US Foreign Policy toward Hong Kong Protests A Neoclassical Realist Assessment of US foreign policy

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It is puzzling why would the US intervene in 2019 Hong Kong Protest under President Trump and his “America First” policy. Neoclassical Realism suggests that while system stimuli set the grand strategy for US foreign policy, unit-level factors determine the character and venue of the US foreign policy. In an attempt to test such claim by Neoclassical Realism, this thesis adopts the Semi-Orthodox approach, which argues that domestic factors act as a channel through which the system’s imperative is translated regularly into states’ foreign policy. By using the process tracing method to test the case - Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, this thesis found that in a permissive environment without imminent threat, domestic factors weighed more heavily on US foreign policy. System stimuli set the grand strategy for US foreign policy, unit-level factors such as perceptions of foreign policy elites (FPE), legislative branch influence, the dominance of liberal ideals in US foreign policy discourse, and political structure determine the characters of US foreign policy toward Hong Kong protests. In general, the explanation by Neoclassical Realism is plausible when applying to US foreign policy toward China regarding human right issues.
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