinctive character of foreign policy in a revolutionary state lies not just in the goals it sets and in the ideology it expresses, but in the recurrence of certain tensions within the making of foreign policy itself. It is the aim of this chapter to identify and explore these recurrent conflicts. It will be argued here that revolutionary foreign policies are, in several important respects, distinct from those of status quo powers. At the same time they are contradictory, i.e. riven by conflicting forces and rival considerations, what are termed here ‘antinomies’, that combine to produce the policy of the state in question. Neither idealistic declamation of a complete rupture nor ‘realist’ denial can do justice to these policies, which are the product of these underlying and contrary forces. The foreign policies of revolutionary states are, it is argued, constituted over the long run by six tensions, or antinomic relations.


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Copyright information

© Fred Halliday 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred Halliday
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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