National Identity

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A country’s political identity is strongly linked to its foreign policy. National identity can be characterized as the idea of a country as a common society embodied by various cultures, customs, and languages, while a foreign policy can be identified as policies of the government that favor the mandate of the nation when negotiating with other nations. In order to establish an interpretation of the dialectical relationship between national identity and foreign policy, the paper expands the literature presented by numerous influential writers.
Identity and Foreign Policy: Canada as a Nation of the Americas
Jean-Philippe Thérien and Gordon Mace have explained the conceptual issues encountered by nations while constructing separate national identity. According to Thérien and Mace (2013), there is no functional politics or international system without identity. Identity is an essential concept deeply embedded in a nation’s framework. International relations field has emphasized on the importance of identity.

The authors have tried to explain the importance of identity as an essential element in the nation building process. Moreover, the authors have emphasized on the Canadian approach to identity and foreign policy. Canadians adopted a certain foreign policy towards the United States (US). According to Thérien and Mace (2013), Canada’s approach to the nation’s identity and foreign policy regarding the United States has changed remarkably over the past 20 years.

Dynamics of regional affairs and political agenda of a party have changed. Moreover, Canada’s foreign policy has adopted continuity rather than change toward the United States. In 1990, Canada had tried to construct a regional system by implementing the inter-American system. However, Canada’s attempt to integrate the American system with the nation stopped in 2003. Canadian officials initiated the creation of the nation’s identity by maintaining bilateral relations with nations like Mexico and Chile along with the supporting summit of America. The authors have emphasized on the importance of the nation’s identity and foreign policy as simultaneous procedures. Canadian nation’s identity as a collective American policy of the government to overcome the gap between the two states has been explained extensively in the article. The main objective is to create an understanding of the importance of the nation’s identity embedded in the ideology of the state (Thérien & Mace, 2013).

The foreign policy represents the nation’s identity and interests as a collective nation. Canada’s stance on improving the relationship with the United States indicates the public’s interest. The Canadian government has tried to integrate the nation’s identity with the US to formulate a better foreign policy. However, public is of view that officials forget the essence of the nation’s identity while considering US interest in the foreign policy process. Foreign policy should be purely based on the nation’s identity aligned with external forces (Thérien & Mace, 2013).

Identity Theory and Foreign Policy: Explaining Japan’s Responses to the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 U.S. War in Iraq

Amy L. Catalinac in the article has explained deeply embedded concepts of nation’s identity and foreign policy by highlighting Japan’s response to the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 U.S. war in Iraq. Japan’s response to Gulf War was different than the U.S war in Iraq. The author has explained the complexity of the approach of Japanese and various other states in response to the U.S war in Iraq. Catalinac (2007) has described neorealist, and neoliberalism approaches. Moreover, Catalinac (2007) has elaborated constructivism, nation’s identity, and foreign policy based on standard explanations of foreign policy.

Catalinac (2007) has tried to explain the identity theory and varying perspectives of nations toward different situations. For instance, the Japanese government reaction to Gulf War differed from the reaction to the U.S war in Iraq. Catalinac (2007) has explained Japanese stance on two different wars that took place in history. Moreover, Catalinac (2007) has emphasized on varying responses of the Japanese government to two different wars contradicting neorealism and neoliberalism. International relation conventional paradigms failed to elaborate the Japanese government’s responses to different wars. However, it is essential for policymakers to implement identity-based approaches to developing a foreign policy. The nation’s identity can be considered as a pivotal element in defining a foreign policy.

Catalinac (2007) has tried to elaborate the importance of considering the nation’s identity while drafting a foreign policy. Japan’s response to Gulf War under the supervision of President Toshiki Kaifu was prompt, whereas the response to the U.S war in Iraq was slow and stagnant. The two different approaches of Japan towards historical wars indicate the nation’s interest and contribution of the public in formulating the foreign policy of the state. Catalinac (2007) also has tried to explain that neorealism and neoliberalism play an essential part in the state’s foreign policy. However, Japan’s varying responses to two different wars have raised questions regarding conventional paradigms. Japan’s stance on two different wars has highlighted the importance of internal forces in defining a foreign policy.

Foreign policy making in the Middle East

According to Raymond A. Hinnebusch (2003), the foreign policy in the Middle East is made by considering foreign policy determinants including interests and challenges. The Middle East’s foreign policy making procedure is dominated by either dictatorship approaches adopted by leaders or unreasonable outcome of the domestic instability of the state. Hinnebusch (2003) has tried to explain the importance of the nation’s identity and foreign policy in clearing its stance in the political world. Foreign making policy procedure is carried out by think-tanks that have the ability to understand the domestic and underlying demands of the population before formulating a foreign policy. Hinnebusch (2003) has indicated both national level and international level relationships to be important determinants while formulating a foreign policy. It means authorities have to consider the nation’s interests at the regional level and the ongoing trend at the international level while making a valid foreign policy. However, the Middle East’s regional militarization has posed greater threats which policymakers must consider in foreign policy agendas. Hinnebusch (2003) provides explanation for the motive of states for formulating a foreign policy. Hinnebusch (2003) has explained autonomy and security of the regime to be essential factors of states’ interest in a foreign policy. However, different states adopt different agendas to defend the state’s autonomy and security that varies with time considerably. Identity is a complex concept in the Middle Eastern states which compels authorities to consider different identities while formulating a foreign policy.

Hinnebusch (2003) has explained officials involved in foreign policy making are required to consider each and every aspect including domestic level demands or threats or external forces while formulating a stringent policy that safeguards interests of the state. In the Middle Eastern states, the foreign policy process considers public views as well as external forces while drafting a stable policy. It is essential for officials to address all necessary requirements of drafting a policy. Officials consider economic interests, public opinion, and external threats in the foreign policy process. However, capitalists influenced by economic interests also contribute to the foreign policy agenda. Nevertheless, states carefully consider socio-economic infrastructure along with nation’s cultural identity while making foreign policy (Hinnebusch, 2003).

Russian National Identity and Foreign Policy

Igor Zevelev (2016) has attempted to explain Russian perspective of national identity and foreign policy. Each country represents collective ideas approved by a nation which is conveyed to other nations through adequate foreign policy. National identity and foreign policy are well blended to form a stable state. Moreover, an appropriate combination of national identity narratives, international security discourses, and domestic security goals explains Russian approach. The author has explained that Russia considers domestic demands to be an integral part of its foreign policy rather than west conceptualization that considers domestic demands and external threats equally. Russia emphasizes on defining the nation’s identity to be an essential consideration. Zevelev (2016) has explained that Russian approach towards drafting a foreign policy has complicated its relations with western states and post-Soviet states. Moreover, the author believes that President Vladimir Putin’s approach towards policy developed considers the nation’s history and traditions to be essential elements of policy making (Zevelev, 2016).

Zevelev (2016) has explained Russian foreign policymaking procedures have created doubts throughout the world. Russian’s approach towards considering national identity to be an important factor dates back to the nineteenth century. However, Zevelev (2016) has highlighted the growing concern of the Westernized world towards Russian’s approach in foreign policy. Westerners are of the view that Russia needs to consider national identity as well as external threats while making foreign policy.

The rationalism of the West should be considered by Russian policy makers to mitigate problems encountered by the Russian government. The universal character of Russian’s national identity and emphasis on universalism were main highlights of the nineteenth century. The Russian policy adopted by officials in the nineteenth century indicated the doctrine of official nationalism. Zevelev (2016) has explained that a British historian, Geoffrey Hosking believed Russia to be an eligible empire. Moreover, the author has explained the disintegration of the Soviet Union was a setback for the country’s foreign policy. The country lost its identity with the collapse of the Soviet Union (Zevelev, 2016).

In conclusion, it could be stated that the literature review highlighted and discussed the importance of a nation’s identity and foreign policy from different prominent countries’ perspectives. The nation’s identity is deeply embedded in the foreign policy. Moreover, it can be said that the nation’s identity is a cornerstone of the foreign policy, and officials consider it as an integral element while formulating a country’s foreign policy.

References

Catalinac, A. L. (2007). Identity theory and foreign policy:explaining Japan’s responses to the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 U.S. War in Iraq. Politics & Policy, 35(1), 58-100.

Hinnebusch, R. (2003). The international politics of the Middle East. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Thérien, J. P., & Mace, G. (2013). Identity and foreign polity: Canada as a nation of the Americas. Latin American Politics and Society, 55(2), 150-168.

Zevelev, I. (2016). Russian national identity and foreign policy. Washington: CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program .

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