Assignment on The Global Setting and Bangladesh Foreign Policy

Foreign policy, according to Otto Von Bismarck is merely an extension of domestic policy. Interests may be indentified as objectives which nations try to pursue in order to influence the world environment to their advantage"-2 As defined above, foreign policy knows no eternal allies" or "permanent enemies", it seeks and augments national self-interests which alone are eternal and perpetual.
Diplomacy and aggression including war have traditionally been treated as major instruments of foreign policy. The human history is replete with instances which indicate that nations resorted to aggression whenever they considered diplomacy to be fruitless and aggression to be expedient to attain the objectives they pursued. All acts of aggression were generally perpetrated when the aggressors stood reasonable chance of victory over their victims and they culminated into wars only when the victims were prepared to resist the aggressors at any cost.

Until the termination of the Second World War, war and aggression were looked upon as normal an instrument of foreign policy as diplomacy itself. But the technology of modern warfare has made such dreadful advances so costly and yet so destructive that the superpowers of the world can think of making even some limited use of their latest nuclear arsenal only at the risk of transforming the Earth into a planet very different from the one we inherited from Nature. It is primarily because of the costs and the consequences of a nuclear war that the superpowers have not yet gone in for such a war, despite the long spell of cold war going on between them since the end of the Second World War.

Although the nations of the world have been making an inreasing use of diplomacy as the major instrument of foreign policy, a few developing countries still seem to be bent upon acquiring nuclear war capabilities either as an instrument of blackmailing their enemies or as shield of security against foreign aggression. As one of poorest and the least developed countries of the world, Bangladesh can hardly think of making use of war or aggression against its neighbours. On the contrary, this country is yet to be a strong state and to gain full control over its legitimate territorial jurisdiction and over its domestic and foreign policy making. Such control can be attained only when it grows economically and politically strong enough to make even bargains with its economic and political partners. Bangladesh cannot gain these kinds of control without generating adequate positive response from world community of nations to meet the challenges it has been confronted with.

I. Challenges on the Socio-Economic Front

The broad issues which constitute major challenges to Bangladesh are demographic, ecological, economic and political in nature. Demographically speaking, Banladesh is one of the South Asian countries that witnessed high rates of population growth over the decades between 1950 and 1980. Although the rate of population growth has recently decelerated slightly, in absolute figures the population increased from about 44.17 million in 1950 to about 80. 91 million 1980; and it is now estimated to be around 110 million.

The high rates of population growth have, on the one hand, dissipated its savings and investment potentials, and on the other hand, increased its dependence on foreign aid as a means of financing its development plans. The huge pressure of population on the limited land and energy resources of the country has already given rise to some far -reaching consequences like emergence of ecological and environmental imbalance owing to rapid depletion of forest and pasture land to technological dualism in all major sectors of production such as agriculture, industry and transport. It has also created a massive problem of social inequality and insecurity and deprivation of human rights to basic needs of life on account of prevalence of absolute poverty among there fourths of Bangladesh population. While high proportions of landless families and small and marginal farmers testify to virtual denial of basic inputs to producing families, high proportions of non-working population to the total population placard low proportions of labour force participation in economic activity. Widespread unemployment among the rural and urban labour force is yet another episode to colossal wastage of the productive manpower. Low levels of literacy and technical carotene if the educated people, the low capital - labor ratio, the low land-man ratio and the labour-entrepreneurship ratio account for low productivity of all factors of production and poor performance of Bangladesh economy in terms of the GNP growth rate and supply of basic needs of life to the teeming millions of the population. The basic strategy of all development plans of Bangladesh may be indentified as essentially a race between deceleration of the population growth, on the one hand, and acceleration of rates of growth of GNP (including basic needs), on the other. As progress towards attainment of zero population growth rate has been rather slow, acceleration of the GNP and employment growth rates has come out as the major overall strategy of development planning in Bangladesh. Investment targets within the range of 15% to 20% of the GNP seem to be an essential requirement for any meaningful economic development of the country. For reasons economic as well as administrative, large gaps generally arise between domestic investment and savings as well as between import payments and export earnings of this country, and these gap necessarily reflect themselves in massive inflows of foreign aid. As foreign aid is becoming increasingly scarce and 'tied' to the economic and political interests of donor countries, prospects of procuring 'untied' aid and grants have already turned bleak and are largely dependent upon effective utilization of foreign resources and alignment of domestic and foreign policies of the aid-receiving countries to those of the donors.