Foreign Policy is a very essential aspect of the life and existence of every sovereign nation. There are many definitions and interpretations often ascribed to the term but the relevance of foreign policy in the conduct of international relations has never been in doubt. it is the bedrock of international politics and states depend full on this in relating with other actors  in the system both at the primary and secondary levels. K.J. Holsti viewed foreign policy is “actions and ideas designed by policy makers to solve or promote changes in the international environment”.

            For Wolfran Handrieder, foreign policy is “a co-ordinate strategy with which institutionally designated decision makers seek to manipulate the international environment”.
            Within the international environment, a large number of states interact with each other in their efforts to protect the interests of her citizens. Interaction with other members of the international system is necessary and unavailable aspect of the modern state system.
            Interaction between states may involve competition, co-operation, disagreement, confrontation or reconciliation at different spheres of engagement. Areas of engagement could be economic strategic, diplomatic or socio-cultural. other areas of interaction may include scientific and technological matters, military and strategic considerations, alliance formation and collective security, political and ideological collaboration, educational, recreational and health related matters.
            Interaction between states has become a permanent aspect of international relations either at the bilateral, tripartite or multilateral levels. The wheels of foreign policy revolve permanently around these areas. Foreign policy covers all aspects of national endeavor and these are influenced by the prevailing global circumstances of the time much as it affects, both directly and indirectly, the interests of the state.
            The major aim of foreign policy is to maximize national interest through a well organized system of protection and promotion of those interests whether economic, strategic, political, ideological, diplomatic or bureaucratic. The territorial integrity of the state is protected as much from physical incurious as will as from cultural and ideological influences form the outside. The aim is to ensure that those influences do into erode the peoples’ identity and way of life.
            Foreign Policy is dynamic because the international environment is not static. It continues to pass through several processes of change, alterations and expansion in order to accommodate view challenges and goals with which a country may be faced form time to time. Foreign policy is amenable to changes in the system both internally and externally. Every country has to make constant adjustments and as often as it is necessary, in order to ensure that its foreign policy does not fell out of touch with the realities on ground. This is why Joseph Frankel insists that foreign policy must be situated along
… a dynamic process of interaction. between the changing domestic demands and support and the changing external circumstances…

            Foreign policy formulation and implementation must always take into account the changes in the political and economic system, both at the domestic and international levels. Without such steadfastness the substance of foreign policy stands the risk of becoming irrelevant or absolute, and this could place national interest in serious jeopardy.
            The substance of foreign policy must be an aggregation of the general interests of the society. This interest aggregation comprises public opinion, the strength of the national economy, the political elite, the military High command, the intelligentsia, ideological proselytes, religious belief systems and the bureaucracy.
            Foreign policy must be guided by considerations to the interests of other participants and actors within the system since the interests of one country are checked by the needs and desires of others. This way, the areas of potential conflict and disagreements are significantly reduced. This situation is referred to as constraint to policy. Such constraints include the demands and aspirations of other states, the opinions of the allies. Competitors and rivals as well as reatral states. Other important issues to be considered include the attitudes and positions of non-state actors. Non-state actors, also referred to as secondary actors, includes international organizations, non-governmental organisations, inter-governmental organizations,  specialized interest groups humanitarian agencies and bodies, international and local pressure groups international personalities and international Public Opinion (IPO).
            The two major determinants of a country’s foreign policy are domestic and external variables. the domestic variables, according to Olu Adeniyi, include the states” geographical location, size, nature of territory, natural resources, the political culture, the leadership, human resources and the state of the economic. The external variables on the other hand include the nature of the international system, the distribution of  power at the global stage, the perception of a country by other actors, and related developments within the multi-lateral system.
            The last two decades of the twentieth century was a period of great transformations in the external stimuli that determines the nominative and policy output of many nations around the world. some of these extra-ordinary events include the fall of the Berhin wall, the tall  of the iron certain which had screened parts of Europe from the rest of the world for nearly half a century and the collies of many authoritarian requires from Haiti to Zaire and from the Philippines to Ethiopia. Other notable events include the triumph of liberal democracy as the most acceptable rule of political engagement between the rulers and their citizens. Equally worthy of mention is the ascendancy of the neocolonial economic theory of Adam Smith, popularly known as market forces in creating the bases of economic development and fiscal relationships.
            In formulating foreign policy, many factors are taken into consideration. The fact that a country is small does not mean that her foreign. Policy will be simple. There must be hard choices to make and complex issues to decide. Each country must have a position to take on issues of international significance. The fact that Lesotho is not a nuclear power does not connote a lack of interest there. Issues pertaining to nuclear proliferation, nuclear threat and the commercialization of nuclear materials must attract the attention of policy makers in Masem.
            As individuals make choices at the personal levels, governments and nations also make choices on domestic matters and foreign policy issues. there is a limited amount of resources and opportunities available to states and the capacity to top those resources and exploit the opportunities therein are not limitless despite long years of exploitation and development.
            Foreign policy goals must also take into account the external constraints which were earlier identified. These constraints may force a country to compromise on certain matters, based on the realization that she may not have allot take stop go all the way. In the second gulf won (2003), American intention to effect a regime change in Berged was heartily constrained by the unwillingness of her former allies during the 1991 conflict to support the new campaign both diplomatically and militarily. The American government had to resort to series of measures and pressures ranging from intimidation and blackmail to outright bribery, has, falsification of intelligence information, and other forms of manipulation. on the long run, president  Bush was lonely able to put together what he described as “the coalition of the will” to provide a semblance of unified action in the face-off with Saddanu Hussein.
            As earlier noted, lost of changes have taken place in the global environment since the last two decades of the 20th century. these changes have had an overwhelming hear revolutionary impacts on the perceptions of issues and approaches to events in the world system, some of these events include:
i.          The fall of the Berlin Wall and the Unification of harmony.
ii.         The collapse of the Soviet Union, the strong hold of world communism  
iii.       The end of the super power rivalry between the U.S. and the USSR.
iv.        The rise of the US as a sole superpower
v.         The wide acceptance of democracy as the most viable system of government all over the world
vi.        The acceptance of the free market economy in Eastern Europe.
vii.      The emergence of china as a regional economic power in south east area with global aspirations.
viii.     The end of apartheid and introduction of majority rule in South Africa.
ix.        Globalization of trade and investment through the mechanism of the world trade Organization.
x.         The emergence of a new multipolar would system with different centres of power
xi.        The revolution in information technology otherwise known as the information super high way
xii.      The expansion of NATO to incorporate former members of the Warsaw Pact.
xiii.     The Arab political awakening known as “the Arab springs” which has brought down many authoritarian regions in the middle east and North Africa.

Foreign Policy and National Interest
In international relations, the concept of national interest lacks a clearly defined meaning. it has come to mean different things to different groups within the society. these groups includes the political class, the military establishment, the business class, the intellectuals and theoreticians. Each of these group has its own class interest to represent and protect such that these special interests, more other than not, may come to represent the national interest.
The concept of National interest has been a subject of serious international focus since the end of the Second World War. for Hans Morgan than, the objectives of foreign policy must be defined  situated in terms of national interest because “interest is the perennial standard by which political actions must be judged” the fields that the national interest must also be defined in terms of power and capability. power as a concept cannot be separated form national interest because power is the principle instrument for the realization of national interest. Power is made up of several elements such as geography, size, population, economy, political ideology, structures and institutions of society, military capability, technological know how, leadership and national morale.
National interest is unambiguous concept, it is also elusive. National interest is not about a single objective truth, rather it is a pluralistic set of objectives and value preferences which at one end is constant and at the other and continues to changes “whenever the requirements as aspirations of the nations” members changes.
            Broadly speaking, national interest underscores the most essential values which a country holds in extreme importance. such interests could be strategic, economic, socio- political country would be willing to make sacrificies in order to protect.

Types of National Interest
            National interest could be classified into three broad categories.

(a)       Primary Interest: This is the most vital interest of the state and it has to do with national security. Primary interest deals with the defence, territorial sovereignty and independence of the state. The most important responsibility of any government is to protect the life, property and liberty of the citizens against external aggression and pillage. According to Alex Hartman, primary interest is one for which a country is willing to fight immediately and ultimately. He contends that vital interests are predominantly, and essentially conservative. a country’s vital interest is the protection of territorial integrity and the preservation of national prestige. The nature of a country’s national interest may vary from one state to another. during the world war, part of the vital interest of the soviet union was the preservation of world communication and the protection the proletariat. Part of American’s most vital interest at the period was to check the spread of global communism. today, this interest has shifted to nuclear proliferation and international terrorism for the US while Russia is concerned with economic development and political stability. For almost all African countries, food security remain a matter of vital interest.

(b)       Secondary Interest: Also referred to as national welfare, secondary interest deals with a country’s desire to protect the financial, technical and related interests or her citizens abroad. Since no nation in the modern world can exist in a state of isolation, nations and individuals are interdependent on one another for the attainment of various goals. Nation states, multinational corporations, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and individuals are interdependent on one another for the attainment of various goals. Nation states, Multinational corporations, International organizations, non-governmental organizations and individuals undertake commercial and industrial ventures of enormous proportions in foreign lands. It is the responsibility of the home government, though its agents at home and abroad, to ensure that such investments and business interests are protected.
            Citizens of one country may also travel to foreign lands for purposes of education health needs, tours, employment of the mercy of the host communities and their governments. The home government must continue to monitor their progress in far away pleases so as to ensure that their welfare are protected.
            Secondary interests are those interests which a country would work hard to protect but over which they may not necessarily go to war. secondary interests are goals and objectives which could be achieved though patient dip lunacy, negotiation and bargaining. Nigeria’s secondary interest include economic development, welfare and equality of the people while the secondary prosperity, freedom, the pursuit of happiness and global influence.

(c)       General Interest: Also known as national prestige, general interest deals with the desire of a state to make it impact felt of the world stage. This could be on matters of global peace and security, commerce and international trade, scientific and technological advancement, research, health and sports. Nigeria’s general interest include African unity, human equality, global peace, justice interest involve the expansion of capitalism (tree market economy), human rights, export of liberal democracy and representative government and the preservation of world peace through the instruments of the United Nations and its agencies.
The preservation of world peace and international security is assumed to constitute the general interest of all nations, often collative effort is made through coalition building and imposition of sanctions to suppress aggressive behaviour one or more members of the international system. The understanding here is that countries can pursue other goals of foreign policy and national interest meaning fully only when the international system.

            In pursuing their interest in the global arena, be it primary, secondary or general there are several instruments which countries employ for the realization of these national goals and objectives. These instruments may vary from one country to another and the ability to use them also varies. These instruments may be need in isolation depending on the issue involved while of depending on the issue involved while at other times they could be made to complement each other. A country may be able to apply one instrument or the other even a particular matter and on others may not be able or willing to do he same. Some well developed countries like the US and a few well developed countries like the US and a few others could employ all instruments t the same time in other to achieve maximum examined below.

(a)       Diplomatic Instrument: Diplomacy, which Ernest Satow described as “the application of intelligence and tact to the conduct of official relations between the governments of independent states” is one of the most effective instruments of pursing a country’s national interest. Deployment, statement, Heads of governments and representatives at all levels engage in negotiation, bargaining, persuasion, intimidation and exchange to express the policies of their governments and gain the needed support.
The hall mark of diplomacy is peaceful interaction bases on mutual understanding of each others needs and respect for the desires and aspirations of diverse interests competing at the global environment. Diplomacy is largely reconciliatory hence it relies heavily on the spirit of “give and take” Diplomacy allows each side reasonable rool for maneuver reducing, as such as possible a claustrophobic atmosphere of intimidation and bullying which could lead to hasty action and up pleasant outcome.
Diplomacy aims at averting war even tough it does not always succeed. Diplomacy is a process, even in periods of conflict and war, the wheels of diplomacy continue to turn wars do not end in the battle field but on the negotiating table. Wars, at times becomes necessary to allow diplomacy a chance of success.
Diplomacy in the modern era is a delicate state craft. It is only the best who could compete in this arena. A diplomat must possess “extra ordinary qualities” to enable him function effectively in view of the difficult challenges continuing him. Alaba Ogunsanwo holds the view that for a diplomat to excel in his job, he must possess bove-overage intelligence, knowledge, character and personality. other essential attributes of a diplomat include moral integrity, sense of humor, physical fitness, quick and ready judgment, concentration, ability to read, interpret and analyze data. a good diplomat must possess courage, wit, sharp and incisive mind and an even temper.
            Diplomacy, when properly nurtured, when adequately applied and when managed by those who have the ability and wisdom to do so, goes a long way in achieving the goals of national interest.

(b)       Military Instrument: Although the use of force to facilitate the objectives of foreign policy is not acceptable in the contemporary world system, war a decisive rule in inter-national relations. under Article 51of the united Nations chanter, the use of force is only permissible in the exercise of the right to self defense. Any other condition or the use of force outsole this stands in breach of international law.
Despite the clear position of international law on their regulation of use of force in the inter national environment, states have continued to depend on military measures in defense of various degrees of national interest. Besides difects military combat, the military instrument could be employed in many other forms or guises in the pursuit of the interests and goals of state. These are briefly summarized as;

i.          Military demonstrations and maneuvers where a country may engage in a public display of its military equipments and arsenal as a signal that it has the potentials, ability and willingness to make won. military demonstrations may also aim at proving the strength and incadacity of an existing alliance. 

ii.         Joint maneuvers and combat display aimed or proving the existing of friends and allies which could be banked upon for support when the need arises. The greatest aim of joint maneuvers and combat display is to intimidate the opponent and over helm potential adversaries with a show of strength.

iii.       Military aid and arms sale is a process of extending military assistance and sale of weapons to friends and allies as a means of  protecting ones’ interests and obligations. in situations where direct involvement may lead to the escalation of conflict, interstate parties may resort to indirectly involvement through the sale of arms and extension of other forms of military assistance and advice. Extension of other forms of military assistance and advice.

iv.        Military advisers and combat troops in terms of personnel and technical experts maybe deployed to conflict zones to ones’ friends and allies. Combat tropes could equally be dispatched as a form of commitment to a goals or in fulfillment of the provisions of existing agreement.

C.        Economic instrument: A healthy national economy serves as a solid foundation for the achievement of other political and social needs of society. A country with a sound economy is therefore a strong country. With a stable national economy a country could manipulate its strength towards the pursuit and realization of other national goals. this could be done in a number of ways;

i.          Trade: Trade and other forms of commercial activity is one language to which every nation responds. Trading relationships subject to various forms of manipulation and intrigue aimed at establishing or protecting the desire of the state. A wealthy hatron could accord special trading privileges and concessions to another if it has some political or strategic points to gain trough such arrangement. 

ii.         Embargo and sanctions: Trade embargo and other forms of economic sanctions may also be applied against errant countries to compel them to act more reasonably and responsibly. The mere threat of sanctions may be enough to achieve some desired result. A sanction has been a long standing option in international politics though it does not always produce the desired result. Sanctions and embargoes are often easily circumvented by the civic teams and their supporters.

iii.       Aid and investment: Technical assistance, investment and aid programmes are effective instruments of foreign policy bargaining. Aid and investment-Technical assistance, investment and aid programmes are effective instruments of foreign policy bargaining. aid can be used on the other hand to put pressure on the receiving country by either withholding the package or withdrawing it completely. Aid serves a carrot and stick purpose to encourage responsible behaviour and to punish recalcitrance.

iv.        Control of international organizations. Strong and wealthy nations may use their positions of strength to control international organizations. the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund the would Bank, etc form time to time, function as arons of the government of the big powers. They are used as instruments to pursue the policies of those powers and provide legitimacy to some actions of their governments considered in bad taste by other countries.

d.         Psychological Instrument: Also known as propaganda information management, the psychological instrument aims to inform, educate or condition the minds of the listening public towards a particular way of thinking or view point. The are at propaganda, which involves the dissemination of information is packaged in a way that presents one in a good light and drams the sympathy and understanding of the general public. It serves to rationalize actions and ideas while reducing the chances for criticism and opposition. propaganda serves to discredit the enemy and portray him in a very bad enemy and portray him in a very bad height. During the second world war, Mazi Germany used effective propaganda justify the extermination of the Jews across esteem Europe. In the months preceding the second felt war, George Bush and Tony Blair maintained luge verbal attacks on the government of Iraq. Sadden Hussein was presented as a threaty to the would and should be removed to present him from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. propaganda government is not always a lie not is it always intended to cause harm and injury. Propaganda could be used to spread the ideals of a just cause and bring spaniels of a just cause and bring some to the acceptance of a large audience.

e.         Alliance formation and collective security-alliance formation: is an old concept in international relations. As an instrument for protecting national interest, it is premised on pulling together of military resources to achieve collective security interest. Alliance could be bilateral multilateral or universal.
            Alliance formation is purely a military and strategic under taking which boarders primarily on defense and security matters. throughout history, to kingdoms and empires and nation states have often relied on each to achieve a higher level security sophistication. collective security reduces cost and guarantees weaker states the protection of stronger neighbours against opponents or would be aggressors.

f.          Intelligence: This is also known as information gathering techniques. It is based on the use of sophisticated gadgets and specially trained agents to gather information and unravel he secrets of others. Every government has important secrets to protect from outsiders some of which may broaden on national security. the ability to unravel such secrets becomes a negation of security interest and may lead to undue pressure on the government or the state concerned.
            Countries spy on each other both at war times and in periods of peace. Every countries could of victims of espionages as well as friendly ones and allies. The need to know the real thoughts and perception of others is considered vital aspect of policy making.

General Objectives of Foreign Policy
i.          The protection of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the state is the sole aim of foreign policy. in a world system where might is right, the preservation of the states territorial dignity remain a matter of paramount importance.

ii.         The promotion of world peace and global under sting in the management of issues of international significance. It is only in an environment of peace and orderliness tat state sand other non-state actors can go about their legitimate businesses.

iii.       The pursuit of sound economic programmes aimed at enhancing the well being of citizens is a major goal of both domestic and foreign policies. a state with a weak economy cannot compete favourably with others and the poor living standard of the citizens would remain a weak link in the chain of development.

iv.        To create the enabling environment that would facilitate the promotion of international problems. these are common problems that could have universal impacts on the progress and general well being of mankind. Such problems include terrorisms drugs and narcotics, international prostitution and child trafficking, environmental pollution, wanton and unprovoked aggression, trans- border migration. Smuggling and piracy, human rights abuses and other deplorable acts capable of plunging the international enragement into chaos.

v.         To support and promote the success of international organizations in carrying out their various functions aimed at facilitating the greater well-being of the international system. The United Nations, for instance, has attempted to play te leviathan since 1945 although the success of the organization has been of very specific and limited nature.

vi.        Promotion of international peace through commitment to the goals of collective security and collective action against aggression. All nations are encouraged to team up and work together against a particular nation or group of nations which may constitute a threat to international peace and order.

vii.      The eradications of racism, racial discrimination. And xenophobia in all aspects of human relationship has become a subject of global concern. The UN is in the fore- front of this campaign. The objective here is to sensitize the conscience of all humanity against the evil impacts of racial discrimination in all aspects of human interaction.

viii.     Regional unity and co-operation is an angle which has solid relevance on the attitude of blocs of countries belonging  to particular regions. Regional unionization at political, economic, military and religious levels have become quite relevant international relations. Example of such regional bodies include the EU, Aseani, SADC, OAS, ECOWAS, NATO, IOC, etc.
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