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A Study Of The Mechanism Of The Influences Of Culture On Foreign Policies

Posted on:2008-10-28Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:H J YueFull Text:PDF
GTID:1116360242958158Subject:International relations
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This dissertation mainly explores the cultural influences on foreign policies with the focus on the following question: Why and how culture exerts influences on foreign policies? Based on those research objectives, this dissertation roughly falls, from theory to history, into two parts, namely a theoretical study and a case for empirical substantiation.Based on the research philosophy of dialectical materialism and the theoretical paradigm of Neoclassical Realism, the first part of this dissertation defines quite a few key concepts, reveals the dialectical contradiction in the concepts themselves, points out their connections, and puts forward a series of hypotheses, which are logically combined to form an assumption. The basic hypotheses are as follows: 1) The national interests of a state play a determinant role in foreign policy making; 2) Citizens of a state determine its national interests; 3) Culture of a state influences and shapes the character of its citizens. The logical connection between these hypotheses takes their forms in such a chain—culture influences people, and people determine national interests, and national interests decide foreign policies. In other words, culture exerts its influence on foreign policies mainly through the two media, namely,"people"and"national interests". Therefore, with"culture"and"national interests"as key concepts, this dissertation answers this question of why culture can influence the foreign policy.Marxism holds that man's interest roots in his needs, whose creation experiences a logical chain: from man's interest to man's labor and to social relations. Man must try to meet his needs to live, that is to say, to obtain the objects they need by certain means. To meet his needs, man must carry out productive labor and form all kinds of social relations among which the most important is the economic relationship with the relationship of production as its core. The economic relationship is concentratedly embodied in class relations. Once coming into being, the social relations not only make men produce and live in a given social sphere, but also predetermine the allocation of products among social members, and consequently condition in essence the meeting of men's needs and this makes the relationship of man with objects of his needs convert into the relationship between man and man and thus makes needs get the social substance and character in the form of man's physiology and psychology. As a result, interest comes about which is the need that, based on certain productive relationships, has had the social substance and character. It can be seen from the course of interest's birth that interest is the unity of the need and the means to realize it. The realization of interest is the meeting of the need, namely the obtaining of the objects of the need which is conditioned by the means, that is, the social relations and the status of the subject of interest in the relations which is determined by his relative power. So the essence of interest is social relations and the core of it is power, especially relative power. The judgment of interest consists of two steps: to evaluate and to determine the objects of the need, and then to assess the means and capability to obtain the objects. The process to evaluate and determine the objects of the need is a process to make a value judgment, and accordingly, the judged interest is characteristic of the value.Being the interest of a special subject, national interest has the general characteristics of interest, besides its own specificity. National interest roots in the need of the nation. The essence of national interest is social relations: in internal politics, it's class relations, mainly the ruling status of the ruling class, while in international politics, it's, in addition to class relations, international relations, mainly the status of the country in the international society. The core of national interest is also power. The judgment of national interest includes two steps: first to determine the objects of the need, and then to assess the means to realize the need. The judged interest is characteristic of the value.Integrating the characteristic of national interest judgment with the formative process of value judgment, this dissertation reveals the underlying mechanism of how culture influences national interests, thus answering in specific such a question of how culture influences foreign policies. National interest includes material interest and spiritual interest of which the far more essential is material interest because the foundation of power which is the core of national interest is means of production, goods and materials, and the force(army troops, police, jails, courts and the like), and because material things can meet not only material needs but also, at least partly, spiritual needs. This on the whole demonstrates that as a spiritual thing, the influence of culture on the foreign policy determined by national interests is, though important, comparatively limited.Culture exerts influences on foreign policies in two ways: one way is that culture exerts influences on foreign policies as dynamic force of foreign policies, which is often consistent with the dynamic force for power; the other is that culture exerts influences on foreign policies as the content of them which are characterized by the preservation and export of culture and serve as the tool for the state to gain power. Culture exerts a significant and everlasting influence over foreign policies, especially over those of big powers. However, since the basic component of power is materials, the cultural influence is comparatively limited.With the Greater Middle East Initiative launched by the U.S. as an empirical example, the second part of this dissertation substantiates the hypothesis advanced in the first part. Placing this initiative against the U.S. strategy of exporting democracy, the second part makes an analysis of the historical background of this program on macro and micro perspectives, expounds the fact that the initiative is the continuation of the U.S. strategy of exporting democracy, and further reveals on the one hand that culture has an everlasting bearing on foreign policies and on the other, that the foreign policy with culture as its content is characterized by its clear-cut instrumentalism and alternative. Combined with the first part, the second part also analyzes the mechanism of the cultural influence on and the dynamic force for hard power of the Greater Middle East Initiative, and expounds that although culture provides the U.S. foreign policies with metaphysical logic and realistic content, thus supplying an everlasting dynamic force to the U.S. diplomacy of expansion, yet this dynamic force is limited when compared with the dynamic force originating from material interests.In the concluding part, the writer makes a summary of the major finding of this dissertation, which is the underlying mechanism of how culture influences national interests.
Keywords/Search Tags:Culture, Foreign policies, National interests, the Greater Middle East Initiative, the United States
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