In modern times no state can avoid involvement in the international sphere. This involvement must be systematic and based on some well-defined principles. The principles and purposes of the state are reflected in its foreign policy. The importance of the foreign policy has been highlighted by scholars in various ways. According to one scholar, a state without a foreign policy is like a ship without a rudder which drifts aimlessly without any direction by every storm and sweep of events. According to Prof Taylor: ‘foreign policy of a sort will go on so long as there are sovereign states’.
Meaning of foreign policy:
There is no unanimity amongst scholars regarding the meaning of foreign policy and various definitions have been offered. According to Padelford and Loncoln: a state’s foreign policy is the totality of its dealing with the external environment. Foreign policy is more than a collection of official documents, former records of action and public statements. A foreign policy statement can be simple and succinct… Or it may be complicated and imprecise… Policy is the overall result of the process by which a state translates its broadly conceived goals and interest into specific courses of action in order to achieve its objective and preserve it interests.
Crabb has offered a simple yet effective definition of foreign policy. He says, ‘reduced it to most fundamental ingredients, foreign policy consist of two elements national objectives to be achieved and means for achieving them’.
Charles Burton Marshall defines foreign policy as ‘the course of action undertaken by authority of state and intended to affect situations beyond the span of its jurisdiction’. This definition emphasises two points. First, foreign policy generates inaction. Secondly the things acted upon in foreign policy are beyond the jurisdiction of the state.
Objectives of foreign policy:
The main objectives which the foreign policy of the country seeks to achieve our as follow:
- Firstly, it seeks to protect the territorial integrity of the country and protect the interest of the citizens, both within and outside the country. Generally for this purpose the state preferred to follow policy of status quo. If a state pursued a policy which leads to upset the status quo it is branded as revisionist and arouses the suspicion of other members of the community. It has to protect the interest of the children both inside and outside the state, for the maintenance of its prestige.
- Secondly, the objective of foreign policy is maintenance of links with other members of the international community and adoption of the policy of conflict or cooperation towards them with a view to promote its interest. It is well known that Pakistan has deliberately avoided exchange of diplomatic relations with the state of Israel so that its relations with the Muslim countries do not get strained primarily because of strong Muslim Brotherhood.
- Thirdly, the foreign policy of the country seeks to promote the national interest of the country. The primary interest of each state is self-preservation, security and well-being of its citizens. Often the interest of various states’s come in clash and the states have to protect their interests bearing in mind this factor.
- Fourthly the foreign policy aims at promotion of economic interest of the country. As the status of the state in international arena is largely determined by its economic status, the state’s try to pursue a foreign policy which can contribute to their economic prosperity and enable it to turn to play a more active role in international politics.
- Fifthly, the foreign policy aims at enhancement of the influence of the state either by expanding its area of influence or reducing that of other states to the position of dependency. The policy of the United States and Soviet Union in the post-World War II period had been largely motivated by these considerations.