I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It. — Evelyn Beatrice Hall
The role of Foreign Policy has never been more pertinent, challenging and socioeconomically relevant to the enormous conflicting issues facing humanity, and consequently nation-states than today. This Website attempts, therefore, to interject itself into the ongoing public debates about serious Foreign Policy concerns, in an increasingly volatile, interrelated, and often intolerant global climate.
Foreign Policy cannot be summed up or debated in a vacuum with a single narrow focus, however. It is crucial to underline the need for a dynamic, interdisciplinary approach, that covers the entire spectrum of social sciences. Furthermore, the analysis and connection between the role of the domestic socio-political and economic environment in the conduct of Foreign Policy are indispensable. The reaction of Europeans to the Syrian crisis — particularly the British and American policymakers, because of their domestic public opinion constraints — is the most vivid example of the influence of domestic context upon Foreign Policy.
In the same way, Public Diplomacy has been used by Foreign Policy decision-makers in projecting their national security interests and goals, when targeting a general audience, as well as an audience of decision-makers, and attempt to create distance from the pure propaganda arm of Foreign Policy, by sugar-coating the “intended policy.” In other words, it could be argued that Public Diplomacy is used as the Public Relations arm of Foreign Policy — particularly by the West — in an effort to win public opinion in target nations where previously even the elites and heads of those states did not count in the Foreign Policy calculus and were quite frankly treated with contempt by all Western Foreign Policy decision-makers.
Further, as Ted Gurr has recalled,
“Where I have faced what seemed to be a choice between “telling it as it seems to be” and the dictates of coherence, parsimony, or elegance, I have chosen the first on grounds that, given the present inadequacy of and need for systematic understanding of violence, it is the more fruitful and useful course.” ( Ted Robert Gurr, Why Men Rebel (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970), p. 357.
Since the essence of international relations is undeniably embodied in violence and Power Politics, there is a definitive validity to this approach in examining any related subject.
The point of discussing briefly these angles of Foreign Policy optics is not to open Pandora’s box of definitions, delineated parameters, and disagreements surrounding the subject matter of Foreign Policy analysis – although this is also very much welcomed. But, rather invite as many divergent opinions and points of view as possible to promote a discussion of Foreign Policy which has a wide scope, and can use many feasible analytical standpoints in an attempt to contribute positively to all the ongoing general and specific Foreign Policy debates.
But also let’s remember in a humbling way that any analysis or perspective can not pretend with certitude to have reached the definitive Theoretical methodology and answer to the growing complex international political environment. Since they are further shaped and affected by numerous elements, factors, and constant behind the scene back door diplomacy. In the eloquent words of Alexis de Tocqueville:
I have come across men of letters who have written history without taking part in public affairs, and politicians who have concerned themselves with producing events without thinking about them. I have observed that the first are always inclined to find general causes, whereas the second, living in the midst of disconnected daily facts, are prone to imagine that everything is attributable to particular incidents, and that the wires they pull are the same as those that move the world. It is to be presumed that both are equally deceived.
President Kennedy had also conceded this point by writing:
The essence of ultimate decision remains impenetrable to the observer — often, indeed, to the decider himself… There will also be the dark and tangled stretches in the decision-making process — mysterious even to those who may be most intimately involved. (John F. Kennedy. “Preface” to Theodore C. Sorensen, Decision-Making in the White House – New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1963)
Thus keeping in mind that there shall always remain a serious gap and understanding of any study that would need to be examined by — an analysis of the analysis — even though it would not necessarily mean the absolute discernment of the subject matter at hand. Particularly as new facts can shed and question the premises of the existing complex socioeconomic and political events. After all, it is Social Science and not pure Science in its totality.
Other than comments from a general audience, any serious contributions, from any place on the political compass, related to this Website’s purpose are welcomed as guest posts. Potential contributors should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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