The Relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

An Analysis from Ideational Liberalism and Defensive Structural Realism

Bachelor Thesis, 2021

, Grade: 1,0





2.1 Ideational liberalism
2.2 Operationalization and Hypothesis - Ideational Liberalism

3.1 Defensive Structural Realism
3.2 Operationalization and Hypothesis - Structural Realism

4.1 United States Department of State
4.2 United States Department of Defense
4.3 United States Senate - Committee on Foreign Relations
4.4 United States House of Representatives - Committee on Foreign Affairs
4.5 Organizations and Lobby Groups

5.1 Iran
5.2 Palestine
5.3 Saudi-Arabia




The relocation of the United States Embassy in2017 from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem came as a surprise to many. Previous administrations had decided to waive the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, that demanded the US embassy be moved to Jerusalem. In thesis two separate hypothesis (Hl & H2) will be analyzed from two respective theoretical perspectives: Ideational liberalism (///) and defensive structural realism (H2). Domestic ideational preferences and their transmission through legitimate actors, as well as threats toUS interests in the region will be examined for their potential to cause a deviation from the antecedent policy.

This thesis concludes, that domestic policy preferences in fact caused the Trump­administration to shift away from this established precedent, proving the ideational liberalism hypothesis (Hf) correct.

1. Introduction

“Theforeignpolicy of the United States is grounded inprincipled realism, which begins with an honest acknowledgment ofplainfacts. With respect to the State of Israel, that requires officially recognizingJerusalem as its capital and relocating the United States Embassy to Israel to [sic] Jerusalem as soon aspracticable.” (Trump, 2017) With this declaration, Donald Trump, then president of the United States of America (USA), announced a significant departure from a long-standing precedent set by every President since Bill Clinton.

During Bill Clintons tenure asUS President, Congress passed the “Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995”, a public law, that required the administration to relocate the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem no later than May 31st of 1999 (United States Congress, 1993, Sec.3). This demand has been deferred by every President since the Clinton­administration through a provision in the bill, that enabled the President to waive the relocation for six months (United States Congress, 1993, Sec.7). Since then the act has been waived in order to not threaten the fragile peace process between Israel and Palestine, ensuring the security ofUS interests in the region.

This very waiver was again signed by Donald Trump mid 2017, but before the signature of the second waiver ofhis term, he announced on the 7th ofDecember 2017 that he would not again push back the relocation of the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem (Trump, 2017). His decision was met with shock and bewilderment by some, sparking intense protest and violence by Palestinians, but was also lauded widely by others as the long overdue deliverance of a promise made in 1995 (Mühlbach, 2020, p. 32).

This policy shift arguably marked a new and likely irreversible chapter in the US-Israel relations. Relocating an embassy may not only be a symbolic feat, but has also far reaching implications about how the US will conduct foreign policy in the region. A multi-layered, highly complex strategic situation, involving diverse allies and antagonists make for a system in which every action is scrutinized and interpreted. Furthermore, the decision may not have external causes, which points the theoretical spotlight into the US and its domestic policy-making.

Therefore, the research question that will be examined in this bachelor thesis is the following:

Why was the United States embassy moved from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem in 2017?

This question is not overtly intuitive - all Presidents beforehand have adhered to the precedent set by Bill Clinton, so the cause ofDonald Trump’s diversion from established US foreign policy and his willingness to risk a complication of the situation in the region, needs to be answered. Essentially there are two possible causes for a deviation from the status-quo: Firstly, demands of actors within US politics that hold certain ideational preferences caused Trump to relocate the embassy. Secondly, the move of the embassy was a deliberate move to balance against a threat posed toUS interests in the region, under the presumption, that the embassy in Jerusalem is an adequate mean to counter the threat.

Since these internal as well as external reasons could have caused the shift in policy, I will employ a two-pronged theoretical approach to the question at hand. Both, ideational liberalism and defensive structural realism will be applied. I have chosen this approach to isolate possible external incentives to enact these policies and in turn can strengthen my core argument, that the reason for a shift in policy has in fact occurred within the realm of domestic US politics.

This thesis will be divided into two distinct parts, which will be of a similar structure internally: The first two chapters will outline the two theoretical approaches and explain the theoretical logic and axioms relevant to the analysis. For both theories there will be an operationalization with a distinct, theory derived hypothesis.

For the first theoretical access to this topic I have chosen Andrew Moravcsiks framework ofideational liberalism. This theory was selected for its focus on ideational preferences of actors within domestic politics that in turn seek to translate these preferences into foreign policy. This seems to be the most adequate framework applicable to the research question as stated.

The second theory applied to the question at hand will be Kenneth Waltzes conception of structural realism, also known as neorealism. I will try to prove an external threat to US interests in the region, that has driven the administration to balance against. The defensive variety of the structural realist framework has been chosen, due to the fact, that moving a diplomatic installation within a country, that previously had a diplomatic representation, cannot be seen as behavior that seeks to widen the power-disparity towards its adversaries in orderte guarantee security. (Mearsheimer, 2001, pp. 21-23; Waltz, 1979, p.99)

This theory augments my thesis with a second hypothesis, that will allow me to provide a more coherent argument for my main hypothesis, since exogenic factors can be excluded. If I could have proven, that there was in fact a threat that the US credibly countered by relocating its embassy, my first hypothesis could have been discarded.

In the second half of this paper I will examine the empirical cases in light of their respective theoretical approach and hypothesis. Through the lens of my first hypothesis I will analyze changes in personnel throughout the relevant executive departments in the US government, and check for subsequent changes in policy. Furthermore, I will try to indicate their ideational preferences. Following this, legislative committees on foreign relations will be examined, hence campaign donations by pro-Israel groups and expressed stances on the status of Jerusalem are of main interest. Lastly, I will demonstrate the transmission ofideational preferences into foreign policy through the behavior of two interest groups with the explicit focus on pro-Israel causes.

The second empirical analysis will examine possible threats leveled against US interests in the region. Here I will try to provide an argument for the efficacy of relocating an embassy as a strategic move, that is in line with the structural realist expectations. Additionally, threats to these interests will be presented and their potential to induce a reaction such as relocation the embassy will be examined. Hereby I will take a look at the behavior of several countries and if their potential to threat US interests could have triggered a reaction.

After having presented cases from two distinctly different theoretical angles, I will come to the conclusion that the reasons for the relocation of the US embassy in fact emerged through the transmission ofideational preferences into US foreign policy. While there are credible, and distinct threats toUS interests in the region, the relocation of the US embassy does not prove to be a move that could be considered balancing.

2. Theoretical approach I: Liberalism

The first theoretical approach I will employ in this thesis is ideational liberalism. One of the more current and prominently formulated theories were published by Andrew Moravcsik. His work relies on the internal structures and power dynamics within states - preferences created in the discourse of a state translate outwards and form the behavior of the state in the international system. (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 513) I have chosen this first framework for several reasons: to provide a compelling case for an endogenous reason underlying the US behavior. After the structural realist theory, it likely is the second most used tool to analyze actors within the international system. In this chapter I will provide the theoretical framework for the argument, that ideational preference of actors on the state level have translated their ideological interests into the US foreign policy. As I will lay out, there are multiple directions of thought in this specific field of study, but I will limit my analysis to one lane of this theory, the one of ideational liberalism.

This has multiple reasons: First of all, it will likely yield the most fruitful explanation, as well as the circumstances indicate its applicability. Secondly, fleshing out all three of Moravcsiks forms ofliberalism would be far beyond the scope of this thesis and not be conducive to a concise analysis.

All liberal theories place state-society relations at the center of their understanding of world politics, state behavior reflects the relationship between the state, its domestic and transnational society (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 4). This could be seen as the nucleic understanding of the workings of international politics in the liberal school of thought. In his work, Moravcsik postulates, what he calls the “hard core” - three axiomatic assumptions that are crucial to his theory ofinternational politics.

1 .’’Thefundamental actors in internationalpolitics are rational individuals andprivate groups, who organize and exchange topromote their interests” (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 5). Liberalism, as a bottom-up theory takes the view, that individual, societal or demands of groups are actors who shape state behavior. They define their interests, material or ideological, and then move to enact these interests through political exchange or collective action (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 5; Hasenclever, 2010, p. 77). This, in its logical conclusion, also means, that these patterns of possible disharmony between groups translate into the political landscape of a state. Liberalists reject the notion that there is a monolithic, harmonic political landscape within a state (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 5). Three fundamental factors are determinant for likely forceful coercion in the international realm: Contradictory fundamental beliefs, extreme scarcity of material goods and extreme inequality of social influence. These three determinants are in turn representative of the three theoretical lanes ofliberalism, ideational, commercial and republican. (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 5)

2. “States (or otherpolitical institutions) represent some subset of domestic society, whose interests rational state officialspursue through 'worldpolitics” (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 5).

Institutions, be it states or non-governmental organizations are seen as a crucial “transmission belt” between individuals and the political realm. Liberals argue, that actors use domestic institutions to express their preferences in the international system. These systems are not seen as rigid entities, but are subject to constant change, capture and recapture or even de- or reconstruction. In addition to the fluidity of the structure of these institutions, not all actors within a state have access or partake equally in these institutions (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 5). This can, quite aptly, be demonstrated with every government, be it democratic, or autocratic - no state represents all groups to the same degree as some, political influence shifts through elections to coups. State preferences are ordered bottom-up by the preference of its relevant actors.

3. "The configuration ofstatepreferences determines state behavior” (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 5). In the liberalist school of thought, state preferences are the basal heuristics, through which states shape their interactions. Contrary to structural realists, whom I will cover in the following chapter, liberalists assume military might, population, economic prowess as fixed constraints of endogenous to state preferences. Realists would also disagree with the notion, that state preferences are inherently conflictual. (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 6) An important point to be made here, argues Moravcsik, is the concept of “policy-interdependence”. This relates to the costs and benefits created for a foreign society, when dominant groups in another society seek to manifest their policy goals. The policy interdependences between those two actors then constrain the interaction - in order to take any meaningful foreign policy-action, states need incentives to act upon. The distribution of preferences determines the behavior in the international realm, not capabilities of states, and through these preferences shapes systemic outcomes (Moravcsik, 2001, pp. 7-8).

Moravcsik then further divides these interactions into three categories by how the interdependencies are structured. First, a harmonious interaction, where the interests of both states align and are to their mutual benefit, or costs are at least insignificant. Secondly, he defines zero-sum interactions, in which states preferences are deadlocked and the policy goals of groups in one state impose costs on groups in other states - these interactions are much more prone to create tensions within states and there is little to be gained for either party in this interaction. Thirdly, aggression or coercion can be defined. Here one state demonstrates its willingness to accept high costs and risks in order to advance policies that another state is simply not willing to accept. (Moravcsik, 2001, pp. 8-9)

2.1 Ideational liberalism

One of the three avenues ofliberalistic thought, Moravcsik proposes, is the so called “ideational liberalism” - in this variant the configurations of domestic social identities, values and ideas are viewed as a determinant for state policy. He defines these social identities as “...asetofpreferences shared by individuals concerning theproper scope and nature ofpublic goodsprovision.” (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 11). He then postulates three of the most important public goods around which people within a state form strong ideational preferences: Borders, the political decision making process and socioeconomic regulation. Here he hints at a crucial difference to a realist school of thought: Even sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity are not means in themselves, but are only relevant if actors in states prefer and demand them and translate them into the respective policy field (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 11).

In his second basal assumption he postulates, that actors provide support for the government in exchange for institutions that align with their ideational preferences. Therefore, foreign policy is an extension of these ideological convictions about policy matters. Aforementioned institutions play a crucial role in translating these views about inter-state relations into the realm of international politics (Moravcsik, 2001, pp. 11-12).

Predictions, that derive from his three basal preferences ofideological preferences are furthermore relevant to his theoretical conception as they form three distinct fields of potential conflict. As previously stated, one of the most relevant social identity is the notion of the national identity. It suggests a legitimate place in the world, a set of accepted borders and the allocation of citizenship. One of the most prominent examples provided by Moravcsik, is the conflict-potential ofborders: Where borders are mutually accepted, coexistence is possible, and conflict is unlikely. Whereas ifborders are disputed, the potential for disharmony and conflict arises (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 12). He implies that this is coined towards the own borders of one’s actors state, in leu of this thesis, I would like to add, that I could not find any literature nor an argument deducted from the theory that this could not also apply to the borders of other nations. If a sufficiently powerful group can translate their ideas about another states legitimate borders into the foreign policy of their state, said actor would operate under these ideological interests. Whereas ifborders are disputed, the potential for disharmony and conflict arises (Moravcsik, 2001, p. 12).1

Moravcsiks second possibility of conflict of fundamental social identity arises from actors with a particular conviction of domestic political order. In this case conflict arises, when the legitimate political order in one state threatens another legitimate political order in anotherjurisdiction (Moravcsik, 1997, p. 527; Moravcsik, 2001, pp. 12-13).

If states do not interfere in each other’s legitimate political order, conflict is unlikely. His last fundamental line of discontent refers to legitimate socioeconomic regulation and redistribution. Inherently, the redistribution of goods has underlying implications that touch on a variety of other issues that are connected to it. This includes immigration, taxation, environmental and consumer protectionjust to name a few. If these legitimate socioeconomic regulations are at odds with the legitimate interests of other states, a conflict can arise (Moravcsik, 1997, pp. 525-526).

2.2 Operationalization and Hypothesis - Ideational Liberalism

In order to adequately answer my research question and test my hypothesis, it is crucial to provide a stringent framework ofhow I am going to apply the liberalist theory to my case. First, I will deduce a formal hypothesis from Andrew Moravcsiks ideational liberalist theory, then translate this into my own hypothesis as it relates to the research question provided in this thesis.

Given the assumptions the theory provides, we generally expect to see the following behavior of states: IfX: The independent variable, relevant, legitimate actors within a state have certain ideational preferences - then Y: The dependent variable, they translate their ideational preferences through institutions into foreign policy - therefore Z: The state behaves as the ideational convictions of the relevant actors demand. Logically formalized this would be described, as many interactions in the social sciences are, as: X z> Y. a Z. Leading to the following hypothesis:

HT. X: Legitimate actors within the US wanted the embassy moved to Jerusalem - then Y: These actors acquire the legitimate political means to translate their ideational convictions into policy - therefore Z: The embassy is moved from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

As formally trivial as this may seem there are significant challenges this operationalization faces. This makes it indispensable to identify the relevant, as well as legitimate actors in accordance with the postulated theory by Moravcsik.

My hypothesis is, that relevant, legitimate actors within government and in interest- groups outside ofit, have pushed their demands into the Trump administration, which then eventually met their demands and relocated the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

One of the most crucial and institutionalized actors in this case would be the Department of State under the relatively new Trump-administration. Here a change in leadership, staffing and policy should be well documented, publicly accessible and the “transmission belt” to the actual foreign policy formulation would be the shortest and indicate the influence of ideational preferences.

Another institution that would need to be examined is the Department ofDefense (DoD). Analogous to the State Department there could be changes in personnel or policy. While likely not as relevant to a more or less diplomatic matter, such as moving an embassy is, there could be converging interests in these two departments of the administration. Beyond the executive there should be traces of the translation of ideational convictions in the legislative. Both chambers, house and senate operate committees on foreign relations, with specialized sub-committees on the middle and near east. Here documents, if not classified, should be available and provide interesting insights into the deliberations and opinions of elected officials.

Outside of the government, I will additionally probe into actors that have an expressed interest in Israel, its sovereignty and a pro-Israel foreign policy. In this case it would be relevant to demonstrate their political influence and weight in order to prove, that they can be seen as relevant and legitimate actors. As a metric here I will use campaign donations to members of Congress and membership numbers of the organization. Due to the fact that these actors are further up-stream of the policy process and are not as accessible as governmental entities, the inquiry into them will remain comparatively brief.

In order to prove my hypothesis, I need to demonstrate that there are convincing links between relevant, legitimate actors, that have a demonstrable ideational interest in the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem and had the capacity implement that preference into policy.

3. Theoretical Approach II: Structural Realism

In order to provide a compelling alternative analysis, the most widely used theory in international relations, the structural realist framework, will be applied. This aides to isolate other possible explanations for the state-behavior of the USA, which would in turn be based on an exogenic change in the structure of the international system. To adequately examine the situation at hand from this theoretical vantagepoint, the axioms of this theory, which impact on the academic field of international relations cannot be understated, will be laid out and a hypothesis will be derived from its theoretical assumptions. I will deliberately focus on the “defensive” variant of the neorealist theory, since it is the most applicable here.

The prominence of the structural realist framework has its foundation in the seminal work ofKenneth Waltz, who postulated the theory for the first time in his 1979 book “Theory of international Politics”. While the theoretical genealogy ofhis work can be seen as an extension ofHans Morgenthau’s realist approach, his contribution to the academic discourse can be seen as the advent of the hegemony of realist theories in international politics (Masala, 2010, p. 53)

Here I will provide a brief explanation why I will focus on the defensive permutation of the structural realist framework: One of the most prominent theoretical schisms in this particular academic discourse is the one between offensive and defensive structural realists. Offensive structural realists argue, that states seek to advance their power and dominate other states in the system (Mearsheimer, 2001, p. 2). While I will go into more detail about the assumptions of the defensive structural realism, it needs to be noted, that the assumptions differ fundamentally. States focus on their independence, and rather than maximizing their own power, they seek coalitions - increased power may not increase the security of the actor (Wagner, 2007, p. 16; Waltz, 1979, p. 126). Since we are confronted with a situation, in which two actors, the US and Israel, act in accordance with each other, to counter a possible, not very apparent threat, the defensive assumption is more applicable than its offensive counterpart. Furthermore, there seems to be no overt gain in absolute power by relocating an embassy.

3.1 Defensive Structural Realism

One ofWaltz most axiomatic observations about the structure of the international realm is the notion, that the system is fundamentally governed and structured by anarchy. He uses his argument analogous to a microeconomic conception - these systems are formed by the coaction of self-regarding units. The primary actors of an era are seen as the relevant units in analyzing aforementioned system. Like economic markets, emerging structures are unintended, spontaneously generated and individualist in their origins - no state intends to restrict its power (Waltz, 1979, p. 91).

“The state among states, it is often said, conducts its affairs in the brooding shadow of violence. Because some states may at any time use force, all states must beprepared to do so-or live at the mercy of their militarily more vigorous neighbors.” (Waltz, 1979,p. 102). Sobering, as this quote is, it speaks directly to one of the core assumptions the structural realist theory provides: The international system is a relational web of self­help actors, who cannot rely firmly on anybody but themselves - among states, as among men, the absence of an overarching power structure is fertile ground for the occurrence of violence (Waltz, 1979, pp. 102-103). In an international system of anarchy, this implies that the behavior of states within the realm is one ofhigh risk, a self-help situation can quickly escalate and deteriorate into a costly war. Generally speaking, although vastly simplified, as even Kenneth Waltz admits, states seek to ensure their survival (Waltz, 1979, pp. 91-92). Beyond the scope of survival other factors can become relevant goals for actors - conquest, subjugation of others or simply being left alone are among the myriad of possible goals of states. Yet all of these actions require the same basic need of any state: Survival. Noteworthy here, and relevant to some actors covered in this paper, is that in certain cases survival may not be the supreme interest of an actor. Some strife for amalgamation with one another. Re­unifications or secessions to another state could be seen as examples ofbehavior that seems counter-intuitive for states. (Waltz, 1979, p. 92).

Here the previously mentioned split between the two predominant wings of the structural realist school become apparent. Defensive realists argue, that states, even more aggressive ones, are forced by the anarchical system to create balances of power, rather than to maximize their individual might. This is due to the high costs associated with creating and maintain a level of strength that easily outmatches one’s opponents (Waltz, 1979, p. 125; Wagner, 2007, p. 2; Masala, 2010, p. 62). Structural realists are more or less pessimistic about the prospects of a peaceful international system. Through the looming specter of anarchy states are quite literally forced to take precautions and arm themselves. They remain skeptical of any institution short of a worldwide, collective organization, that can project and subject states to its power to achieve lasting peace. Waltz acknowledges this and mentions that anarchy certainly could transform into hierarchy. For this to happen, either one actor would need to take over the entire system by force, against the will of all other actors, or all actors would have to agree to transfer their power to a higher authority. Both cases are highly unlikely to happen, he argues. (Waltz, 1979,p.37)

One of the most fundamental differentiations that the structural realist framework formulates, is the one between system-level forces and unit-level forces, the latter are deliberately omitted. Unit-level forces refer to forces within the respective states, such as its parliamentary majorities or political system. This creates a serious complication in analyzing the behavior of states within the international system - every observed phenomenon would also require the analysis of an insurmountable amount unit-level variables that could account for the observed behavior (Waltz, 1979, p. 49). Waltz further states: "Ifthe same effectsfollowfrom different causes, then constraints must be operating on the independent variables in ways that affect outcomes." (Waltz, 1979,p. 68). This illustrates, how it is insignificant to the structural realist theory, which variables operate within states. The patterns of international politics are often similar, despite states differing vastly from each other.

Even though these premises were not postulated by Kenneth Waltz himself, they are an excellent tool to structure the core assumptions provided by the structural realist framework. Some of the assumptions have already been mentioned and for the sake of brevity, I will not go over them in greater detail again. Furthermore, I will not follow John Mearsheimer’s conclusion, that by applying these assumptions states will or should act offensively. (Mearsheimer, 2001, p. 32).

1: The structure of the international system is anarchic.
2: All states have some form of military capability.
3: No state can ever be certain about the intentions of other states.
4: All states seek to maintain their territorial integrity and domestic autonomy.
5: All states are rational actors that seek to promote their own self-interest (Mearsheimer, 2001, pp. 3-4; Munro, 2014)

These premises lead to two general behaviors of states in terms ofhow they act within the international system. Waltz proposes two general mechanisms through which states seek to ensure their survival: Bandwagoning and balancing. Bandwagoning refers to the behavior of actors to band around a much stronger actor in order to guarantee their security, while balancing implies, that actors asses their security and actively seek coalitions to obtain a power balance (Waltz, 1979, p. 126) He argues, that states cannot let power become the end of their means, that they pursue. If they were to do so, we would see powerful, worldwide hegemonies form, since there would be an incentive to join the strongest alliance possible. Yet we do not observe this behavior - states balance power in order to maintain their position within the international system. In the logic of the defensive structural realism it is argued, that incentives for expansion are rare, since every gain in power, even if it improves one’s own security, threatens another actor. This dilemma makes states reflect on their relative power and future intentions, so states opt for moderate policies that keep the might of other actors in the system in check. (Taliaferro, 2000, p. 130)

Waltz goes even further and calls balancing the behavior that is induced by the system. Another relevant caveat for my analysis, that Waltz formulates in this chapter is, that states seek allies that help them to balance their threats, as security is their highest end - the strong are not allying themselves with the strong (Waltz, 1979, p. 126).

What then delineates between states as actors in the structure of the international system is how they score on the dimensions of power. Waltz postulates the following criteria: Size of population and territory, resource endowment, economic capability, military strength, political stability and competence. All these dimensions are intertwined and cannot simply be viewed individually. Economic capability can be translated into military might relatively easily, given stability and competence - while states are equal in their role as actors in the international system, an asymmetry of power is what qualitatively differentiatesthem. (Waltz, 1979, pp. 131-132)

3.2 Operationalization and Hypothesis - Structural Realism

From these theoretical assumptions I can derive the conceptual assumptions which the framework would provide in my thesis: For an actor to take measures, such as relocating an embassy in an allied country, the state would have needed an exogenous reason to do so. Furthermore, the action taken would need to credibly balance against the threat leveled against the actor.

Therefore, it follows: IfX: The independent variable - if an actor perceives the power balance as skewed towards opposing actors - then Y: The dependent variable - the actor assumes measures to re-acquire the status-quo - therefore Z: The actor reacts with appropriate measures. Formalized this would again be expressed asX z> Y. .-.Z

In this empirical example the theoretically derived hypothesis-structure would translate as:

H2'. IfX: The independent variable - if the US perceives an power imbalance in its detriment - then Y: The dependent variable - the US assumes measures to re-acquire the balance of power - therefore Z: The US relocates the embassy to Jerusalem, for it is an appropriate response to regain the previous power balance.

The testable hypothesis derived from this is: The power-balance in the region shifted in a manner, that threatened the status-quo, so in order to rebalance this threat the US moved its embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

This thesis and its explanatory power hinges on the strongest possible case that can be made for this hypothesis with the structural realist approach. If this case turns out to be valid and cohesive, my first hypothesis (Hf) can be much more easily put into question or even be discarded. If it turns out, that the US balanced credibly against an emerging threat in the region, that could be countered or mitigated by relocating its embassy to Tel-Aviv, it would provide an alternative explanation that might be more elegant and in line with the assumptions the structural realist approach postulates.


1 (cf. Hasenclever, 2010; Moravcsik 1997, 2001)

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The Relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
An Analysis from Ideational Liberalism and Defensive Structural Realism
University of Bamberg
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