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Essay: Foreign policy decision making – military, propaganda, economic, intelligence & military

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1.0 Introduction

Instrument of foreign policy is the forms of pressure and influence available to decision-makers, represent an ascending scale of seriousness in terms of the commitment of resources, the impact on third parties, and the according degree of risk in use. The instruments can be categorized into soft power to hard power. Instrument of foreign policy decision making mainly consists of military, propaganda, economic, intelligence and military.

This study is very important to determine which instruments to be used in implementing foreign policy of the government according to the degree of the risk in use. The objective of this paper is to study about the type of instrument in foreign policy decision making which consists of military, propaganda, economic, intelligence and military. This paper will also study the case studies for all the instruments mentioned for a better understanding on how the instrument of foreign policy works.

A country should choose the best instrument to be applied in their foreign policies in order to protect to fulfill the national interests and keep a stable political position in international ground. The mistake of a country in choosing the right instruments will cause conflict between countries. It is therefore important for a country to choose the correct instrument to be taken into enforcement in resolving the conflict or in achieving the national interest.

2.0 Diplomacy Statecraft

Diplomacy Statecraft in field of International Relations is presented as an instrument of foreign policy. Diplomacy is an instrument how a state deal with other states. The practice of diplomacy itself have started off since beginning era of Greek and Roman city state and it only acquired a formal setup after the Westphalian Peace of 1648. Though at the beginning era diplomacy was not too taken into account, diplomacy meant so much for Greeks in term of conveying messages and making oral argument on behalf of city states. It also referred to formal communication between government authorities via so-called folded documents or “diplomas” from which the English word ‘diplomacy’ derives. In contrast, Roman did not rely so much on diplomacy in statecraft because of their abundant military power that they could use force anytime if it was needed.

Referring to the Greek history and what now diplomacy is dealing with, the focus of diplomacy was and is on communication. How statecraft is used towards the outside world is expressed in a country’s foreign policy or an IGO’s policy. Diplomacy is used to manage the goals of foreign policy. Diplomacy is also a dependent variable of foreign policy. Whatever of foreign policy objectives to be accomplished, diplomacy will follow the way.

Diplomacy has enormous roles in foreign policy. Talk and negotiation for example are used most frequently as instrument for conducting foreign policy. The second diplomacy way that is usually used is recall and suspension of diplomatic relations that tremendously considered as a serious action which can leads to break off of one with another country diplomatic relations. Another tool of foreign policy that uses diplomacy approach is visits, including summits and international conferences also commonly used since interdependency among states evolved.

First, talk and negotiation are the most frequently used tool of foreign policy. Talk and negotiation can be considered as means of persuasion but sometimes also encourage implicit threats to emerge. Talk and negotiation are usually used as tool because they involve the act of conflict resolution. Furthermore, another reason that can explain why talk and negotiation are often used as tool because the countries involved can keep talk and negotiation under supervision. When the countries involve starting talks and negotiation, they are actually expressing the sovereignty of that state.

Due to its important role to conduct talks and negotiation in a form of expression of sovereignty of one country, it is needed to have diplomats as country’s representative who have skills in the formal and technical aspects of diplomacy, namely, organization of visits, protocol, attendance at receptions and other formal events. Nevertheless, skills in the formal and technical aspects of diplomacy in many times as emerging the talks of a deaf which is less of substantive conversation.

The aim of diplomat talks is to inform the other side of the situation, problems, and achievements in home country (the sending state) and vice versa, of the political and economic situation as well as current events in the host country (the receiving state).

Diplomats talks are usually initiated on the delivery and presentation of a document, in instance a diplomatic note or a so-called non-paper message. It is important to note that a non-paper message as indicated by its name, even if it is physically handed over, yet it formally does not exist as a document. Diplomatic note does not contain any signatures and markings, but it is dated. It is used for very mundane tasks such as informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that a diplomat’s car has arrived and giving them the VIN number, so they can process the diplomatic license plate application.

Diplomatic notes sometimes also have legal consequences. Diplomatic notes are usually used to delivery protest. Delivering protest may be a way to recognize or unrecognize a new country, inform a factual situation or give a claim. Slovenia protest against Croatia from 1991 onwards had been preventing Croatia for claiming the middle line in the Bay of Piran as the boundary between two states, as claimed by Croatia. Delivering notes may be even a way to declare a war or inform other measure of coercion such as the suspension of diplomatic relations.

Protest is used more frequently nowadays in international relations since it can prevent the silence of undirect or implicit agreement to encourage particular measure of other countries to create new situation. Countries use protests in their foreign policy not only to express dissatisfaction in dealing with other countries but also as a legal means of preventing the formation of undesirable legal effects and consequences.

Diplomats eventually must report on diplomatic talks to their own Ministry of Foreign Affairs which in turn informs other governmental organs and its diplomatic missions abroad. These techniques of diplomatic communication are considerably as means of foreign policy.

Negotiation itself can therefore be defined as talks aiming at an agreement or international treaty. Negotiation is a mean or tool to ensure future consensus that will be expressed in either bilateral or multilateral treaty. Negotiation is not only a single step in the process of concluding international treaty. The phases of negotiation in order: an agreement on opening negotiations, preparation for negotiations, preparation of logistical and technical, reciprocal representation of starting position, negotiation in searching for consensus, and formulating the agreement. The final agreement can be concluded orally by exchanging of notes or in a formal agreement that included legal sources to be taken into account for resolving a particular issue or dispute.

Second, diplomacy statecraft can be conducted by recall and suspension of diplomatic relations. In diplomatic practice, the host country can make formal and informal request to recall of diplomats. The sending country that has been received of that request is obliged to recall their diplomats as soon as possible. The host country that make that request to recall the undesirable diplomats is not needed to give the reason about the request. The reasons chiefly are about unauthorized operations namely, espionage, involvement in criminal activities, disrespect expression of the diplomats to the receiving country. Back to the year 1986, 55 the Soviet Union diplomats were expelled by the USA Government because they involved in espionage. Frequently the recall made by one country might be retaliated by the same action by another involved country. In 2015 Brazil rejected letter of credence of Indonesian government that assigned Mr. Toto Riyanto as Ambassador of Indonesia for Brazil. This action was immediately responded by Indonesian Government to recall the Ambassador from Brazil.

To extend, the recall of Diplomatic Mission is the indication of extreme displeasure and disagreement from one country with the actions, decisions or statements of another. It is the penultimate step before breaking off diplomatic relations. For example, the first step taken by the US following the start of the November 1979 hostage taking at their embassy in Tehran was the recall of the US Ambassador. This subsequently led, when the situation was not resolved, to the suspension of diplomatic relations between the USA and Iran.

The interruption of diplomatic relations may last decades, but this does not mean that there are no relations between the two countries. Meetings and contacts in informal way on international conferences and other negotiations definitely might be the re-establishment of the diplomatic relations.

Third, visits are also considered to be diplomatic mission as instrument in foreign policy. Mutual visits and personal contacts at senior level, which have become increasingly important in recent times due to the evolvement of interdependency among states also should not be ignored as means of foreign policy. The major issues in relations between countries are often resolved or at least addressed through diplomatic summit. President Nixon ‘s visit to China has brought new dynamics and dimensions in the relation between the two states. It meant a strategic move from hostile relations to coexistence and cooperation between China and the United States.

The Regan-Gorbachev Summit of 1985, the Geneva Summit of 1955, had a tremendous impact on the relationship between the nuclear superpowers and on international relations. In short, summit meetings, including meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, have become a common and very important instrument for foreign policy.

In this context, the exchange of visits in bilateral relations takes place at a high level. These visits are an opportunity for direct discussions between those who decide the most important foreign policy issue. At these meetings, the most important bilateral, regional issues as well as global issues are usually discussed. The preparations for these visits, both substantial and logistical, are becoming a major diplomatic task. High – level visits, including ministerial visits, are the most important foreign policy instruments. Because during these visits, discussions on major issues take place, and important changes in relationships and agreements are often made during these visits.

3.0 Propaganda

Propaganda which he said originated from the Roman Catholic Church at first meant a limited spread of information and redo. And that is now being used with special emphasis on mass communication media. And some experts say that propaganda is a deliberate effort by some individuals or groups through the use of communication instruments with the intention that in certain situations the reactions of those affected are what the propagandists want.

Therefore, it seems clear that each promotional action can only be propaganda when it is part of a deliberate campaign to produce action through attitude control. In this definition the emphasis is placed on the purpose of changing the attitudes, opinions and behavior of others using the communication method. Therefore, the purpose of propaganda, according to this definition, is to persuade targets to accept the propagandist view. Therefore, the ideas disseminated cannot be calculated scientifically to arrive at a truth. The rare content of propaganda is completely true, though also not entirely false, as is often suspected.

The purpose of propagandas is to influence opinions and encourage the emergence of action among the targets. He is not interested in educating humans, who are the target of his propaganda, to improve or improve attitudes but develop opinions among those who, although only short, are biased enough to support the desired action at a critical moment. This type of propaganda has always been a tool that facilitates diplomacy (Schulze-Wechsungen, 1934).

Apad propaganda was initially not recognized as a very effective diplomatic instrument, because in most societies, the masses generally remained apathetic to political issues that did not affect their daily lives. Only the elite are involved in politics. The communication system is also not good because there is little information that can be absorbed from abroad.

Therefore, an appeal to the masses of another country through a difficult communication system, where the party trying to influence does not have a decisive influence in making decisions, in practice is useless. The picture has changed completely with the growth and development of mass politics, the broad involvement of the general public in political affairs and the psychological dimension and public opinion of foreign policy has become increasingly important.

In the science of political communication, there can be found a number of ways to do political persuasion that are often carried out by parties or political communicators in an effort to change people’s attitudes and behaviors by using oral and written words, instilling new opinions, and conscious efforts to change attitudes, beliefs , or the behavior of people through message transmission.

Some ways to do political persuasion can be through rhetoric or political speech. Besides that, political advertising is also taken by parties or political communicators. Persuasion through means of political propaganda is one way of persuasion that has a variety of techniques besides propaganda is one form of mass communication.

In simple terms, the notion of propaganda can be interpreted as an attempt to influence people’s opinions, ideology or behavior. The purpose of propaganda is to change the behavior of people or other people so that they act and think in accordance with the wishes of the propagandist (the person who does propaganda). The value, a propaganda does not always have a negative connotation. Propaganda can also aim positively. In everyday life we are often unconsciously propaganda, whether through individuals directly or through mass media.

In the opinion of communication expert Harold Laswell, the notion of propaganda is a technique to influence human activities by manipulating its representation. He also added that propaganda is the control of opinions carried out through symbols that have meaning, or convey concrete and accurate opinions through a story, rumors and other forms of social communication. Jacques Ellul, a French philosopher and sociologist argues that the notion of propaganda is communication used by an organized group that wants to create active or passive participation in mass actions consisting of individuals and psychologically united through manipulation and integration in an organization. Another definition, propaganda is a persuasive activity to influence a person or a lot of people in the form of individuals or groups, in the life of a society or country with psychological grounds to accept ideas, ideological ideas, new discoveries, political concepts or things that have not been accepted and it has not been considered useful to then behave according to what is expected by the propagandist. There are several propaganda techniques that are quite familiar and examples of their application in the political field. A number of these techniques can be described below:

1. Name Calling

This technique is a propaganda technique by giving a bad idea or label to people, ideas, objects so that people reject something without testing the reality. The provision of bad labels aims to bring down or reduce the authority of a person or certain group.

2. Glittering Generalities

This propaganda technique uses ‘good words’ to describe something to get support, without investigating the accuracy of the association. This propaganda technique is used to accentuate propagandists by identifying themselves with everything that is sublime and great. Example: When the United States plans a military attack on Iraq, the United States calls it a humanitarian mission to free humans from the terror of weapons of mass destruction.

3. Transfer technique

This propaganda technique includes power, sanctions and the influence of something that is more respected and adored from other things in order to make “something” more acceptable. Transfer propaganda techniques can be used by utilizing the influence of the most admired and charismatic person or figure in a particular environment by identifying an intention to use the symbol of authority.

4. Plain folk

It is one of the propaganda techniques that uses an approach by someone to show himself humble and empathetic, an appeal that says that the speaker sits with the public in collaborative joint ventures. Example: “I am one of you, only ordinary people.

5. Card stacking

This technique is done by selecting accurate and inaccurate, logical and illogical statements and highlighting just one aspect. Card Staking is a propaganda technique that emphasizes only one side, whether good or bad, so that the public sees only one side. Card staking involves the selection and use of facts or lies to provide the worst or best possibility of an idea.

6. Bandwagon technique

Propaganda with this technique is carried out with the aim of convincing audiences of the popularity and truth of purpose. This propaganda technique is applied to convince people that all members of a group (where the person belongs to the group) have accepted an idea or idea. This bandwidth technique positions the target as a minority. It is not uncommon for us to meet words like “your friends who are sure to choose A, just when you choose B?” Or “everyone has used C”. By placing propaganda targets as a minority, propagandists indirectly intimidate mentally. So, if the target rejects ideas or ideas from propagandists, the target will be threatened with isolation from a group (Crouch, 2018).

3.1 Case study for Propaganda

3.1.1 United States of America

After World War II, the arena of conflict between superpowers tried to be moved from the battlefield in a military battle which was realized can take many victims into the field of propaganda and propaganda counters. In this case, the United States, as one of the most important superpowers, seems very aware of the importance of developing planned efforts to influence the thinking environment of the international community. In May 1980, for example, a Republican spokesman in the US House of Representatives (DPR), James Wright stated that the US should not risk losing the battle to control the minds of the world. One of the important actors in forming an international image was the United States Information Agency (USIA), which was founded in 1953, as a further step in the US Information and Culture Exchange Act, which was launched in 1948. In 1978, the USIA was merged with the US Department of State’s Education and Culture Affairs Bureau , and his name was changed to the International Communication Agency. But four years later the name USIA was reused as its official name. USIA operates libraries, book publishing programs, film production and distribution, and Voice of America radio stations. A number of data indicate that USIA was also involved in news engineering regarding important events. Headquartered in Washington, USIA has more than 200 posts in various parts of the world, organized in five geographical regions.

3.1.2 The Soviet Union

The Soviet Union also launched propaganda intensively. Soviet internal propaganda was rooted in Communist International (Comintern) which was founded in 1919 as an aggressive disinformation body. The objectives of Soviet international propaganda included the spread of revolutionary (communist) ideas in various countries, destroying anti-Soviet alliances by exploiting differences of interests between members of the alliance, and weakening these countries. The Soviet Secret Service KGB also used many journalists in various countries to influence public opinion and decision-making in the country. In 1959, a special department of disinformation was established. Various engineering stories are contained in print media in various parts of the world. One well-known illustration is engineering news about the speech of the US ambassador, Jeanne Kirkpatrick at the United Nations. Soviet propaganda specifically increased in 1975. According to the Soviet government, this was done considering that western countries began to use extensive anti-Soviet propaganda after signing the Helsinki agreement. The Soviets called what they were doing only to include political cartoons in the Pravda and Izvestia party newspapers. They accused the Western press of being merely an aggressive instrument of NATO’s strategy, that Western journalists were allies of the CIA, and that Western media confirmed the myths about the Soviet threat and that US President Ronald Reagan’s political program was filled with falsehood, violence and bribery.

However, the Soviet Union’s international propaganda was considered not effective enough to overcome similar propaganda carried out by the West, especially the United States.

4.0 Economic Statecraft

Economic statecraft refers to the use of economic tools and their relationships in order to achieve foreign policy objectives. Economic Statecraft also can be considered as an instrument in practice of foreign policy. Backdating to the era of Peloponnesian Wars, economic statecraft has been used with increasing of frequency until today as world becomes more interdependent. As global economy formed, liberal economy has accommodated new opportunities of world government to practice their economic statecraft either positively or negatively.

The form of economic statecraft can result positive or even negative impact. It may be positive as economic relationship becomes incentives or reward to the involved countries. It may also be negative as sanctions or other economic punishment are being implemented. To extend, the form of economic statecraft can be unilateral, involving only one government or even multilateral, involving multiple government that cooperate with each other in term of their economic resources or policies to influence the behavior of a targeted country.

Recent studies show that those powerful countries with strong economies tend to initiate economic statecraft as their key of foreign policy measure than weaker states. (Hufbauer, 2007) The USA, Russia and the countries of western Europe are noted to be the most intense practioner of economic sanctions.

Economic sanction is useful in foreign policy and considerable to be an effective way. However, some argue that economic sanctions fail to comply ambitious political objectives. Though economic sanctions don’t play significant role to foreign policy, a diversified economic instrument still helps the government for signaling intentions, complementing diplomacy and building up a political consensus or even paving way to stimulate the use of military force.

As instrument in foreign policy, economic statecraft has variety of possible way to be implemented. Among the most common are the use of aid, trade restrictions, investment restrictions and monetary sanctions.

The use of aid comes in two forms, namely economic and military. Aid might be used as reward, punishment or inducement. (Alex Mintz, 2010) Aid can reward past behavior, in instance, it can be given by the United States to countries who supported the war in Iraq. It can be also used to punish past behavior, in instance, it is implemented to those countries that did not support U.S. position on UN votes. It’s clear to state that aid can be political as countries might also give aid to induce future behavior. Military aid is provided for both economic reasons and political reasons. Economic reasons as selling arms to other countries and political reason as part of commitment to an ally. Indeed, International politics plays out in the arms transfer decision when the exporting country uses the transfers for political leverage. As Keith Krause (1991) pictures that the USA and the USSR used military aid as foreign policy instrument during the Cold War and were more likely to decide on reward strategies when giving military aid.

Trade restrictions happens when countries so much depend on export and import. Those countries tend to be more vulnerable to be economically threatened. In 1973, OPEC countries used their “oil weapon” against USA or other western countries by restricting their access to this vital natural resource in an effort to influence western policies in the Arab-Israeli War.

Investment restrictions are perhaps terrific economic sanctions since it influences foreign direct investment of one country. During the 1980’s, Western governments and private lobbying groups pressured multinational cooperation’s to forego a variety investment in South Africa due to the issue of apartheid.

Monetary sanctions deal with the buying and selling of exchange rate in big amount to manipulate its exchange rates in order to force targeted government to change their behavior by leading it to financial crisis. In 1956, the US Treasury sold large quantities of British pounds to force down the value of that currency regarding the issue of Suez crisis.

Though above instruments explanation has attempted to depict the use of economic statecraft in positive way, the use of it negatively in form of sanctions are more pervasively known as it is believed that being threatening one is more favorable and effective. It can be explained by three types of reason.

First, countries use sanctions to influence foreign policy behavior of a target government. USA sanctioned India and Pakistan in 1993 and in 1998 to protest against their nuclear proliferation programmes.

Second, sanctions are also used for influencing domestic and international behavior to affect their economic or military capabilities. The UN sanctions against former Iraq president, Saddam Hussein in the 1990’s to restrict the regimes to get access over oil revenues in the hope to limit the regimes in rebuilding Iraq’s military at home.

Finally, sanctions are intended to affect target regimes and even bring about regime change. US sanctions against North Korea in the 2000’s can be considered as an effort to hasten the collapse of communist regime in North Korea.

It is evidently to reconsider that economic sanctions are not always successful for complying what the decision makers want to as their fulfillment of foreign policy objectives, yet it is considerably still useful to conduct. The failure of economic sanctions even can be traced back to the era of League of Nations that turned economic sanctions as a possible substitute for war. When Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935 which actually the league members agreed to impose sanctions to Italy. But the imposed sanctions could not take into account when Italy did not reverse from its aggression. This failure was also the main cause why the league collapsed. In addition, in 1948 Stalin of the Soviet Union used economic denial to force Tito of Yugoslavia into compliance with Soviet preferences for its communist ally. But eventually Tito defied Stalin and it led to increase his domestic popularity and to take Yugoslavia into a more independent step. These aforementioned failures are caused by challenges that sanctioners must to confront.

The first challenge is the difficulty of how to maximize economic pain for target country. Once a country is being imposed sanctions, it can definitely alternate its dependency in order to make itself more resilient from the imposed sanctions by either going to political allegiance or diversifying its domestic economy. When Tito defied Stalin’s sanctions, Yugoslavia turned its trade and accepted economic aid from the non-communist West, breaking its political allegiance by accepting the help from communist foe. UN sanctions against Rhodesian economy was seemingly fail because it could increase its domestic production from 600 different manufactured goods to be 3800 goods after the sanctions imposed. (Losman, 1979) In effect, the sanctions encourage the diversification of domestic economy.

The second challenge is when a political disarray that we hope from target country changes into political integration since it comes up with domestic solidarity to the leader. Fidel Castro is one who practices this role as he perceives and blames that mostly self-imposed of Cuba economy come from U.S. interventionism, or “Yankee imperialism”.

The third challenge relies on paradigm that there is no everlasting in politics. Politically and economically sanctions sometime come up with no political support of coalition sustainability. International sanctions imposed against Iraq in 1991 began to fall apart in 2000’s because France, Russia and other coalitions states were no longer willing to forego the economic benefits of participation in the Iraqi energy sector.

The fourth challenge is when sanctions became ineffective when another issue had emerged disproportionately on innocent victims. It stimulates public opinion to call for international attention much more on that innocent victims’ issue rather than the sanctions . The economic sanctions against Iraq during 1990’s severely made economic pain, but the sight of children faced famine and had no access to medical care that had happened prior to the sanctions imposement made public opinion more concern on the evil of Saddam Husein’s regime than the effect of sanction imposement.

Somehow governments think that sanctions are still useful even if it cannot fully accomplish the foreign policy objectives. At least, eventually imposed sanctions will accomplish some of the objectives. Some people may argue that Western sanctions toward the Soviet Union during Cold War could not undermine its economy or even could not change communist regime, yet it was costlier and more difficult for the Soviet Union to keep up in technologically arms race. Imposed sanctions also can lead to strengthen military and diplomacy more efficiently. When Iraq had invaded Kuwait in 1990, UN imposed sanctions against Iraq even though the sanctions considerably did not successful. But then, the USA were willing to force their military to cover the sanctions, targeting to abolish Saddam Husein’s regime. In term of diplomacy, there was also evident in another case as well. In South Africa and Rhodesia, unpopular governments were eventually brought down not by sanctions but by domestic resistance movements. But those domestic forces were themselves aided by economic sanctions. Sanctions were a prominent indicator that the international community was on the side of the resistance movements


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