Public Opinion and Foreign Political Discourse in France and the United Kingdom During the Iraq Crisis (September 2002-March 2003)
AbstractNumerous studies conclude that public opinion influences, even if indirectly, the policy makers in charge of the foreign policy. This study shall indicate this influence in France and the United Kingdom during the Iraq crisis in the second half of 2002 and in early 2003. This study is aimed at analyzing the foreign political argumentation used by the French and British governments, and at answering the question of what the public opinion on the Iraq issue was in these two countries, and whether the policy makers could have predicted the development of the public opinion on the Iraq issue and whether they could have adjusted their policy according to the feelings of general public. After the theoretical background, the study will follow in three steps. In the first section, French and British public opinion on the foreign political issues will be characterised in general. In the second section, proper foreign political argumentation of the French and British elites will be analyzed. In the third section, an analysis of the French and British public opinion on the Iraq crisis will be made along with its evaluation. This analysis proves that the public opinion could have constrained the foreign policy of the analysed countries, particularly of the United Kingdom. Both French and British elites had reasons to believe that their argumentation would convince the general public about the legitimacy of their policy. However, while the French government had the public support, the British cabinet did not enjoy it despite huge efforts to win it.
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