This paper explores the relationship between cultural identity and foreign policy formation by conducting a qualitative analysis of Malaysia. Different from the existing literature that focuses on a leader's personality and international factors for explaining foreign policy formation, this paper contends that cultural identity matters for the making of foreign policy. Focusing on the trajectories of Malaysia's foreign policy over time, the paper argues that Islamic identity serves as an essential norm as well as a main guideline for the decision makers of Malaysia's foreign policy. The case studies of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (1990-1991), the War on Terror (2001-2003), and the Moro Muslim conflict in the Southern Philippines (1969-2012) support my argument.
Tamkang Journal of International Affairs 24(3), Pp. 1-41