Country Listing

Laos Table of Contents


Basic Goals

The basic goals of foreign policy have not differed from one regime to another. National security or survival are fundamental concerns, and both the RLG and the LPDR have striven to preserve a Laotian state, even though their philosophies for organizing and serving the people differed fundamentally. In the 1990s, ideology shifted away from relentless Marxism-Leninism to "state capitalism" and single-party "democracy." Such formulations place Laos outside any rigid ideological camp and leave the national agenda open to the general promise of economic development. Officially, the government has dedicated itself to a foreign policy of peace, "independence, friendship and non-alignment," with the instrument for achieving those conditions being the LPRP.

In the 1940s, the ICP provided the most assertive challenge to colonialism. With the ending of French and United States dominance over the Laotian peoples, the communist-inspired LPRP has wrestled with the next challenge--economic and national development. The success of that undertaking and the survival of the party that has assumed it remains in the balance in the 1990s. The key to success, however, lies in developing and maintaining fruitful foreign relations.

Data as of July 1994