Schweizerische Aussenpolitik in der Zeit des Umbruchs 1989-92

Wie sind die aussenpolitischen Verantwortlichen in Bern mit den Herausforderungen des Wandels umgegangen, als der eiserne Vorhang fiel? Die Lehren aus den EWR-Verhandlungen und der Reaktion auf die Deutsche Wiedervereinigung - unterfüttert mit einer gehörigen Dosis kognitiver und organisationspsychologischer Theorie. Erschienen als Dissertation an der UNI Zürich 2002  (für Interessenten: ein Druckexemplar hat sich auf verirrt, und kann für € 23 käuflich erworben werden).

The inner workings of Switzerland’s foreign policy making have rarely been an object of scrutiny from a political scientists’ angle: The main object of foreign policy research during the half century of its existence as a separate field of academic inquiry have been the government administrations of the US and other important players on the international stage. The applicability of its concepts and findings to the foreign policy of lesser players remained therefore still an open question. Combining theoretical approaches to intra-governmental deci-sion making focusing upon individual as well as the organisational information processing into a single comprehensive model, the present Dissertation tries to put these concepts to the test by exploring Switzerland’s response to recent change in the international environment. Two exemplary cases, Switzerland’s behaviour during the negotiation of the EES from 1989 to 1992, and its reaction to the reunification of Germany in 1989-90 are extensively researched. Particular areas of interest are the evaluation of the international situation by the policy-makers involved and the domestic repercussions of international choices.
The negotiation of the EES from 1989 – 1992 (European Economic Space – an association-type regime of non-members with the EU whose only members are now Norway and Iceland, after its remaining members accessed to the EU) was one of the most exhilarating and important negotiation processes Switzerland ever took part in. Switzerland’s traditionally strong and self-conscious trade diplomacy entered these negotiations with confidence in its ability to negotiate a third way between full accession to the EC and economic isolation – an illusion rudely shattered during the long-winding and difficult process of perceptional adaptation to the realities of a changing geopolitical environment. The reasons for the lack of adaptation in the beginning, as well as those for the sudden change of mind at the end with the government’s opting for full accession to the EU are manifold – but ultimately rooted in the peculiarity of the Swiss system of government, which gives the electorate the final say in the shaping of foreign policy. The policy-makers’ acting under the shadow of a possible rejection of the results of their negotiation in a planned referendum seems to have been the most important reason for their course of action.
In contrast Swiss foreign policy in the case of German Reunification (1989-1990) was almost totally passive; a wait-and-see attitude prevailed, and almost no contingency planning was done, even as potentially dangerous developments in a neighbouring state unfolded rapidly. In retrospect, this policy did no great harm; but it betrays seriously underdeveloped analytic capabilities within the government apparatus. The lack of institutionalised resources for the planning of foreign policy responses has to be seen before the background of a long tradition of passivity in foreign policy embodied in “Neutrality”, which hampered their development. Switzerland’s foreign policy behaviour in this case is explained by particular organisational structures (or the lack of them), which are ultimately a consequence of a deeply engrained belief-system concerning Switzerland’s role on the international stage.