Analysis of the Impacts and Intricacies of Liberian Foreign Policy and International Relations over the last 75 Years

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       This article evaluates the Successes and Challenges of Liberian Foreign Relations Over the last 75 years, from the regime of ex-president Edward J. Barclay, 1930 to present-the administration of President George M. Weah. It mainly focused on the era of 1930 to current and discussed in detailed its socioeconomic and political impacts on the Liberian society. 


By Josephus Moses Gray[email protected]/  (+231) 880330299


The article categorized all aspects of Liberia’s international relations and foreign policy during each past successive administration of presidents Edwin Barclay, William V.S. Tubman, William R. Tolbert, Samuel K. Doe, Charles Taylor, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and now George M. Weah. Going further, this work discussed how the nation’s foreign policy and international relations have helped to impact national development and the country’s role among the comity of nations and global organizations.  It also describes the considerable economic and political impact, dividends and influence on the domestic fronts and Liberia’s interactions with sovereign states, non-state actors and state actors, respect for global governance, and multilateral organizations.

The Dark Days of Liberia

      Globally, the Liberian state between the epochs of 1989 to 2005 was viewed in the international domain by global players and international actors, and non-state actors as a failed state. During the periods, the repute of the state and its people were tainted internationally while those who were in possession of the nation’s traveling documents, especially passports, were subjected to inhumane treatments at various ports of entrance. The state was portrayed very negatively with various descriptions, for some Liberia was the epicenter of cannibalism, war, failed state, rebel’s paradise, scoundrels, and criminals sanctuary, just to name few. There were increasing calls in the international sphere for the country to be placed under the United Nations Trusteeship, on grounds that Liberians would no longer govern the state and protect their people.

      Other nationals and foreign capitalists with criminal propose, took advantage of the nation’s ugly dark past to perpetrate distasteful acts, as a resulted of theses ugly practices, countesses number of innocent Liberians became victimized, to the extent that some are deceased or sentenced, while others locations still continued to be a mystery.; the country riches were abused by so-called foreign investors, companies and other states while warring factions committed carnage against the population and enriched their elves.  The country was no longer a beacon of hope and was no longer being judged by the world as the pioneer of democracy on the African Continent, despite Liberia being the first to hold a democratic election in Africa on 21 September 1847 when Joseph Jenkins Roberts was elected the first President upon Independence in 1847.

   However, conditions became to change for the better due to foreign intervention especially ECOWAS and the UN mediation, and the role of the former president of the United States of America, George W. Bush. But with Ex-president Johnson-Sirleaf’s extraordinary display of diplomatic modus operandi, unique international relations backed by admired foreign policy, Liberia has since regained its status among the comity of nations, and role in various international bodies.

     Roughly seventy-four years ago, in San Francisco’s “the founding fathers” of the United Nations laid down on the negotiating table the basis of new interstate relations under which a political dialogue and cooperation had come to replace the policy of expansion and “civilized war of all against all”; in an effort to safeguard world peace and create a unique forum of goodwill and unattainable goals. The unification of the society and mankind depend on the maintenance and safeguards of global peace and stability, which are the direct opposite of conflict and war, since peace promotes and helps to unify individual rights and collective rights, and keeps the society integrated and saved, where love and care are shown to inhabitants of the community of a shared future for mankind.

    Kissinger (1994) discloses that in every century there seemed to emerge a country with the power, the will and great influence to shape the entire international system in accordance with its own values. According to Kissinger, France dominated diplomacy in the seventeenth century by introducing a modern approach to international relations.  He explains that the French concept is based on the nation-state, and motivated by its own national interests as an ultimate purpose while the British concept dominated diplomacy.

      According to Kissinger (1994), British dominance was later dismantled by Germany, thus reshaping European diplomacy into a game of power politics. Germany has revolutionized European diplomacy and instituted a foreign policy based on calculations of power and national interests which led to the unification of Germany. But the 20th century saw a new face of American dominance of international relations which greatly influences decisively in global politics. Unlike the United States, no country has been more pragmatic in the day-to-day conduct of its diplomacy, foreign policy, and international relations.

         Kenneth (1979) reiterates that the balance of power theory according to the only distinct theory about international politics to date is the balance of power theory. Balances of power prevail when the international order remains anarchic, and its units (states) wish to survive. The theory makes assumptions about the interests and motives of states, and it explains the constraints that confine all states in the system.

        Perkins (2001) discloses that it is a truism that governments make decisions with regard to foreign policy in the interests of their parent nations. For most nations, their national socioeconomic development policy or equivalent, permits or even fosters a need to maintain.  After several years of rising tensions between the Republic of Liberia and its neighboring states including Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast, insurrection broke out with Liberia being accused of influencing the conflict via several initiatives, this resulting to Liberia’s isolation and slapped with a debilitating sanction by the United Nations and regional organization, ECOWAS.

        Petrič (2013) described  foreign policy as the means in which the state coordinates with other sisterly republics or other states with the view of keeping the government abreast with global events. It is also a strategy of self-interest adopted by the state to protect national interest and respect for its sovereignty which includes independence, rule, power, authority and influence with the much desirable goal in the international system. Foreign policies generally are designed to help protect a country’s national interests, national security, ideological goals, and economic prosperity, and .to achieve a foreign policy, a state must comply with international acceptable norms and standards both written and oral (Petric, 2013).   The term “foreign” depicts the policy as targeting actors beyond the borders of the territorial state. Foreign Policies are designed by the head of government with the aim of achieving complex domestic and international agendas. It usually involves an elaborate series of steps and where domestic politics play an important role (Merraim, 2018 ).

      Positively, Liberia has since transcended from war to peace, and conflict to stability, it has become the country of optimism and prospects, with high expectations that the current economic status of the country will positively change and will translate into the creation of jobs, income, quality education and health care delivery system, and irreversible human-development gains. Hope, however, is not enough in the absence of harmony and showing care and love to one another, particularly exercising patriotism and nationalism.

       Interestingly this unique history of Liberia started in the 60s when the nation produced the Second female President of the United Nations General Assembly, a distinguished and esteemed diplomat, Mrs. Angie Brooks Randall.  Liberia has exceptionally changed the political pages of modern democracies by being the first sovereign state in contemporary history to elect and sworn in office an acclaimed international soccer legend as President of the Republic, while in 2005 Liberia became the first African nation to elect a female president on the continent.

        The foreign policy initiatives of Liberia have seen a major boost as Africa’s first independent country pick up the pieces from war to peace. This sad period in Liberian life also witnessed uncertainty in the Mano River Basin comprising Liberian neighbors: Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Guinea and the African continent in general.  Liberia’s Foreign Policy is firmly rooted in its political ideology of liberalism and democracy while  the guiding principles of Liberia’s foreign policy has been the maintenance of national security and the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, the promotion of peace and harmony based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.

       The fundamental thrust of Liberia’s foreign policy objective before the mid-1960s was predominantly the maintenance of national independence, due to threats posed by the former colonial powers to the Lone Star of freedom and Liberia’s support to the independence movement in Africa. The foreign policy objective, during colonialism, was the independence of African states and devotion to economic, social and political development across the continent.

     Foreign policy takes into consideration emerging events across the globe since foreign policy formulations and implementation takes into consideration the domestic policy of a state because politics deals not only with government or state but also several dynamics that occurring at other state levels.  Let us not forget that foreign policy and domestic policy are both interconnected because foreign policy formulation is originated from the inner of state programs that determine government developmental priories based on budgetary appropriation.

    Liberia’s ties with countries of the world, especially neighboring countries demonstrate the cordial and unique friendship the country attached to governments, regional and continent bodies and members of the international community. Such unique international relations and diplomacy have given rise to the nation’s foreign policy objectives, with the visible dividends including international goodwill, developmental programs, and constructions of multimillion public facilities such as newly constructed RIA terminal and Ministerial complex by the People’s  Republic of China.

       The former government of Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and President Weah’s administration desired credit for the unique displayed of diplomacy. These core issues of international goodwill and development projects are linked to general domestic policy for their pursuit is dependent not only on Liberia’s foreign policy with her neighbors and countries which Liberia maintained its diplomatic ties with, but also Liberia’s internal political stability and security. While there are several challenges, the impacts of Liberia’s foreign policy include restoring of certain basic social services through foreign aid assistance.

       On January 22nd 2018 Liberia was the focus of international attention, not just the focus of global arena, but was captured on the front pages of global leading newspapers and in the headlines of top television and radio stations across the globe when power was peacefully transferred from one democratic leader to another, something that hasn’t been done in Liberia in seven decades of the nation’s past.

The Dynamic of Sirleaf’s Foreign Policy

        In order rebuild the fragmented and dysfunction system, Ex-president Johnson-Sirleaf was seemed as a magic touch in the body politics of Liberia in 2005, one who with the political and economic chemistry to repair the broken system and create prosperity for the poverty-stricken and destitute population of Liberia since she was well seated in politics and fought bad governances in the past. The successes of the nation’s international relations and foreign policy put into motion at an accelerated pace need to be firmly protected and needs a sober reflection on the nation’s ugly and darker past of “April 14, 1979’; “April 12, 1980” coup and “April 6, 1996” Factions Fighting in the country.

             Let us also be reminded of the three major events in the nation’s history were all characterized by violence, mayhem, anarchy, death, and destruction in Monrovia and its environs. The protest came about as a result of the backdrop of a proposed increase in the price of a 100lb bag of rice.  The demonstration drew a massive crowd for the first time in many decades, that Liberians had seized the opportunity to stay national protests against the government-Talbert regime. According to several researchers, the miss information was that rice-the nation’s staple food could be imported and sell for US$9.00 per 100lb bag. Such political rhetoric and sugar-coated statement persuaded many Liberians to buy the sentiments of these “progressive” political leaders. 

    The hostilities of 14 years warfare in the country, from 24th December 1989 to 18th August 2003, in which insurgent groups killed thousands of persons, ruined the various sectors and destroyed billion dollars’ worth properties across the country, have also witnessed 17 years of an uninterrupted peace across country guns have fallen silent since the Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities triggered by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed on 18 August 2003 in Akosombo, Accra Ghana.

      But the 17 years of an uninterrupted peace across the country which has witnessed three successive politically-driven democratic exercises of 2005, 2011 and 2017 General Elections which came about on the back of the assurances and commitment by Liberians to bury their differences and demonstrate the will-power in resolving all trials and tribulations in order to protect the years of fragile peace and co-existence in the interest of genuine peace and sustained stability.

        In 2005 the people of Liberia needed a leader who could pass the ball around to the rest of the team mates and keep the spectators in a happy mood, not a meditative disposition, therefore during the 2005 president election, Johnson-Sirleaf was considered a people person who many believed came with the reservoir ideas to fix the stagnated economics, reduce poverty and unemployment in the country, create enormous jobs and provide security for the entire population, ensure  quality educations and unique health delivery system booming in the country.

       To address all of these problems, the Johnson-Sirleaf has to embark on a diplomatic campaign across the global, knocking at the doors of powers states and regional and continental institutions and multilateral organizations, including the world body-the United Nations.

     Few years back, what was termed “the hopeless country or failed state”, during the dark pried of the nation’s history, no longer existed,  Liberia has since transcended from war to peace, and conflict to stability, it has become the country of optimism and prospects, with high expectations that the current economic status of the country will positively change and will translate into the creation of jobs, income, quality education and health care delivery system, and irreversible human-development gains. Hope, however, is not enough in the absence of harmony and showing care and love to one another, particularly exercising patriotism and nationalism.

    Besides, former President  Ellen  Johnson Sirleaf Foreign Policy focus was development diplomacy agenda, aimed at securing  the much  needed  strategic   partnership to  support  Liberia’s post war reconstruction and development pursuits,  thus   setting forth   its   foreign   policy and   domestic agenda constructively.  The importance of Liberia and her African brethren thereof is to inspire and expand the ideas of a free society for all of its people,(  Geeplay , 2011).  President Sirleaf also try to balance Liberia’s foreign policy between the WEST and the EAST.

             However, during her last years in power, her foreign policy direction was more to the EAST (China) and less to the West (the USA).  During here administration, Liberia voted against the USA on the resolution that condemned the US for recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2014), the guiding principles of Liberia’s foreign policy has been the maintenance of national security and the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, the promotion of peace and harmony based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, and the unity of purpose in the international community. Liberia’s Foreign Policy as referred to in the preface to this report is firmly rooted in its political ideology of liberalism and democracy.

      The economic thrust that Liberia experienced during the pre-war period was interrupted by socio-political upheavals culminating in an armed conflict reducing Liberia to a failed and State. But with the end of this dismal period and the ascension of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to the leadership of Africa’s first Republic in 2006, Liberia’s stature and standing in the comity of nations have immensely improved.  According to the Ministry’s annual report, this new status has been made possible due primarily to a radical change in the country’s foreign policy orientation adopted by the first democratically Female President on the African Continent.

          Foreign Ministry (2010) reports that the pillars of President Sirleaf’s new foreign policy orientation consist of a firm recommitment to the principles and ideals of the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and the Mano River Union (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Annual Report, 2010, p. 4).  Accordingly, Liberia reaffirmed her absolute adherence to the rules of international law, the principles of peaceful coexistence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, respect for the sovereign and equality of all States.

         The central objective of this new foreign policy orientation is to secure the national interests through the forging and maintenance of closer and stronger ties of friendship and economic partnership with traditional allies and friends, as well as the opening of new avenues of engagement and mutual solidarity with other States.

      Karpeh (2009) noted that the national interests are being served through the implementation of Government’s Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Program (IPRSP). Essentially, the IPRSP is anchored on four basic pillars; namely, security sector reform; economic revitalization; the rehabilitation of the infrastructure, the restoration of social services; and the pursuit of good governance and the rule of law. Crucial to the successful realization of these reconstructions, development and renewal agenda is the acquisition of a good and appreciable international participation and inputs to supplement domestic resources for sustainable peace building and socioeconomic renewal.

        Liberia’s ties with countries of the world, especially neighboring countries demonstrate the cordial and unique friendship the country attached to governments, regional and continent bodies and members of the international community. Such a unique international relations and diplomacy have given rise to the nation’s foreign policy objectives, with the visible dividends including international goodwill, developmental programs, and constructions of multi million public facilities such as newly constructed RIA terminal and Ministerial complex by the People’s  Republic of China.

       The former government of Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and President Weah’s administration desired credit for the unique displayed of diplomacy. These core issues of international goodwill and development projects are linked to general domestic policy for their pursuit is dependent not only on Liberia’s foreign policy with her neighbors and countries which Liberia maintained its diplomatic ties with, but also Liberia’s internal political stability and security. While there are several challenges, the impacts of Liberia’s foreign policy include restoring of certain basic social services through the foreign aid assistance.

      Just like his predecessor, Johnson-Sirleaf, the Weah administration has inherited a task of removing a greater number of poverty-stricken Liberians from abject poverty, provide electricity and safe-drinking water to the greater population, ensure paved roads across the country, create jobs and quality education and affordable health care, among other pressing necessities.

       The Weah’s foreign relations has witnessed some dividends including the protection of nation’s image abroad that one can present Liberia passport at any port of entry without being discriminating against or harassment, maintains Liberian diplomatic missions abroad and role in international organizations, and the presentations of official letters of credence by foreign states missions accredited near Monrovia.

        Other areas on the domestic front include the ongoing construction of the famous 14 Military Hospital, the Construction of feeder community roads and construction of housing units in Grand Kru County, the continuation of the former regime major projects such a major roads, ministerial complex, the new terminal at RIA, tuition weaver at all public universities and colleges, pavement of WAEC’s fees. Other areas of gains including keeping the country stable, peace and security, rule of law and justice and human rights protection.

       One political area the president can count on is Liberia’s international relations which if effectively carried out, undeniably, will lead to socio-economic growth and an era of a common development across the country since international relations is a strategy of self-interest adopted by a state to protect national interest and respect to its sovereignty including independence, regulation, power, authority, government with the much-needed goal in the international system.   

    Sirleaf’s impact on Liberian foreign relation

       Former President Sirleaf’ presidency has brought the country international respectability, slow but steady economic growth, and the longest period of peace since a military coup in 1980 that put in place dictator Samuel Doe’s corrupt government and eventually devolved into the fratricidal civil wars of 1989-1996 and 1999-2003. Her pitch to voters is simple — her “area” is development: “The construction of roads throughout Monrovia, clinics, schools, and hospitals in this country, that my area (Foreign Ministry, 2012). 

             The situation context of post-conflict Liberia has played a major role in terms of the strategies and tactics the government has employed to advance the country’s domestic and foreign policy objectives. But what is unclear is whether Liberia’s foreign policy is informed by c lear understanding of the complexities or intricacies involved in the international environment of the 21st Century. Of particular importance is that there is no grand strategy. The process of formulating, implementing and evaluating the policy of a grand strategy is beyond the scope of this article. 

        According to Bhatia (2010)., as a  practical matter, it is an effective grand strategy, coupled with a bold, long-term vision, reason and principle that will determine the destiny of peace, security and prosperity in Liberia. Moreover, the vital role of foreign policy leadership will also be crucial in the balancing art or balance of power relations between America and China, which will be paramount for the promotion of global stability in this century. This would also require the consistency and continuity of foreign policy for the foreseeable future. ( Bhatia , 2010)

         In the field of international relations, each country is freed to advance its national interests. Of great significance is the fact that the current Liberian government is pursuing her own interests through an economic and development diplomacy aimed at securing much-needed strategic partnerships in support of Liberia’s post-war reconstruction and development initiatives Foreign Ministry (2009) Annual Report further revealed that while it is too early to predict precisely whether Chinese long-term engagement in Liberia will produce a positive influence, the recent impact of China is highly visible in infrastructure investments and development projects such as building roads, hospitals, schools, agriculture, and timber industry among others.

        China has agreed to rebuild the University of Liberia Fandell Campus, which was destroyed during the civil war. Chinese peacekeepers served in the 15,000-strong United Nations Mission in Liberia. All of these projects create opportunities for the Liberian government to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of a better life for the people. Therefore, the government and people hold positive perceptions and attitudes toward China. However, this belief is based on a false sense of so-called Chinese humanitarian aid and philanthropy Foreign Ministry (2009) Annual Report further revealed that

 President Weah’s Foreign Policy and Its Impact

       In his thrilling inauguration address as 24th President of Liberia, Mr. Weah said: “I am a humble today to be at this stadium that made me, I have spent many years of my life in stadium, but today is a feeling like no other, I strive to be excellent, and I can be successful.”

        The expectations of Weah’s leadership are sky-high among Liberians who believe are positives that the president will deliver on his promises of equality, rule of law, unity and better living standard for the poverty-stricken population. Interestingly, the excitement and enthusiasm that engulfed thousands of Liberians at the Sports Complex in Paynesville and others whose queued for miles to get to the venue signified new dawn in the pages of Liberia. President Weah has risen from the slums of Clara town , outside Monrovia to the nation’s highest office after two unsuccessful attempts in 2005 and 2011 for the presidency.

      The exciting speech was greeted with thousands of Liberians waving flags and dancing through the various streets and communities across the country while others from the homes and entertainment centers followed the historic occasion via radio and televisions transmission. In an astute speech of optimism, President Weah used the remarkable inauguration to set forth his administration foreign policy and domestic agenda constructively as he reached out to friendly countries and Liberia’s international partners especially to Washington, Beijing, European Union, ECOWAS, African Union, United Nations, World Bank International Monetary Fund and Arab League countries, among others.

      From an analysis of the speech, President Weah’s foreign policy to some degree is contrary to that of former president Johnson-Sirleaf regime’s foreign policy. Ex-president Johnson-Sirleaf’s doctrine was focused on poverty reduction strategy, while President Weah’s major doctrine is the people-centered oriented pro-poor. The deviation of the two leaders’ foreign policies is mainly in the areas of implementation, projection and strategic areas of focus.   However, bother leaders foreign policies centered on the cultivation cordial friendly relations with governments, United Nations, Multilateral institutions, regional and continent bodies and members of the global system.

        An analysis of the inaugural address shows that the CDC led-government foreign policy is formulated solely for national interests and its primary and obvious objectives entailed the maintenance of national security and the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, the promotion of peace and harmony based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, and respect for international orders. It also centered on securing the much-needed strategic partnerships with international players.

     It can be recalled that during the occasion, the president reiterated that his administration will build on the gains made by the former regime of Johnson-Sirleaf especially in the areas of free speech and press freedom, stability, and peaceful co-existence but vowed to root out corruption.    President Weah used the profound address to praise his predecessor Johnson-Sirleaf for laying the foundations on which he said Liberians can now stand in peace, stressing that “United, Liberians are certain to succeed as a nation, warning that divided we are certain to fall. 

       The president used the occasion stress the maintenance of closer and stronger ties friendship and economic partnership with traditional allies and friends in the Middle East and revealed that Liberia is going to open of new avenues of engagements and mutual solidarity with other states.

       Interestingly, the speech touched the relations between Liberia and the United States of America and seeks the United States to continue to support in various aspects based on both interests that tied to Liberia and America. The speech recounted Washington support to Liberia, describing the United States as Liberia’s oldest and reliable partner. According to the President, Washington led the international efforts to end the armed conflict in the country.

     President Weah’s foreign policy also reflects Liberia’s relations with the European Union and reiterates his administration desire to continue ties with the EU, attributing his achievements to Europe. He also detailed some assistance the EU has rendered Liberia and continues to render the state; he has committed his administration cardinal ties with the EU.   Still, on foreign policy, the address documented Liberia-China productive and mutually rewarding relations, reflecting on the numerous supports Beijing has rendered Liberia in the areas of general economic cooperation, infrastructure development, agriculture, energy, education, culture and health, and security development.

      With wild applause from millions of Liberians and foreign dignitaries at the stadium, came the much awaited presidential policy on the fight against corruption; saying that his first priorities would be to root out corruption and pay civil servants “a living wage,” and encourage the private sector. He admonished the public to show solidarity for the tasks that lay ahead, saying with the collective determination of all Liberians and God above, his administration succeeded

     Queued for miles to get at the Sports Complex in Paynesville, the crowds singing, dancing and waved the national flag as they enthusiastically waited for the “country giant” president Weah to be sworn in office. Liberia’s international stature and standing among the comity of nations improved immensely from the failed and pariah state situations of the 1990s and early 2000 to a responsible and well-respected member of the International Community. This new status of Liberia ensured particularly during the former era of Johnson-Sirleaf administration.

         The contemporary era in the nation’s history presents a challenge to President George Weah’s administration to put its diplomats to work, as the government seeks international partners as the country emerges from the current economic. That is why those tasked with economic and political activities at the various embassies and diplomatic missions of Liberia must be sharp, cognizant of global prevailing dynamics political and diplomatic issues to drive the desire results back home, and not just sit and wait to be tele-guided .

       While the current administration primarily focused on development diplomacy in the formulation of foreign policy and the practice of international relations, indisputably, economic, trade and commercial diplomacy should be paramount in this era. This requires a strong background of the diplomats from a multidisciplinary perspective since professional diplomacy is an appropriate instrument to perform this synthesis, to the extent that it can use its persuasive techniques in favor of businesses and investments and, simultaneously, prove to be politically and economically profitable to Liberia.

       Liberia would not have received the worldwide benevolence it got during the dark days of Ebola, if not for apt diplomatic initiatives by the Foreign Ministry, and had serious negotiations not taken place sometimes long hours into the night, as perceptively as possible with grinding efforts, employing the tools of diplomacy for national advancement. Diplomacy has brought development to other nations for example as already enumerated and economic and trade values as seen in varied negotiations with bilateral and multilateral bodies, as the Liberian case illustrates, as well as increased economic and commercial activity.

    Karpeh (2011) revealed that Foreign Policy formulations and implementation take into consideration Domestic Policy of a state because politics deals not only with government or state but also with the followings : social, cultural, demography and economic interactions that occur at other states levels. Foreign Policy and Domestic Policy are both interconnected because Foreign Policy formulation is originated from the INNER of State Programs.

       Petrič (2013) indicates that international relations the study of relations between political entities such as states, empires, INGOs, NGOs. It is also defined as a discipline that focuses on the study of interactions of actors in international politics. He further added that it’s also the study of  international system including territories, state, or territory state.

         According to other related literatures, international relations focuses on the interaction of the actors in international politics, including states and non-state actors, such as the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and Amnesty International while foreign policy is a set of political goals that seeks to outline how a particular country will interact with other countries of the world.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2008) annual report revealed that the new status has been made possible due primarily to a radical change in the country’s foreign policy orientation adopted by the first democratically elected female president on the African Continent.

         Karpeh (2009) indicated that the phenomenal patent that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s era expanded speedily considering that Liberia established diplomatic relations with twenty-four other countries in her regime and was pleased to welcome many very important dignitaries including world leaders and representatives of states and multilateral organizations and institutions across the globe.

Liberia’s Foreign Under president Edward Barclay

       Edwin Barclay served as foreign minister and secretary of state of Liberia in the government of Charles D.B. King from 1920 until 1930. He became President of Liberia in 1930 when President King and Vice President Allen Yancy resigned because of a scandal. He was elected in his own right for the first time in 1931. Under his administration, Barclay ‘s foreign policy was geared towards opening up the Liberian economy to foreign investors.  He tried to repeal the “famous Port of Entry Law of 1864 that restricted the economic activities of foreigners in the country.  Subsequently, in the early 1930s concession   agreements were signed between the Liberian Government and Dutch, Danish, German and Polish investors (Karpeh, 2008).

      President Barclay was credited with helping the country survive some of Liberia’s greatest threats to its sovereignty. These included threats by the League of Nations led by Germany, the United Kingdom and , the United States to recolonize the country unless reforms were made; aggressive actions by France; and a “coup attempt” by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company for the non-payment of debt. 

           Guanua (1995) has indicated that in 1926, the Liberian government had granted a major rubber concession to the Firestone Tire and Rubber company and undertook to borrow $5 million from a Firestone subsidiary. The Great Depression of the 1930s brought Liberia to the verge of bankruptcy. As the global economy collapsed, so too did the price of all commodities, including rubber. By 1932, rubber prices had fallen to a low of 3¢ a pound. Although the trees planted by the Firestone Company in 1926 and 1927 were reaching tapping age, the market price of rubber would cover only a small fraction of the cost of tapping, processing and ,transportation to market. Firestone did not bother to harvest and produce the rubber. Without this revenue, government revenues fell steadily to a low of $321,000 in 1933.

        By 1931, it became apparent to the Liberian administration that the revenue shortfall made continue to make loan repayments impossible. The government asked the lending bank and Firestone for forbearance on the loan payments but to no avail. Harvey Firestone attempted to persuade the United States government to employ “gunboat diplomacy” to compel compliance with the loan agreement (Karpeh, 2008, p 111) .. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt refused to interfere in Liberia’s internal affairs, writing in a memorandum to the State Department that, “At all times we should remember that (Harvey) Firestone went to Liberia at his own financial risk, and it is not the business of the State Department to pull his financial chestnut out of the fire except as a friend of the Liberian people.”

       According to Karpeh, in 1932, the Liberian Legislature passed the Moratorium Act, suspending the the p ayment of the Firestone loan until terms could be negotiated that were more in line with Liberia’s ability to pay. The US suspended diplomatic relations but did not take further action. When Barclay appealed to the League of Nations for help, the Council of the League of Nations established a commission of inquiry.

      The report of the commission recommended providing financial aid to Liberia with certain conditions that reflected concerns that the government of Liberia would not be able to pay a renegotiated loan without some level of monitoring. Some European powers in the League of Nations had advocated a mandate status for Liberia, a move which would have abrogated the independence of the Republic.

        President Barclay and other members of his cabinet objected to the proposed conditions on the grounds that they would infringe upon the sovereignty of Liberia. For example, one of the conditions would have required that the League’s Delegates be placed in key positions within the Liberian government. After Barclay implemented some of the measures that had been proposed by the League of Nations, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt restored diplomatic relations with Liberia in 1934. After three years of negotiation, an agreement was reached along lines suggested by the League.

       Two key League officials were placed in positions to advise the government, but with limitations set forth by the Liberian government. With this assistance program in place, Liberia was able to resume making loan payments (Karpeh, 2008, p 88). In 1937 President Barclay, under pressure from the United States, withdrew the concession agreement with the German investors, who were accused of sympathies with the Nazi regime in their home country. Until January 3, 1944, Barclay was Liberian President, to be succeeded by William Tubman.

         Guanua (1995) noted that after the fall of Malaysia and Singapore to the Japanese during World War II, Liberia became very strategically important as its rubber plantation was the only source of natural latex rubber available to the Allies, apart from plantations in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Among many other uses, natural rubber was needed to build tires for war planes, military jeeps, aircraft guns, and sensitive radar equipment. As a result of the simultaneous sharp increase in demand and a  da rastic reduction in supply, prices soared for natural rubber in the United States, and measures were taken to reduce demand.

       Writing in his memoirs, former U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull wrote, “With Japan’s occupation of the Rubber producing areas in the Far East, Liberia became of greatly increased importance to us as one of the few remaining available sources of natural rubber.”. President Barclay assured the Americans that Liberia would supply all the natural rubber that the United States and its allies needed for the war effort.

      In 1942 Liberia signed a Defense Pact with the United States. This commenced a period of strategic development, including the construction of roads, airports and other infrastructure projects. Roberts field Airport was built with runways long enough for B-47 Stratojet bombers to land for refueling, giving Liberia the longest runway in Africa to this day (Guanua, 1980).

The provision of war supplies to the North African theater was difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. German U-boats had taken complete control of the North Atlantic Ocean routes, making shipping in the North Atlantic Ocean hazardous to American warships and merchant’s vessels. In order to transport American soldiers and war supplies to North Africa, the United States needed to open up a South American-Liberian air corridor.

          Because of its proximity to South America, Liberia became the first major West African bridgehead for the South Atlantic air ferry route. For this reason, the Liberian Government also granted to the United States, the use of its territory to store war supplies and to construct military bases in Montserrado County and Grand Cape Mount County at Fisherman’s Lake. United States military supplies were collected in Florida, transported through South America to Brazil, then flown from Brazil to the military depot at Roberts Field. There 5,000 United States African-American troops stored and maintained the inventory. From Roberts Field, the war supplies were flown to their final destinations in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

          Guanua (1980) added that Liberia’s strategic importance to the Allied war effort was evidenced by the fact that, in January 1943, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled to Liberia after participating in the Casablanca Conference in order to secure Liberia’s support. Roosevelt’s objectives were to negotiate the establishment of U.S. military bases in Liberia, secure Liberia’s commitment to continue supplying the U.S. with natural rubber, urge the Liberian government to expel German citizens and persuade it to abandon its neutrality and declare war on the Axis powers. In May 1943, Edwin Barclay visited the United States. He was the first black man to be officially introduced from the rostrum of the United States Congress as a guest of honor (Foreign Ministry, 2010). 

Liberian Foreign policy under President Tubman

   Karpeh (2009) explains that under President William V. S. Tubman administration, Liberia foreign policy was geared towards attracting foreign investment into the country with the goal of modernizing the economy and infrastructure.  He introduced the Open Door policy which    allowed more multinational cooperation to come in and invest in the country.  Liberian  Policy   is   committed   to the concept   of   a free enterprise   system ,  democracy and   a pragmatic   search for   solution   to problems of multinational existence, completely pro-West.

       President Tubman also led a policy of national unification in order to reduce   the social   and   political   difference   between his fellows Americo- Liberian and the indigenous  Liberians.  While the United States, its ally, began to base military operations in the country after it entered World War II, Liberia did not declare war on Germany and Japan until January 27, 1944.  In April 1944, Liberia signed the Declaration by United Nations. Choosing to sever diplomatic relations with Germany and expel German citizens from Liberia was a difficult decision for Tubman for economic and social reasons: (1) German merchants were integral to the Liberian economy; (2) Germany was Liberia’s major trading partner; and (3), most of the doctors in Liberia were Germans. Under the above declaration, Tubman agreed to expel all German residents and oppose the Axis powers.

      Karpeh (2009) indicates that Tubman’s relationship with the US, which he hailed as “Our strongest, closest, and most reliable friend.” In June 1944, he and Edwin Barclay of Liberia traveled to the White House as guests of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first African heads of state to be received there.  Following the war, which resulted in an anti-colonial movement on the African continent, Tubman strengthened ties among fellow Africans by participating in the Asian-African Conference of 1955 and the First Conference of Independent African States in Accra, organized in 1958 by Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana In 1959, Tubman organized the Second Conference of African States.

       Liberian policy is committed to the concept of a free enterprise system, democracy, and a pragmatic search for solutions to problems of multinational existence. We envisage a synthesis composed of individual states retaining their own way of life, but united by mutual exchanges of peoples, goods and ideas, by pacts of non-aggression, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, and of perpetual peace. In 1961, following a Pan-African conference held in Monrovia, Tubman helped to found the Organization of African Unity now African Union (AU)(OAU), which African Union (AU). This association of “moderate” African leaders worked for gathering dual unification of Africa, unlike the “revolutionary” group based at Casablanca.

           When Tubman was appointed to the Supreme Court in the 1930s, Liberia was seriously underdeveloped, lacking the basic infrastructure of roads, railways, and sanitation systems.  Tubman said that Liberia had never received the “benefits of colonization,” which he meant to be the investment by a wealthy major power to develop the infrastructure of the country.  He established an economic policy, known as the “open door” to attract foreign investment(Foreign Ministry, 2010).  Working to facilitate and encourage foreign businesses to locate in Liberia, he encouraged development. Between 1944 and 1970, the value of foreign investments, mainly from the United States, increased by 200%. From 1950 to 1960, Liberia experienced an average annual growth of 11.5%.

          With the expansion of the economy, Tubman gained revenues for the government to construct and modernize infrastructure: the streets of Monrovia were paved, a public sanitation system was installed, hospitals were built, and a literacy program was launched in 1948. During Tubman’s administration, several thousand kilometers of roads were built, as was a railway line to connect the iron mines to the coast for the transport of this commodity for export. During this period, he transformed the Port of Monrovia into a free port to encourage trade . By early 1960, Liberia began to enjoy its first era of prosperity, ignited in part by Tubman’s policies and implementation of development.  Regarded as a pro-Western, stabilizing influence in West Africa at a period when other countries were achieving independence, often amid violence, during the 1960s Tubman was courted by many Western politicians, notably U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson(Foreign Ministry, 2010). 

       Several Americo-Liberian nationalities, German and Swedish companies became involved in the exploitation of iron mines, making Liberia the first source of iron in Africa and the fourth worldwide. Tubman wanted to diversify the economy rather than basing it on rubber and iron resources which made 90% of exports, so he encouraged the development of coffee plantations, palm oil, sugar cane and especially rice cultivation in 1966 with the help of Taiwan.

        Tubman is best known for his policies of National Unification and the economic Open Door. He tried to reconcile the interests of the native tribes with those of the Americo-Liberian elite, and increased foreign investment in Liberia to stimulate economic growth. During the 1950s, Liberia had the second-highest rate of economic growth in the world. By the time of his death in 1971 Liberia had the largest mercantile fleet in the world, the world’s largest rubber industry was the third-largest exporter of iron ore in the world  and had attracted more than US$1 billion in foreign investment.

Liberian foreign policy under President Tolbert

      Dunn (1995) revealed that former President William R. Tolbert tried to broaden Liberia foreign Policy by establishing ties with the East and maintain its ties with the West.  To this  end,  he  established  diplomatic  relations with the Soviet Union, People’s  Republic  of  China,  Cuba,  and several other  Eastern Bloc  countries,  thus  adopting   more  nonaligned posture.  Tolbert  severed  Liberia’s   ties with Israel  during  the Yoin   Kippur  war  in October 1973 and spoke  in favor   of  recognizing  national  rights   of the Palestinian People.  However, Tolbert supported the United States on the Vietnam  war,  as his  predecessor, William Tubman. Tolbert was chairman of the Organization of African Unity from July 1979 until he was killed in April 1980.

       According to Dunn, throughout the seventies, the world price of rubber was depressed, putting pressure on the Liberian economy. Tolbert brought a new approach to the Liberian government’s relations with foreign companies. Companies such as Firestone, which had operated for years without being audited by the government, were audited, and forced to pay millions of dollars in back taxes. Old concession agreements were renegotiated, and new concession agreements were negotiated with an emphasis on accountability of the private sector to the Liberian government.

      In May 1975, Liberia became a signatory to the treaty that established the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in order to create a common market in West Africa and promote regional economic integration and stability in 15 West African countries, with the intention that it would mirror the success of the European Common Market (now the EU) .B y the late 1970s, Tolbert became increasingly open to overtures of economic assistance from Libya and Cuba. The Libyans were on the verge of starting work on a low-cost housing project in Monrovia when the project was halted by the 1980 coup d’état.

President Samuel K. Doe’s Regime

       Former President Samuel K.  Doe opened   Liberian ports to Canadian, Chinese and European ships.  This brought  in considerable foreign  investment   from   foreign   shipping   firms   and   earned Liberia  a reputable  as   a Tax haven.  During  the first year in office,   Doe  openly  supported   US Cold  war   foreign policy in Africa during the spread of  Soviet   influence  in Africa . as  part  of the expanding  relationship . President Doe   agreed to a modification of the mutual  defense   Pact, granting  staging   right   on   24 hour   notice  at   Liberia’s  sea and Air ports for the US Deployment force,  which  were established to respond  swiftly   to security threats  around  the world (Foreign Ministry, 2006)). 

      The U.S. government also is pushing the 34-year-old president. Washington has had a special relationship with Liberia since the west African country was founded in 1847 by freed American slaves. According to Harden ( 1986), in Doe’s first five years in power, U.S. assistance to Liberia increased six-fold, reaching $86 million for last year. Over the period, this nation of about 2 million people received more aid per capita than any other in sub-Saharan Africa.

      A large reason for the American generosity was Washington’s stated desire to smooth Liberia’s transition from military to elective government. American diplomats here were surprised and angered when Doe, after leading them to believe he would return to his barracks, decided to run for Liberia’s civilian presidency (Harden , 1986). The speech acknowledged that Doe’s government routinely had spent money without accounting for where it went, and that his ministries had subsidized their profligacy by dipping into the earnings of public corporations. He asked the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Community to send money managers to Liberia to supervise tax collection and government spending.

      Widespread election irregularities last October — including the discovery of thousands of burned ballots and arbitrary changes in vote-counting procedures that Doe himself had approved before the election — further sullied Doe’s image in Washington. Congress demanded, in a nonbinding resolution, suspension of military aid to Liberia. Chester A. Crocker, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, acknowledged that “serious questions” remained about the election count.

      Harden ( 1986) in his Washington Post article revealed that  the Reagan administration, while reducing military and economic aid requests for Liberia this year, has refused to give up on Doe. Instead, according to informed sources here, it has pressed for fiscal responsibility. His transformation followed two high-level visits by U.S. officials, one of whom was Crocker(Harden , 1986).

      Analysts close to the government say Doe was told to get his economic house in order, replace corrupt subordinates, sell off unprofitable state enterprises, call in outside economic advice, release political prisoners and tolerate political opposition or face loss of U.S. economic aid. Without the U.S. money, analysts say that Doe’s government faces the loss of what little foreign investment remains. Liberia in the past two years has become one of the “basket case” economies of Africa. Interest on its $1.2 billion foreign debt exceeds annual government revenues.

Liberian foreign policy under President Taylor

     Cahilla (2008) narrates that during Charles Taylor’s presidency, Taylor maintained diplomatic ties with the Western world; but also the People’s Republic of China (Taiwan), which was against the One China Policy.  He also forged diplomatic ties with Libya and Cuba.  However, during the Taylor era, Liberia was faced with internal war, which impacted on he neighboring countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and cote d’Ivoire, in terms of war and displacement of a large number of Liberian citizens. 

        During the Liberian Civil War, the United States cut direct financial and military aid to the Liberian government, withdrew Peace Corps operations, imposed a travel ban on senior Liberian Government officials, and frequently criticized Charles Taylor’s government. The People ’s Republic of China (PRC): the PRC broke off relations with Liberia on October 10, 1989 in response to Liberia’s recognition of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (Foreign Ministry, 2006)) . Taiwan had offered $200 million in aid to Liberia for education and infrastructure in exchange for this recognition. The PRC reestablished relations with Liberia on August 10, 1993 and opened an embassy in Monrovia, making Liberia one of the few nations with established diplomatic ties to both the PRC and ROC.[  In 1997, Charles Taylor’s government proclaimed to recognize “two Chinas” and the PRC subsequently severed diplomatic relations.

       Down to ‘diplomacy’ which is the core focus of this article, diplomacy is an essentially political activity and, well resourced and skillful, a major ingredient of power. In order world, Diplomacy is not merely what professional diplomatic agents do. It is carried out by other officials and by private persons under the direction of officials. As we shall see, it is also carried out through many different channels besides the traditional resident mission. Together with the balance of power, which it both reflects and reinforces, diplomacy is the most important institution of our society of states (Foreign Ministry, 2012).

     As already noted, diplomacy is an important means by which states pursue their foreign policies, and these policies are still framed in significant degree in many states in a ministry of foreign affairs. Such ministries also have the major responsibility for a state‘s diplomats serving abroad and for dealing with foreign diplomats at home. It is for his reason that this extensive research begins with a detailed examination of the origins and the current position of the ministry of foreign affairs and a critical outlook of diplomacy and its role in the new world order.

    Liberia-USA Friendship

       Liberia has taken the first steps toward stability. Largely through our efforts, the killing of innocent civilians has been substantially reduced, and assistance is starting to reach those in need. In my testimony today I will highlight the next steps to expand these gains. But first I would like to discuss briefly the history of Liberia and its unique relationship with the United States. Liberia and the United States have deep and longstanding ties. This land on the coast of West Africa was founded at the initiative of Presidents James Monroe and Andrew Jackson, as well as Daniel Webster, Francis Scott Key, Henry Clay, and George Washington’s nephew Bushrod. In 1819, Congress provided $100,000 for the effort.

        In 1847, Liberia became the first independent African republic. Liberians patterned their constitution, flag, attire, place names and architecture on U.S. models. Liberia was a key ally during World War Two, when we used Liberian territory as a re-supply center for the campaign in North Africa. During the Cold War, Liberia served as a relay station for Voice of America broadcasts, for tracking shipping, and for communications surveillance. We also helped create Liberia’s shipping registry. Today five percent of Liberia’s population is descended from freed slaves. The remainder of the population of three million people comes from 16 ethnic groups.

        Descendants of the original American settlers, or “Americo-Liberians,” ruled over the indigenous population until 1980, when Samuel Doe and a group of non commissioned officers overthrew the government. A decade of predatory rule contributed to the conditions for the 1989-1996 civil war, and Doe’s brutal death.

   The new government, led from 1997 until August of this year by Charles Taylor, also terrorized the Liberian people. Rather than work to improve the lives of Liberians, Taylor supported the bloody Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone, fomenting unrest and brutal excesses in the region. Liberia’s new rebel groups, “Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy” and “Movement for Democracy in Liberia”, draw from factions that fought against Taylor in the early 1990s, and on support from neighboring countries that Taylor’s forces attacked using arms purchased through the trade in Sierra Leone’s conflict diamonds.

         During the summer’s fight for Monrovia, the capital, Ambassador Blaney and our Embassy staff kept our flag flying and refused to abandon their post, courageously enduring shelling and automatic weapons fire. They offered a ray of hope for war-weary Liberians by not abandoning them to the combatants. Meanwhile, in support of the International Contact Group on Liberia, we facilitated negotiation of a comprehensive peace agreement.

        Former President Bush insisted that Charles Taylor step down and leave Liberia. The presence of U.S. troops and our financial commitments were critical to the success of our diplomacy, and the United States will continue to participate in efforts to bring peace to Liberia. Now that Monrovia is calmer, addressing the humanitarian crisis is the first order of business. Of particular concern is the protection of 500,000 Internally Displaced Persons, 280,000 Liberian refugees in neighboring countries and 50,000 Sierra Leonean and Ivoirian refugees within Liberia, many of whom have fled their homes more than once.

       The United States has played a significant role in mitigating the humanitarian crisis in Liberia. The US government through USAID has spent millions of dollars on Liberia’s recovery program and in other areas of interventions. Overall, the U.S. Government has provided closed to billion in foreign aid and other assistance to Liberia (Foreign Ministry, 2011 annual report). Security is key to resolving the humanitarian crisis, and preparing the way for the political transition. In this r espect the Economic Community of West African States – ECOWAS, led by Nigeria and seven other regional countries, is meeting the challenge. The United States provides critical support to the 3,600 ECOMIL peacekeeping troops, without which the intervention forces never would have deployed to Liberia.

       For instance, Foreign Ministry annual report states that relations between Liberia and the United States continue to be cordial and rewarding.  The U.S. Government’s support to Liberia has been crucial in revitalizing the struggling economy, strengthen good governance and the rule of law, rehabilitate infrastructure, and enhance national security and the delivery of basic social services in the priority areas. As Liberia’s oldest and consistent partner, the United States also led the international efforts to end the armed conflict in Liberia through its financial support for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the training of the military and security personnel of the country.

       As a consequence, Liberia is now recovered from its bitter past and entering into an era of economic and social renewal; a transition, which has been greatly aided by the support from the United States Government, the American Congress and the American people.  As a further manifestation of U.S. commitment to Liberia’s reconstruction, America has provided foreign aid assistance, grant and debt.

      The U.S. confirms Liberia’s position as a very strong ally of the United States and championed very strong support of the United States to Liberia’s national development agenda. But Liberia would not have received the worldwide benevolence, if not for apt diplomatic initiatives by the former and current presidents, and had serious negotiations not taken place sometimes long hours into the night, as astutely as possible with grinding efforts, employing the tools of diplomacy for national advancement.

   Liberia’s Relations with European Countries

     Foreign Ministry (2014) detailed that Liberia’s relations with European Missions near this capital remain cordial and harmonious. Liberia continues to receive Humanitarian as well as Economic Assistance from European partners in progress, notably, Germany, Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain including Turkey. The report also said Liberia also received debt reductions or total debt waivers from Germany, Britain, Demark, Spain, and Italy as a result of President Sirleaf’s visits to those countries. There is hope that more European countries would follow suit in the debt relief regime, as modalities are worked out. Liberia has also received pledges of assistance from European Partners towards the Poverty Reduction Strategy.

     With the return of peace and stability in the country, European envoys from their various embassies in the Sub-region continue to converge on the Liberian Capital to present Letters of Credence to the Liberian President (Foreign Ministry, 2012).  However, only Germany and France have re-opened their Embassies near Monrovia since the end of the Civil Conflict in 2003. Spain and Switzerland have established consulates in Monrovia, and others continue to maintain Honorary Consuls or Administrators.

Liberia-China relations  

    Foreign Ministry (2012) Liberia-China relations have been productive, eventful, and mutually rewarding. Liberia is particularly interested in broadening this partnership, especially in areas of general economic cooperation, infrastructure development, agriculture, energy, education, culture, health and security.  China continued to support the development needs of Liberia by providing economic assistance to projects agreed by both sides.  Chailla (2008) has explained that a close-up examination of Liberia-China relations reveals a different but more realistic image based on a foreign policy perspective. The rapid growing Chinese presence in Liberia has much more to do with China exerting a unique combination of geopolitics, diplomacy, national security and business interests rather than humanitarian aid and philanthropy Foreign Ministry (2009) added that over the past three or more decades, various Liberian governments have been aligned with either mainland China or the Taiwan Strait. President William R. Tolbert had established one China policy.

        According to Chailla, President Samuel K. Doe continued close relations with China. Doe recognized the relevance of such strategic partnership and seized the opportunity for the implementation of the Tolbert doctrine by using the Chinese government to build the SKD Sports Stadium in Monrovia. President Charles Taylor switched ties to Taiwan.

       According to Karpeh (2009), Taylor too realized that Taiwan could help by renovating a section of the John F. Kennedy Hospital. Charles Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, went back to China. Edwin Snowe, former speaker of the Liberian Legislature, who was loyal to the Taylor regime, met secretly with the Taiwanese government officials in the Gambia. This caused a forceful storm of disapprovals and negative reactions because many Liberians at home and abroad felt that his unilateral action undermined Liberia’s foreign policy.

     In February 2007, President Hu Jintao of China cancelled Liberia’s debt of 15 million dollars during a state visit. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf reciprocated in-kind by signing a joint agreement reaffirming Liberia’s commitment to the one China policy. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the one  China policy has been that Liberia supports China’s national reunification, while Liberia will not support Taiwan on major foreign policy issues such as declaration of independence and the proposed referendum of United Nations membership

( Karpeh ,2009).

        China views Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, which means that such events would be considered provocative. China is happy to remain in Liberia as long as Taiwan is out. China sees a small window of opportunity to consolidate its influence and project its power. In principle, the fundamental implication is that China advances its geopolitical and national security interests.

       On the one hand, China is further interested in Liberia to feed its growing need for energy and natural resources. Liberia’s vast natural resources will fuel Chinese economic growth. For example, Chinese companies have been working in the Liberian logging industry, construction, telecommunications sector and are now prospecting for the mining sector (Akokpari, 2005). Moreover, the Liberian government is working hard to secure their mutual economic interests. Today, some Liberian political and economic elites even believe that America and, perhaps, other Western allies cannot force them into deals they don’t want or cannot afford. In their view, China is not only a credible and willing international partner but also a strategic option for Liberia.

      On the other hand, the Liberian market is relatively small in comparison to many African markets. Ordinary Liberians feel that Chinese-made commodities are not durable. Indeed, Liberians believe that Chinese made products for the American market are far better than those made for African markets. Liberian consumers, workers and small businesses are worried about the economy.

         People are specifically concerned about the high costs of living, taxes, food crisis, transportation vis-à-vis gas prices, housing, and education for their children. (Akokpari, 2005).  Meanwhile, Liberians appear to be taking a wait and see attitude at this time. Because of the present severe economic conditions and mass poverty, negative feelings may not be isolated only to Lebanese and Indian business communities. In turn, these foreign business people, who have enjoyed a much longer commercial experience within the economy, are now feeling the squeeze and carefully studying the situation.

          In summary, after successive Liberian governments have danced in a seesaw fashion between China and Taiwan, Liberia has today exerted even more crucial Liberia-China relations Foreign Ministry (2014) Annual Report. China has certainly emerged as a contender in  global economic trend. China is also viewed as a serious threat to the West. America too is clearly concerned. Liberians must heed the lessons learned. History has shown that whenever a rising power, like China, creates fear among its neighbors and other great powers, such as America, that can be a cause of conflict. Consequently, the achievement of a successful foreign policy leadership within the context of the complexities of the 21st Century international environment implies the conscious application of a grand strategy.

        However, while it is too early to predict precisely whether Chinese long-term engagement in Liberia will produce a positive influence, the recent impact of China is highly visible in infrastructure investments and development projects.

      The Chinese government has captured the attention of many African governments and states with Liberia being no exception due primarily to Beijing’s reasonable approaches towards infrastructural development and foreign aid assistance policy in which the Chinese government practices win-win diplomacy. Beijing’s “win-win” diplomatic style has featured greater accommodations with several African countries, but what is the new chapter of friendship subsisting between the two countries-Liberia and China.

      The Chinese government new diplomatic ties with African states and governments present a unique opportunity for Liberia-China new chapter of relations that bordered on south-south cooperation especially in the areas of national Interests, socio-economic growth, and infrastructure development. Whilst other powerful states continue to debate the merits of aid to Liberia, China continues to fill a major gap in several areas of interventions, even though it is too early to predict precisely whether Chinese long-term rendezvous in Liberia will produce a positive influence, the impact of China in the country is highly visible in several developmental areas including roads rehabilitation, constructions of bridges, hospitals, schools, sports stadium, agriculture facilities, and investments projects.

  The Dividends of Liberia’s Foreign Relations

       Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2014), the guiding principles of Liberia’s foreign policy has been the maintenance of national security and the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, the promotion of peace and harmony based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, and the unity of purpose in the international community. Liberia’s Foreign Policy as referred to in the preface to this report, is firmly rooted in its political ideology of liberalism and democracy.

        The economic thrust that Liberia experienced during the pre-war period was interrupted by socio-political upheavals culminating in an armed conflict reducing Liberia to a failed and State. But with the end of this dismal period and the ascension of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to the leadership of Africa’s first Republic in 2006, Liberia’s stature and standing in the comity of nations have immensely improved.  According to the Ministry’s annual report, this new status has been made possible due primarily to a radical change in the country’s foreign policy orientation adopted by the first democratically Female President on the African Continent.

          Foreign Ministry (2010) reports that the pillars of President Sirleaf’s new foreign policy orientation consist of a firm recommitment to the principles and ideals of the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and the Mano River Union (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Annual Report, 2010).  Accordingly, Liberia reaffirmed her absolute adherence to the rules of international law, the principles of peaceful coexistence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, respect for the sovereign and equality of all States. The central objective of this new foreign policy orientation is to secure the national interests through the forging and maintenance of closer and stronger ties of friendship and economic partnership with traditional allies and friends, as well as the opening of new avenues of engagement and mutual solidarity with other States.

        The national interests are being served through the implementation of Government’s Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Program (IPRSP). Essentially, the IPRSP is anchored on four basic pillars; namely, security sector reform; economic revitalization; the rehabilitation of the infrastructure, the restoration of social services; and the pursuit of good governance and the rule of law. Crucial to the successful realization of these reconstructions, development and renewal agenda is the acquisition of a good and appreciable international participation and inputs to supplement domestic resources for sustainable peace building and socio-economic renewal.

Major Intricacies of Liberian Diplomacy

    The numerous challenges confronting Liberian oversea Foreign Service Officers and Diplomatic Missions abroad spread across Africa, Asia, Europe and America. Though it may not be possible to deliberate on peculiar problems of each diplomatic mission and embassies, an attempt is made in general to identify the general problems. These problems include the existence of too many diplomatic missions abroad, which places h eavy financial burden on the scarce resources on such an undeveloped country.

       Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in her State of the Nation address in 2016 revealed that most of Liberia’s embassies and diplomatic missions in the West African sub-region and other parts of Africa are in dilapidated conditions. Besides the Embassies of Liberia in Washington D.C, Abuja and Paris, the rest are in serious disrepair following years of neglect as a result of the civil crisis. 

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009) reports that the inadequacy of the budgetary appropriation for the Ministry due to the limitations of the National Budget remains one of the two most serious constraints while the problems identified include inefficiency of diplomats and lack of proper training and inadequate financial support for diplomats and Embassies of Liberia abroad.

        Another factor responsible for the low productivity of Liberian diplomacy is the serious issue of diplomats negotiating which missions to be assigned, instead of getting posted to counties by those with the appointing powers. It is common for these so-called influential diplomats to lobby for posting to prestigious diplomatic missions in Europe, Asia, America, and multilateral organizations, as greater numbers are not willing to be posted to African missions, especially the underdeveloped ones apparently due to adequate support especially in the face of the nation’s scarce resources.

       The problem of concern is the existence of too many diplomatic missions abroad, which place a heavy financial burden on the scarce resources on Liberia, decisively maintaining more missions not many African states. Studies have shown that Washington, Paris, London or Beijing wouldn’t post diplomats to countries of their choice or where diplomats do not have command over the language of the host state or uninformed diplomats to countries of strategic importance in a particular region or continent. The existence of too many diplomatic missions abroad needs to be well studied and given a second thought to reduce the heavy financial burden on the scarce resources of the President’s administration.

    Diplomacy today takes place among multiple sites of authority, power, and influence;   at its essence is the conduct of relationships, using peaceful means, by and among international actors, at least one of whom is usually governmental. The typical international actors are states and the bulk of diplomacy involves relations between states directly, or between states, international organizations, and other international actors. 

   Foreign Ministry (2012) indicated that the issues of benefits such as education, medical and insurance for a diplomat’s family members with them on mission are not undertaking by the government, diplomats whose have their family (children) persons with them are constraint to find other means to fill the gap; as a result of this pathetic situation, about eight-five of the oversea diplomats family persons are not taking with them on their foreign journey.

        The Foreign Service has been generally underfunded in recent times and has suffered a lot of undeserved neglect to the extent that many of the diplomats and Embassies owe on their rent, and the allowances of their officials were often in arrears (Foreign Service Manual, 2012).”

      One major rationale for Liberia’s establishment of diplomatic relations with other countries of the world was, and still is, the great importance the government attaches to maintaining friendly relations with other independent countries of the world. This is hinged on the belief that diplomacy facilitates communication and regular interaction between the leaders of states and other entities in world politics (Foreign Ministry Annual Report, 2012).

         As such, establishing diplomatic relations with other countries was seen as an important tool for minimizing friction in interstate relations; promoting the security of states; and establishing some form of international order. The subject of negotiation ranges from the drafting of a wide variety of bilateral and multilateral agreements, embodied in treaties, protocols, conventions and other documents of political, economic, technical and social nature ((Palmer and Perkins, 2001).

       According to Karpeh (2009), the rapid expansion of Liberia’s overseas representation may also be regarded as a reflection of Liberia’s global, political and economic interests as defined by Administrative Structure of Liberia’s overseas missions which fall into two broad categories, namely, the diplomatic and consular missions. While the Embassies, Missions and charges d’ Affairs are called diplomatic missions and are located, as a rule, in the capital cities of the host states for the purpose of ensuring proximity to the Heads of State and Foreign Ministers of the Host States.

         Newell (2001) discloses that ‘Livelihood decisions even in the most remote areas of the world are increasingly affected by policies, institutions and processes that take far away’. The policies, institutional structures and processes in any given society have consequences on its members in relation to politics and economic choices. These choices inform their livelihood options and strategies. Liberia came out of more than a decade of civil war and strife and has embarked on a major reconstruction and development path, informed by a strong commitment of donors’ assistance in relation to its socio-economic, political development. But in the face of this huge assistance, Liberia’s foreign policy is marked by problems, which include inadequate budgetary support, corruption, inefficiency and incompetency.

       While one major complaint often heard from many diplomatic missions is that their task of implementing and servicing Liberia’s foreign policy abroad has always been inadequately funded by government. For instance, the existed several missions in the Middle East countries including Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, while Liberia has no diplomatic missions or embassy in South America, Central America, Australia, Scandinavia and Oceania regions.

         In most cases, they are restricted to reside in s studio which contains a single room while the issue of m monthly payment of bills has been problematic due to lack of appropriation in the salary of these officers.  Besides, there is no allocation for b benefit for officers’ children either wife including medical or insurance, as these officers are left to endure on their monthly salary. The lack of appropriate benefit and encouraged salary for Foreign Services Officers are d direct result for the level of productivity at these diplomatic missions.

       In order for these officers to meet up with bills payment, some of them in most instances engaged into corruption practices such as temporary of consular fees generated from the issuances of visas and other importance documents.   While other major problems for these officers assigned to these tasks in most of the diplomatic missions abroad and embassies are unproductive, not innovative and insufficient, but they are given the responsibility (Foreign Service Manual, 2012). This unpleasant situation, according to F foreign Ministry annual report (2014) has been occasioned by inadequate budgetary support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ over the years as a result of budget shortfall or the global economic meltdown. This problem of inadequate funding of foreign missions has been affecting diplomats and their family members as well as the smooth running and effective performance of these missions abroad.

         According to Waltz (2 007) it is expected that states tend to emulate the successful policies of others, and thus balances recurrently keep forming. This is still the reality of the international order, as states continuously compete against each other, in the absence of a central world government. In this reality, the United Nations, and namely its Security Council (SC), was founded in 1945 on the principle theory of balance of power. This was the only way to make international cooperation possible after the devastating two World Wars. The balance is based on the veto-power of the five permanent members of the council (France, The United Kingdom, The United States, China, and S soviet Union).

        Karpeh (2009) has explained that few years back, what was termed “the hopeless country or failed state”, under this current administration is now unquestionably becoming the country of hope and opportunities, with high expectations that strong growth rates will translate into the creation of jobs, income, security and irreversible human-development gains as well as food security with emphasis on decentralized system of quality education. That many of these hopes, as a result of the aggressive foreign policy of the Johnson Sirleaf’s government, actually seems attainable, shows how far the country and its citizenry have reached and made a positive change. Hope, however, is not enough in the absence of massive job creation and the empowerment of the largest sector of the country, particularly the youthful generation.

       Sirleaf (2006) retained that Liberia would no longer be used for insurgency and that the country will strengthen its ties with countries of the world, especially neighboring countries. She also added that her administration would work immensely to change Liberia’s status from a failed state to a nation full of opportunities and respect. This administration was aimed at cultivating the cordial and unique friendly relationships with those governments, regional and continent bodies and members of the international community and, shall endeavor to identify ourselves most intimately with them in making practical the free speech, freedom from fear and would champion equal rights and create jobs and restoring smiles on the faces of the disadvantaged.

     According to the Foreign Affairs annual reports, (MOFA, 2015 the Sirleaf’s administration commitment gave rise to the nation’s foreign policy objectives, with massive dividends including the waiver of all of Liberia’s debts by dozens of countries and international organizations and institutions including the Paris Club.

      Karpeh (2010) publication, explained that President Sirleaf’s commitment has played a major role in the focus of the nation’s foreign policy and international relations and the benefits which include massive debts waivers, international goodwill, developmental programs, and constructions of public facilities across the country. These core issues are linked to general domestic policy for their pursuit is dependent not only on Liberia’s international relations with her neighbors and countries which Liberia maintained its diplomatic ties with, but also Liberia’s internal political stability and security, where there can be law and order, freedom of speech and press and opportunity for all without discrimination or bigotry.

    Guanue  (2012) revealed that in the field of international relations, each country is freed to advance its national interests and of great significance is the fact that the current Liberian Government is pursuing her own interests through an economic and development diplomacy, aimed at securing much-needed strategic partnerships in support of Liberia’s post-war reconstruction and development initiatives, thus setting forth its foreign policy and domestic agenda.

  The primary objective of Liberia’s foreign policy orientation is to secure the national interests through the forging and maintenance of closer and stronger ties of friendship and economic partnership with traditional allies and friends, as well as the opening of new avenues of engagement and mutual solidarity with other states (Foreign Ministry, 2006). The new foreign policy orientation consists of a firm recommitment to the principles and ideals of the United Nations, the African Union, ECOWAS and the Mano River Union, stressing that Liberia reaffirms her absolute adherence to the rules of international law, the principles of peaceful coexistence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, respect for the sovereign and equality of all States (Foreign Ministry, 2006). 

    Liberia’s Foreign Policy is firmly rooted in its political ideology of liberalism and democracy. Generally speaking, the guiding principles of Liberia’s foreign policy has been the maintenance of national security and the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, the promotion of peace and harmony based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, and unity in the international community(Foreign Ministry, 2006). 

         According to the Foreign Ministry, the fundamental thrust of Liberia’s foreign policy objective before the mid-1960s was predominantly the maintenance of national independence, due to threats posed by colonial powers to the Lone Star of freedom and Liberia’s support to independence movements in Africa. The foreign policy objective, with successes of the independence and anti-apartheid struggle was devoted to economic, social and political development.

        This include the rehabilitation  and paved roads in Monrovia and these roads are main streets in all parts of Monrovia and the famous Roberts field – Monrovia highway has been reconditioned while other new roads have been constructed and paved. Also the construction of Belle Yallah Road, the Cotton Tree to Buchanan Road and replacement of the collapsed Vai Town Bridge (Old Bridge), the construction of George Walker Bush Bridge in Barclayville, Grand Kru County are some of the development.  Others are pavement of Red Light to Ganta, Gbarnga and Fish Town to Harper.

         Health Ministry (2015) annual report noted that some of the visible achievements in the area of health include the Telewoyan Hospital in Voinjama,  Lofa County, the Jackson Fiah Doe Referral Hospital in Tappita,  Nimba County and the Japanese-Liberia Friendship Maternity Ward in Monrovia portrayed a boost  including  some of the most advanced medical equipment, while the JFK Medical Center is fast approaching pre-war status in terms of quality service and referral facilities. The A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine in Congo Town has been renovated and facilities expanded while 50-bed room Fish Town Hospital in River Gee County has been completed, doubling health facilities in the country with improved access to health care.

         The development of any nation depends on the necessary educational policy coupled with the trained manpower to achieve any projected development as well as brace pending challenges. No nation can develop in the absence of education. The engineers, architects, political scientists, diplomats, journalists, accountants, economists, educators and all of those who are responsible to building a vibrant society are all products of education.  This is why education remains the highest priority to all Liberian administrations. As a result, over 300 schools have been constructed across the country with 1.3 million students in pre-primary and primary schools (Ministry of Education, 2015 annual report).

         Other areas of impact of Liberia’s foreign policy include the restoring basic social services such as small light, water and waste disposal to Monrovia for the first time in decades while Cross Border West African Power Pool (WAPP) Project has provided electricity to bordering towns, cities and communities in Maryland, Grand Gedeh, and Nimba Counties.

         Before 2006, Liberia was faced with a staggering US$4.9 billion debt, this was more than seven times our national income and almost 20 times what we received as aid from the international community but through the efforts of former administration’s foreign policy formulation and implementation, the country is virtually debt-free . Practically, the nation has won back its reputation, and regained its financial independence (Foreign Ministry, 2006). The nation’s foreign policy continues to play a major role in the focus of the nation’s foreign policy and international relations and the benefits which include massive debts waiver, international goodwill, developmental programs, construction of public facilities across the country and the presence of diplomatic missions in the country catalogued a unique political attitude, essentially directed to a foreign policy affinity with Freedom of Fears’ torch-bearers.

         Liberia has pursuit a foreign policy based on the principles of sovereignty, equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, the cultivation of friendly ties with member states of the international community and the settlement of disputes through dialogue and negotiations. The primary objective of Liberia’s foreign policy orientation is to secure the national interests through the forging and maintenance of closer and stronger ties of friendship and economic partnership with traditional allies and friends, as well as the opening of new avenues of engagement and mutual solidarity with other states (Foreign Ministry, 2006).

       Chapter 20 of the New Executive Law, which created the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, authorizes it as the principle institution of the Government solely responsible for the formation and implementation of the foreign policy of the Government of Liberia under the direction and guidance of the President of Liberia. In this connection, the Ministry initiates actions to promote beneficial intercourse between Liberia and other nations of the international Community, protects the rights and interests of Liberia throughout the World and oversees the conduct of the Liberian Foreign Service Officers. To accomplish its tasks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs operates through two basic machineries , namely the Home or Central Office and the Foreign Service (Foreign Service Manual, 2012).

     The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, established by constitutional provision and reorganized     by a mandatory acts of the National Legislature in 1911, 1945 and 1951, provide administrative support and policy guidance necessary to enable the Secretary to execute the responsibilities placed on him by legislation and the President. The Foreign Service of the Republic of Liberia was established by the National Legislature to represent abroad the interests of the Republic of Liberia under the direction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  This service was reorganized by the Foreign Service Act of February 16, 1951 (Foreign Service Manual, 2012).

         On the global level, let us look at the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Home Office, it is difficult to find a state today that does not have, in addition to a diplomatic service, a ministry dedicated to directing and administering it. This is usually known as the ministry of foreign affairs or, for short, foreign ministry. It is easy to forget that this was not always the case and that the ministry came relatively late onto the scene.

        In fact, as commonly defined, its appearance in Europe post-dated the arrival of the resident diplomatic mission by between two and three centuries. To continue, this subject now begin by looking briefly at the origins and development of the foreign ministry, and then examine its different roles; these include staffing and supporting missions abroad, policy advice and implementation, policy coordination, dealing with foreign diplomats at home, and building domestic support.

       Until the sixteenth century, the individual states of Europe did not concentrate responsibility for foreign policy and the diplomatic machine in one administrative unit but allocated it between different, infant bureaucracies on a geographical basis. Some of these offices were also responsible for certain domestic matters. But this system began to change under the combined pressure of the multiplying international relationships and thickening networks of resident trend increased the possibilities of inconsistency in the formulation and execution of foreign policy.

        Foreign Ministry (2014) Annual report states that relations between Liberia and the United States continue to be cordial and rewarding.  The U.S. Government’s support to Liberia, as a country emerging from conflict, has been crucial in revitalizing the economy, strengthen good governance and the rule of law, rehabilitate infrastructure, enhance national security and the delivery of basic social services in the priority areas such as roads, electricity, health, education and other pro-growth initiatives within the framework of the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).

       As Liberia’s oldest and reliable partner, the United States also led the international efforts to end the armed conflict in Liberia through its financial support for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the training of the military and security personnel of the country. Additionally, the US has committed $400m in bilateral debt relief for Liberia, which removed a tremendous burden on the country’s meager resources.

     As a consequence, Liberia is now recovering from its bitter past and entering into an era of economic and social renewal; a transition, which has been greatly aided by the support from the United States Government, the American Congress and the American people.  As a further manifestation of U.S. commitment to Liberia’s reconstruction, another $80m grant, provided in the Fiscal Year 2008/09 budget of the U.S. Government for USAID funded programs, was signed by the two countries (Foreign Ministry, 2012).

     The Ministry’s annual report further said that in order to give concrete expression to the relationships between our two countries, the former President of the United States of America, George W. Bush, paid a one-day Official Visit to Liberia as part of his African tour on February 2 1 2008.  He was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Laura Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other senior officials of the U.S. Government. Mr. Bush has become the 3rd U.S. President to visit Liberia, after Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt (1943) and Jimmy Carter (1978). The Bush visit took place against the backdrop of the most cordial and friendly relationship that has ever developed between a Liberian leader and an American President (Foreign Ministry, 2012).

      The visit according to the Ministry also afforded both the President of the United States and his Liberian Counterpart, President Johnson Sirleaf, the opportunity to the exchange views on matters of mutual interests, including regional peace and security, bilateral cooperation and international terrorism, while the visit enable President Bush to see the progress that Liberia has made since the incumbency of as President of the Republic of Liberia. President Bush confirms Liberia’s position as a very strong ally of the United States and championed very strong support of the United States to Liberia’s national development agenda under its Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) (Foreign Ministry, 2012).

     Karpeh (2009) added that Liberia would not have received the worldwide benevolence it got during the last 12 years, if not for apt diplomatic initiatives by the Foreign Ministry, and had serious negotiations not taken place sometimes long hours into the night, as perceptively as possible with grinding efforts, employing the tools of diplomacy for national advancement. Diplomacy has brought development to other nations for example as already enumerated and economic and trade values as seen in varied negotiations with bilateral and multilateral bodies, as the Liberian case illustrates, as well as increased economic and commercial activity. The revolutionary changes in the nature of relations between sovereign states and even non-state actors have changed the responsibilities of today’s diplomacy which is basically that of mediation and communication of international issues between countries, international system and the public(Foreign Ministry, 2012). 

      The development of instant communications and the advance of science and technology have increased the depth and scope of diplomacy in this contemporary world of civilization, especially with globalization and the emergence of new and powerful states on the world stage, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, conflict resolution, terrorism and bad governance (Foreign Ministry, 2012).  The necessity for a well-formulated dialogue in a modern world when relative certainties of a bipolar state system have given way to a disorderly, confused multi-polarity is witnessed by the distracted pace of contemporary diplomatic activities.

   Liberia’s Poor Economic Situation

       But considering Liberia’s present poor economic situation, economic diplomacy should be given greater priority in our international relations with powerful states and government since economic diplomacy is now a key factor in the development of contemporary international politics. It is clear that economic and commercial interests, particularly those related to investment, trade, exports, protection, and assistance could be essential aspects of the diplomatic activities of a considerable number of countries.

     The landscape of contemporary diplomacy in terms of practice may have lost some of its image of exceptional ingredients, in the sense that it has to compete and interact with a much wider dynamic of the international system, conduct itself in a more time-sensitive manner, and be applied with a greater technical orientation and  to a far greater extent than in the past, diplomacy is wrapped up with domestic policy-formulation and political demands about governance across an extended spectrum of issue areas.

      The practices have changed from the old practices to a contemporary system; beginning with the advancement of technology and education that makes it imperative to adapt to the many demands evolving from the introduction of an advanced hi-tech communication and continuing transformations of the international system.  The revolutionary changes in the nature of relations between sovereign states and even non-state actors have changed the responsibilities of today’s diplomacy which is basically that of mediation and communication of international issues between countries, international system, and the public.

         Those who are accorded the dedicated task to positively drive president Weah’s regime foreign policy and international relations should understand that diplomacy goes far beyond sparkling red and white wines, champagne, ceremonial dinner and soliciting financial and other hand-outs for personal enrichment. This requires hard work, a strong background, and good negotiation skills as regards emerging contemporary issues, and multidisciplinary perspective since professional diplomacy is an appropriate instrument to perform this synthesis, to the extent that it can use its persuasive techniques in favor of businesses and investments and, simultaneously, prove to be politically and economically profitable to Liberia.

       The noble profession which goes with greater demands is not an end but a means; not a purpose but a method. It seeks, by the use of reason, conciliation and the exchange of interests to prevent major conflicts arising between sovereign states and other civil organizations. Diplomacy goes far beyond sparkling red and white wines, champagne, ceremonial dinner and soliciting financial and other hand-outs for personal enrichment.

    It is an activity which aims to promote the national interest of a country and also a technique for accommodating conflicting interest. But it could also be construed that apart from representing national interests the role of a diplomat includes bringing about compromises to ensure a greater peace in an age when conflict has more dire consequences.

       Diplomacy today takes place among multiple sites of authority, power, and influence;   at its essence is the conduct of relationships, using peaceful means, by and among international actors, at least one of whom is usually governmental. The typical international actors are states and the bulk of diplomacy involves relations between states directly, or between states, international organizations, and other international actors.

       Contemporary diplomacy in terms of practice is carried out through several processes such Shuttle diplomacy, Multilateral Diplomacy,  Public diplomacy, Economics diplomacy, Hi-Tech diplomacy, Conference diplomacy, Instant Media diplomacy and Resident diplomacy which is also called Track  diplomacy;  Track One refers to the standard form of diplomacy involving negotiations between officials of two or more.

      According to a leading twentieth-century figure in the study of international politics, Hans Morgenthau, diplomacy will naturally decline with the onset of modern communication technologies such as the telephone, telegraph, cable and communication satellite.

       Occasionally, telephone diplomacy some time experiences problems due to tech-glitch, on the largest scale hi-tech diplomacy is wildly used by world leaders to get a quick result (Gray, 2014), The Practices of Hi-Tech Diplomacy in an Advanced Technically World). Studies have shown that the Hi-Tech diplomacy is used mainly by world leaders and emissaries to by-passed their ambassadors to put their calls through directly to their counterparts or other high ranking officials of another state to discuss issues. This form of diplomacy, unlike the traditional one, is very effective, it gives instant results.

     Also, technology has rendered the difference in time, space and distance irrelevant and meaningless in contemporary diplomatic intercourse. Besides, the almighty internet with its many sophisticated features including the e-mail segment cannot be denied center-stage in the community of diplomacy (US State Department report 2003).  Another factor is multilateral diplomacy which also brought in its wake new forms of diplomatic activity like public debates, extensive committee work; parliamentary procedures that back in the home country are the provenance of politicians.

     Intranet” systems allow, among other benefits, presents a comprehensive and effective communication between the Foreign Ministry and diplomatic missions in their country. “Instant media” have a significant role in this area, especially the “chats” and social media networks like Face book, Skype and Twitter, which are used both by the foreign ministries and diplomatic missions to disseminate and receive data.

      These forms of diplomacy were very effective during the 2016 US Elections which Republican Party’s J. Donald Trump won over his Democrats challenger, Hillary Clinton, although seventy-five percent of news on the Facebook and internet were fake, misleading or fabrication to the disadvantage of the other party.

     Another effective form of diplomacy is Public diplomacy which has grown in the world and in the age of reality TV which is used to mobilize public support, to sustain momentum in negotiations, or to sabotage negotiations by leaking details of concessions contrary to individual preferences. This practice also includes Conference diplomacy has its antecedents in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 4th century.

        Another area of diplomacy, which has brought great development to other nations is economic and trade diplomacy, as well as economic and commercial diplomacy. Nowadays, economic diplomacy and trade are now being given greater priority; these areas are now the key factors in the development of contemporary international politics.

       In the contemporary world, the issues of economic interests, trade, protection of nationals, and security have become much more difficult, with major challenges affecting the practices of diplomacy being influenced by major actors and powerful states, and some time the continued experiment of global, continental and regional groupings. Other factors such as bad political decisions in domestic politics, economic growth, and technological development, among others have greatly affected the international system.

        In an advanced technological era, diplomats sometimes are merely the messengers of their governments rather than important advisers and policymakers, since technology has brought about psychological warfare and propaganda that has become a powerful weapon to diplomacy and foreign policy. At present, diplomats are engaged in an expanding range of functions, from negotiation, communication, consular, representation, and reporting to observation, merchandise trade, and services promotion, cultural exchange, and public relations. Diplomats restrict their interactions and deal solely with other members of an exclusive club, comprised of governmental officials, fellow diplomats, and, occasionally, members of the business community.

      The practice of diplomacy in the contemporary world as relates the new world order and international relations, the ancient practice of diplomacy has undergoes several transformations to the  new effectual and dynamics ones, moving at a greater speech that requires one to precisely understand foreign politics, culture, trade and commerce, and the intellectual facility and linguistic agility to network and intelligently contribute meaningfully at major gathering where issues are brought forth and discussed.

        In contemporary diplomacy, the issues of economic interests, trade, protection of nationals, and security have become much more difficult, with major challenges affecting the practices of diplomacy being influenced by major actors and powerful states, and some time the continued experiment of global, continental and regional groupings.

        Furthermore, a leader’s willingness to use the telephone has carried communication a step further. In the Persian Gulf crisis of 1991, former President George Bush, Sr., and former President Mikhail Gorbachev conducted an unprecedented 75 minutes telephone conversation including the time needed for translations.

       Also the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu made a telephone call to the former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon dissuading him not to go to Iran, former US secretary of state, Colin Powell conducted an unprecedented about 95 telephone calls under the rubric of diplomacy to his colleagues around the world while former Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan on several occasions took advantage of this modern system of tech-diplomacy. Occasionally, telephone diplomacy some time experiences problems due to tech-glitch.

      According to reports, former Secretary Colin Powell by-passed his ambassador and put a call through directly to the Secretary-General. Study shows that technology has rendered the difference in time, space and distance irrelevant and meaningless in contemporary diplomatic intercourse. And now the almighty internet with its many sophisticated features including the e-mail segment cannot be denied center-stage in the community of diplomacy.

       In the middle Ages, diplomacy was typically engaged in by kings and princes of neighboring states directly at summit level, the practice fell out of favor partly because of the inherent risk to the personal safety and security of the royals, and partly owing to the paucity of results. The ease and speed of international travel, combined with an explosion in the range of issues that diplomacy now covers, is responsible for a proliferation of diplomatic summits with a resulting convergence between foreign policy-makers and the practice of diplomacy.

      A nation’s diplomat required to function as his or her country’s eyes, ears, and voice abroad, must be aware of national interests and values while being able to understand foreign politics and cultures.  At the same time, the skills required of professional diplomats include intelligence, tact, discretion, circumspection, patience, self-control, teamwork, adaptability, creative imagination, the ability to signal and communicate messages precisely to the target audience.

        In certain cases, diplomats also give occasional speeches to members of the community of their host country. It is an admirable profession of integrating, intelligent, honesty, political and edification elegance, free of corrupt and other unwholesome practices especially greed for financial gains.   But, now new issues such as technical matters are coming to the forefront.  Out of this sphere of unfolding developments and uncertainties a diplomat, in this modern era, should obtain the ‘requisite tools’ of education, skills, and a marketable reputation.

     Evidently, diplomat presents his or her government’s policies to the foreign and domestic publics in a persuasive and persuading tone, not a demanding one, as such; a diplomat always represents the interest of the nation but at the same time cannot ignore the public opinion on national and international issues that go beyond defined borders.

       Another factor responsible for the low productivity of African diplomacy is the serious issue of diplomats negotiating which missions to be assigned, instead of getting posted to counties by those with the appointing powers. It is common for these so-called influential diplomats to lobby for posting to prestigious diplomatic missions in Europe, Asia, America, and multilateral organizations, as greater numbers are not willing to be posted to African missions, especially the underdeveloped ones.

      The problem of concern is the existence of too many diplomatic missions abroad, which place a heavy financial burden on the scarce resources of these poor African Countries, decisively maintaining more contacts with non-African states. Studies have shown that Washington, Paris, London or Beijing wouldn’t post diplomats to countries of their choice or where diplomats do not have command over the language of the host state or uninformed diplomats to countries of strategic importance in a particular region or continent.

      Diplomacy serves states in three useful channels of communication including means of negotiating agreements between states, a source of information about what is happening in host states and representing the interest of the sending state.

       A diplomat should be fully aware of work every day to be able to partner with local businesses and companies in the host country to enhance economic growth back home in his country. That is why those tasked with economic activities at embassy must be sharp, cognizant of global prevailing wheeling and dealing; keep check of the financial movers and shakers, be well-schooled and knowledgeable of economic diplomacy which encourages greater cooperation and relations that protect investment and bilateral ties between two states or among companies.

      A nation’s diplomat required to function as his or her country’s eyes, ears, and voice abroad, must be aware of national interests and values while being able to understand foreign politics and cultures. At the same time, the skills required of professional diplomats include intelligence, tact, discretion, circumspection, patience, self-control, teamwork, adaptability, creative imagination, the ability to signal and communicate messages precisely to the target audience.

        In certain cases, diplomats also give occasional speeches to members of the community of their host country. It is an admirable profession of integrating, intelligent, honesty, political and edification elegance, free of corrupt and other unwholesome practices especially greed for financial gains.   But, now new issues such as technical matters are coming to the forefront.  Out of this sphere of unfolding developments and uncertainties a diplomat, in this modern era, should obtain the ‘requisite tools’ of education, skills, and a marketable reputation.

       Diplomacy serves states in three useful channels of communication including means of negotiating agreements between states, a source of information about what is happening in host states and representing the interest of the sending state. Diplomacy has brought development to other nations for example as already enumerated and economic and trade values as seen in varied negotiations with bilateral and multilateral bodies, as the Liberian case illustrates, as well as increased economic and commercial activity. 

       Meanwhile, the diplomat should be fully aware of work every day to be able to partner with local businesses and companies in the host country to enhance economic growth back home in his country. That is why those tasked with economic activities at embassy must be sharp, cognizant of global prevailing wheeling and dealing; keep check of the financial movers and shakers, be well-schooled and knowledgeable of economic diplomacy which encourages greater cooperation and relations that protect investment and bilateral ties between two states or among companies.

       In certain cases, diplomats also give occasional speeches to members of the community of their host country. It is an admirable profession of integrating, intelligent, honesty, political and edification elegance, free of corrupt and other unwholesome practices especially greed for financial gains. But, now new issues such as technical matters are coming to the forefront.

     But let us not forget that the landscape of contemporary diplomacy of Liberia in terms of practice may have lost some of its image of exceptional ingredients, in the sense that it has to compete and interact with a much wider dynamic of the international system, conduct itself in a more time-sensitive manner, and be applied with a greater technical orientation.

       It is clear that economic and commercial interests, particularly those related to investment, exports, protection, and assistance could be essential aspects of the diplomatic activities of a considerable number of countries. The noble profession which goes with greater demands is not an end but a means; not a purpose but a method. It seeks, by the use of reason, conciliation and the exchange of interests to prevent major conflicts arising between sovereign states and other civil organizations.

     In this modern era, diplomacy to a far greater extent than in the past is wrapped up with domestic policy-making and political demands about good governance programs across an extended spectrum of issues of national and international concern. It is clear that economic and commercial interests, particularly those related to investment, exports, protection, and assistance could be essential aspects of the diplomatic activities of a considerable number of countries. The noble profession which goes with greater demands is not an end but a means; not a purpose but a method. It seeks, by the use of reason, conciliation and the exchange of interests to prevent major conflicts arising between sovereign states and other civil organizations.

  The Critical Role of Liberia Oversea Mission

        The role of a Liberian diplomatic mission abroad is to function as the channel of communication between the Liberian Government and that of the host country, to act as the official representative of Liberia in that country, and to promote the interests of Liberia and its citizens in the host country especially in the areas of investment opportunity and open market; the presence of Liberian oversea diplomats and embassies must bring the needed anticipated dividends back home. Developing countries usually require foreign direct investments and increased market access for their goods and services to help grow their economies, and embassies play key roles in bringing these into the country(Foreign Service Manual, 2012) ..

          Liberian Embassies have existed for decades and it is very likely that they will be around for a long time to come even though the intensification of globalization is somehow greatly impacting the practice of diplomacy. The way these embassies will operate and conduct their work will necessarily change and evolve to keep them relevant and responsive to global developments, but in one form or another, the embassy will continue to be key to the conduct of international relations (Foreign Service Manual, 2012).

         For a developing country such as Liberia, that is facing issues such as high unemployment, lack of adequate supports towards quality education and health delivery systems, poverty, income inequality, aiding economies and poor quality of life for average citizens, it can be quite difficult to justify the allocation of government funds to maintaining embassies and diplomats at the various Liberian oversea embassies and diplomatic missions (Foreign Service Manual, 2012).

        Ogunsola (2005), there has been discussion or debate as to whether embassies and resident diplomats are still needed or relevant in the 21st century since  globalization and rapid advances in information and communications technology have connected billions of people worldwide, as the contemporary world now becomes a global village widely connected. The conduct of diplomacy cannot be immune to this. Liberian diplomacy need to be overhauled or at least adapt so that it is more responsive and effective in this modern international environment.

         However, to ensure the successes of Liberian diplomacy,  those charged with the responsibility oversea, resident diplomats are needed to be very effective on their assigned posts, adopt to s situation and assess the relevance of the information with regard to their country’s and the host country’s foreign policy. That is, the diplomat is needed for “proper contextualization, activities and efficiency.

           In the words of Richard Rosecrance, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, in the extended sense, diplomatic techniques have undergone considerable metamorphosis since the eighteenth century. In his book titled: The Rise of the Trading State”,  Professor Rosecrance propounded that the extensive use of propaganda, subversion on a wide scale, and the manipulation of national economic instruments for foreign policy purposes have greatly enlarged the range of multilateral dealings on the world scene.

            Former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine K. Albright in her esteemed publication: New American Diplomacy,(2000), pinpointed that  Diplomacy is the art and practice of negotiation between nations, conducted mostly through private conversations and the exchange of confidential documents.

         According to her, Foreign Ministers and ambassadors use public statements and news conferences to explain their policies, seek support for their governments, and put pressure on other countries in the negotiations of a specific situation. A former American Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger in his thoughtful new book: New Order: Explained that practically, new actors on the international scene are increasingly using practices employed by states with the aim of furthering their interests in the international arena and putting new issues on the global agenda.

           In the words of Warren Christopher, diplomat is a crisis manager and must possess: A good knowledge of international relations, a good understanding of how international relations function between states, should be well informed, smart, bridge and possess the ingredients of contemporary diplomatic know how and the aspirations in negotiating, great moral and intellectual sensitivity, imagination and courage, the ability to make parties feel convincing and grateful for successful negotiation.

         For the former Senior Ambassador At Large of Liberia, Carlton Karpeh (2010) diplomat presents his or her government policies to the foreign country in a persuasive and persuading tone, not a demanding one, as such, a diplomat always represents the interest of the nation but at the same time cannot ignore the public opinion on national and international issues that go beyond defined borders. In the words of former Liberian Minister of Foreign Affairs, T. Ernest Eastman (2006), “The field of international relations is so important that they called diplomacy the ‘master-institution’ of international politics which influenced domestic politics.

        Eastman (2006) said diplomacy functions through a labyrinth of foreign offices, embassies, consulates, and special missions all over the world. In the much quoted definition of a renowned Liberian author and former diplomat, Dr. Joseph Saye  Guanua, “diplomat as an honest Man sent abroad to lie for the good of his country.” While in his recent book: Liberian Emerging Democracy

        In order to carry out their work, diplomatic missions must have a strong grasp of the host country’s politics, society and culture. They must be able to appropriately project Liberia’s policies, identify potential investment areas, and keep their eyes on situation ( s) that might threaten the peace and security of Liberia and explore opportunities for Liberia’s interests, and provide political and economic analysis of local conditions to inform decision-making in the country. All these cannot be done without government’s support, the current challenges facing Liberian oversea diplomats and embassies need urgent redress and alleviation (Foreign Service Manual, 2012).

      But to keep a diplomat active and very effective, the needed support must be giving to enhance the individual work. Diplomats are humans with family’s obligations; they need an adequate financial support of the government; as such, Liberian diplomats cannot perform magic if not given the much needed support to go extra miles in their discharge if their responsibilities oversea. The usual excuses of governments facing harsh fiscal and economic realities will continue to amplify the numerous challenges of diplomats and embassies.

       There is an equally strong case and advantages in support of maintaining a diplomatic presence overseas. Since having people on the ground provide added value in terms of obtaining insight into what is going on in the host country. While it is reasonable that the information gathering and country assessment functions of an embassy can be done remotely using modern technology, the quality is not always the same.

          Let it be known that analyzing local developments in host country is a key part of a diplomat’s function and requires a deep understanding and appreciation of the issues, culture and pulse of the host country and its citizens. While our globalized world is increasingly interdependent, competition for access to markets and resources remains.  A country with people on the ground is more likely to get a more accurate assessment of local opportunities, risks and developments. 

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