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National interest to global reform: patterns of reasoning in British foreign policy discourse

Humphreys, A. R. C. ORCID: (2015) National interest to global reform: patterns of reasoning in British foreign policy discourse. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 17 (4). pp. 568-584. ISSN 1369-1481

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/1467-856X.12053


Discussion of the national interest often focuses on how Britain's influence can be maximized, rather than on the goals that influence serves. Yet what gives content to claims about the national interest is the means-ends reasoning which links interests to deeper goals. In ideal-typical terms, this can take two forms. The first, and more common, approach is conservative: it infers national interests and the goals they advance from existing policies and commitments. The second is reformist: it starts by specifying national goals and then asks how they are best advanced under particular conditions. New Labour's foreign policy discourse is notable for its explicit use of a reformist approach. Indeed, Gordon Brown's vision of a 'new global society' not only identifies global reform as a key means of fulfilling national goals, but also thereby extends the concept of the national interest well beyond a narrow concern with national security.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:38528
Uncontrolled Keywords:national interest;New Labour;British foreign policy;global order
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