The Major Projects
Mr. Aziz Hasbi
Professor of Higher Education, researcher in international relations

A pragmatic initiative serving the national interest

Moroccan geostrategic initiative is moving forward at the very core's relationship that globalisation has forged between security, peace and development. The global context has also made semantic frontiers disappear between strategy, geopolitics and geostrategy, putting them together in a continuum that incorporates them into a dynamic which has little regard for doctrinal ratiocinations. In the same way, a geostrategic viewpoint incorporates various aspects of national and international policies that a country implements. Therefore, on an international level, such a viewpoint is not only geopolitical, as international life has so far done little to avert conflct.

Well aware of stakes at play due to its geographical position at the crossroads of two greatseas, and with achievement of territorial integrity undermined by diffiult neighbours, theKingdom has developed a multi-faceted vision of its place in the world. Its conception of international relations is marked by its experience in combatting foreign domination and its tradition for national interests' punctilious defence in a region under threat from strategies of competing international actors with covetous eyes on its geographical territory.

Although it is a strategic ally of the western world's major powers and enjoys conflct-free relations with the world's other great nations, Morocco is an advocate of the self-help so dear to realists. Having learned from painful and repeated involvement in the western Mediterranean 's tumultuous history, and as a close Sahel neighbour where borders are theoretical and transnational phenomena threaten the entire region, the kingdom occupies a signifiant military position in comparison to countries at the same level. Furthermore, its material power is insignifiant within global forces and none of its wealth is currently sought after on the international economic market, the Kingdom seeks to make the utmost of its favourable geographical location, prestigious historical and civilisational capital, and strong symbolic values. The image it puts forward highlights the country's convivial and reassuring aspects.

The Kingdom has therefore been quick in showing that it does not favour "hard power" and that its military effort is defensive rather than offensive. As a result, its "soft power" strategy has been visibly strengthened - a strategy based on attraction power development and "soft inflence" diplomacy deployment, with wide diplomatic and economic openness, pragmatic and taking national interests into full account, as its kernel. As a result, the country does its utmost to make a good impression on the international scene through propagation of a label, whose latter is at the interaction's heart between its internal and external policies, reflcting the assets sum total and positive characteristics accumulated on a national level and serving as a tool to help increase its external inflence. It is closely linked to national interests defence, political and economic alike. Its content, often elaborated in royal speeches - the message on August 30th 2013 amongst others - also serves as a roadmap for action to be undertaken on an international level to optimise the country's political and diplomatic inflence and express it in economic and social gains (increased exchanges, foreign investment's attraction, etc.). Image content determination seen by the Kingdom as its own, the one it seeks to promote abroad is therefore closely connected to its strategy on strengthening its position internationally.

Those who have criticised Morocco's absence from the international scene, in comparison with the reign of His late Majesty King Hassan II, were somewhat in error. From the diplomatic point of view, what we have witnessed was a change in strategy, a new type of repositioning best adapted to Morocco's advantages and drawbacks in a more complex world where competition is not corrected by political relations as in the Cold War period. Few ideological discriminants now exist to justify a country being supported simply because it belongs to a bloc. The world lives its contradictions from one day to the next and national interests are reassured. Hence the need for a geostrategic initiative suffiiently stable and balanced to reflct the image of a law-abiding country with a predictable political agenda, but one that is also flxible enough to adapt to a more fragile world's realities, a world in constant mutation.

Stability of its national institutions and its peaceful transition to democracy and rule of law, opening of its economy and its adhesion to multilateralism, drafting of sector-specifi strategies along with outstanding logistical positioning, promotion of privileged circles of friends and strategic partners amongst powers that matter, and the reasonable search to satisfy national interests in the context of balanced and unifid relations have progressively lent credibility to Morocco's quest for attraction power and soft inflence. Diplomacy of the Sovereign's visits to foreign powers and public diplomacy practice in the fild are in marked contrast to other countries in the region. Morocco's inflence within nations' community appears well on track.

The Kingdom's geostrategic choices should be further directed towards strengthening partnerships with traditional associates (France and Spain). Such consolidation should be bolstered by more balanced relations, looking for triangular capture market shares' alliances on an international level. The circle of friendship should be more institutional than personal, in particular as regards to countries which have not yet started upon filing governance gaps' process. The lesson learnt from the international economic crisis should encourage greater diversifiation of international outlets through a pragmatic policy based on a realistic vision.

We must, of course, keep in mind the close relationship between a country's attractiveness on an international level and its ability to meet internal expectations and challenges. A State's international policy mirrors its domestic policy.