Political Payments for Foreign Policy

The use of political payments for foreign policy can be intended to support the recipients or to disrupt their politics.

Governments, organisations and wealthy individuals anywhere in the world can use money to influence what happens elsewhere.  It can be classified as a political use of economic power, which is different in nature from the economic aims described earlier (  American programmes of this nature are in the public domain, but Russia influence has been more secretive:

●  As described earlier (, American foreign policy has included a neoconservative belief in spreading democracy.  The Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal in December 2021 announced “a significant, targeted expansion of U.S. Government efforts to defend, sustain, and grow democratic resilience”.  This is a very public commitment to making political payments for foreign policy.

●  As reported in a Guardian article, Tech giants face Congress as showdown over Russia election meddling looms, Facebook, Twitter and Google were all used as covert channels to influence the 2016 US Presidential election: “All three companies have admitted that Russian entities bought ads on their sites in an effort to skew the vote.”

●  Leonid Bershidsky’s article, Russia’s Big Bet on the French Far Right, described Russian connections to a loan made to France’s far-right Front National party led by Marine le Pen.  The loan cannot be directly traced to Russia’s President Putin but, as the article noted: “If Le Pen breaks through, Putin will have a formidable fifth column inside the EU.”

The dysfunctionality of coercion in foreign affairs is addressed later in this chapter (


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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/6454a.htm.