Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik

New Angles of Foreign Policy

New Angles of Foreign Policy Feminist foreign policy is on the rise. Foto: unsplash / Miguel Bruna

The military conflict between Israel and Hamas is the latest example of the complexity of conflicts and their global consequences. Peace-making and diplomacy have become increasingly more difficult. As the number of international players is growing, ranging from authoritarian “petrostates” to countries committed to value-based foreign policy, so is the diversity of their foreign policy interests. In a virtual event Emma Ashford, author of the book „Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates“, and Kristina Lunz, author of the book „The Future of Foreign Policy Is Feminist“ discussed the new balances of power in foreign policy and the definition of leadership.

Main Claims Emma Ashford

Emma Ashford

In her first book Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates, published in 2022, Emma Ashford explores petrostates and the many potential links between their domestic oil production and their foreign policy behavior. Ashford conceptualizes three different types of petrostates: oil-dependent states, oil-wealthy states, and super-producer states. With oil-wealthy states being more likely to start war than their oil-dependent counterparts, one can clearly see how oil production also influences global politics.

During the webinar, Emma Ashford provided in-depth comments on different petrostates and also explained why she considers the United States to be a petrostate, too. In addition, Ashford pointed out the different roles that petrostates can play in military conflicts. This diversity is reflected, for example, in the Middle East, in which Iran finances Hamas and provides them with weapons, while Qatar plays a mediating role between the conflicting parties. Further, it is worth mentioning that petrostates donate large sums for humanitarian aid on-site.

Main Claims Kristina Lunz

Wars waged by men destroy the lives of many people

Around the world, wars waged by men are destroying people’s lives and threatening the rights and safety of women in particular. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s justification of the war by, among other things, defending patriarchal values will have a devastating impact on women and other marginalized groups. After wars, violence against women and other marginalized groups usually increases, as in the case of the attacks against LGBTQI people in Afghanistan or the brutal sexual assaults against women and girls in northern Ethiopia.

There can be no peace without feminism

More and more women and human rights defenders are standing up against their patriarchal oppressors. In doing so, they need support from international civil society and states that make human rights the focus of their foreign policy – states with a feminist foreign policy. They recognize that patriarchal structures must be dismantled by all means of diplomacy. For only if violent and oppressive structures within states are dismantled will violence be reduced internationally.

The patriarchal system has far-reaching effects and determines war and peace, as it has shaped power relations for thousands of years. The more a society disregards and oppresses women, the more far-reaching the negative consequences: poorer governance, lower stability, economic performance, environmental protection and social progress.

Everyone benefits from the end of patriarchy

Men should also join feminism, as it is not directed against men, but against a system. Feminism needs men as comrades-in-arms, and men need feminism even more. Because they also suffer greatly from patriarchal structures – their suicide rate is significantly higher worldwide in comparison. The patriarchy tells them that they should not be vulnerable – with potentially fatal consequences. It is also men who are not allowed to flee in wars, but are forced to fight. That too is patriarchy.

We are fighting for an end to patriarchy everywhere

The concepts of feminist foreign policy are far older than recent government proclamations suggest. Already during the First World War, 1200 women gathered in The Hague for the first Women’s Peace Congress. Today, we need feminist foreign policy more than ever. Because patriarchy is everywhere. It oppresses women and other political minorities, depriving them of their freedom and depriving us as a society of the opportunity to build healthy and peaceful societies for all. We are fighting for an end to patriarchy everywhere.

Photocredit: Atlantic Council (1); Paula Winkler (2)


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