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A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu.citation needed The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries. The study of such strategies is called foreign policy analysis. In recent times, due to the deepening level of globalization and transnational activities, the states will also have to interact with non-state actors. The aforementioned interaction is evaluated and monitored in attempts to maximize benefits of multilateral international cooperation. Since the national interests are paramount, foreign policies are designed by the government through high-level decision making processes. National interests accomplishment can occur as a result of peaceful cooperation with other nations, or through exploitation. Usually, creating foreign policy is the job of the head of government and the foreign minister (or equivalent). In some countries the legislature also has considerable effects. Foreign policies of countries have varying rates of change and scopes of intent, which can be affected by factors that change the perceived national interests or even affect the stability of the country itself. The foreign policy of one country can have a profound and lasting impact on many other countries and on the course of international relations as a whole, such as the Monroe Doctrine conflicting with the mercantilist policies of 19th century European countries and the goals of independence of newly formed Central American and South American countries.
The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle described humans as social animals. Therefore, friendships and relations have existed between humans since the beginning of human interaction. As the organization developed in human affairs, relations between people also organized. Foreign policy thus goes back to primitive times. The inception in human affairs of foreign relations and the need for foreign policy to deal with them is as old as the organization of human life in groups.
The literature from ancient times, the Bible, the Homeric poems, the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, and many others show an accumulation of experience in dealing with foreigners. The ancient writings (Chinese & Indian) give much evidence of thought concerned with the management of relations between peoples.
- International relations
- International relations theory - mostly a list of different schools of thought on IR and some of their history
- Foreign policy of the United States
- Foreign relations of the European Union
- Common Security and Defence Policy (Europe)
- Foreign relations of China
- United Nations