Conclusion: Populism, Foreign Policy, and World Politics

  • Frank A. StengelEmail author
  • David B. MacDonald
  • Dirk Nabers
Part of the Global Political Sociology book series (GLPOSO)


This conclusion draws together the different arguments of the individual chapters and provides a preliminary agenda for further research on populism and world politics. Specifically, it proposes a three-step model for the analysis of populists’ impact on foreign policy and international politics, consisting of (1) populists’ specific ideologies and foreign policy positions, (2) domestic opportunity structures and (3) the international context. In contrast to widespread claims that populism per se is a danger to world order, democracy or “the West,” we argue that a systematic and careful analysis that differentiates between different populisms is a necessary precondition for any meaningful assessment in regards to their impact. Moreover, the latter not just depends on populists’ foreign policy demands but also on whether populists are in government or exerting pressure from the outside as well as the extent to which they can act in an unconstrained fashion, both in terms of domestic veto players and international context. This chapter argues that any worthwhile analysis of populism’s effect on foreign policy, international cooperation and conflict or regional and world order(s) has to move beyond the all too common mistake to treat populism as a monolith and to ignore both domestic and international contexts.


Populism Foreign policy analysis Domestic structures World order Trump, Donald J. 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank A. Stengel
    • 1
    Email author
  • David B. MacDonald
    • 2
  • Dirk Nabers
    • 1
  1. 1.Kiel UniversityKielGermany
  2. 2.University of GuelphGuelphCanada

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