Foreign Relations: All about the Economy?
Each time a discussion about the necessity of strong foreign relations is held, almost everyone has a positive intrinsic feeling. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the positive feeling, or the strong relations in themselves. Rather, the question should be asked as to what is the root of the importance of strong foreign relations? Could money, or the economy of a particular nation be at the center of it all? After all, as we’ve seen throughout the semester, there is certainly a strong correlation between the strength of government leadership, and the strength of a country’s economy.
For instance, per our reading and class discussion last week, the “Hermit Kingdom” of North Korea is running out of room to thrive economically. Even if an approach similar to that of globalization is not North Korea’s goal, what do they fear by avoiding help? Is it that they will be taken advantage of economically, when it ‘owed’ a form a debt to another country? An example of denied help is recorded by Schoppa, “North Korea, however, initially turned down offers of help from the south Korean Red Cross, and the UN’s World Food Program. Several months before , dozens of foreign aid workers had been expelled because North Korea said that it ‘did not need outside help'” (p. 483).
In turn, if North Korea’s use of self-reliance is nor an approach that is making them stronger, then does the country simply fear fueling the economic power of another country? Are foreign relations all about the money?
Keith R. Schoppa, East Asia: Identities and Change in the Modern World, 1700 to Present (New Jersey: Pearson, 2008), 483.