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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

It is axiomatic that the foreign policy decisions of any country, including those of the United States, should be derived and based upon an understanding of the “national interest.” Yet there is no single, overarching conception of what constitutes the national interest or what should be considered as national interests. We see the idea of the national interest as an important starting point—a concept that enables national security policymakers to articulate what matters to the country and how a nation should set its priorities. National interests are enduring, such as protecting the integrity of the state and promoting economic prosperity. The domestic political system, international system, and organizational interests within the national security bureaucracy also shape national interests.

Keywords: national interests, grand strategy, U.S. foreign policy, hegemony, international security

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