Lecture 16-National Interest

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Transcript Lecture 16-National Interest

Lecture 8-National Interest
Today, theconcept of "the national interest" is often
associated with political realists who wish to
differentiate their policies from "idealistic"
policies that seek either to inject morality into
foreign policy or promote solutions that rely on
multilateral institutions which mightweaken the
independence of the state.
National interest as a concept is used in both
political analysis and political
action. As an analytical tool, it is employed to
Lecture 8-National Interest
Reynolds believes that there is difficulty in
identifying the concept and vies this as unfortunate
andon the whole unhelpful. (1984:38). He argues
that national interest should relate to real interest
of the people and these interests are not to be seen
as being necessarilycontained within the state
The actual content of national interest depends on the
perception and
interpretation by the decision-making elite. In fact,
Lecture 8-National Interest
• Sometimes the activities of these two types
of states are similar but the goals are
different. (Magstadt – 493)
• Types of National Interest
• Vital vs Secondary: Vital interests
potentially threaten the life of your nation,
secondary interests are more distant and less
urgent (Roskin – 360)
Lecture 16.1
• Temporary vs permanent: Temporary
interests last for a fixed duration, permanent
interests last over centuries
• Specific vs General: Specifis interests focus
on single problems while general interests
are more universal in application.
Lecture 16.2
• Complementary vs Conflicting:
Complementary interests are those that
countries have in common, conflicting
interests pull countries apart.
• Pursuing the National Interest
• Expansionism: Countries seek to enlarge
their territories or influence.
Lecture 16.3
• Motives fo expansionism: Such states
actively seek to overthrow the existing
balance of power.
• In the aftermath of war the victorious state
may choose to dismember or otherwise
disable its vanguished advesary to guard
against a reopening of hostilities.
Lecture 16.4
• Defeat in war can furnish an equally
powerful incitement to a nation’s
expansionist strategies and power
enhancement objectives.
• The temporary weakness of neighbouring
states can also include expansionism.
Lecture 16.5
• States sometimes commit aggressive acts of
defensive reasons- a state may seek to
forestall an attack on or a revolt within its
weaker neighbors by taking preemptive
military action against them, although they
are not the true target, but more formidable
foes further away who are more serious
Lecture 16.6
• Status quo strategy: countries seek to
preserve and continue a particular power
• All nations pursue a status quo strategy
from time to time, nations opposed to
changes affecting the regional or global
balance of power pursue it most avidly
Lecture 16.7
• Containment: The US policy toward the
perceived threat from the Soviet Union and
Communism, that sought to prevent the
soviets from acquiring new territory outside
of their own country.
• Accommodation:States intend to preserve or
promote peace, sometimes at the expense of
their own power.
Lecture 16.8
• Nations choosing the strategy of
accommodation may seek to promote the
peaceful resolution of international disputes
or they may sacrifice values of great
importance to their own well-being.
• A nation will submit to pressure or military
threats rather than risk a war it knows it
would lose.
Lecture 16.9
• Appeasement: A nation’s policy of making
concessions to an aggressor nation in order
to prolong peace.
• The strategies are flexible and change over
time based on the circumstances
• Other Approaches to identifying
National Interest
Lecture 16.10
• Zones-of-Conflict model: Power struggles
and wars in the zones of conflict will
continue to be the norm while peaceful
competition, in the form of trade,
investment and economic cooperation, will
be the norm in zones of peace.
Lecture 16.11
• Military intervention into the zones of
conflict will have to be taken with extreme
caution and should aim at making the zones
of conflict should be developed into
Democracies and eventually zones of peace.
• Morality in International Relations
Lecture 16.12
• Idealism: Finds the moral relativism of
political realism disturbing.
• Considers values, ideals and moral
principles as the keys to describing,
comprehending and even changing the
behaviour of nation-states.
Lecture 16.13
• Holds that nations desire peace and
prosperity, ut that when leaders are misled
by irrational forces wars and international
tensions result.
• In order to reduce world tensions, to restore
rationality and to help assure peace,
international law and global organisations
must be made to be important.
Lecture 16.14
• There is significant evidence that some
nations weigh moral principle in the
formulation and conduct of foreign policy.
• Most often, the various acts and policies of
nation-states contains elements of both
moral principles and self-interest.
Lecture 16.15
• Global Issues: In the interest of survival, the
old world order needs to give way to a new
world order in which global interests
replace national interests.
• This is necessary in order to defeat global
problems such as environmental challenges,
resources shortages and misuses,
overpopulation and worldwide poverty.
Lecture 16.16
• Morality plays a much less significant role
in politics between nations than it does in
politics within nations.