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The Australian National University

Wayne McLean

PhD student

BA (Hons) (UTAS)

Wayne McLean

Wayne McLean is a PhD Candidate with the National Security College at the Australian National University and was previously an Associate Lecturer in International Relations with the University of Tasmania.

Research interests

Wayne's research focuses on the foreign policy of middle powers with a focus on Turkey, Central Asia and Australia. Follow him on Twitter @mcleaway, visit or find him on Researchgate and Academia.

Thesis topic

Wayne's’ PhD dissertation focuses on understanding the divergence between public discourse and foreign policy practice in middle powers. It's about middle power behaviour and the relationship between certain states' systemic positions, regional concerns and how those external pressures are expressed within their domestic polity. This is achieved via a neoclassical realist framework.

The framwork provides a rigid platform for exploring behaviour in states that has been poorly explained in the literature. This deficit has resulted in an excess of constructivist literature that fetishizes ideation and cultural factors as key variables in shaping state behaviour. Wayne states the opposite. The claim is that external pressures drive middle power behaviour. Furthermore, ideas and culture are simply tools exploited by elites within middle powers to achieve strategies that ensure state security. To demonstrate this, he explores the cases of Turkey, Mexico and Australia, all of whom share this pivotal position between power and ideas.






Updated:  2 February 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College