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.
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