Developing a Methodology

As I mentioned in previous blog posts, my primary responsibility as an intern with Democracy for Development has been researching and writing a policy paper, the goal of which is to advocate for a particular foreign policy regime the Biden administration should adopt towards Kosovo considering approaches taken by previous administrations.  In order to evaluate the efficacy, or lack thereof, of past foreign policy schemes however, I had to come up with a methodology.  In an effort to implement as comprehensive an analysis as possible, I decided to consider the various foreign policy approaches from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. 

The quantitative view looks at the number of times a particular administration took some action towards Kosovo, whether that action be issuing a statement, committing resources to a broader coalition stationed there, or sending cabinet officials to engage in diplomatic efforts.  The qualitative view, on the other hand, focuses on the nature of the action taken in an effort to account for varying levels of involvement.  This view was necessary since committing U.S. troops to a peace-keeping mission in the Balkans is more substantial than a statement from the office of the President urging Kosovo and Serbia to engage in peaceful negotiations.

The final step, after determining the quantitative and qualitative nature of the foreign policy approach, is rendering a score from one to five, one being the lowest level of engagement and five the highest.  The issue that remains is the fact that level of engagement is not necessarily an indicator of success.  In other words, just because a certain president and his administration was more involved in Kosovo does not mean they were more successful in achieving the desired outcome than less involved predecessors or successors.  Another complication is trying to determine what success looks like in Kosovo, since there has long been an overarching foreign policy objective of establishing and legitimizing Kosovo's independence and insulating Kosovo's politics from corruption and outside influence, which no U.S. president has been able to achieve. 

In any case, I am actively working on a second draft and look forward to sharing the finished product with everyone soon.