Clearly, Barbados' foreign policy is influenced by its physical features, its national character, its social values, its economic principles, and its political ideals. Consequently, while the issues confronting Barbados in the international arena have changed over time, the core of Barbados' foreign policy doctrine has not.
From the time it gained independence from Great Britain on 30 November 1966, Barbados has pursued a foreign policy of 'moderation' and 'commonsense', the same values that inform every area of its domestic Government policy.
In fact, in his widely quoted statement to the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1966, Barbados' late Prime Minister and national hero the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow articulated the foreign policy vision of what was then a new sovereign nation by cautioning that
The people of Barbados do not draw a dividing line between their internal affairs and their foreign policy. They strive in their domestic arrangements to create a just society for themselves. In their constitution they affirm respect for the rule of law; they also declare their intention to establish and maintain the kind of society which enables each citizen, to the full extent of his capacity, to play his part in the national life; they further resolve that their economic system, as it develops, must be equitably administered and enjoyed and that undeviating recognition should be paid to ability, integrity and merit.
In thus charting our domestic course, we can have no interest in a foreign policy which contradicts our national goals. On the contrary we will support genuine efforts at world peace because our society is stable. We will strenuously assist the uprooting of vestigial imperialisms because our institutions are free. We will press for the rapid economic growth of all underdeveloped countries because we are busily engaged in building up our own. In fine our foreign and domestic policies are the obverse and reverse sides of a single coin.
We have devised the kind of foreign policy which is consistent with our national situation and which is also based on current realities of international politics.
We have no quarrels to pursue and we particularly insist that we do not regard any member state as our natural opponent. We shall not involve ourselves in sterile ideological wrangling because we are exponents not of the diplomacy of power but of the diplomacy of peace and prosperity. We will not regard any great power as necessarily right in a given dispute unless we are convinced of this, yet at the same time we will not view the great powers with perennial suspicion merely on account of their size, their wealth, or their nuclear potential. We are friends of all, satellites of none.
As the world has been witness to startling changes in the new millennium and even before, Barbados remains in the enviable position of holding fast to a foreign policy that has stood the test of time.
We are friends of all, satellites of none.
But as terrorism becomes more global, international criminal cartels bolder, and unilateralism more pervasive, Barbadians now might revise their foreign policy standard to give notice to the world that we remain friends of all who are friendly, but still satellites of none.
At ease with such a foreign policy, one that speaks to the complexity of the historical moment in which it now exists, Barbados is able to maintain good diplomatic relations with a number of countries in the region and around the world.