A Short Note on Foreign Affairs and Strategic Position of Bangladesh -By Md. Nadim Uddin


The aim of this writing, to give us clear consciousness about the theoretical basis of how the Foreign affair works and thereby how the real foreign policy is influenced by such kind of theoretical conception. In general foreign affair is what and how the relation of two countries is determined and who takes the decision about foreign relationship are the basic questions of foreign affairs. The basic definition of foreign affairs is that the mutual relation of two countries within the neighbour countries or state to state. But operational definition is that the extension of domestic policy is foreign policy. So the foreign affairs has a deep conception we see generally. Foreign affairs is stood up with basic theoretical or philosophical concept or thought.

The fundamental discourse of Realism entails Human being as a selfish, self-interest and self-serving entity. Han’s Morgenthau introduces primitively about Political Realism. He discusses the six fundamental discourses and shows how the state works, which is called political Realism. He portrayed that human being always wants to gain power and struggle to achieve it. As a result, human makes themselves as a power-interested being and involves in conflict of interest. To return from conflict of interest, human being always wants to achieve power. For instance, we have a country like Bangladesh and the men who lead the country are social creature. Therefore, state is an actor and the leading people of the state is self-centred people. So the leading people of state consider only their self-interest when they lead their country. So foreign affairs is determined by following theoretical concept.

Structuralism or Neo-realism:
Kenneth Waltz first argued that Human being is not selfish by nature. Human being must have to perform some works due to the condition of his surroundings. If he doesn’t face this condition he would not be obedient to follow such job or work. So the relativity of selfishness is changed up.
Neo-classical Realism:
Neoclassical realism is an approach to foreign policy analysis. Initially coined by Gideon Rose in a 1998 World Politics review article, it is a combination of classical realist and neorealist particularly defensive realist theories. So all countries’ major foreign decisions are based on this three basic theoretical conceptions. Bangladesh is not an exceptional to these concepts. Let us see the proof of certain three basic theories in the context of Bangladesh. Firstly, we have to know who preserve the prime role to create foreign policy. In Bangladesh, Prime Minister, who is the head of government, the parliamentary leader of National parliament and chief of the committee of foreign policy in parliament, maintains the prime role in making foreign policy. Secondly: the foreign advisers of Prime minister who are known as diplomat. In foreign policy the diplomats must be like swimming ducks because ducks always swim in the pond by its legs but we can’t see their legs by our naked eye. So diplomats must do many things in closed door where we have no access. Thirdly: Foreign ministry. Fourthly: Bureaucracy. Fifthly: The Detective force. Ssixthly: parliament. Parliament is important because according to our constitution, it is obligatory for the government to debate about foreign policy inthe parliament. Seventhly: Public opinion. Eighty: The interest of ruling party, and ninthly: Lobby group such as our commercial relation with Myanmar and military relation with China. In constitution, the article number 25(1) portrayed that we want friendship with all and malice towards none. Basically it’s the speech from late president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.  So Bangladesh took this speech as her prime motto to lead the foreign affairs. But unfortunately, after 1975 the way of foreign policy moved towards a different way which entailed that we would build good relationships with Muslim countries. And the main reason for that is- many of Muslim countries didn’t give us the recognition after our war of liberation in1971. And after changing the foreign policy, as the first Arab country Iraq gave us the recognition as a seventy six nation.
Bangladesh took many steps to protect their own interest even by face of surrounding structure. And because of that SAARC is formed by the late president Ziaur Rahman. Traditionally, we know the prime motto for establishing SAARC is to keep peace in regional countries. But main reason behind of forming SAARC is that the relationship of India and Bangladesh was not so good after killing of the founding fatherof Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Along with the fact that Bangladesh went to international court against India about Farrakka dam and a cruel sentence or bargaining was exchanged by two leaders Ziaur Rahman and Indira Gandhi. In spite of combating India, Bangladesh formed the SARRC to minimize the influence of India. And when the national party of Bangladesh came to power of government, they could not tolerate the influence of India. So in 2001 they took the Lukis formula such thateast Asian countries (Japan, Singapore, Honking, China) had a better economic possibility. Bangladesh would utilize their economic possibility and thus bring the foreign investment for Bangladesh. On the other hand, the ruling party of Bangladesh in present time takes the “positive regard towards India”. But according to structural point of view, it is truethat without the help of the India; Bangladesh will have to face some problems as India surrounds the three sides of Bangladesh. Besides, Bangladesh also imports a lot of goods from India. So at Tista river agreement, Farrakka agreement was not executed due to the delay of India. Because this violates India’s own self-interest even though we have a supposed “good relation” with India. Every country has a self-motive when they take their foreign decision. Like, theUSA attacked the Middle East for their economic motive andfurthermore to retain their dominance along with controllingthe Middle East they ensure the protection of Israel.

Some basic theories has been discussed below to understand the concept of foreign policy.

National power:
National power is the capacity of a state to exert coercive influence upon other states and to resist such influence exerted by other states upon it. Indeed without national power, we could not think international relationship. Geography, natural resource (food, raw materials), industrial capacity, population and quality of government and diplomats are the basic tools of national power.
Balance of power:
This is dialectical because if two countries have same power they may have equal probability to win the aggression so they commit aggression against each other. On the other hand, they have also equal probability to lose the aggression. So they do not commit aggression because potential aggressor and potential opponent have same power. So the main conclusion is that when two countries may have a balance of power, then they have less probability to involve in clash and if they involve in clash, it will be very small significance. In this case to know the behaviour of a state is important and in order to take the decision.
Integration theory:
The basic concept of integration theory is that the existing tensions, disputes, conflicts or violence, which create the divisive among the countries. It is strongly forgettable by the countries and bridge can be built and preventive measure can be taken in the relation between nations and human being. So we can expect a peaceful behaviour from countries if they maintain the Integration theory, for example: the United Kingdom, the USA and Germany.
The way how to develop the mutual foreign relation to protect national interest is to know the pros and cons of international relations. Since Bangladesh is a under developing country, it needs to follow balancing strategy to keep herself safe from any trouble arising out of the conflicts of economically powerful countries.n

The writer is an undergraduate student of University of Dhaka.

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