Implementation: Choose a nation-state, and trace its foreign policy development according to Hill's 'resources, capabilities and instruments' graph. Give a description of the state's resources (history and geography), capabilities (operational resources), examples of its power vs. influence (found in foreign policy statements) and a description of its instruments (from military to propaganda) used implement its foreign policy. (Week 8)
“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” (Sir Winston Churchill) Is the behaviour of Russia as unpredictable as Sir W. Churchill pretends it is? Is Russia not bound by resources, capabilities and instruments, which would brig some logical element into Russia's behaviour, into its' foreign policy? The question we are asked to answer in the following essay is the following: “Choose a nation-state, and trace its foreign policy development according to Hill's 'resources, capabilities and instruments' graph.” In other words, what enables a given state to implement a foreign policy which would be close to its' deep aspirations. This question mainly calls for the definitions of what implementation and power consist in. First of all, Implementations is the target of foreign policy. This means that it is the ability for a state to act, in order to have results. As for power, it is the essential ingredient needed to implement any policy. As a result, we can say that – on the international level - power lays in a state's resources and in the way he uses them. Thus, power is not only an end, but also a means to achieve various goals, as well as a 'context' in which the state acts. Hill's graph of foreign policy implementation shows that governments must transform their resources and capabilities into foreign policy instruments. We shall therefore put his theory to the test through the case-study of the Russian State. This case-study has two main advantages. On the one hand, it enables us to see how Hill' graph works, and on the other hand, it enables us to detail the background of Russian foreign policy making and implementing, thus seeing that Russia is not “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” anymore, even for westerners. As a result, the different part of our research on Russian foreign policy implementation will follow Christopher Hill's graph's logic: we will start by considering Russia's Resources and capabilities, and end by the power and influence it has.
I. RESOURCES AND CAPABILITIES: A HUGE WASTE?
Power lays in resources and capabilities. However, resources, and even capabilities are raw tools: they are not directly usable, and they have to be used in a manner to maximise outcomes. Russia is renowned for its' resources, but also for the unsatisfactory state of its capabilities.
A. Resources: The Gold Mine?
Russia is rich of resources, be it on the historical level, on the geographical level, as well as different guarantees for independence and power.
1. A Tumultuous History
If Russia's history is ancient and rich in glorious events (to the Russians' point of view), the recent past is not as resplendent and proved out to be a serious backlash in the development of Russia's power.
a. A Slow Take-Off
Vikings (Varangians) gave birth to the first Russian state, they moved their capital to Kiev in AD 882, thus creating the Kievan Rus where Vladimir the Great (circa 958 – 1015) converted the country to Orthodoxy. In the 13th century the Mongol invaded most of today's Russia. In the meanwhile, Moscow grew in power and was able to defeat the Mongols in 1380. It acquired a symbolic religious role after the fall of Constantinople (1492) by proclaiming itself the 'Third Rome'. In 1547, Ivan the Terrible became the first Czar of Russia and started the expansion of Russia, thus transforming it into a multiethnic-multidenominational country. In the 19th century, whilst growing economically, the Russian State was too slow on political and social reforms, and World War I brought an end to the Imperial 'Ancient Régime'. Shortly after the Revolution, the newborn Republic was overthrown by the Marxist Bolsheviks, and Russia entered a period of civil war which only ceased in 1922.
b. A Short and Half-Shade Apotheosis
After the civil war ended, a new era started where the Russian Empire was baptized Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics. Here again, Russia had a role of beacon for the world, albeit a different one from the previous 'protector of the Orthodox faith': it had become the country of Socialism. However, no sooner were the 'bourgeois', killed (or gone), that Stalin launched a crusade against the enemies from within: the great political purges of the 1930s whilst the country began a forced industrialization, whilst farms where collectivized. This resulted in widespread famine. Nevertheless after World War II, communists backed by Moscow managed to take power in most Eastern European States, de facto creating a protective glacis for the USSR as well as reliable allies. This had for effect to start a Cold War between Eastern (Socialist) and Western (Capitalist) blocs. In the Khrushchev years, the USSR tempted to bridge the military and technological divide between the Soviet Union and the United States. This led to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961. In the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev tried to reform the state. However, glasnost and perestroika were stopped by a failed a military coup against Gorbachev, after which Boris Yeltsin seized. During these events the former Soviet Republics took their independence. c. A Hard Landing This new era of democratization and of installation of capitalism has not been an easy one for Russia, which after having been an almighty empire, had to become a 'normal' state, and thus change its foreign policy agenda as well as its domestic behaviour. First of all, as soon as the 'independence' took place in October 1991, states enterprises were – sometimes controversially – privatized, whilst unemployment and misery increased. Backed by the army, Yeltsin maintained rule-of-law, except in the Caucasus where ethnic conflicts took (and still take) place. Today, more and more Caucasian rebels tend to adopt Islamism. In 2000, Vladimir Putin was elected. He is criticized by westerners for the situation of human rights in Russia as well as for the state's control over the media. Nevertheless, the improvement of the Russian economy, and the preservation of the Soviet Union's defense capacities enable Russia to hope in the future.
2. A Promising Geography
History has given to Russia's population the permanent feeling of being besieged, and this has had for consequence the expansion of Russian territory: one of Russia's greatest assets, but also a problem to be solved.
a. A Unique Space
Russia is renowned for being the biggest country in the world (17,075,200 sq. km). This, of course, is an important asset, for it used to make Russia nearly impregnable. And today still, 'size matters', for it gives a military strategic depth to a country. Moreover, we wisely say: “location, location, location”. Size is not all. Russia occupies a crucial geostrategical place on the Eurasian continent. Indeed, it is at the crossroads between Europe and the Far east, it borders Central Asia as well as the Arctic Ocean. It neighbours China as well as the United States... Furthermore, the Russian Federation is rather flat, and its waterways facilitate communications. Even the northern coast is used as a way of communication. However, the Russian geography does have its backlashes.
b. 'Bigger' is 'Big Enough's' Enemy (“Le Mieux Est L'Ennemi Du Bien”)
Firstly, Russia's maritime border is barely usable because of winter ice. This is of course a problem when you wish to live from fishing or if your navy needs to go somewhere urgently. In addition, Siberian permafrost explains the low proportion of permanent crops: 0.11%. Secondly, if neighbouring numerous countries is advantageous, some neighbours can be undesirable. Hence, North Korea, or even China, with its huge population, which could want to 'fill the gap' left by low demography in Siberia. Finally, the uncommon size of the Russian Federation calls for costly infrastructures, and populations living in remote and hostile areas of the country are literally second-zone citizens.
3. Guarantees for Independence
However, history and geography are not sufficient to be the resources of a state. It also needs guarantees for autonomy such as abundant natural resources, an efficient educational system, and a satisfactory industrialization. Russia possesses the three of these categories in different proportions.
a. Resources in Abundance
First of all, directly linked to geography, come Russia's natural resources. Of course, it has a 'traditional agriculture' which produces diverse grains, vegetables, fruits, beef, and milk. However, nowadays, Russia's main riches lay beneath the earth: oil, gas, metal, coal, and the ever-higher prices of energy are a source of substantial revenues for the country: “Russia ended 2005 with its seventh straight year of growth, averaging 6.4% annually since the financial crisis of 1998.” Even the electricity Russia partly produces with dams is sold and brings money.
b. A Well Educated Population
Another guarantee of autonomy for a state is to have a well-educated and if possible numerous population. This gives a state its dynamism, be it on the social, economical or cultural levels, and, even in the prospect of warfare. The problem here is well known. Even though the Russian population is of 142,893,540 (CIA), its decline is qualifies a “Demographic Disaster”. Scientists believe that there should only be 100,000 Russians in 2050. This is partly due to widespread pessimism. But the greater concern is for the healthiness of the population: the health care system has lost its standards of the Soviet era, and narcotics and alcoholism are serious issues for the Russian Government. Finally, the situation of literacy is in decline since the 1970s. Indeed, the USSR was renowned throughout the world for the quality of its educational and research systems. Consequently, students and scientists from all over the world gathered in Soviet universities. What better way to have a cultural influence and recognition? Today, we see the opposite happening with the lack of culture resulting in a significant rise in racism.
c. An Imperfect Industrialisation
Many of the existing plants in Russia ones were already there during the Soviet era... They usually result in a great deal of environmental pollution, and even ecological disasters. A second problem is that important foreign investments are stopped distrust in the institutions and in rule of law. Michael Waller even asserts that “bribery is so extensive in Russia that it has become part of the economic system”. Another obstacle to significant progress of the Russian is the 'soviet state of mind', and people still practice the motto “we pretend to work, they pretend to pay us”, without seeing that the situation today is pretty different from the past.
B. Capabilities: The Big Mess?
The question now is: what does the Russian state do of all these resources. How does it take advantage of the positive facts, and how does it tackle the obstacles to the establishment of a cohesive implementation of the state's decisions?
1. A Devastated Army
The army is a central institution in Russian foreign policy implementation. Indeed, Alexey Muraviev writes that since 1240, “the Russian state has been involved in more than 300 wars and armed conflicts, thus spending approximately 570 years fighting.” Today, Russia's army consists of many conscripts who have to be in the army for two years. Russian army is infamous for the bizutage that young recruits have to bear. The army also suffers from corruption, as Marten Zisk states.
2. A Puzzled Diplomacy And Intelligence
A country must have at its disposal sufficient diplomatic services and intelligence services so that these capabilities may be used to prepare and to guide any foreign policy decision. First of all, the necessity to master diplomatic usages can be seen in multilateral diplomacy. A famous example of multilateral diplomacy is the Commonwealth of Independent States of which Russia is part. To be effective, a country's diplomacy requires a minimum of fixed goals, so as not to be considered as inconstant. However, if we are to believe Fish, super-presidentialism creates instability.
3. Free Media?
Since he has been elected in 2000, Vladimir Putin's policy towards the media has been criticized on numerous occasions in 'the West'. He is accused of wanting to control the Press and the television through “restrictive legislation”, “harassment”... Thomas graham also writes about self-censorship from Kremlin-fearing editors and journalists.
4. Trade: A Future Full Of Hope?
In Russia after the Fall, Thomas graham asserts that once elected, Putin met the oligarchs “to ensure that big business worked in the interest of the state.” However, if many Researches on Russian trade relate cases of corruption of the economy, Michael Waller that “economic crime” is punished by the Russian law.
II. POWER AND INFLUENCE: IS THE FORMER EMPIRE UP TO ITS PRETENSIONS?
Now we have seen that, even though there are a number of backlashes, the Russian Federation has a considerable set of resources and capabilities which can enable it to implement its' foreign policy decisions. In The Changing Politics of Foreign Policy, Christopher Hill draws a 'continuum of power' graph, in order to show us the different possibilities of actions for a state to implement its' foreign policy, from hard power to soft power.
A. 'Preferred' Hard Power
Hill's claim is that there are no rules for choosing and utilising foreign policy instruments, but he simply recommends that they should be combined.
1. A Traditional Use Of Force
Traditionally, Russia has used force to implement its policies, and most often, using the military. The “Small Society”, as Anton Oleynik calls it in his article, is a traditional part of Russian foreign policy implementation, even though Russia, any modern states, wishes to use its' military on the international level only on last resort. Weber and Smith themselves argue that military intervention may be a good 'investment' if it contributes to longer term stability. On this point, when we read Trofimenko's Russian National Interests, we can see that Russia's national interests are rather peaceful: for example: “create a peaceful international environment, and not to make enemies, to cooperate [...]”. However, However, Hill writes that force is not necessarily violent and tells us that military interventions can usually be more implicit. As a result, we can see the diplomacy and force must be used as an 'ensemble'. It is 'coercive diplomacy'.
2. Coercive Diplomacy
Deterrence is the threat of the use of force. Coercive diplomacy mostly consists in threats, can lead to withdraw ambassadors, impose economic sanctions... Even there, different levels of coercion are possible: a weaker coercion would promote cooperation, whereas a stronger coercion refers to possible military action if the other state does not comply. In fact, Keohane wrote that Russia and France promoted multilateral coercive action against Saddam Hussein's Iraq with the United Nations' resolution 1441 (ciaonet.org). Coercive actions can consist of threat of the use of force, but also of the use of economical sanctions. Actors can pursue their goals through the use of economic instruments, which is usually less costly in lives than combat. For example, last October, Russia used economic sanctions to have its 'spies' freed by the Georgian Government.
B. Soft Power: What Does Russia Make Of It?
But hard power is not the only available one for states to implement their foreign policies, and states should combine the use of hard as well as soft power. “Soft power does not mean wimp power” said former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy. As Joseph Nye put it in 1990 in Bound to Lead, soft power is “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than through coercion”, thus we can write that Soft Power gained by having a culture, values and institutions that incite admiration and respect from other parts of the world, but it is not controlled by the state, so it is a foreign policy tool hard to 'use'.
1. Persuasion: An Art Recently Mastered
In the international implementation of a country's foreign policy, the best too to use is persuasion. This means can be found in collective as well as in classic diplomacy. Nowadays, for example, Russia's attitude toward the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is very pragmatic than it ever could have been (27). Another example of Russia's growing capacity to take parte into collective diplomacy is the Commonwealth of Independent States' defence and peacekeeping policies.
In his 'Resources, capabilities and instruments” graph, Hill also counts propaganda as a soft power of persuasion. However, if the Soviet Union practiced a great deal of propaganda in the past, today's Russian propaganda is more subtle. Maybe is it simply present in the media favourable to Putin we wrote earlier about. However, the great flaw of propaganda when it comes to foreign policy implantation is that it seldom influence other nations, it usually only affects the country which began it. The one interest there is, though, is that it may facilitate collective diplomacy by making the peoples see their national interests in a way that suits the diplomats.
2. A Use Of Deference By Force Of Circumstances
The presence of numerous Russian minorities out of Russia's borders, and the important role that Russia played in the Empire and in the Soviet Union give to Russia a 'moral' position: it can be considered as a 'measure' with which to compare for other former communist states. Thanks to this, Russia also practices the softest form of power which is culture.
To conclude, we may write that we have found out that Success in FP can be defined through control gained over other states, them serving our national interest. Through the study of the case of the implementation of Russian foreign policies, we have been able to see that Hill's table work satisfactorily. And his division of a state's foreign policy development into resources, capabilities and instruments seem to work. Hill's works prove that it is necessary for a state to be prepared to use hard as well as soft power, if it wants its' foreign policy to be implemented, and thus to be respected on the international level. As a result, the implementation of a foreign policy such as Russia's requires tools hard and soft, military diplomatic, economic and cultural.