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Реферат The Constants of Dutch Foreign Policy

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Текст реферата The Constants of Dutch Foreign Policy

The Constants of Dutch Foreign Policy
Peace, Profits and Principles is the catchy alliterative title of a
book on Dutch foreign policy by Joris Voorhoeve, onetime parliamentary
leader of the VVD (1986-90). Under these three headings he sought to
analyse the major traditions of this foreign policy, which he defined
as 'maritime commercialism' 'neutralist abstentionism' and
'internationalist idealism'. Others have objected to the concept of
traditions in this respect, even arguing that the Dutch have
insufficient historic sense for traditions. Such authors prefer to
speak of tendencies, themes, or constants, and some of them have
amended or enlarged Voorhoeve's list. On closer inspection, however,
the themes mentioned by other authors remain closely related to the
clusters of attitudes mentioned by Voorhoeve. There is also little
disagreement concerning the origins of such tendencies or traditions.
Both the size and geographical location of the country have left
their imprint on the country's external relations. The Dutch domestic
market being quite small but ideally located to serve as a gateway to
the European hinterland, the Netherlands came to rely on maritime
trade. This has brought an Atlantic perspective to its foreign policy,
sometimes bordering on anticontinentalism. Already in the seventeenth
century, Pieter de la Court, a Leyden merchant and political
scientist, advocated creating a wide swathe of water to the cast of
the province of Holland, to separate it from the European continent.
As late as the 1950s the Dutch Foreign Office proclaimed: ' The
Netherlands cannot exist without Europe, but it is a continental
European nation neither in its history, nor in its character.' Despite
altercations with the British first, and despite irritation over
American pressure to decolonise later, the Netherlands has continued
to rely on these two extracontinental powers. This reliance is due
partly to the importance of maritime trade, but also to the desire to
have a countervailing power to the dominant state on the continent, be
it German or French.
The significance of trade for the Dutch economy has also led to
another of Voorhoeve's traditions, 'neutralist abstentionism', a set
of preferences described by others as 'economic pacifism'; it is a
reluctance to accept changes in the status quo, or downright
conservatism. The Dutch colonial empire could not be defended
adequately, and was therefore best protected by a neutralist policy.
The flow of commerce was best served by an opportunistic abstention
from European power politics. Any disturbance of the balance of power
could be detrimental to trade, and was therefore deplored. The
Netherlands has been described as a 'satisfied nation', quite happy
with things as they are in the world. After 1945 the failure of
neutralism as a security strategy was recognised by Dutch politicians
and the public alike, and the joining of the Atlantic Alliance has
been interpreted as an unequivocal