Moroccan-African Diplomacy in King Mohamed VI’s Era
By Jamal Laadam
Incredibly, every move and shift in Moroccan politics has been attached by the irresistible projection of foreign policy in terms of principled constancy and shifts that followed. Nowadays, it is commonplace to argue how many fundamental changes have occurred in post-King Hassan II’s Morocco since 1999.
For instance, has Moroccan foreign policy experienced a great shift in its approach, norms, security priorities, and key interest over the past two decades? Due to this, international broadcasting has once again centralised on the King’s diplomacy speech held on 7 November, in which King Mohamed VI, the head of the ruling constitutional party of Morocco, delivered the work report defining the demarche of its foreign policy for the next three decades. The questions hereby involve the Moroccan leader’s perception of our “African community,” their development objectives and means, and new principles of foreign policy for the upcoming decades.
As the Kingdom of Morocco is motivated by the royal glory and the centenary success from the beginning of the 20th century, its people have struggled continuously and diligently to realise the rejuvenation of the Moroccan Nation. Given this, King Mohamed VI acknowledged that now the Kingdom of Morocco has entered the critical stage of its rise to a regional power since His Majesty initiated the remodel and open up in the late 1990s. He undertakes to maintain upholding the key goal of preserving regional and African peace and promoting common development with all countries. Simultaneously, King Mohamed VI underlined that it is the Moroccan political ruling party’s abiding mission to make greater contributions for building a community with a shared future for humans in the globalised era.
To the people who believe in realism thinking and power politics, it is demanding for them to abandon the notion of “The Thucydides Trap” simply because Morocco, like any other rising regional power historically, would surely challenge the ruling power’s interest, value, and prestige. Hence, His Majesty called upon in his address at the Green March to recreate a new form of regional relations featuring mutual respect, shared benefits, justice, and win-win cooperation. This article seeks to elucidate the approach of King Mohamed’s foreign policy from the concept, objective, and prospect which were illustrated at the Moroccan speech.
Theoretically, the Moroccan people, both political parties and the King, have preached regional multipolarity, economic globalisation, and cultural diversity are the global trends going forward. Considering this, diplomatic changes in the international governance system and global order are inevitable. In doing so, our “regional community” is bounded by uncertainties and destabilising aspects covering from the growing lack of energy, broadening gap between rich and poor countries, and hotspot issues in many areas; not to mention alarming unconventional security cases like terrorism, cybersecurity, climate change, and major contagious diseases. As we are living in a society with a shared future, it is feasible for all States to cooperate, as one united, we never fail, while keeping their own identity. No State can face so many challenges and issues alone, and no State can afford to retreat into self-isolation as well.
As the largest developing country in Northern Africa, The Kingdom of Morocco will sustain to endorse commerce and investment liberalisation and facilitation, and seek to ease economic regionalisation more open, inclusive, and fairer so that it would benefit all African countries concerned. This takes that Morocco actively develops African and international partnerships and enlarges the proximity of interests with other countries. Simultaneously, as the most dynamic growing power along with other African States like Rwanda and Kenya, The Kingdom of Morocco has continually acknowledged that it will never quest development at the expense of others’ interests, nor will Morocco ever quit its legitimate rights and core interests. Due to this, it seeks a national security approach that is in nature defensive, and in the future, Rabat will never pursue supremacy or rivalry to jeopardise the regional order.
What does Morocco want in its long-term approach?
As a prey of the colonialist powers in modern history, Morocco had endured too much more and too much longer than any other North African country. Because of this, the Moroccans have never paused to pursue their national ambition to be a strong regional power and, with such a dream, they naturally look to develop mutual and friendly ties with States around the African continent and eventually to be involved in continental governance. Rather than acting as a hegemonic power against the status quo, the Kingdom of Morocco has at once proven its respect for the global order, responsibilities for continental issues, and promotion of reciprocal benefits and comprehensiveness in global affairs. Currently, Moroccan decision-makers have illustrated their refusal of the colonist power politics mindset, but underlined a new approach to upgrade state-to-state relations through negotiations and dialogues, in particular the new practice of regional power diplomacy initiated by His Majesty. Despite some still trying to blame Morocco for causing tensions in the region, indicating its strained ties with neighbours Mauritania and Tunisia, the Kingdom of Morocco remains devoted to regional stability and peace as playing a more proactive role in averting disputes and chaos in the North African region including on Libya’s crisis.
How does Morocco reach its African diplomacy mission by 2030?
Unquestionably, the Kingdom is not ‘idealistic,’ considering the intricate world and their still limited leverage in foreign affairs. Meanwhile, they have gradually run after the national dream for a century, the leading Moroccan elite in the Kingdom have been aware of the ‘global changes’ that are full of challenges and espoir. Then, King Mohamed VI explicitly acknowledged that Morocco will attempt to found a pragmatic framework for regional-power connection featuring global stability and shared respect for each core interest and key advantage. Morocco will strengthen relations with its many neighbour States following the norm of honesty, shared understanding, and mutual benefits. Morocco will regularly exercise its extreme efforts to widen and enhance cohesion and cooperation with other African States, which sustain the foundation of the King’s foreign diplomacy in the 21st century.
Foreign affairs is always impacted by the changes in foreign policy, several priorities in internal politics, and the ruling elite’s view of world reality. In view of this, it is undeniable that Morocco’s foreign policy will be changed or even amended accordingly. Nonetheless, cautiously that the revival of the Moroccan realm is a century dream which not only demands combined efforts but is also closely related to the authority of the ruling royal kingdom; thus, no leading elite of Morocco challenges to change this historical task uttered by the mandate destiny. This is one of the main reasons why King Mohamed VI guarantees to work together persistently and uphold the essential strategy of opening up diplomacy and seeking balanced development with its doors open.
To the end, since King Mohamed VI launched the outline of the King’s African Diplomacy in 2016, the Moroccan Government has spent vast energy, resources, and perception on building up a sound platform for African cooperation to establish new mechanisms of shared development, and broad are multiple fields like public policy, communication services, trading, industrial productivity, and social-cultural creativity. All highlight that Morocco is keen to act as a true actor of future African affairs, a liable power involving the rulemaking, and one of the key players to maintain the regional and African order by both peace and diplomacy. Regardless of what is a need in the future, there is no hesitation for this emerging giant and rising regional power.
(Courtesy - www.moderndiplomacy.eu)