NEW πŸ“—Story: Island Hopper ❌

Foreign Policy in Vekllei

Part of the bulletin series of articles

Summary

  • Vekllei has only 24 million people, equivalent roughly to Australia or Syria, but has many times the global influence of those countries.
  • This is because of three factors: trade, cultural soft power, and foreign policy.
  • Foreign Policy in Vekllei serves the interests of their state, but that does not mean that its efforts are entirely self-serving. Co-operation, collaboration and investment are the core principles of their approach.
  • In fact, their style of earnest and fair diplomacy has, in general, succeeded dramatically. Pragmatic and effective policy has guaranteed their voice in many parts of the world, which translates to political power.
  • The results speak for themselves. As an example, Vekllei has closer diplomatic and economic ties to many former French colonies in West Africa than France itself.

While Vekllei has tremendous wealth and cultural diversity that more or less guarantee a minimum presence in global diplomacy, foreign policy is an area of active investment and has been since independence. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is among the largest and best-equipped devolved ministries, and Vekllei has a diplomatic mission in nearly every country. These missions, comprising consulates, interest sites and embassies, are packed with diplomats and analysts familiar with the local territory, and are sometimes recruited from local professionals. This is, fundamentally, the distinguishing factor of Vekllei’s outsized foreign influence: reliable and substantial investment.

The Bureau of Economics of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a particularly keen outfit, taking on a variety of roles that may at times be generous, predatory or both. The people of the Bureau of Economics are not ideologues and they are not there to promote the commons. In developed countries, they aid the interests of Vekllei business and trade. In others, they act as a channel for direct investment, nation-building and aid. None of it is given without thought, or for mere political purposes. They aim to establish a base of knowledge and influence, and use those things to build up the relationships and encourage improvements to standards of living overseas that advantage Vekllei’s political and economic missions.

These policies have no single coherent economic principles, but they do reflect Vekllei interests. Key concerns are education and healthcare, followed by cautious investment. In practice, this means financial investment where returns might be expected, whether political or financial, but also the export of specialists and experienced personnel. Vekllei is one of the largest exporters of medical aid in the world, and much of that comes directly in the form of qualified doctors and nurses who, as part of their training, spend time overseas. Teachers and education policy specialists also comprise a substantial part of donations.

Physical aid makes sense to Vekllei, because it is a country of mostly physical (read: moneyless) economic activity, and the kinds of social relations their work depends on thrive in challenging environments overseas, especially where medicine and education are involved. It also allows the country to leverage its exceptionally (perhaps overly) educated population, and build goodwill across the many new countries of the 21st Century.

Their practice is not without critics. Vekllei has fast-tracked citizenship lanes for educated people, and several governments have accused the country of contributing to local ‘brain drain.’ And like all geopolitics, their generous foreign aid furthers their geopolitical interests in abstract. Vekllei is, after all, a non-aligned country and in some ways it is fighting the influence of both East and West.

While Vekllei has a lower tolerance for brutal or antisocial regimes than the superpowers, the country has historically prioritised stability over revolution. It is also increasingly internationalist, and has intervened in humanitarian crises at the expense of the UN and aid organisations, who resent their cowboy approach to crisis management. Most famously, Vekllei raises “volunteer brigades;” the offer of direct intervention to any person that wants it, and equips and transports them. While this kind of interventionism has several success stories, including essentially preventing a genocide in Latin Africa, it has also backfired dramatically, as in the case of the encircled volunteer battalion in Zaire.

This kind of interventionism results in a dramatic foreign policy that contrasts (and undoubtedly infuriates) their own economic interests around the world. In developing countries, Vekllei can be a very powerful friend to have, and they are renowned for their generosity with aid and expertise. For example, the education system in Darfur was built almost entirely from the ground-up with a flood of Vekllei bureaucrats and teachers. They also provide technologies for manufacturing and extraction without protectionism. On the other hand, the country risks catastrophe and escalation in its stubborn interventionism in humanitarian outrages. It can also make emerging states wary about its impact on their fledgling sovereignty. This balance is a fine line to walk, and Vekllei is doing its best to walk it. Regardless of any single opinion however, their methods of diplomacy are striking, and reflect the tension between passionate volunteerism and calculated pragmatism in their society and government.