Popular Diplomacy in an Autocracy – Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Decision-Making under the Military in Nigeria

Chukwuemeka Ojieh
2015 Ufahamu  
Democracy is believed to allow greater and popular participation in governance than authoritarian regimes. It follows that democracy would increase the influence of public opinion on the foreign policy making process of nations. This being so, public opinion as a factor in the government decision-making process has become contemporaneous with democratic regimes such that there is a general notion that autocratic regimes act independent of popular opinion in foreign policy decision-making. Using
more » ... ision-making. Using public opinion as an expression of popular view, this article contradicts such notions by establishing that non-democratic (military) regimes could be malleable to public opinion in foreign policy decision-making. This it does in a content analysis of selected Nigerian newspapers, using the Babangida military regime's decision on an IMF loan as a case study and submits that non-democratic regimes could lay claims to popular diplomacy. More so, because evidence in this study does not show that democratic regimes in Nigeria have necessarily increased the influence of public opinion on foreign policy decision-making, it submits that the manifest of democratic ethos such as popular diplomacy in governments' foreign policy decision-making would not necessarily be a product regime-type.
doi:10.5070/f7382025973 fatcat:itri3lyigzfzde5ia3h2whiyqa