Foreign Policy Challenges of Pakistan
Aftab H Wahla
The formulation and implementation of a set of ideas, actions, statements and intentions that governs the behaviour of states while interacting with other states to promote, enhance and secure its national interests can loosely be defined as foreign policy. Formulation of foreign policy is actually a process whereby a state translates its ideologically-, historically- and culturally-driven goals into concrete, specific and purposeful course of action with an exclusive aim to have enabling international environment where diplomats could navigate smoothly and effectively in their pursuit of protecting vital interests of their countries. The execution of effective foreign policy warrants well-delineated and well-hammered-out vision regarding desired outcomes, well-thought-out strategies (diplomatic tactics, coercion, utilization of soft and hard power, etc.) to materialize this vision and optimum utilization of all available resources at the state’s disposal to execute the foreign policy. Succinctly, foreign policy is the identification, prioritization and safeguard of national interests while interacting with other states and organizations at global, regional and sub-regional levels.
Foreign policy of a country is always the reflection of its domestic political circumstances and its geostrategic and geo-economic relevance in international system. The determinants of foreign policy can broadly be divided into domestic and external factors. Historical and cultural tendencies, geography, population, economic development, natural resources, military capabilities, political system, personality and character of leader, political parties and interest groups, press and public opinion and level of advancement in science and technology play a vital role in shaping foreign policy domestically. As for external factors responsible for influencing the freedom and level of manoeuvrability of states, international system, international law, alliances, military capabilities, arms race, international organizations and different non-state actors can be enlisted as the key determinants of foreign policy.
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