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What Is Foreign Policy? 7 Tools of Foreign Policy

Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a master's degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.

What is foreign policy?

What is foreign policy?

What Is Foreign Policy?

An important aspect of a country's foreign policy is its approach to the rest of the world. The way a country interacts with other countries affects how different countries behave toward one another and therefore partly determines how they can benefit or hurt one another.

At the most basic level, foreign policy is simply how a country behaves toward other countries. This could mean, for example, open trade agreements with other countries or creating policies that help those trading partners in exchange for them opening up their markets to the nation's exports and imports.

In this sense, foreign policy is often thought of as a tool or policy that any government can use to benefit itself at the expense of another country or group of countries. But while this may be true of some policies, such as tariffs and embargoes, it is not always the case.

In many cases, it will be more beneficial for a country to work together with other nations than it will be for that same country to try to exclude those nations from its own economy entirely. In order for these nations to have economic prosperity and growth, they need to be able to cooperate with each other in various ways. It is only by working together that these nations can achieve their goals without harming each other.

7 Tools of Foreign Policy

The tools of foreign policy could be military, political, or economic, depending on the nature of the policy. But these tools don’t just affect the people of one certain country; they can cause tensions and even wars on an international scale. Understanding the mechanisms of foreign policy can help us understand why different countries behave the way they do.

  1. National Interests
  2. Diplomacy
  3. Military Force
  4. Economic Policies
  5. Cyber Security Policies
  6. Environmental Protection Policies
  7. Energy Policies

1. National Interests

In a world of nation-states, national interest is the only thing that matters—but in a world of multinational corporations, it's often a meaningless term. When it comes to foreign policy, the most important tool in your toolbox is national interest.

National interest is what your country needs in order to be secure and prosperous. It includes the things you need to defend yourself, but also things like economic growth, respect from other nations, and diplomatic allies.

But national interests are not always obvious or easy to achieve. China wants a friendly relationship with America; America wants allies who respect its sovereignty. Those two goals don't necessarily go together: China can find allies who take America's side in a dispute with Japan or Taiwan without being too friendly towards the United States itself.

A better approach is to think about both goals at once: the things you have to do to protect yourself from attack and what you have to do to benefit from an alliance or trade deal with other countries.

National interest is always going to be a balancing act, with each side having its own goals. You need to get everyone working towards a common purpose while still protecting your sovereignty and interests. If you can do that, national interest will serve you well in foreign policy.

2. Diplomacy

The accepted wisdom is that diplomacy is an old-fashioned policy tool that is outmoded in an era of new security threats. But diplomacy is more than that; it can also be a way to communicate with other countries and resolve conflicts among them.

Diplomacy today is often seen as something done by diplomats, who are professionals in international relations. They are like lawyers or accountants or bureaucrats; they are not like politicians or generals or anyone else who plays a role in public life. Diplomats tend to be people who prefer writing reports about what they did rather than giving speeches about what they're going to do.

But diplomacy is also something done by diplomats in private when there's no reason for anyone else to see them. Diplomats do things that don't seem like anything special at all, but from the viewpoint of their own country, they are very important. There's nothing wrong with talking to other countries privately, but doing it publicly and clearly, so that everyone knows you're doing it, seems much more impressive than talking privately with your parents or your friends.

A diplomat who works behind closed doors must be skilled at what he or she does. But there's no way to know how good someone is at a job like that unless they're seen doing it. A diplomat can be great, but if you don't get to see him or her in action, how would you know?

Because of that, diplomacy seems mysterious to most people. They can’t see what diplomats do behind closed doors and can't appreciate how it contributes to their national interest. So diplomats seem like a curiosity at best and a trick at worst. But whether you consider them important or trivial, they are out there working every day on behalf of their countries. You should know who they are and what they do. It's another way you can be smart about your country's foreign policy.

3. Military Force

Military force is an important tool of foreign policy. It refers to armed forces, money and other resources used to protect and defend against or attack other countries or factions. The strength of military force relative to others typically determines who maintains power in international relations, but it’s not always as simple as the biggest guns win.

Numerous factors influence military strength, including a country’s economy, political stability, and population size and age. Countries with strong military forces use them for a variety of purposes: establishing alliances with weaker countries to form large militaries; achieving goals established by their governments; providing humanitarian aid; protecting a population from internal or external threats; gaining access to valuable resources such as oil; and more.

Military force isn’t only used in war, however. Countries sometimes use it as a threat to prevent an enemy from moving forward with plans or stop aggression in progress. When the U.S. bombed Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, for example, it was an act of military force meant to keep Saddam Hussein from continuing his plan to invade Kuwait and increase his chances of maintaining power over Iraq’s oil supply.

4. Economic Policies

Economic policy is one of the tools of foreign policy. It makes up a large part of foreign policy. A country’s economic policies are determined by its government and determine how it will regulate its interactions with other countries. Economic policies can include tariffs, taxes that are charged on items being brought into a country, subsidies, or money paid to individuals by their government in order to help boost an industry within their borders. The U.S., for example, has used several different types of economic policies in order to build its economy over time.

The overall success or failure of economic policies varies widely from country to country. Nations that have fewer restrictions and regulations on their citizens tend to have more thriving economies, while nations with strict regulations in place often struggle economically. It’s up to every country’s government to determine what type of economic policies they choose, as well as how they implement them in order to meet their own specific goals.

At their most basic level, there are two types of economic policies: those that restrict trade and those that promote it. This can help provide some insight into why a nation might decide to implement a particular policy. Countries like Venezuela, for example, have implemented high tariffs in order to protect local businesses from foreign competition while allowing their own consumers access to cheap imports. Meanwhile, nations like Sweden have taken steps to remove all trade barriers between themselves and other countries, making them one of the most prosperous economies in Europe.

5. Cybersecurity Policies

Cybersecurity is an important tool of foreign policy. It is a term for all the ways countries protect their interests in cyberspace, from government agencies to private companies. It is a worldwide issue that impacts everyone.

Countries have different reasons for wanting to protect themselves through cybersecurity measures. The United States has traditionally been more open about its capabilities and intentions in this area — it's one of America's defining characteristics — but many other countries are much more secretive about their cyber security activities. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make the policy and technological landscape difficult to understand.

Cybersecurity policies can range from basic rules requiring technical controls —like firewalls and anti-virus software—at government agencies to more elaborate countermeasures that require extensive licenses, customized software or special expertise.

How do countries regulate cybersecurity measures, and how has that changed over time? What are some of the policies in place today, and what trends are we seeing in cyber security policies around the world? And what challenges do companies face as they attempt to build a productive, efficient workforce that's also secure from attack or espionage? These are important questions for businesses on every level.

6. Environmental Protection Policies

Environmental protection policy is another tool of foreign policy. It’s called green diplomacy, and it’s used to promote sustainable development, encourage eco-friendly practices in other countries, and facilitate international cooperation on issues such as climate change, ozone depletion, and global warming.

Like many tools of foreign policy, environmental protection policies are used for both economic and non-economic goals. They’re a common tool for protecting and preserving resources. In fact, one major goal of environmental protection policies is to help protect natural resources in other countries, which makes them a good way to support fair trade practices and conservation efforts in developing nations.

Environmental protection policies are often used as a tool for diplomacy. By promoting sustainable development in other countries, it may be possible to reduce tensions and resolve conflicts related to natural resources. In fact, some countries use environmental protection policies as a way to gain support from populations living in regions that contain natural resources or large amounts of natural habitat.

Environmental protection policies are usually implemented using foreign aid, but they may also be used to create economic agreements with other countries. In some cases, environmental protection policies have been used as a way to promote fair trade practices by requiring that recipients use eco-friendly practices in their manufacturing. However, it’s important to note that not all forms of environmental protection policy require that other countries meet specific standards or follow specific guidelines in order to receive funding.

7. Energy Policies

Energy policies vary widely around the world. Each country has unique resources and challenges, so it’s important to analyze your foreign policy goals in order to choose an energy policy that best suits your needs.

At its core, an energy policy is defined by who owns, produces, and distributes energy. Some countries rely on a mix of private enterprise and state-owned businesses to produce and distribute power while others allow only a single utility to control all three areas.

Although their energy policy may be limited by their geography, some countries choose to invest in renewable energies as a way to both limit pollution and cut down on costs. Some cities, including San Francisco and London, have made it illegal for utilities to use coal in their energy production. Others prefer to rely on hydropower or even nuclear power. It’s important to consider how an energy policy might affect your country’s overall strategy before choosing one.

As energy policies begin to evolve, you can use policies that have been effective in other countries to guide your decisions. It’s important to analyze all aspects of your energy policy before enacting it. Because energy shapes so much of our economy and our daily lives, making a choice without careful consideration could backfire quickly.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Muhammad Rafiq