‚ÄčHow has foreign policy shaped national interest?

National interest is "Things of benefit to nation: actions, circumstances and decisions regarding or benefiting a particular nation." (MSN Dictionary) Foreign policy and national interest can be recognized as a complicated web. They are both factors in shaping one another in all forms of government. Some characteristics of national interest that are often affected by foreign policy include: economic prosperity, security and safety, and beliefs and values. In the case of the Vietnam war the foreign policy was to prevent the spread of communism in Asia, but over time the national interest of American citizens changed. Most decided that the US had no right to interfere with the issues in Vietnam, that too many Americans were losing their lives, and that Vietnam was being physically and economically damaged.

Foreign Policy and Contending National Interests in Peru

In 2007, the Peruvian Government auctioned off land of the Amazon Rain forest to foreign owned oil companies. The Government did this in hopes that it would increase the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which was $6600 per person in 2006. The oil exploration and extraction did in fact increase the GDP. Unfortunately some of this land was claimed by Masheo Piro people. These people are indigenous to the region and very few people have had contact with them. This is because they did not want contact with the outside world. A law in Peru states that indigenous land must be kept for their use if they live in that region. However, this law was put aside because the land was being used in a way that contributed to national interest. In September of 2007 the Peruvian government signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights to Indigenous Peoples, which allowed them the right to territories, resources that were traditionally owned, occupied and used and also to develop and control them.

This can case can be compared to the case of the First Nations in Canada. The Canadian government has put aside reserves in all provinces for them to live on and continue living in their traditional ways. Although the government still has some control over this land, it has given the Aboriginal people of Canada freedom to keep their ways of life.





Debate Over Afghanistan


The fighting in Afghanistan gave Canada and its NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies the idea of trying to create a democratic, self-sufficient society for Afghanistan. They wanted to help them rebuild their economy, political process, medical facilities, armed forces and police forces. But the Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters made this very difficult for them. They used guerrilla tactics (irregular warfare and combat in which a small group and combatants use mobile military tactics in the form of ambushes or raids to combat a larger less mobile formal army)( - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_warfare )to disrupt the Afghan people and to battle NATO.

In mis March 2008, 81 of our Canadian soldiers and 1 diplomat had been killed in Afghanistan. Because of the continuing conflict in Afghanistan, a debate in Canada has been created about whether we should bring our soldiers home or keep them fighting.

An organization called Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (Calgary based organization) suggested that the debate revolved around the following issues: Validity of Canada's mission, financial cost of the mission, combat role of Canadian forces, threat to the lives of Canadian forces, relationship with the other forces operating Afghanistan, and length of the mission. The organization was created to help the women and girls of Afghanistan have hope for a brighter future and equal rights. http://www.cw4wafghan.ca/

Our NDP leader Jack Layton believes that Canada should bring out troops back. He says " not the right mission for Canada", " Canadians want a foreign policy rooted in fact, not fear, one that is uniquely independent, not ideologically imported. And one that leads the world into peace, not one that follows the U.S into war". While Micheal Ignatieff, deputy leader of Federal Liberals disagrees with Jack. He believes "Canadians and NATO are trying to stabilize the country, at the request of the Afghan people". He believes we are doing Afghanistan a favor, and that it is worth the lives of our soldiers. Steven Harper agrees that we must help our allies, the United states. " Canada went into Afghanistan for very real reasons of national security and international security. 9/11 showed us what happens with we abandon our fellow human beings to lives of poverty, brutality, and ignorance."

Do you think we should bring our soldiers back, or leave them fighting in Afghanistan?


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9/11 and Canada in Afghanistan On September 11th 2001, what we call the 9/11 attacks killed 2982 people, 24 being Canadians. People believed that the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan were protecting Osama Bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda members who claimed responsibility for the attacks. As a result, The US and UN agreed to invade Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban and track down Bin Laden.
NATO was organized for this mission in 2001 by the UN, and as a result Canada, US, Britain, and other countries went to Afghanistan under the NATO banner. Because of the war in Iraq, US soldiers in Afghanistan were reassigned which reduced the size of the NATO program in Afghanistan, and because of this Canada and other countries increased their involvement in NATO.
Of course most Canadians opposed to the Iraq invasion, and believed that increasing the number of Canadian Troops in Afghanistan was a way of helping the government solve a difficult problem.
Han Seung-Soo, who was the president of The general assembly felt the 9/11 attacks threatened international peace and security that the US had.


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National Interests and Rights for Woman
When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, girls were not allowed to go to school and woman were not allowed to have careers. Although the new NATO-backed government created a ministry of womans affairs to change this situation, the Taliban resistance was causing concern, and fear. In september 2006, the Womans Ministry, Safia Ama Jan was assassinated and the Taliban took credit for it. Sima Samar was Afghanistans fist minister of womans affairs and did many things which monitor the progress of government agencies and other institutions toward implementing human rights laws. Samar said that "Changing Afghanistan would take time" and "democracy is a progress that doesnt come because you shout at it." You have to deal with the weak points, and you cant have it without the participation of half the population. (woman)
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