• In pursuit of development diplomacy

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    Part II: Foreign Relations Perspectives

    I am quite certain that despite the better understanding of our development goals, policies and strategies diplomacy can still miserably fail in its mission to become a worthy tool for development. This situation results in a failure to feel correctly the pulse of relations among nations.

    Political and economic dimensions of the global scenario should therefore be appreciated in their proper perspective. Their logical consequences must be brought to bear on the interplay of forces that are likely to yield beneficial results to a developing country like Philippines.

    The political dimensions of the global scenario have considerably been altered in the past years. Three factors could at least be brought into fore as responsible for the change, namely, the break-up of the rigid bi-polarity of power resulting in the emergence of medium-level countries asserting their appropriate place in international political dynamics and the rise of international institutions through which the policy objectives of the countries are earnestly pursued.

    The changed international political configurations have far-reaching implications in the relations of countries. This change refers to a multi-polar character of relations in which power could be exercised from many capitals and the decisions on many issue-areas are no longer strictly determined according to the principle of balance-of-power. It also means that each nation begins to look after its own interest with latitude of freedom not hitherto possible under the constraints of old international politics. This also implies that each nation is free to fashion fairly independent foreign policies. It also means that countries assign premium to the work of international organizations for what these organizations can do for them.

    Under these circumstances, an added element in the political dimension of the global scenario is the gathering of forces within the ranks of the developing countries. Perforce, they have to band together and attempt to present common positions despite their differing national interests and aspiration, as in the G77 and China, Asean, SAARC and the African Union.

    Concrete manifestation of these efforts are now evident in the developing countries’ continuing support to institutionalizing economic and technical cooperation. These countries would also present, whenever appropriate and feasible, common position vis-à-vis the developed countries on issues of paramount importance to their economic and political well-being in which they have mutual stakes.

    Given the Filipino’s indigenous ability to cope with exigencies of the times, foreign relations can continue to serve well our national interest such as securing of government’s standing in the family of nations considering that in the first place, the Philippine is a founding member of the United Nations. It has enabled us to take concrete steps in the pursuit of such cornerstones of our foreign policy. These are marked by more balanced relations with the US. China Japan, the Middle East and Europe; participation in and support for the objectives and the work of the United Nations, intensification of efforts to make Asean strong and viable, identification with the Third World, better and firmer relations with the former Socialist countries.

    As we attempt to appreciate fully the political dynamics of international relations and their economic ramifications, we can best seek further improvements in what we have done thus far and ensure success for whatever additional measures we intend to adopt.

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