By Abdelkader Filali. Ph.D.
Statecraft is often popularly thought of as the art and the skills of governing a sovereign state. Simply put it is about managing state affairs. Diplomacy in a nutshell is verbally managing and communicating the complexity of international relations. Statecraft and diplomacy are best tested in critical junctures such as the COVID 19 crisis. What the post COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare is the crucial variable of state capacity. The shift and the preconceived notions between the solutions and problems have become less straightforward, and the causality and effect are no longer linear.
As such, Morocco is defying the burden of expectations with deft leadership, bold strategic vision, and intellectual confidence to conceive innovative policies, as it navigates the fluid geostrategic and geo-economic matrix in a post-pandemic world.
Researchers in international relations rush to describe the behavior of states based on schools of thought that engineer the pillars of states’ foreign policy, where the two new schools of realism and liberalism dominate the shelves of international relations. Rather, these researchers sometimes attempt to place Morocco in the category of realist school and other times in the hat of liberalism.
In this article, we argue that Morocco transcends this classification, and draws on a deeply rooted civilization’s school.
Bold Diplomacy: Deeply Rooted Civilization
The study of history helps us to see through the fog of populists’ rhetoric regionally and internationally. Morocco’s current diplomacy can be best understood as Bold diplomacy (with capital B).
King Mohammed VI used statecraft to make decisions about developing Africa and aiding and supporting Arab countries in peace processes such as the case of Libya, and in time of crisis as the cases of Tunisia and Lebanon. Mohammed VI’ proficiency in statecraft was instrumental in strategizing for a vaccine sovereignty that allows Morocco to expand its continental and international political power and the ability to maximise policy through the exercise of structural power and strategic policy in a harmonious style of diplomatic governance.
Morocco is well aware of the complexity of the current international order, which can be summarised in these three key properties: redefining sovereignty, non-linearity, the geopolitics of supply and chain.
Understanding the Realm of Non-Linearity of Diplomacy
According to the dominant theories of International Relations, states are all alike in terms of the functions they perform (ultimately their survival) and as there is no overarching authority, no one is entitled to command, no one is required to obey. It put states in a self-help position where anarchy reigns but as an ordering principle. Anarchy being an ordering principle is an argument that would make Waltz happier.
Morocco’s deep rooted civilization school of thought goes beyond Kenneth Waltz’s defining parameters of the realm of international order. Waltz’ view is very determinist though. The structural point makes him dismiss other consideration. For instance, Morocco’s dealing with Spain, Germany, and Algeria reveals the deeply rooted civilizational nature of most the Moroccan dynasties throughout history with concrete instances. From the structural point, we can see that the emphasis is put on the Moroccan as a unit of analysis in international relations. It is then the dignity of the Moroccan and the sovereignty of its territory that were put forward ahead.
Morocco sets the stage to be as the more credible, reasonable country, seeking new ways on partnership and regional solutions.
Germany stressing the importance of the strategic partnership with Morocco and expressing support for Morocco’s determination to make an increased contribution to international peace and security. In a concrete manifestation of Frank-Walter Steinmeier the President of Germany’s elevation of Morocco to best friend status, Mr. Steinmeier has issued an invitation to King Mohammed VI to visit his country.