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BA LLB 2nd Semester Notes Pdf
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Q. 1. Define national interest and discuss its kinds.
Ans. Definitions of National Interest
1. Objectivist and Subjectivist Definitions. Joseph Frankel has divided the various approaches adopted to define the concept of national interests into two broad categories-Objectivist and subjectivist. In the first category are included all those approaches which view national interest as a concept that can be defined or examined with the help of some definable criteria. In the second one are included those definitions which seek to interpret national interest as a “constantly changing pluralistic set of subjective references.”
2. Broad and Single Interest Definition. Differences regarding the meaning of the concept of national interest are found between those who view it in a broad sense and those who conceive it in terms of a number of concrete single interests. Generally, the decisions at the operational level are conceived in a narrow context and only a few dimensions are taken into account. At this level, the process of reasoning is inductive while at other levels it becomes more deductive. Again, the people with theoretical inclination take a greater interest in the aggregate, while those with scientific bias lay more emphasis on the single dimension of the concept.
3. Brooking’s Institute. National interest is “the general and continuing ends for which a nation acts.”
4. Charles Lerche and Abul Said. National interest is “the general long-term and continuing purpose which the state, the nation, and the government all see themselves as serving.”
5. Dyke. National interest is an interest which the states seek to protect or achieve in relation to each other. While the above two definitions interpret national interest in terms of, permanent guide to the action of the state, the definition of dyke mainly refers to the national interest as an action. Obviously, the first two definitions seem to be more logical.
Development of the Concept
In ancient and medieval times the states pursued certain substantial interests on the basis of which their relations were conducted. In the early middle ages, the laws of Christianity formed the basis of these relations, and the státes were expected to ensure that their laws conformed to those principles. However, with the emergence of the secular power, the Church was looked upon as the enemy of national interest.
The national interest meant the interest of a particular monarch in holding fast to his territories due to extending his domains and*in the aggrandizement of his empire. In course of time, the popular bodies challenged the authority of the monarchies and asserted themselves. This resulted in the growth of democracy. Now the honor of the prince was replaced by the honor of the nation. Thus the concept of
national interest passed from the feudal and monarchical system to the republic and democratic system. It soon gained common usage in the political and diplomatic literature. Thus the term ‘national interest gained currency only, after the emergence of the national state system, an increase in popular political control, and the great expansion of economic relations.
Types of National Interest
Thomas w. Robinson has broadly classified the national interest into six categories, viz., primary interest, secondary interest, permanent interest, variable interest, general interest, and specific interest. These are as follow:
1. Primary interest. These include the preservation of the physical, political, and cultural identity of the state against possible encroachments from outside powers. These interests are permanent and the state must define them at all costs. No compromise of these interests is possible.
2. Secondary interest. These are less important than the primary interests through quite vital to the existence of the state. This includes the protection of the citizens abroad and ensuring of diplomatic immunities for the diplomatic staff.
3. Permanent interest. These refer to the relatively constant and long-term interests of the state. The change in the permanent interests is rather slow. An example of this type of national interest is provided by the determination of Britain to maintain freedom of navigation during
the past, few centuries for the protection of her overseas colonies and growing trade.
4. Variable interest. These refer to those interests of a nation, which are considered vital for national good in a given set of circumstances. Thus the variable interests can diverge from both primary and permanent interests. These are largely determined by “the cross currents of personalities, public opinion, sectional interests, partisan politics, and political and moral folkways.”
5. General interest. These refer to those positive conditions which apply to a large number of nations or in several specified fields such as economics, trade, diplomatic intercourse, etc. For example, it was the general national interest of Britain to maintain a balance of power on the European continent.
6. Specific interest. Through the logical outgrowth of the general interest-specific interests are defined in terms of time or space. For example, Britain considered it a specific national interest to’ maintain the independence of the low countries for the sake of preservation of a balance of power in Europe.
7. Identical Interest. In addition to the above six types of national interests. Prof. Robinson refers to three other interests which he calls “international interests.” These include identical interests, complementary interests, and conflicting interests. The Identical interests refer to interests which are held in common by a number that Europe should not be dominated by any single power.
8. Complementary interest. These refer to those interests, which though not identical, can form the basis of agreement on some specific issues. For example, Britain was interested in the independence of Portugal
against Spain because it wanted to control the region of the Atlantic Ocean. Similarly, Portugal was interested in the British maritime hegemony because this was a safe means of defense against Spain.
9. Conflicting interest. These are interests other than identical and complementary interests. These are not fixed. These undergo a change due to the force of events and diplomacy. Thus, at the present time, conflicting interests may become complementary interests in the future. Likewise, the complementary and identical interests may also get transformed into conflicting interests.