The Constants of Dutch Foreign Policy

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Foreign Policy Constants Re-examined

We began this chapter with Voorhoeve's list of three clusters of traditions or tendencies in the foreign policy of the Netherlands: maritime commercialism, neutralist abstentionism, and internation­alist idealism. Together these three themes cover so wide a range of policies that it has been argued that anything the Dutch Foreign Office does can always be construed as evidence of at least one of the three traditions. If one avoids that particular pitfall, however, these tendencies provide a useful frame­work for an analysis of developments in Dutch foreign policy. They can still be detected in the Dutch position in the international arena. If the neutralist attitude has been forsaken, it was already abandoned when the Dutch joined the Atlantic Alliance in 1949, but the abstention from international power politics remained. With the benefit of hindsight we were also able to conclude that it is at least an exaggeration to interpret the somewhat less submissive attitude vis-a-vis the USA in the 1970s as a return to neutralism. The emphasis on internationalist idealism received a new impetus from the domestica­tion of Dutch foreign policy since the 1960s, and was broadened to include the protection of human rights and development cooperation. The only potential change lies in an incipient decline of the Atlantic orientation, but it is more a gradual (even reluctant) adaptation to changing international circumstances (i.e., weakening American interest in Europe, and a renewed momentum of European integration) than a conscious change of course. The Dutch may have too little sense of history to maintain traditions, but they are also too conservative to throw them overboard.

Реферат опубликован: 17/03/2009