National interest is the interest of nation, a territorial and historical community of citizens, rather than people of a certain ethnicity. Since the end of the 18th century, this system has undergone two changes that are important to our subject.
Firstly, leading scholars in Europe and later the United States have explored this topic in comprehensive philosophical, political, ideological, scientific, and theoretical studies. Secondly, national interest proved to be optimally compatible with the late-Westphalian system of international relations. Its triumphant entry into world politics took place in the early s and is associated with the name of Hans Morgenthau, the founder of political realism. He believed that the acquisition and use of power is a major national interest of the state and the main motive of its political behavior in the world.
Additionally, he and other adepts of the theory of political realism viewed the notions of power and national interest in the economic and military sense. It is easy to see that this interpretation of national interest and the theory of political realism perfectly described and justified the policy of the U. The U. When the last vestiges of the pre-war system of international relations and classical colonialism were finally broken in the early s, the categories of nation state and national interest became instrumental in integrating new post-colonial countries into the system of international relations, primarily their pro-Western part.
This helped the U. Under the auspices of the U. At that stage, U. As a consequence, along with national interest, there appeared the notion of vital interest in politics. The theory of international relations saw the growing criticism of political realism. So-called revisionist theories took shape and eventually neorealism broadened the notion of national interest beyond its original interpretation. So, it would be justified to say that today, the category of national interest has no scientific content and will not likely exist in the foreseeable future due to its vagueness and a plurality of criteria for defining specific interest.
The first aspect is related to a certain understanding of history and levels of development of society and the state. The second aspect is associated with the ideology of liberalism and a political-realistic approach to international relations.
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The third aspect concerns current foreign policy interests of the state as they are understood by people, groups, and governments currently in power. These categories defy objective operationalization, and their interpretation is always subjective.
Indeed, Western political theory and practices clearly distinguish national interest, state interest, and the interests of the ruling regime. In the early s post-Soviet Russia turned to capitalism as it was understood and taught in the Soviet Union and imported all notions and categories from the West, primarily the U. Of course, Russians had known about the notion of national interest, but it had never been applied to Russia.
Before October , Russia had not passed through the cognitive, political, and practical evolution that Europe experienced over the past two millennia.
The Russian way was different, especially in terms of size. Life in this territory and its development always required more resources than in Europe. Relations between secular and religious authorities in Russia also developed differently. The Orthodox Church played a significant role in overcoming the feuding between principalities and building a unified Russian state.
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But it had to exist amid a low-concentrated political process with many vertical and few horizontal ties. This is why the Church fully submitted to the secular authorities for the larger part of its history. In large, sparsely populated areas in Eastern Europe the Church could neither be the mainstream of Christianity, nor a regulator of inter-ethnic and international relations, instead of mono-ethnic relations between local principalities after the establishment of the Grand Duchy of Moscow and its victory over the Golden Horde, the latter kind of relations lost their former importance and were reduced to a struggle between several families for the Muscovite throne.
In the contemporary era, the formation of capitalism in Russia for various reasons did not result in the political establishment of bourgeois-democratic republicanism: it lasted only from February to October As a result, a nation was never formed. Not only the royal family and nobility, but also the large class of servicemen viewed the merchant class as a potential threat to the autocracy.
At that time he really was the master of the Russian lands, and this fact showed that Russian society and its institutions resembled European models, but were not similar or close to them. If the autocrat is the master, there is no room for thinking of national interest. The interests of a country are determined by its master, which is absolutely logical in this case. In the Soviet period, the category of national interest did not take root for other reasons. At the level of ideology, there were two major obstacles — the concepts of classless society and internationalism.
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Socialist, and later communist, society was expected to emerge in the course of and as a result of class struggle. This is why class interests were proclaimed as supreme and absolute. Therefore, the ideal — a classless society — was international by nature, whereas everything national was regarded as a harmful and dangerous obstacle on the way to universal internationalism.
Predictably, reality turned out to be more complicated than theory.
Nominally, the Communist Party led the construction of socialism and communism. Hopes for a world revolution were shaken already by , fatally cracked after the end of the Great Depression, and collapsed in the course of World War II. Joseph Stalin, who was a statist to the core, dramatically shifted the balance of real power from the Party to the state. In practice, however, everything in the country was run by the state until the policy of perestroika was proclaimed in The Soviet Union had its own way of identifying and implementing system-wide interests, including identifying general trends and development goals, working out long-term programs in the economy, defense, scientific research, and social services, five-year economic plans, and approving the aforesaid at party congresses, at state agencies and in joint resolutions of the Central Committee, the Council of Ministers and, in some cases, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
At various stages, this work involved the apparatuses of the Central Committee and the Council of Ministers, departmental and academic institutions, inter-departmental commissions, and the State Planning Committee. On some issues, informal public discussions were held, and their results were considered by relevant state agencies before making decisions. I am certainly not idealizing that system, but it had its strengths. It was aimed at forecasting prospects for terms of five to twenty years and combining those forecasts with concrete programs, and annual and five-year plans.
Those forecasts made it possible to maneuver all kinds of resources not only in real time, but also on a scale of decades. The aim was to combine the efforts of the Party, the government, and the more active part of the population. In tsarist Russia, there was a certain logic in such blending: the monarch was the real master of his country, whether we liked it or not, and his interests were determinant for the state and the country.
The declarative priority of certain class interests over all others in the socialist era became an effective weapon in intra-nomenklatura struggles, since anyone could be accused of anti-party activities, deviating from the principles of Marxism-Leninism, or other ideological sins. This weapon was eagerly used by party fundamentalists, statist technocrats, and unprincipled careerists. If one interest group within the nomenklatura found something undesirable, it could easily declare it anti-socialist, which left no room for discussion.
Obviously, in such an atmosphere it was not just difficult, but often politically disadvantageous to distinguish between the interests of the Party, the state, and society. The concrete interests of the ruling regime have always been — and still are — a non-public issue in Russia.
Under Stalin, such interests were very dangerous, even deadly; during the Brezhnev era they were simply not public, and now it is not forbidden to discuss them, but few people want to raise the issue. Of course, political journalism, theory, and practice admit that any regime may have its own interests that might differ from and theoretically even conflict with the interests of the state and society.
However, an analysis of problems and processes in contemporary Russia seldom reveals such differences and their potential and real consequences. On the other hand, an insufficiently clear political and theoretical differentiation between different kinds of interests increases the risk that under some circumstances the interests of the ruling regime may blend with and even sideline other interests. And since these two groups of interests differ, one cannot rule out the possibility of a conflict between them. There is no indication as to what criteria must be used to solve the conflict should it occur.lessnugattexp.gq
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Nor is there any scientific definition of either group of interests. The renunciation of Marxism-Leninism, coupled with the understandable lack of any other ideology in the country at the time, made geopolitics attractive in the eyes of the authorities and security agencies. Above all, geopolitics is an ideology of statism.
Like the idea of?? But it would be an oversimplification to see only the irrational in geopolitics. This attitude does not recognize other types of behavior or leave certain categories of international actors any other alternative except conflict as a way to assert themselves and protect their interests including legal ones. The latter case reveals the peculiar nature of geopolitical interests.
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