Algeria's own revolutionary tradition and its commitment to self-determination
and nationalism have historically influenced its foreign policy.
Pledged to upholding and furthering the revolution against imperialism,
Algeria has been a prominent leader in both the region and the
developing world. As time has passed, the ideological ambitions
of the immediate postindependence years have been subordinated
to more pressing economic and strategic interests. Even during
the austere socialist years of Boumediene, economic factors played
a significant role in determining the course of foreign policy
toward both East and West.
By the late 1980s, Algeria's own economic and political problems
and the changed global situation and international economy had
restricted Algerian foreign policy. The new domestic regime altered
Algeria's ideological commitments, moving the country away from
its socialist orientation and closer to the West. Algeria's strategic
economic and political initiatives in regional affairs began to
take precedence over a greater ideological commitment to the developing
world and Africa. The 1976 National Charter redefined Algeria's
foreign policy objectives, revoking the commitment to socialist
revolution and shifting toward nonalignment in the world arena.
The domestic situation--the growing popular unrest and decreasing
government revenues and standard of living--limited the freedom
of the government to commit itself externally. Focusing on issues
of direct relevance to the domestic economy became the greatest
priority. Concurrently, the surge in popular movements and opposition
parties increased the political constraints on foreign policy
actors, as evidenced in the dramatic reversal of the government's
position on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Data as of December 1993