What is Foreign Policy? - Theories and Examples


What is Foreign Policy? - Theories and Examples

Foreign policy, the general purpose that guides the activities and relations of the state and its relations with other states. The development of international law policies are affected, principles or behavior of other state, or features you will be able to explain Leopold von Ranke have appeared the beginning of the planet and external order of foreigners, but the authors stress.

Diplomacy is a tool of foreign policy, and war, alliances and international trade can all be its manifestations.

A state's foreign policy includes strategies it uses to protect its international and domestic interests and decide how to interact with state and non-state actors. The main purpose of foreign policy is to protect the national interests of the country, which can be through negative or violent means.

In this article, you will know what foreign policy is, its concepts and examples


What is Foreign Policy?

Foreign policy is the process by which a country's government directs its relations with other countries. The state's foreign policy reflects its principles and objectives and contributes to the achievement of its political and economic goals at the global level.

Many foreign policies also focus heavily on national and international security, and will help determine how countries interact with international organizations, such as the United Nations, and citizens of other countries. Foreign policy is shaped and influenced by many factors.

These include:

• The state of the country in many areas, including geographical, financial, political, etc;

• Practices and foreign policies of other countries

• Broader international strategic and political conditions (for example, are there wars or conflicts? Are there business alliances to consider?)

• Growth strategies, such as economic growth or technological progress.

Guided by foreign policy, ambassadors and diplomatic representatives can work across borders to solve common challenges, promote stability and protect interests. 

A country's foreign policy works closely with its domestic policy, which is another type of public policy that focuses on domestic issues. Together, these two policies support each other and contribute to improving the state of the country both internally and externally.


Foreign Policy Examples

In 2013, China developed a foreign policy known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the national strategy to develop stronger economic ties in Africa, Europe and North America.

Many presidents are known for their landmark foreign policy decisions such as the Monroe Doctrine which opposed the imperialist takeover of an independent state such as United States. Foreign policy can also be a decision not to participate in international organizations and negotiations, such as other isolationist policies of North Korea.


United Kingdom

What is Foreign Policy? - Theories and Examples

UK foreign policy is the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, which is overseen by the Foreign Secretary. Recent issues at the UK Foreign Office include imposing sanctions on Russia over its ongoing conflict with Ukraine and the introduction of the New Ireland Protocol Bill.

The UK has continued to take progressive action against the Syrian government.

Following the UK's exit from the European Union (EU) - scheduled for 2020 - UK policymakers are focusing on new trade negotiations with international partners.


United States America

What is Foreign Policy? - Theories and Examples

United States America's foreign policy is overseen by the United States Department of State, which states that its mission is "to protect and promote the security, prosperity, and democratic values ​​of the United States, and to create a global environment in which all Americans can inside beautiful."

Appropriations and foreign policy legislation are overseen by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives that has jurisdiction over matters such as aid, HIV/AIDS abroad and democracy promotion. It also has six standing sub-committees dealing with human rights issues, disaster relief, international development and other matters in different parts of the world, such as Asia or the Middle East.

Recent developments in American national affairs include the end of its war in Afghanistan and confirmation of its support for a two-state solution to the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel.


What is Foreign Policy? - Theories and Examples

China's foreign policy includes the following:

1. To maintain the independence and sovereignty of the state.

2. Supporting world peace.

3. A friendly relationship.

4. Promoting unity and cooperation among developing countries.

5. Increase efforts to open and update it.

China's foreign policy also states that China does not engage in international relations with any country that has formally recognized Taiwan, which China does not recognize as a separate country.



What is Foreign Policy? - Theories and Examples

Nigeria's foreign policy has been praised for its emphasis on regional and international issues.

Its objectives are set out in its constitution and include:

• Promotion and protection of national interests

• Promotion of African unification and support for African unity

• Promotion of international cooperation for the establishment of global peace and mutual respect among all nations, and the elimination of discrimination in all its manifestations.

• Respect for international law and treaty obligations, and the pursuit of international dispute resolution through negotiation, communication, treaty-making, arbitration and litigation.

• Promotion of a fair global economic system


What is the Difference Between Foreign Policy and International Relations?

International relations are discipline of political science and can be considered as one of the social sciences - it is a field of study that examines the relations between countries.

On the other hand, foreign policy is an operational principle that guides how a country interacts with other countries.


Foreign Policy and Practice: Influences and Consequences


How does Foreign Policy Affect International Politics?

Because foreign policy is done to protect national interests and influence relations with other countries at the world level, they have a direct impact on world politics. But it is also fair to say that international affairs contribute to the formulation of foreign policy.

There are also many international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have a direct impact on international relations and foreign policy, such as:

• United Nations

• NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

• European Union


How does Foreign Policy Affect the World Economy?

Foreign policy can have a significant impact on the economy, both at home and abroad. Although this is partly because policies are often focused on the economic development of their countries, it is also because almost any aspect of foreign policy will have significant impact on the global financial system in general terms. 

For example, Foreign Policy magazine reported earlier this year that the war in Ukraine unleashed by Russian President Vladimir Putin has already changed the global economy.

Meanwhile, the UK's withdrawal from the EU has had an ongoing financial impact and consequences for trade relations across Europe (and even beyond), while pandemic-related containment measures COVID-19 outbreaks in various countries have had a lasting effect on global supply chains and finance.


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One of the flexible part-time master’s modules focuses on policy analysis. Therefore, you will analyze and analyze the complexities in the development and evolution of contemporary public policies. 

You will critically examine the role of ideas, interests, institutions and actors in the political process and examine the broader social, economic and political processes that shape the legal system of this time.

You will also gain conceptual and research tools to conduct advanced policy research applied to a wide range of local, national and international policy settings. 

In addition, this postgraduate degree includes a module on policy analysis, helping you to reflect critically on the power, scope and validity of different research methods and techniques, as well as helping you acquire the necessary skills to analyze and providing research on public policy and public administration around.


Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

When foreign policy is based on diplomacy, the leaders of the country communicate and cooperate with other world leaders to prevent conflict. Often, ambassadors are sent to represent a country's foreign policy interests at international events.

Although the emphasis on diplomacy is the cornerstone of many states' foreign policy, there are others who rely on military pressure or other less diplomatic methods.

Diplomacy has played an important role in de-escalating international crises, and the Missile Crisis of 1962 is a prime example. During the Cold War, intelligence told President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Union was sending weapons to Cuba, possibly preparing for war against the United States. President Kennedy was forced to choose between a conservative foreign policy, talking to Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev, and a more military one.

The former president decided to impose an embargo around Cuba and threaten another war if Soviet ships carrying weapons tried to invade.

To prevent further progress, Khrushchev agreed to withdraw all weapons from Cuba, and in return Kennedy agreed not to invade Cuba and to withdraw American weapons from Turkey (which was far from the Soviet Union). 

This time is important because the two governments discussed a solution that ended the current conflict, prevention, and the cessation of the conflict more, the weapons that are close to each other's borders.


The History of Foreign Policy and Diplomatic Organizations

Foreign policy has existed since people organized themselves into groups. However, the study of foreign policy and the creation of international organizations to promote diplomacy is a recent phenomenon.

One of the first international bodies established to discuss foreign policy was the Concert of Europe in 1814 after the Napoleonic Wars. This gave the major European powers (Austria, France, Britain, Prussia and Russia) a forum to resolve issues diplomatically instead of resorting to military threats or wars.

In the 20th century, the First and Second World Wars also revealed the need for an international forum to end conflicts and maintain peace.

The League of Nations (founded by former US president Woodrow Wilson but ultimately did not include the United States) in 1920 with the main purpose of maintaining world peace.

After the dissolution of the League of Nations, it was replaced by the United Nations in 1954 after the Second World War, an organization aimed at promoting international cooperation and which currently has 193 countries.

It is important to note that many of these organizations are concentrated in Europe and the entire West. Due to the history of imperialism and colonization of European countries, they often exhibit the greatest international political and economic power and create these world systems.

However, there are continental political organizations such as the African Union, the Asian Cooperation Council, and the Association of South American countries that also promote cooperation in their respective regions.


Foreign Policy Theories: Why States Do What They Do

The study of foreign policy reveals many theories about why states act the way they do.

The dominant ideologies are realism, liberalism, economic structuralism, psychology and constructivism:



Realism insists that interests are always determined in terms of power and that states will always act in their interests. The real story follows the politician in the 16th century Niccolò Machiavelli famously said from his foreign policy book "The Prince": "It is safer to be feared than to be loved."

It follows that the world is full of chaos because humans are selfish and will do anything for power.

However, the structural reading of the truth focuses on the state more than anyone: all governments will respond to pressure in the same way because they care about national security more than power.



The theory of liberalism emphasizes freedom and equality in all areas and makes sure that the rights of the individual are higher than the needs of the state. It follows that the world's chaos can be calmed by international cooperation and global citizens.

Economically, liberalism values ​​free trade above all else and believes that the state should not interfere in economic matters, because that is where the problems arise. The market has a long run and stability, and nothing should stop it.


Economic structuralism

Karl Marx was a pioneer of economic theory, or Marxism, who believed that tyranny is immoral because it is immoral for the few to exploit the many. However, the scientist Vladimir Lenin took the research to an international level by explaining that capitalist countries prospered by dumping their products into the developing countries -economic weakness, which keeps prices low and weakens the economy in those regions.

Basically, problems arise in international relations due to the introduction of this capital, and change can only happen through the actions of the proletariat.


Psychological Theories 

Psychological theories explain international politics at different levels and seek to understand how people's psychology can influence their foreign policy decisions. It follows that diplomacy is greatly influenced by the person's ability to judge, which is often colored by the method of decision, the time available for decision and the level of risk.

This explains why political decisions are often inconsistent or may not follow a single point of view.



Constructivism believes that ideas affect specific characteristics and interests. Current structures only exist because years of social behavior have made them. If a situation needs to be corrected or a system changed, social movements and ideas can make a difference.

One of the main examples of productivity is that of human rights, which are respected by some countries but not by others. Over the past few centuries, as societal ideas and values ​​regarding human rights, gender, age, and racial equality have evolved; laws have changed to reflect these new social norms.

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