National interest is a county’s goal and ambitions ether economic, military or culture. National interest of a state is multifaceted. Primary is the state’s survival and security. Also important is the pursuit of wealth and economic growth and power.

Many states, especially in modern times, regard the preservation of the nation’s culture as of great importance.

Some claim that Morgenthau is the founder of international relations as an independent discipline. Before him, it was studied under history, political thought or international law. The more interesting side of him is function as a witness to his time.


In Defense of the National Interest (1951) he contended that moral principles must be linked with national interest and called for a reconsideration of the approach of the founding fathers. General moral principles must be filtered through the national interest if an effective political morality is to be attained, he argued.

Upon further investigation, there terms can be collapse into 2 general categories:

  1. The national interest of a single nation.
  2. The degree of communality of interest among two/ more nations.

We have the following six national interests:

  1. Primary interest: include protection of the nation’s physic, political, and cultural identity, survival against encroachment from the outside. It can never be compromised.
  2. Secondary interest: are those falling outside of a but contributing to it.
  3. Permanent interest: are those which are relatively constant over long periods of time. They vary with time, but only slowly.
  4. Variable interest: are what a given nation at any particular time chooses to regard as its national interest.
  5. General interest: are those which the nation can apply in a positive manner to a large geographic area.
  6. Specific interest: are usually closely defined in time/ space and often are the logical outgrowth of general interest.

We also have international interest:

  1. Identical interest: are those in which those nations hold in common.
  2. Complementary interest: those which (although not identical) at least are capable of forming the basis of agreement on specific issues.
  3. Conflicting interest: those not include in 7 & 8. Today, conflicting interest can be transformed through diplomacy, occurrence of events or the passage of time into common or complementary interest.


Interest defined as power is at the core of politics. The pursuit of power is the struggle for control over the minds and actions of others. While many goals are pursued. In international affairs, attention to power is essential because goals are unlikely to be attained without it.


Power is pursued through consequential thinking. That is, actions are taken in anticipation of particular consequences being achieved, not because of prior ethical/ moral imperatives, for instance. Power cannot be successfully pursued with arrogance because the latter leads to misperception and poor judgment.


  1. War and the use of force
  2. alliances
  3. diplomatic negotiations


Today, the concept of the national interest is often associated with politic or realist 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 might weaken the independence of the state. As considerable disagreement exist in every country over what is or is not in the national interest, the term is as often invoked to justify isolationist and pacifistic policies as to justify interventionist or warlike policies.


ü  Robinson, Thomas. W. 1969. National Interests. New York: Wayne State University Press

ü  Morgenthau, Hans & Thompson, Kenneth. 1985. Politics Among Nations, 6thedition. New York: McGraw Hill, p. 165




About Devania Annesya

Devania Annesya, born in 1989 email us at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s