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Foreign Policies: The 7 Tools of Foreign Policy

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Foreign Policies: The 7 Tools of Foreign Policy

A country’s foreign policy is how it interacts with the rest of the world. Foreign policies can positively affect a country’s economic growth and prosperity. However, it can also have negative results causing tensions and even wars. To understand the concept of foreign policies and why countries behave differently, we must first recognize the seven mechanisms or tools that define them.

1. National Interests

Each country has its own goals, sovereignty, and interests. However, we live in a world where countries have different national interests. It becomes a tough balancing act when you have to balance your national interests while still working towards a common purpose. A country needs to respect other nations’ national interests while still securing economic growth and building relationships and alliances with other nations.

2. Diplomacy

Diplomacy is an essential tool that enables the communication between countries to resolve conflict or build alliances. Diplomats are highly skilled, educated people that typically don’t play a public role. These people also act as advisors to politicians on how to resolve international tensions. It’s argued that diplomats work too much behind closed doors. On the other hand, it’s argued that there’s no reason that citizens should see precisely what they do.

How can we appreciate and evaluate their efforts if we can’t see how they contribute to our national interest? The answer is that you must make an effort to find out who they are and what they do. From a citizen’s viewpoint, it’s imperative for us to know what they’re doing.

3. Economic

A country’s economic policies play a crucial role in the prosperity of a country. It’s a known fact that countries with fewer restrictions have more thriving economies while others with strict policies struggle. The government defines economic policies, which can include subsidies, tax tariffs on imports, and money paid to help boost certain local industries.

4. Military

The strength of a country’s military force largely determines which nation maintains power in international foreign policy and power. Various factors influence a country’s military strength, including its economy, population size, political stability, and population age, to name a few. Countries with strong military forces can use them to establish alliances with weaker countries, provide humanitarian aid, gain access to valuable resources that serve the country’s national interest, aid in protection, act as a threat mechanism to prevent wars and more.

5. Cyber security

As we find ourselves in the 21st century, international cybersecurity policies have become a main priority. The US has been relatively open concerning its cybersecurity intentions and capabilities. However, many countries are secretive when it comes to their activities. This is a double-edged sword as it makes the cyber landscape challenging to evaluate and understand, but it also protects against international espionage and cybersecurity threats.

Policies can include anti-hacking software capabilities at government agencies, countermeasures, disaster recovery protocols, and more. There have been considerable advancements made in the last 20 years, and it’s vital that we understand trends, policies, and protocols in place today.

6. Energy

There are many factors that define a country’s energy policies. Each country has unique resources, capabilities, and challenges. Investing in renewable energy is the trend as we advance as we attempt to limit pollution and costs. Some countries still heavily rely on combustion energy due to infrastructure limitations, whereas others use hydropower and nuclear power. In the future, more countries will be forced to make difficult decisions and infrastructure changes as it will shape their economies in the future.

7. Environment

Also known as green diplomacy, a country’s environmental policies promote eco-friendly practices and sustainable development. It furthers and facilitates cooperation between nations to address climate change, the depletion of the ozone, and global warming. These policies create economic agreements between countries that promote foreign trade agreements. For example, a country may be required to apply eco-friendly practices. 



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