Graduate Program

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Ryan C. Hendrickson

Thesis Committee Member

David H. Carwell

Thesis Committee Member

Jeffrey S. Ashley


This thesis is about providing a general understanding of French foreign policy since the end of the Second World War as suggested by the existing literature on soft power, military interventions, and the promotion of democracy. Even though France came out of the war very weakened, the country over the years has found ways to remain influential on the international scene. France's preference for diplomacy, its reliance on an international institution such as Francophonie, its readiness to intervene militarily when needed, and its support to the promotion of democracy internationally, have all work to preserve France's standing as a middle power. Our analysis, which expands on three aspects of France's foreign policy behavior, seeks additionally to elucidate liberal and rational components of the French policies. The assessment of French foreign policy through diverse case studies confirms, not only the existing literature on the variation of resources associated to soft power, but also the notion that national security interests play a major part in determining French military interventions including the ones portrayed as humanitarian interventions. While each of the aspects analyzed only offer an elementary appreciation of the rather complex French foreign policy, the work provided here can very well serve as an initial general survey of French foreign policy since the end of the Second World War.