Types Of Foreign Policy and Choices

A nation formulates its foreign policy, keeping in View its various national interests and objectives. In this formulation, general, internal, and external determinants also play varying degrees of the role. These were discussed in detail in the previous article. Under the influence of these factors, foreign policy takes different forms and shapes in different countries. This article discusses in Types Of Foreign Policy.

Types Of Foreign Policy and Choices:

In other words, different countries have different approaches and inclinations towards international relations. Accordingly, they make different foreign policy choices. For example, some states participate in international relations more actively, whereas others prefer to be inert or isolated owing to their internal problems or other reasons.

Few may choose to pursue a neutral path in foreign affairs, while others may prefer non-aligned. Several ambitious states may incline expansion or empire-building, whereas others may be contented with the status quo.

Some aggressive states may adopt a confrontation policy, while peace-loving states may go in for a policy of peaceful co-existence. At times, powerful states choose a nationalistic universal policy. Various types or kinds of foreign policy are the outcomes of these choices. In this article, these choices and types are examined.

1. Policy of Imperialism:

Many powerful and ambitious nations tend to dominate and rule over others. For a long, imperialism has remained a powerful instrument of pursuing and promoting national interest. Imperialism has long been employed as a foreign policy choice by several European powers, and in a novel and indirect form, it is still the choice of many powerful nations. Human history reveals that the tendency to dominate over others has been manifested in one form or the other in different periods. Alexander the Great, Napolean, Bismark, Hitler, etc., had endeavored for empire building and adopted a policy of expansion.


The term imperialism has been used subjectively and arbitrarily. The use of the term is so arbitrary that it does not relate to its real nature, whether the country’s policy is imperialist. Still, any type of foreign policy followed by its opponents is sometimes dubbed as imperialist. The communist called the Western Powers imperialistic; anti-communists gave the same name to communists, while uncommitted nations termed both communists and capitalists as imperialists.

Different scholars have defined imperialism differently in their own ways. That is why Palmer and Perkins observe. Imperialism can be discussed, denounced, defended, and died for, but it cannot be defined in any generally accepted way. However, some of its important definitions are as follows:

imperialism is a policy that aims at creating organization and maintaining an empire says, Moritz Julius Bonn. In the words of Charles A. Beard, imperialism is the employment of engines of government and diplomacy to acquire territories, protectorates, and or spheres of influence usually occupied by other races or peoples and to promote industrial, trade, and investment opportunities.

On the other hand, Parker T Moon observes Imperialism means domination of none European native races by dissimilar European nations. Morgenthau defined it all together in terms of the expansion of a state’s power beyond its borders. Marxists like Lenin hold imperialism purely m economic terms and regarded it as the highest stage of capitalism. Imperialism is closely related to colonialism. Both terms refer to superior-inferior Or a rulers-ruled relationship.


The motives of imperialism are economic gains such as control of competition-free markets, raw material sources, and capital investment in virgin lands. Another motive is the enhancement of national prestige and glory by acquiring a vast colonial empire. It also serves the purpose of extreme nationalism and national defense.

Colonies were also conquered to settle the surplus population there. The policy of imperialism was also pursued to spread a particular religion, culture, or ideology. Advanced Western societies attributed another motive to imperialism, i.e., the supplement of less fortunate and poor yellow man’s Asia and black man’s Africa. They contended that it was the white man’s burden to carry the good things of their own religion and civilization to backward peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.


Several methods were employed to successfully implement imperialism’s policy, such as military intervention and war economic methods like exploring the foreign markets to sell finished products and the purchase of raw materials and cheap labor. Means of economic investment and economic assistance are also employed these days.

Through cultural methods, imperial states conquer men of other nations’ minds and can impose their religion, culture, or political ideology. This method is regarded as far more superior to military victory and economic mastery. Christian missionaries and Soviet and Chinese communists employed this method.

Imperialism in practice:

It was Great Britain that pursued this policy in letter and spirit for a long period. British imperialism had its worldwide tentacles that it was usually said Sun never sets over the British empire. By 1914, the British Empire, although it suffered many setbacks, continued to be the world’s largest and the richest empire.

France was the second-largest empire in Africa and South East Asia. Germany under Bismarck between 1884-90 acquired Togoland Cameroons, South West Africa, German East Africa. The leasehold of Kaichow and extensive economic rights in the Shantung peninsula in China and scattered groups of islands in the pacific. Like Germany, Italy was also a latecomer.

Though not much strong, she occupied three colonies in Attica, Criteria on the Red Sea, Italian Somali land, and Libya in North Africa. Japan began its career as an imperialist in 1894. She annexed Formosa and the Ryukn islands from China, absorbed Korea in 1910.

She also acquired after defeating Russia in 1905 Southern Sakhlina leasehold import Arthur and eliminated Russian influence from Korea and Southern Manchuria. Russian imperialism had its own characteristics. It represented the spreading out over the contiguous territory of I land-hungry aggressive population. She wanted absorption of the new area but not a permanent colony.

Her sphere of influence was in Persia, Manchuria, and Mongolia; Spain, Holland, and Portugal also had their colonies in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, respectively. It is worth mentioning that whereas British, French, German, Dutch imperialism decayed, the imperialism of the Soviet Union expanded after the Second World War to the whole of East Europe and parts of Asia.

The US imperialism is divided into three parts of continental expansion, overseas expansion, and intervention. Her continental imperialism was short-lived. Most of the acquired territories were purchased, followed by political equality. The overseas expansion was made through various processes. Alaska and the Virgin Islands were purchased.

The Hawaii islands and the Canal Zone were acquired almost voluntarily. Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, etc., were conquered in 1395. The Panama Canal Zone was leased for building a canal for her defense and commerce. Except for the Philippines, all are still political subordinates. Her intervention in the Western hemisphere is regarded as defense imperialism. The Monroe Doctrine (1823) and Truman Doctrine 1946) were examples.

Critical Evaluation:

imperialism had its merits and demerits. Those who speak in favor of it assert that it has been a boon since it proved to be of mutual benefit to both the master countries and the colonies. For example, it promoted political unity, economic development, training for sell government, the spread of general and technical education, infrastructure creation, and the promotion of internationalism. Its opponents condemn it by highlighting its evils.

For example, it is the symbol of political subjugation, economic exploitation, and racial discrimination. It destroyed the native culture and social values of the colonial people; it also provoked international wars and rivalries. By the mid-twentieth century, the policy of imperialism was universally looked down upon and earned notoriety.

By the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth Spirit of nationalism overtook the colonies, and the masses militated against it after the Second World War; European Imperial powers lost their grip over their colonies because of their exhaustion in a five-year-long war.

Immediately after the Second World War, decolonization started resulting in the decline of imperialism Decolonization, its causes, and impacts are being discussed in detail in a subsequent chapter. At present, there is no inclination towards empire-building, and the policy of imperialism has lost its relevance.

The policy of Nee-Colonialism:

The place of imperialism has now been taken over by Neo-colonialism. With the death of old or classical imperialism, mac-colonialism was born in the second half of the twentieth century. It is also known as economic imperialism or Dollar imperialism, or Red imperialism. The time of military or political imperialism and direct control or rule has gone, and in its place, covert or indirect imperialism has emerged.

Various powerful and developed countries are now adopting the policy of new colonialism instead of imperialism. Economic imperialism is that form of imperialism in which a country, though free from an imperialist country’s direct control, indirectly dances to its tunes.

The USA and the then Soviet Union, by giving economic aid to underdeveloped countries, indirectly exercise their influence upon them. By providing a Dollar that is economic aid to backward and small countries, the USA wields considerable influence upon them, and this is named Dollar imperialism. Some of Communist China’s expansionist and aggressive policies, particularly along its borders, were dubbed by Red imperialism critics.

At present most of the nations of Asia and Africa are politically free sovereign. Apparently, they may be free, but they are actually the victims of big powers’ tentacles. The smiled independent nations are actually not independent but dependent. This latest type of imperialism is called nee-colonialism.

In Palmer and Perkins’s words, Neo-colonialism is regarded as a new and more insidious form of imperialism, widely prevalent and particularly polemicists and dangerous. It is the continuation of exploitation by other means. It prevails in bloc Stem on satellite Systems, economic shackles, the sphere of influence, and ideological subversion.

The chief objective of Neo-colonialism is to maintain the flow of imperialist profits from former colonial territories after the grant of political independence. It aims to have economic dominance in place of political and military dominance. Thus, in the words of late President Nasser, trade and aid, a veil to dominate the resources of nations and exhaust them for the benefit of exploiters.

Britain exercised its economic influence over the Arab world using oil diplomacy. In the post-Second World War period, American dollar imperialism engulfed Western Europe and Asia, and Africa’s newly independent nations. Latin American nations are all sovereign states, but their economic life being so fully dependent upon the United States that they cannot dare to adopt an independent policy. The East European states remained under Soviet control for many years.

3. Policy of Balance of Power:

The balance of power has been discussed extensively in a previous article. It was mentioned there that nations use the balance of power as a policy. As a policy, it aims to create or preserve equilibrium or disequilibrium as the case may be; it is a policy of maintaining or producing a condition.

This policy is based on the assumption that unbalanced power is perilous. Thus it is contended that in a multistage system, the only policy that can check the quarrelsome behavior of other states is confronting power with countervailing power. When Winston Churchill writes about the balance of power as the wonderful unconscious tradition of British foreign policy, it is evident that he has in mind a balance of power as a policy.

Kenneth Thompson and Hans Morgenthau also regard the balance of power as a policy. As a policy, the balance of power is a study of methods and techniques adopted to achieve equilibrium or disequilibrium. These methods are alliances and counter alliances armament and disarmament compensation and partition divide and rule intervention acquisition of territory and creation of buffer states.

4. Policy of Alliances:

As already stated, the policy of alliances is usually employed to maintain a balance of power within the multi-state system and promote the country’s national interest; the states also resort to alliances merely as a matter of expediency. If a state is powerful enough to live without any help, it will like to shun alliances. Likewise, if a state is reluctant to assume commitments resulting from an alliance or if the gains likely to accrue from an alliance are less than the commitments involved, the state may avoid alliance.


The term alliance means a provision of mutual military assistance between two or more sovereign states. The alliances are made to supplement the national armed forces. Usually, the states having the alliance formally pledge to join each other in lighting a common enemy. Sometimes the alliance may not involve actual military assistance and may only imply a grant of permission to deploy forces on its territory or right to move forces across the territory.

At other times the countries may enter into alliances to promote cooperation in other fields, but mostly the military considerations underlie this cooperation; in fact, these alliances are successful only if the military reasons are intact. Before World War-I, the alliances were generally of non-aggressive nature. The alliances used to have a clause that obliged the signatory states not to indulge in aggression. If a state party to the alliance provoked a war, the other ally was relieved of the obligation to help the former.


There are several types of alliances. First, there an alliance serving identical or complementary intercom. The Anglo-American and US-Pakistan alliance are an example designed to promote complementary interests. Second, some alliances are of ideological nature that lay down certain general moral principles, and the signatories to these alliances pledge to observe these alliances. The Treaty of Holy Alliance of 1815, Atlantic Charter of 1941, Arab League concluded in 1945, etc., are examples of this kind.

Third, alliances concluded by states with equal power and serving identical interests are mutual alliances. On the contrary, if an alliance’s major benefits are meant for only one party while the other has to bear the main burden, the alliance is named one-sided. Fourth, the alliances that endeavor to protect the contracting parties’ total interests during the war and peace are general.

On the other hand, the alliances concluded during peacetime are limited so far as they are concerned only with a part of the parties’ total interests. Fifth, the alliances can be either temporary or permanent. Sixth, an alliance is called operative if it coordinates the signatories’ general policies and concrete measures.

On the other hand, some alliances are concluded by states because they agree on general principles and objectives. But these alliances remain inoperative because the members disagree on the concrete policies and measures.

Alliances in Practice:

The practice of forming alliances has been followed for a long. There is no dearth of references in Ancient India, Ancient China, and Ancient Greece to show that different states concluded alliances to promote their national interest. In the medieval period, the allied states often concluded alliances to check other states to establish their hegemony.

Toward the last years of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the present century, the world was divided into two groups of alliances known as Triple Alliance and Triple Entente. In the inter-war period, France rigorously followed the policy of forming alliances to the post-World War II period. When the cold war was on, a series of military alliances took place. The world was divided into two hostile camps led by the US and the USSR. The US formed NATO, SEATO CENTO, etc., whereas the USSR concluded the Warsaw Pact.

Critical Evaluation:

The policy of alliance has both plus v and minus points. An alliance is beneficial so far as it holds the prospect of military assistance in case of need and acts as a deterrent on the enemy country. It enhances the prestige of the smaller countries by bringing them closer to the powerful allies. The alliances contribute to world peace by maintaining a balance of power. They also help in the growth of confederation or some sort of federal unity among the sovereign states.

Alliances also have some negative aspects. They can be more of a drain on a country’s strength. The states allying have an obligation to crimes to assist an ally, even though the states’ resources and interests may demand abstention from involvement in this conflict. They have also been responsible for the power struggle among the nations. Further, all alliances give rise to strains among the allies because, in time, conflicts develop among them, which undermine their solidarity. Both NATO and Warsaw Pact witnessed such strains. Despite these drawbacks, the policy of alliance remained alive and will continue to live in the future.

5. Policy of Allegiance:

Allegiance and alliance are two different and distinct foreign policy choices. Certain third world countries have pursued the policy of allegiance. By adopting this policy, countries become allies of one of the two superpowers hoping for certain benefits. They feel that their allegiance with the superpowers increases their sense of national security and enables them to get foreign aid required for internal

development and sons’ promise to deal with enemies at home and abroad. Generally, the countries pursuing this policy extend full support to the superpower’s philosophy and provide full support to it irrespective of whether they have concluded an alliance with it.

Moreover, they also look to the superpower for guidance, support, and assistance; the superpowers also encourage allegiance and provide huge funds and other facilities to win over the small powers to their side. Undoubtedly, states following this policy lose some freedom. Still, they pursue this because they get material and political benefits from a superpower.

Mostly the state owing allegiance to the leading power follows the latter’s dictates as a refusal to do so would entail denial of certain benefits and cause inconvenience. Usually, the weaker states give preference to their mentor’s wishes without bothering about its sovereign rights.

In brief, the policy of allegiance has the following features :

  1. The states involved in this arrangement are of unequal strength.
  2. Though formal equality exists among states, actually, the powerful partner dominates. The degree of freedom left to the weaker state is inconclusive for strong leadership, and in its own interest, it may be asked to submit to the stronger power.
  3.  Allegiance to a great power automatically involves recognition of the fact by all concerned that the small power has the ability to commit its ally and that the latter presumably cannot afford the losses attendant upon its weaker partners defeat.

6. Policy of Non-alignment:

Over-indulgence in alliances and allegiances on the part of several countries and their evil consequences forced the newly independent states to choose the policy of non-alignment. Non-alignment is one of those phenomena which appeared on the international scene after the Second World War when the world was divided into two hostile power-blocs.

The contradictions of the cold war created the situation. It became essential for the newly independent states to declare their determination to avoid military alliances dominated by the two superpowers. These newly independent states refused to join the existing military alliances notwithstanding, their tonne allegiances and economic and military weakness.

These nations were interested in playing an active role in shaping their own future and influencing world affairs in general. These nations felt that the only way to achieve their goal was to adopt a policy of non-alignment.


Non-alignment policy means keeping out of alliance by a state. It implies freedom from a commitment to any power bloc. It lays stress on the independence of choice and action in external affairs. The policy of not aligning with any bloc, but at the same time being friendly to everyone, might be possible to exercise in international relations a moderating influence named as non-alignment.

Non-alignment in practice:

Initially, a few countries, such as India, Indonesia, Egypt, and Yugoslavia, pursued nonalignment in the late fifties. After some time, more and more newly independent states of Asia, Africa, and Latin America followed suit. In 1961 when the first Conference of non-aligned countries took place, as many as twenty-five nations followed this policy; in the New Delhi summit in 1983, their number rose to 99. Now more than a hundred states are pursuing this policy; of all the other kinds of foreign policy, this policy alone is being followed by many countries.

Critical Evaluation:

Non-alignment is a positive and active policy. In addition to seeking to protect the freedom of newly independent states, it enables them to work to present international peace by building bridges of understanding between the hostile power blocs. It exerts a sobering influence in the sphere of international relations to lessen tensions. It also enables them to mobilize economic resources for their development and work for international peace without inhibition.

On the other hand policy of non-alignment has been subjected to a lot of criticism. It has been observed that in contemporary times there is no possibility of non-alignment, nor does it exist in the real sense of the term. With the end of bipolar ism, the cold war, and military alliances, it has no relevance. However, the supposes of this policy still believe in its relevance in more than one respect.

7.Policy of Isolation:


The policy of isolation means little Participation in world affairs. It implies a low level of involvement in poms. Military, diplomatic and commercial transactions with other states. This policy does not mean that the state pursuing a does not maintain commercial or diplomatic relations with Other states. The state can maintain commercial or diplomatic relations to the extent that they do not lead to unpleasant military consequences or military threats from abroad Assumptions.

The isolation policy is based on the assumption that security and independence can bat be achieved by cutting off most transactions with other states and maintaining diplomatic and commercial contacts with other states while handling all perceived or potential threats by building deterrents at the home front. This policy is feasible only in a system with a reasonably diffused power structure, Where military, economic or ideological threats do not exist, and the Other states are regularly shifting allegiances. The states following this policy are usually self-sufficient in their economic and social needs. The activities of other states do not disturb the internal developments of the isolated state.

The states may pursue this policy due to geographical factors to meet the actual or potential threat by withdrawing behind the frontiers and building defenses to make the state impermeable to military attack or cultural infiltration. High mountains, wide seas, and deserts can protect the political units on the condition that the other states do not have the necessary means to bypass the Isolation in Practice.

A state may deliberately choose a policy of isolation in the face of a perceived threat. For example, Japan adopted this policy after it came into contact with the Europeans. The Japanese emperor sealed off the Japanese islands to Prevent its conquest by Europeans or prevent their culture’s infiltration into Japan.

However, after the middle of the nineteenth century, it gave up this policy and entree into active commercial and military relations with Great Britain there. This resulted in the Truman Doctrine’s declaration, and the USA helped Greek and Turkey check the Communist expansion.

The USA also initiated a comprehensive European Recovery Programme in the Marshall Plan’s name to contain communism and growing Soviet influence in Europe. It also gave economic and technical assistance to the Afro-Asian nations under the Point Four Programme. It sponsored or concluded various military alliances to meet the Communist threat in different regions.

These alliances were: Organization of the American States (OAS), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), and ANZUS. The US also militarily resisted the encroachments by the Communists in Korea, Berlin, Vietnam.

In Latin America, the United States did not follow the isolationist policy; instead, it tried to act as a hemispheric policeman. It always tried to bring Latin American countries under its control for political, economic, and military motives. It intervened in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile, etc., to contain communism and protect democratic governments.

Using the blockade, it pressured the Soviet Union to remove its missiles from Cuba. In the Far East, the USA failed to check the emergence of communist China. However, it tried to build up Taiwan as an independent state and keep China out of the United Nations for a long time. It also provided every possible military assistance to South Korea and ultimately succeeded in pushing the forces of North Korea. After the Second World War, the USA showed a deep interest in the Middle East.

It provided large financial assistance to this region’s countries to ensure stability in this part of the world. During the Suez Crisis of 1956, it supported the Arab demand and asked for the withdrawal of Anglo-French forces from Egypt.

Despite its close relations with Israel, the United States also maintained good relations with the Middle East countries. It played a leading role in bringing about a negotiated settlement between Egypt Israel through the Camp David Agreement.

Its military intervention compelled Iraq to vacate the illegal occupation of Kuwait. After the Gulf War (1991), The United States has emerged as the preponderant power in the world and perhaps paved the way for a unipolar world. The balance between the two superpowers has considerably tilted in favor of the US, and that the tams of the Soviet Union as a superpower has suffered a setback.

Throughout the Gulf War, the Soviet Union was caught by a severe internal crisis in addition to serious economic hardships, the danger of secession became alarming, and ultimately, in Dec. 1991, it disintegrated. Encouraged by the victory, George Bush has reiterated his promise made in September 1990 to build a new world order based on cooperation between the US and Russia and permit the UN a significant role. President Bush’s idea of the new world order is also based on collective security, the rule of law, arms control, freedom, and justice.

Bush wants his countrymen to make maximum use of this opportunity, provided by the Gulf War, to march forward on their proclaimed path. No doubt, Americans have got a rare opportunity to make the world better. But will they as LK. Baral. Is it a quest for a new world order or simply an extension of Par Americana? The US is being tempted to throw its newfound muscle power around to achieve its interests. It is endeavoring to combine the role of a messiah with that of a world policeman.

Thus the United States occupied a dominant position and powerful status in the international sphere on account of its military, political, economic, and technological position.

The age of For Britannica was over after the Second World War, Par Sovietica died in the late eighties, but Pax Americana is still intact with more vigor and vitality.

Par Sovietica. Though the days of Fax Sovietica are also over yet, it remained in Soviet history for a long period. Fax Sovietica refers to the expansionist choice of Soviet foreign policy. Through it, the Soviet Union extended its ideology and influence in other countries of the world. This expansionist tendency was ever-present in Russia. Even during the Czarist and they reaffirmed the thesis of peaceful coexistence as a fundamental principle of Soviet foreign policy.

Features The following are the features of the post-Stalin Soviet policy of peaceful coexistence.

  • During the Stalin era, the Soviet Union considered all non-communist states as its enemies. Khrushchev repudiated this principle and propounded that all non-communist states are not the enemy of the Soviet Union.
  • The solution of international disputes by peaceful means and methods was emphasized.
  • Under this policy, the Soviet Union decided to give economic aid and assistance to non: communist underdeveloped countries.
  • The diplomacy of foreign visits was also accepted. It was considered necessary to relax the Iron-curtain policy to make good and cordial relations with non-communist states.
  • Western powers should be condemned as imperialists and colonialists, but the open conflict policy and struggle with western nations be abandoned.
  • According to this policy, the Soviet Union divided the non-communist countries into three categories first, the USA; second, allies and supporters of the USA; and third, uncommitted states, e.g., India, Indonesia, Burma, Yugoslavia, etc.

Peaceful Coexistence in Practice:

An example of peaceful co-existence among states with different social systems was provided by relations between the USSR and India, the USSR and Finland, and between the USSR and several other non-communist and capitalist states. This had been repeatedly stressed in joint documents signed by the USSR  and these states in the post-Stalin era.

Khrushchev and his successors put this policy into practice in the following ways. The Soviet Union agreed to a truce in Korea in 1953 and India-China in 1954. it also entered into a treaty with Austria and gave it certain concessions in 1955.

In the June of the same year, the Soviet Union agreed to a meeting at the summit with Britain, France, and the United States to consider crucial issues between the Soviet Union and the West annual 1955 the summit took place, paving the way for more fruitful negotiations on several fronts.

After Potsdam Conference, it was the first meeting of the big four during the cold war days. The Soviet Union abandoned her territorial claims near the Black Sea from Turkey in June 1955. The same year it called off a deadlock that was created in UNO on the question of Dag Hammarskjold as election as Secretary-General.

Keeping in view the policy of peaceful co-existence, he accepted Hammarskjöld as the Secretary-General of UNO. The Soviet Union also gave up the policy of opposing the entrance of new members in UNO. Hence in December 1955, eighteen new states were given the membership of UNO. In 1956 Cominform was dissolved.

In 1963 he entered with the United States into three important agreements to establish a hotline between Washington and Moscow, cooperate with the United States in certain programs in outer space, and sign the nuclear test ban treaty. During the Cold War and the intense arms race, this treaty served as a significant landmark towards disarmament.

The Soviet Union acted as a mediator to end the Indo-Pak war in 1965-66. The year 1968 witnessed the signing by the nuclear powers-the USSR, USA, Britain-and many other non~nuclear countries an important nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT). In his effort to minimize the arms race’s tension, the Soviet Union, along with the US, signed SALT-I and SALT-II agreements during the seventies.

It was due to the success of the peaceful coexistence policy that culminated in the process of detente throughout the seventies. The detente period in the 1970s has revealed the escape of possibilities for peaceful co-existence and benefits that their realization brings not only to specific interests of directly involved superpowers but to the entire human race.

After Khrushchev, the threads of peaceful coexistence were picked up by Kosygin and Brezhnev. When Gorbachev came on the scene, he was not satisfied with mere peaceful coexistence; he went a step further in making positive and constructive cooperation as the goal among countries following different sociology economic systems.

In the 19705, the term Peaceful Coexistence was used with increasing frequency in United Nations documents and regional and bilateral international documents. This principle was recorded in the Declaration on Principles of International Law (1970) Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1974 and the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1975.

Critical Evaluation:

There is no gainsaying that the USSR initiated the policy of peaceful coexistence. But it was crowned with success because of the positive response of the USA. Palmer and Perkins criticize All during the Khrushchev era, the thaw’s reality and the new look was often belied by other Soviet actions, which seemed quite incompatible with professions of belief in peaceful co-existence and the reduction of international tensions.

They continued to be political and ideological opponents of each other till 1989-90. There were several occasions when tension arose between them, e.g., during the Suez crisis and Hungarian problem of 1956, 1960’s U-2 aircraft crisis, the Cuban episode of 1962, the Vietnam war 1965-68, the West Asian crisis in 1967, etc.

Soviet intervention in Afghanistan during 1979-85 caused a setback to detente and ushered in an era of the New Cold War. Even then, it can be said that during these crises, both the big powers tried to avoid major wars and solved these problems with a great degree of self-control and tolerance.

9. Policy of Neutrality:

When two states or a group of states are actively engaged in war, other States may adopt a neutrality policy. Neutrality is the condition of those states which, in time of war, take no part in the fighting but continue pacific intercourse with the waning states. By going to war, belligerents change their relationship with each other. Still, the powers who choose to be neutral make no change in their relations with either of the belligerents and continue to be friends common to both parties.

Neutrality is a condition that exists only when there is war; thus, the policy of neutrality expresses an attitude of impartiality adopted by third states towards belligerents and recognized by belligerents such attitude rights and duties between the impartial states and the belligerent. The attitude of impartiality does not mean passive impartiality or inactivity. Still, it affords rights to a neutral state to protect its frontiers or defend itself when its rights are being violated.

Neutrality does not require breaching off relations with either belligerent. On the other hand, grants to a neutral state certain rights towards the belligerents and oblige it to observe certain duties presented by customary law or international convention.


Neutrality may be perfect or imperfect. Every sovereign state has a right to observe perfect or absolute neutrality. Concerning the wars in which other states may be engaged, imperfect Neutrality is noticeable. Although neutral, it is obliged to give, directly or indirectly, some assistance to one of the belligerents in consequence of a treaty entered into below the War. It is also known as qualified neutrality. Another form of neutrality is perpetual or permanent neutrality, the example of which is Switzerland.

A state may be neutralized either voluntarily or by force of circumstances. Switzerland’s neutralism is one of choice, but powers outside the country impose that of Laos due to the Geneva agreements. Other kinds of neutrality are general and partial neutrality, voluntary and conventional neutrality armed in a state of permanent mobilization, and benevolent neutrality, implying that the slate, although professing to be neutral, has a partial attitude indirectly. The two countries practicing the policy of neutrality for a long are Switzerland and Austria.

10. The Policy of the Status Quo:

Classification of foreign policies provided by Lerche and Said is not very elaborate. It includes only two types applicable in a significant way and covers a broad range of instances.

These two categories are:

  1. The policy of the status quo and.
  2. The policy of revisionism are explained as follows:

From the viewpoint of purpose that stresses satisfaction and conservation arises the policy of choice of status quo. States that prefer this foreign policy choice develop policies with several common distinguishing features. The status one a state seeks to preserve is its own status vis-a-vis the international system’s rest.

It does not necessarily mean enthusiasm for the details of the existing state of affairs, but rather a judgment that the overall pattern of value satisfaction extracted by the state from the international system is the most favorable it can hope for by any reasonable expenditure of effort.

Thus,  a status quo policy by no means condemns the state to the rigid defense of all the details of an established order indeed, an enlightened status quo position-particularly when held by a major power, leaves ample room for extensive situational change and exertion of initiatives by the state concerned. What is beyond major modification is the state’s relation to the system as a whole.

Status quo policies are defensive in nature; however, they may often become tactical offensives for some time. Major terms used under this policy are defense,  preservation, and neutralization rather than offense, change, and advantage. Status quo policies are for the stabilization of relationships rather than their alteration. They accept the restraints of international morality, international law, international organizations, etc.

On the outer limits of state action. This policy accepts conflict as a condition of existence but never initiates it. The states pursuing this policy also never begin major wars.

Whether adopted by a big or small state, the policy of status quo is aimed at the development of the international system into a permanent set of relationships that incorporates the relatively advantageous situation the slate enjoys at the moment. Consequently, status quo policies are characterized by restraint in conception, caution in execution, and acceptance of only a comparatively small burden of risk.

Operationally, their strength lies in their capacity to anticipate situational change and to develop rapid and efficacious responses to it. When status quo policies are prevalent in the international system, the general atmosphere is relatively quiet, and relaxation change is slow, evolutionary, and limited in extent.

11. The Policy of Revisionism:

The other kind of foreign policy that comes from the decline of the present states and coin of the state-is called a Revisionism. This policy is quite contrary to the policy of the status quo

Revisionism endeavors to favorably modify the state’s over-nil international status in the system. It does not require Willy to assume that all international relationships are fluid and subject to change, but only those considered are significant.

This policy is strategically offensive; it requires a major environmental change in the mate’s favor and is directed toward the discovery or creation and complete exploitation of opportunities for effective action. Relationships would not be stabilized until the state achieves what it demands. Revisionist states are not interested in any institutional arrangement that restrict their carefully protected freedom of action in international politics.

States following this policy accept conflict as a means for the accomplishment of their objective. They are neither afraid of tension in a dispute nor averse to its escalation. Unlike the status quo states, they are not for a stalemate or a draw. Larche and Said observe.

In a struggle between an exemplar of each type, it is normally the revisionist state that begins the conflict and sets its terms in any such controversy short of all~out war; it is usually the revisionist state that decides how long the dispute will continue. Major wars have usually been begun by states that were revisionists in orientation, at least when the critical decision was made.

Thus, this policy is daring in conception, optimistic about the calculation of factors of cost, and willing to carry a comparatively large burden of risk. It’s plus point lies in its capacity to bring about situational change or capitalize quickly upon it. It brings a high level of tension in international politics and a rate of change that is both rapid and extensive.

12. Policy of Nationalistic Universalism:

When nationalistic principles are projected in universal terms by a country, it is known as the policy of nationalistic universalism. Despite the promotion mainly of national interests, a foreign policy may emphasize certain universal principles such as the maintenance of world peace and justice, the advancement of liberty of the people, and the development of general human welfare.

This policy of nationalistic Universalism is quite the opposite of the policy of isolation. The successful execution of this policy depends on three conditions. First, the state adopting this policy must have overwhelming superiority, especially in the military field. Second, it must believe in an ideology that gives it the necessary impetus and self-confidence to carry out its world mission.

Third, it must be technically sound so that it can conquer a world empire and hold it together. Thus it is a politically, militarily, ideologically, and technically sound and powerful state. It is not the policy of weak countries. How Britain, the USA, and the Soviet Union have pursued this policy will be discussed in the following paragraphs:

Pax Britannica. Pax means peace or stop quarreling. When a powerful country enforces peace on other states, the Pax is usually prefixed with enforcing the country. For example, Pax Romana, peace enforced on states in the Roman Empire Pax Britannica, peace, and principles enforced in the British Empire.

The high days of Far Britannica were between the Congress of Vienna and the First World War (1815-1915). During these years, Britain played a major role in European politics, maintained the balance of power system in Europe, and enforced its nationalistic principles on the vast British empire’s colonial states. Only on two occasions the supremacy of Britain was threatened during this period.

First in 1854-56 during the Crimean war when the Russians threatened to dominate Constantinople.

Second, in 1870-71 during the Franco-Prussian War, which led to the dislodging of France by Germany as a leading power on the continent.

This, however, did not change the balance of power in the European system.

But there was a sharp decline in the power and influence of Great Britain in the present century, especially after the First World War. This was partly owing to her internal difficulties and partly due to competition with other states (the USA, Germany, Japan, etc.) possessing larger populations and resources.

The rising tide of nationalism in Britain’s former colonial possessions also played a major role in the collapse of its empire. Though the British power gradually declined after the First World War, it became visible only after the Second World war.

Thereafter, even the British statesmen stopped boasting of Pax Britannica and became conscious of their country’s weak position. It is a different matter that they try to gain maximum on Britain’s past influence and prestige even now. They also made necessary readjustments in their foreign as well as domestic policies. Thus the age of Pax Britannica is over. However, Britain still occupies a prominent position among. the world powers.

Pax Americana:

The term Pax Americana is associated with the United States of America’s dominant role in the period after the Second World War. This policy is in complete contrast with the US’s isolationist policy from its establishment to the First World War.

But after the Second World War, America realized that it possessed omnipotent and decisive power. It was within its capacity to resolve any international issue. It began to express faith in the principles of nationalistic universalism.

In 1964 the US State Department described America’s goals in world affairs as national security through strength progress through partnership supporting the postwar revolution of freedom, promoting the international community’s concept under law, and peace through perseverance.

Though these foreign policy objectives have been modified in the light of the circumstances yet by and the large USA has tried to adhere to these principles.

Even while expressing faith in the above principles of I foreign policy, the USA in the post World War II period, endeavored to play a dominant role in world affairs. In Europe, it felt concerned over the Soviet attempts to expand communism in Europe and create its sphere of influence in the United States and other European countries. It started taking an active part in the power struggle in the Far East.

It was the United States of America that followed this policy for a long time. Though the US was a part of the European system in terms of commercial and cultural contacts, it was not directly involved in the various ideological, national, and dynastic issues which separated the various European powers.

Therefore, before the twentieth century, American leaders preferred to be aloof from European alliances and affairs. Thus, the Americans chose a policy of isolationism due to geographical, political, and economic reasons that would ensure the security of the country and enable them to concentrate on internal development.

From the beginning of the twentieth century, America’s policy of isolation showed signs of change. During the First World War, the USA abandoned this policy because of Germany’s serious threat to democracy and extended support and help to European democracies. Still, it reverted to a policy of isolationism soon after the war.

The American Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, which committed the USA to membership of the League of Nations and involved the country in undefined and unforeseeable contingencies. By and large, it continued to pursue the policy of isolation in the inter-war period.

America decided to take part in the Second World War only after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. In the post World War ll period, America’s isolationist policy underwent a sea change, and it began to play an active role in the international sphere.

Critical Evaluation:

Different countries adopted this policy owing to different reasons. The states which adopt this policy are essentially not indifferent to the developments taking in the world around. They are quite vigilant about international developments and potential threats. This policy is mostly pursued by states that are relatively independent economically and militarily and perceive that involvement would only endanger their social, economic, and political values.

This is no longer popular these days as no major and important nation follows it. The US-its traditional practitioner abandoned it during the Second World War.

8. Policy of Peaceful Coexistence:

The Soviet Union first initiated the policy of peaceful co-existence during the Premiership of Malenkov, but it became clearer during Khrushchev and later Brezhnev Kosygin period. Subsequently, many other countries of the world also adopted the principle of peaceful co-existence in their foreign policy.

Origin and Meaning. In the 20th Congress of the Communist Party in February 1956, Stalin and his policies were criticized, and the Leninist principle of inevitable war with capitalist countries was modified. The theory of peaceful coexistence was accepted as the basis of Soviet foreign policy.

After that, the Soviet Union overhauled its foreign policy. The new-look stressed Soviet willingness to solve outstanding East-West question diplomatically. Khrushchev advocated the policy of peaceful coexistence between capitalism and communism.

He would like both the systems to exist side-by-side to prove their superiority. In the opinion of Khrushchev, the Soviet Union stood for peace and peaceful coexistence. His country will never begin the war if it is not attacked.

Soviet people are not thinking of war, either against the United States or against any other country, against the spirit of  Soviet ideology. The USSR wanted to compete in peaceful construction in constructive work.

Palmer and Perkins observe:

The Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party Of the Soviet Union in 1956 was a significant landmark in the history of Soviet Communism. At this congress, Khrushchev and other Soviet spokesmen revealed ideological flexibility and capacity for fresh maneuver in striking contrast with the rigidity of later-day Stalinism, They modified Communist ideology in such a way as to facilitate cooperation with other countries, communist and non-communist alike, and with Socialist parties in Europe and Asia, they announced that war is not fatalistically inevitable rule Russia advanced in the direction where it encountered the least resistance.

Thus it expanded its territory towards Finland and the Baltics, towards Poland, the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea, and Central Asia towards Siberia and Pacific. Russia also wanted to expand in certain areas like the Balkans, the Turkish Straits, Afghanistan, Tibet, and China. However, this could not happen as the other powers Opposed.

In the period after the Second World War, the Soviet Union successfully extended its influence in Poland, Yugoslavia, Albania, East Germany, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Mongolia, Manchuria, North Korea, Vietnam, etc. by establishing communist regimes in these states. Along with these countries, the Soviet Union formed a communist block and became its leader.

The USSR also entered into various treaties and agreements with East European Countries and set up a Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) with Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, and Albania. In 1950 Russia concluded a Treaty of Friendship Alliance and Mutual Assistance with the Communist Government of China.

The Warsaw Pact, a military alliance among the USSR, Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia, came into existence with the Soviet Union leader in 1955. The USA dubbed all these activities of the Soviet Union as Red imperialism.

However, in the mid-fifties, certain irritants developed in the Communist bloc. Under the leadership of Tito, Yugoslavia came out of the Soviet satellite system. Sion-Soviet rift distanced China from the Soviet Union and further weakened the Soviet bloc.

Later Albania broke away from this camp. Despite these losses, the Soviet Union continued to enjoy a dominant position in East Europe. It even made efforts to increase its influence in the third world countries of Asia and Africa.

The Soviet Union also endeavored to create its sphere of influence in the Middle East. It supported the British’s expulsion from Iraq and Egypt and the ouster of France from North Africa. Also, the Soviet Union made available military and economic assistance to Egypt, Algeria, and other Arab countries. The failure of the Soviet Union to provide adequate military assistance to the Arab countries during the Arab Israel War of 1967 (which resulted in the victory of Israel) gave a jolt to Soviet influence in the region.

After this, its influence gradually waned from this region. From 1979 to 1985, the Soviet military remained stationed in Afghanistan to support its puppet government there. In 1985, Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union, and his Perestroika and new political thinking brought several changes in the Soviet foreign policy.

The Soviet Union withdrew its forces from Afghanistan and relieved the East European nations from its grip. Now there is no communist or Soviet bloc in the world. The Soviet Union has been disintegrated since 1991, and its successor, the Russian Federation, can ill afford to stick to the policy of nationalistic universalism for the time being.

Middle Kingdom Complex:

Though the choice of middle kingdom complex or intermediate zone occupied an important place in China’s foreign policy yet, it has lost its relevance now. This concept was evolved by Mao Tse-Tung after the Second World War when there was a civil war in China and the cold war between the two superpowers at the global level.

The conduct of the United States convinced Mao that while it professed to be neutral, it was actually favoring Chiang Kai Shek. Likewise, the Soviet Union harmed the Communist interests by looting the industrial installation at Manchuria and advised them to avoid a war because it feared that the war would distill-b the equilibrium between the two post-war power blocs.

Therefore, Mao stressed the need to keep the revolution alive. He explained the international situation in his own ways by saying that the Soviet Union was playing a relatively passive mole. Subsequently, there was a chance of a war between the two Super Powers.

He suggested that the third bloc, including China and the whole of the capitalist world outside the United States and its dependencies, could play a more positive and dynamic role under the situation. This was his concept of the middle kingdom complex or intermediate zone.

Mao explained that the American talk of war with the Soviet Union was my phobia created by the former to dominate all the cones between the two great powers.

He argued  America’s worldwide network of bases could be used against the Soviet Union, but only after it had mastered the rest of the world. Actually, it was the American imperialists’ policy to harm through peaceful means and oppress all capitalist colonial and semi-colonial countries.

Mao believed that military bases and alliances such as NATO, SEATO, CENTO, etc. Were in reality directed at the very countries which they incorporated. He argued that these countries, including China, formed the real battleground for the fight with imperialism.

Therefore, he gave a clarion call to all the democratic forces that found themselves in contradiction with the United States to form a united front against it.

In the late fifties, Mao adopted a dual strategy for the execution of his middle kingdom concept. On the one hand, he tried to improve China’s economic and military strength so that it could play an effective role in world affairs. On the other hand, he actively supported the struggles of the intermediate zone because he was convinced that here alone, the world-wide offensive of imperialism could be blunted.

That is why throughout the sixties, China projected an image among the third world countries that it was a revolutionary power that liked to support nationalist movement elsewhere.

After the Sion-Soviet rift, Mao further modified his concept of the intermediate zone in 1964. Mac pointed out that there existed two intermediate zones in the world. Asia, Africa, and Latin America constitute the first intermediate zone. Europe, North America, and Oceania constitute the second.

Mao did include the East European countries in the second intermediate zone as they were part of Soviet hegemony.

The major capitalist countries of the second zone, except the two superpowers, were also subjected to the control, intervention, and bullying of two overlords to varying degrees. The contradictions between these countries and the two superpowers were developing daily.

Thus, in Mao’s concept, the intermediate zone countries’ intermediary zone was placed between two superpowers on the one hand and the socialist countries on the other.

The Middle Kingdom’s concept of Mao’s China could not gain popularity among nations. Rather third-world countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America were attracted to the non-aligned movement. After the demise of Mao in the mid-seventies, his successors abandoned to a great extent? Mao’s foreign policy. Moreover, the international situation has also undergone a sea change.

There is neither a cold war nor bipolar-ism; instead,d a detente process is going on between the USA and Russia and between the USA and China and between Russia and China. The Soviet bloc has since crumbled, and the Soviet Union as a world power has disintegrated. In the post-Mao scenario of China and the world, the Middle Kingdom concept is of little relevance.

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations as well as a Master's degree in international security studies, alongside a passion for web development. During my studies, I gained a strong understanding of key political concepts, theories in international relations, security and strategic studies, as well as the tools and research methods used in these fields.

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