A concise introduction to the study of foreign policy, this textbook provides an essential guide to a major area of international politics which has become increasingly complex and sophisticated. Understanding Foreign Policy focuses on the foreign policy systems approach. It explores how such a system can be understood, how it can be used to generate further ideas and how to recognize its limitations. The book examines the context and the international environment in which foreign policy systems must be seen; and it shows how the approach can be used for comparative study. In particular, it offers three avenues of theory - bureaucratic politics, psychological processes, and the policy implementation - as a way of illustrating the utility of the systems approach. The book offers a comprehensive introduction to the study of foreign policy and will be essential reading for undergraduate courses on international politics.