Social Issues / Forign Policy
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Autor: anton 10 March 2011
Words: 536 | Pages: 3
Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
Should public opinion play a role in foreign policy? Public opinion is what the common people in a country think about the decisions the government is making. Foreign policy is a set of political goals that outlines how a state will interact with other states and non-state actors. Public opinion stems from and is influenced by the media, what the media reports is what the public believes. Public opinion should be considered in foreign policy decisions because the people are the ones who elect the politicians that make the decisions that shape and change the foreign policy of a country, this of course is only true with democracies. Public opinion should also be considered in foreign policy decisions because the decisions that the government makes could send the country to war and in sending your country to war soldiers die and if the people donâ€™t support the cause that the soldiers are dying for the government shouldnâ€™t keep sending them to die.
Foreign policies are generally designed to help protect a country's national interests, national security, ideological goals, and economic prosperity. Public opinion is influenced by a number of different variables; for example public relations, the political media, and the mass media are all used to influence the opinion of the public. Public relations is the art and science of maintaining communication between a government and its public to build, maintain, and sustain a positive image. The mass media uses a number of different advertising techniques to get there message out and change the minds of the people. A common technique that is used is propaganda; propaganda is a specific type of message aimed directly at influencing the behavior and opinion of the people instead of providing unbiased information to the people. Propaganda is a powerful tool used by the government controlled media to shape public opinion usually to gain support for a war or particular cause.
If you ask a realist the question if public opinion should play a role in foreign policy he would disagree because the publicâ€™s opinion is not always in the best interest of the state. So the realistâ€™s answer for public opinion effect on foreign policy is that governments should come up with foreign policy they want and then lie to the country about it to gain public approval for it. For example during any major war there is always a percentage of the population that donâ€™t support the war and the foreign policy of going to war especially in todayâ€™s world where its not as easy to manipulate the populous using the media. During Vietnam there was a huge outcry to withdraw our troops; also right now there is a large outcry to withdraw our troops from Iraq. Like in the past public opinion has not directly shaped it but has constrained it. So is it right for a government to decide on there foreign policy without taking into consideration what the people think of it and then to lie to the people about what it really is?
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