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Monday, June 14, 2021, 13:28 (GMT+7)
On the foreign policies and diplomatic potential building of the U.S., Russia, and China

Researches into the history of diplomatic policies of the U.S., Russia, and China reveal that the building of diplomatic potential is of great importance to these countries and carried out with different contents, forms and scales, but connected with military activities and wars to achieve their political and economic goals in accordance with the development process of each country.

The United States of America’s Foreign Affairs

As a major power with its influence on the whole world, the U.S. has implemented its security, military and economic strategies on a global scale. It has managed to establish and consolidate relations with many countries; therefore, foreign policy and diplomatic potential represent a matter of utmost importance to this country. According to American author Paul Kennedy, the strength of a state is definitely not only military power, but also economic-technical resources, ingenuity, foresight and diplomatic resolve. In fact, the U.S. foreign policy has been frequently associated with military activities and wars to attain its political and economic goals. America believes that the Second World War is a case of "diplomacy by other means" and that war is not simply to defeat enemies but to create a geopolitical foundation for a post-war world order built and led by them.

In order to serve its foreign affairs, first of all, the U.S. has focused on studying, shaping, and implementing its strategies and plans for state diplomacy, people's diplomacy and military doctrines in each presidential term. Typical examples include the Marshall Plan of President Truman to "contain" the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries during the Cold War, the Eisenhower Doctrine aimed at strengthening Washington's role in the Middle East, and the domino and Kennedy doctrines to overthrow "Communism" and accelerate the "containment" strategy. Besides, the U.S. has also adopted several other types of diplomacy, such as "dollar" diplomacy and "gunboat" diplomacy to bind and adjust relations, and to deter its enemies with economic and military powers. During the Cold War, it switched from "containment" to "beyond containment" so as to build a "new world order" - a unipolar order under its leadership, while stepping up "peaceful evolution" against socialist countries, sharing responsibility with its allies, and preventing potential opponents from threatening its hegemony.

To realise its diplomatic goal, the U.S. has concentrated on building and developing the Department of State tasked with analysing information, giving advice to the administration on foreign policies, establishing and managing embassies and consulates, contacting with other countries diplomatic agencies, and conducting military training programme abroad. Moreover, it has trained and built a contingent of talented, flexible, sharp and skilled diplomats, such as George Marshall, William L. Clayton, and George F. Kenna in the process of realising its national diplomatic goal and strategy. Its diplomatic agencies and diplomats have always played a core role in advising generations of US presidents on shaping and executing foreign policies. In addition, the U.S. has placed special emphasis on ensuring financial and material support for its foreign affairs by supplying finance, weapons, equipment, and military means to its allied countries, thereby creating "soft" power to deter and control its opponents, affirming its role as a world leader.

Russia’s Foreign Affairs

In its history of war, construction and development, Russia has attached great importance to foreign affairs and the building of diplomatic potential. The Russian foreign affairs agency was established very early. In 1718, Emperor Peter I founded councils, each of them was in charge of a certain branch of state administration, such as the Diplomatic Council and the Military Council. In that period, Russia concentrated on designing military diplomatic policies and developing artillery, engineering, and shipbuilding industry. It also signed alliance treaties with Denmark and Poland, while launching wars against Sweden and Ottoman. At the same time, it built the diplomatic force, set up embassies in other countries, and conducted diplomatic, military and war activities to pave the way to the Baltic Sea and Black Sea through a part of Ottoman Empire’s territory. In 1723, Russia achieved its goal of reaching out to the Mediterranean via the Black Sea, expanding its territory downwards to the South, and becoming a feudal power  and the stronghold of European monarchies.

In the early 19th century, Russia continued to build, develop and expand its diplomatic agencies and force, while promoting the establishment of military alliances, such as the League of Three Emperors (Russia, Austria, and Prussia) and Quadruple Alliance (Russia, Britain, Austria, and Prussia). In particular, the Tsar directly drafted the Treaty to establish the Holy Alliance (including most of the European sovereigns) to create its strength and position in international relations. After the October Revolution (1917), according to V.I. Lenin, foreign policy is the continuation of internal policy but by a different method, diplomacy is a mirror that reflects the rise and fall of each country, in the interaction of interests, intelligence and strength between sates. Therefore, he focused on mapping out policies to cement the international communist relations, promoting cultural exchange with other countries, and tapping human and material resources for diplomatic activities.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union planned and flexibly adjusted its diplomatic policy from alliance with the United States and Britain against Nazism (1946 - 1948) to defence against America’s "containment" strategy. By the 1970s, especially after the U.S. war in Vietnam, its foreign policy was changed to more positively deal with the hostility of Western countries. When M. Gorbachev came to power (the General Secretary), the Soviet Union adjusted its foreign policy toward détente and compromise with the U.S. and the West, with a view to “prioritising  the interests of the mankind," "removing ideological differences," and building "a common European home." At the same time, it decided to provide financial, material, and military assistance for its allies in  Eastern Europe and the third-world countries to extend its influence, create power as a counterbalance to the U.S., and compete for the world's No.1 position. However, due to the failure of its internal and foreign policies in the reform process, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Currently, Russia is attaching great value to building and training diplomatic agencies and force, promoting this force’s role, pursuing an independent, realistic foreign policy, and consolidating its relations with CIS countries, European countries and major powers to realise the goal of becoming a world power.

China's Foreign Affairs

In the diplomatic history, after being defeated by Mongolia, Chinese feudal dynasties had to "pay tribute" to prevent war. Under the policy of "establishing relations with far states, attacking neighbours," they often deployed troops to "conquer" smaller countries, expand their territory and maintain foreign relations in a superior position.

After the Communist Party of China led its people to overthrow imperialism and feudalism, bring about the victory of the democratic revolution (in 1949), and establish the People's Republic of China, this country attached special importance to foreign affairs and the building of its diplomatic potential. It designed three major foreign policies of "cleaning up the house first and then inviting guests," "making a fresh start" and "leaning to one side" to completely cut off the former regime’s diplomatic relations and establish new ones in favour of the socialist block led by the Soviet Union. At that time, China decided to give a large amount of human resources (military experts) and material resources (weapons, equipment, vehicles, and finance) to North Korea in the Korean War and other countries in Indochina during the Indochina war, including Vietnam. Especially since 1978, under its reform and open-door policy, China has focused on building a contingent of diplomats,  while joining over 100 global organisations, signing more than 300 international conventions, and participating in 24 UN peacekeeping campaigns with over ten thousand staff members. At present, China is developing a comprehensive foreign policy under the 5 principles of peaceful coexistence, attaching significance to regional diplomacy, military diplomacy and people’s diplomacy, building trust and harmony, promoting a multipolar world order, persistently pursuing a foreign policy of peace, independence and self-reliance, protecting world peace, advocating mutual development, supporting developing countries, adjusting its motto from "hiding your strength and biding your time" to "peaceful rise" towards a "harmonious world," upholding "independence and self-reliance," implementing "a major power’s" foreign policy,  exercising its influence on other countries, and competing for the position of a world superpower.

Studies on the history of foreign affairs of major powers show that the building of their diplomatic potential is frequently associated with military activities and wars to reach their political and economic goals. In spite of differences in form and scale, all these countries develop and adjust their diplomatic doctrines, policies, and strategies and their military diplomacy in accordance with the ideologies of their leaders, shape and gradually perfect their system of views, principles, mechanisms and legal institutions for foreign affairs, promote the role of diplomatic agencies, diplomats and leaders, make material and financial preparations, provide economic aid for their allies, and exploit the strength of military alliances so as to exert their national influence on the region and the world, and realise their strategic goals.

Those above-mentioned findings will lay an important foundation for studying, developing, and building Vietnam's diplomatic potential on all three Central diplomatic channels (including Party diplomacy, state diplomacy, and people-to-people diplomacy) and defence diplomacy to serve the Homeland construction and defence.

Col. NGUYEN DUC PHU, MA

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