National Interest by Joseph Frankel (auth.)

By Joseph Frankel (auth.)

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G. Nicholas 46/Theories of NatioTUil Interest Rashevsky included 'interaction among nations' as one of the forms of interaction among social groups). Sometimes their models and theories are applicable only to international behaviour. tices. The 'structural-functional' analysis developed by Talcott Parsons and Robert K. Merton, could be applied to foreign policy; moreover, in this context, it would escape much of the fundamental weakness of which it is often accused; that it presupposes social goals and purposes but cannot explain how these are established.

Such arrangement, however, depends upon systematic planning of foreign policy and rarely, if ever, actually takes place; only Soviet foreign policy in some of itS aspects can be regarded as a reasonable example. The interrelationship between the aspirational and the operational levels is of great political significance as the distance between the two levels plays a major part in determining political dynamism. Dynamism is absent in the two limiting cases: when the aspirations are clearly beyond any chance of achievement and when they are pitched so low that they merely approximate actual policies.

A similar claim can be made for a distinction proposed by Arnold Wolfers 3 into 'possession goals' and 'milieu goals', according to whether they refer to the domestic or the international environment. This is an analytical category particularly useful for sloughing off the crudities of the power theory because it enables us to group separately the elements relating to the state in its aspects as a relatively autonomous sovereign unit engaged in power relations, and those relating to it as an interdependent subunit of the international system.

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