Politics in Minutes (2016)

Foreign policy

The relationship a nation has with other countries is determined by the foreign policy of its government – the ways it interacts with them militarily, politically, economically and socially. Of primary concern is promoting and protecting the interests of the state, while ensuring peaceful relations with other nations. Foreign policy decided by sovereign states is supposedly free from outside interference, but in practice is shaped by the actions and attitudes of other nations. There may even be pressure from strategic allies or the international community to adopt a particular stance. Countries with superior military or economic power can influence smaller, less powerful nations, especially if they are dependent on foreign aid. Membership of defence alliances, such as NATO and the Warsaw Pact, aligned the political and military foreign policy of members with the superpowers of the USA and Russia. Transnational corporations can also affect the economic slant of a country’s foreign policy, which is often developed in conjunction with partners in a trading bloc, such as the EU.