Benefits of foreign relations to the civil population
By Remijo Lasu Peter (MP)
Generally speaking, most people do not know much about foreign policy, how it is made or how it benefits their lives individually and collectively. The foreign policy making centers on various national actors include political leaders, bureaucratic organizations, legislatures, political parties, interest groups and the public. Foreign policy is the decisions of a nation-state defining goals, setting precedents, or laying down courses of actions and the actions taken to implement those decisions as dictated by its interest. Foreign policy making has the following three aspects as determining factors: type of government, situations and policy.
Foreign policy depends on the country’s type of domestic political system; whether it is democratic or authoritarian government. This is because differences in how the policy is decided effect policy outcome. The difference between democratic and authoritarian governments is on number and the types of people involved in political decision making. In the democratic system, many people are involved, while in the authoritarian system few or one person decides.
Situation is one variable that determines the exact nature of the foreign policy process. For example, there are differences in policy making in crisis situations compared to non-crisis situations. A crisis is a circumstance in which decision makers are surprised by an event, feel threatened and believe that they have only a short time in which to make a decision. Decision makers usually strive during a crisis to make rational decisions but their ability to gather and analyze information is hampered by the exigency of time. In most cases they make erroneous decisions that cause suffering to the civil population.
Traditionally, States are the most important political actors due to their sovereignty. States are complex organizations and their internal domestic dynamic influence their international actions. The influence of the country abroad depends primarily upon the strength of the internal political, economic and social structures. The main objective of the State is to ensure that the security and prosperity and interests of the nation are advanced and protected; and the national voice is heard abroad; hence, a lot of time, energy and resources have to be spent in building a long and a short term foreign policy objectives of the country.
The health and the size of the national economy is the reflection of foreign influence and crisis such as civil wars, displacement and corruption makes it difficult to realize its full potential.
A key economic policy of the country is to attract Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) as a vehicle for economic development. This is simultaneously a foreign and national policy objective, a perfect example of the inter-dependence between domestic and foreign policy making.
The most important point here is that foreign policy of the country should be used to enhance the condition of the citizens. The benefits to the citizens are directly found within bilateral or regional-based platforms, to achieve such objective, struggle for power through the barrel of the gun, non implementation of national laws and policies, tribalism and nepotism must not surface.
Foreign policy is a means of projection and realization of the national interest. National interest is adopted as a means for analyzing fundamental objectives of foreign policy of a nation. National interest covers three outstanding components: national security; protection and preservation of the welfare of the state, and national prestige.
National security relates to the defense of a country’s territorial integrity and political independence. For instance, good neighborliness prevents eruption and support of rebel movements. Uganda was able to defeat the Lord’s resistance Movement due to its better relation with South Sudan.
When statesmen and bureaucrats are expected or required to act in the national interest, it means that they are to take action on issues that improve the political situation, the economic and social well-being, the health and culture of the people. For example, States normally sends out diplomats to open embassies abroad. The work of these diplomats is mainly espionage to find out the economic, cultural or social and military strengths and short comings of those nations as well. For example if the Embassy found out that one of its neighbors has law level of production in the fields of food and essential commodities, immediately the embassy reports back home for their people to manufacture and cultivate in big quantity in an effort to sell into that consuming country. So the objective in this regard is market or wealth creation. The good foreign policy has found market for the citizens. If the problem is water shortage, or sewage tank driving but the local cultures doesn’t permit its people to do the job, the foreign Embassy will send massage home and mobilize its citizens to do the job, and return home hard currency.
If the civil population is not benefiting economically and socially in the countries your Embassies are accredited to, then you have the right to question, what about us? Why can’t we benefit economically the same way others do in our Country?
These necessities compel states to enter into economic intercourse with one another in order to advantageously harness resources to serve domestic needs. No nation, no matter how powerful and richly endowed has ever achieved economic prosperity and ensures a high standard of living for its citizens without active involvement in international trade. Such benefits are normally lobbied in by carrier diplomats during their invitations and sharing in the coffee places.
Another aspect of core interest is national prestige. The degree of influence a nation can wield on others depend on the extent to which such a State is able to conduct its affairs consistent with a high sense of self-respect and national honor. The implication here is that a state that fails to maintain a high degree of acceptable reputation in the international system risk disrespect and even isolation in the community of nations, unless the country’s key foreign policy objective promotes the image of the country as one where human rights are respected, rule of law is the basis of governance and administration is geared towards the improvement of the living conditions of the ordinary citizen.
National interest and foreign policy are inextricably linked, one follows the other and both of them affect the lives of the civil population individually and collectively. As a result, the civil population should be interested in how the country is governed, whether the human resources such as youth are trained skills for job creation or for job seeking or trained to shoot guns; whether the mineral resources are well utilized or spent in corruption or whether the country is developing or not.
Generally the foreign policies of civilized States are based on the following principles: promotion of the national interest; respect for international law and treaty obligations; peaceful coexistence and nonalignment; settlement of international disputes by peaceful means; opposition to all forms of domination, racism and other forms of oppression and exploitation; participation in international and regional organizations that stand for peace and for the well-being and progress of humanity.
While the duties of the citizens is to exercise and enjoy rights and freedoms enshrined in the national constitutions, patriotism and loyalty to the nation and to promote its well-being; to contribute to national development; to promote responsible parenthood; to foster national unity and live in harmony with others; to promote democracy and the rule of law; and to acquaint himself or herself with the provisions of the Constitution and to uphold and defend the Constitution and the law.
The author is a Member of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly representing Constituency no.13, Morobo County. He can be reached via email: email@example.com