Objectives of the Policy of Prestige:
The policy of prestige has two main objectives-
(1) Prestige for its own sake.
(2) Prestige in support of a policy of status quo or imperialism.
While nations seek prestige for its own sake, it is very rarely the main object of foreign policy. In fact, “Prestige”, as Morgenthau writes, “is at most the pleasant by-product of foreign policies whose ultimate objectives are not the reputation for power but the substance of power”. The individual members of the society are protected by the integrated domestic system of social institutions and rules of conduct. But nations, as members of international society, have to rely upon their own power. As such no nation is ready to take questions of prestige lightly.
Another objective of the policy of prestige is the support of the status quo or of imperialism. The foreign policy of a nation is the result of its powerful position in relation to other nations at a certain moment of history and as such, it is likely to develop in the future. The foreign policy of Soviet Russia, e.g., is based upon an evaluation of the power of Soviet Russia in relation to other countries, say, the power of the United States, China and Great Britain. Similarly, the policies of other nations are based on similar evaluations. It is the main object of the policy of prestige to influence these evaluations. In fact, the policy of prestige is an indispensable part of a rational foreign policy.
The cold war, which has dominated the relations of the western world and the Soviet Bloc has been fought primarily with the weapons of prestige. The United States and the Soviet Union have tried to impress upon each other their military might and technological achievements. Thus the intervention of the United States in Kora in 1950 was dictated not so much by the substantive importance of South Korea to the United States but to demonstrate its determination to stop the forceful extension of communism. Questions pertaining to Vietnam and Berlin are also being handled by the United States in terms of their symbolic significance.