French foreign policy and the intervention in Libya: Frankrigs udenrigspolitik og intervention i Libyen

Mads Hyldahl Fogh

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis sets out to understand why France decided to take foreign policy action outside of the European framework in intervening in Libya. The ambition is to understand the various factors that are at play in a state’s foreign policy-making process. In order to explain state’s foreign policy decisions, we need to examine the state and the domestic factors that are at play. The analysis will be based on the neoclassical realist understanding of international relations and foreign policy. The theory sets out a framework along with the tools necessary to conduct a thorough analysis of the domestic actors, determinants, and ideas that all influence the foreign policy process. The intention is to open up ‘the black box’ that is the state. We need to dissect the many elements that constitute a state, rather than merely appreciating the state as a single unit. The state is composed by many different elements, and we need to understand these elements’ role in the foreign policy process. It is necessary for the academic discipline that focuses on foreign policy, to understand the state in a more complex fashion. The are many different factors that weigh into the foreign policy process and influence state behaviour. The ambition for this thesis is to create a analytical framework, that can assist future research in uncovering the many domestic factors. By opening up ‘the black box’ we are able to dive into the state and gather a richer understanding of foreign policy. This thesis has discovered the vast amount of factors that are at play when we want analyse foreign policy. In French foreign policy, the policy-makers, along with the political elite, the public opinion, relevant ministries and other domestic actors all play a part in the process. This study also found that the values held by policy-makers are very influential on the formulation of foreign policy. The thesis will conclude that all of the above factors play a vital part in policy formulation, and France’s intervention in Libya was driven by a political desire to maintain France’s position in the international community, along with defending traditional French values.

EducationsAdministration, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date27 Jun 2016
SupervisorsGorm Rye Olsen


  • neoclassical realism
  • foreign policy