Social 20-1 Position Paper – To What extent?

Source: No country should seek to extend its interest over any other country or people; rather, every country should be left free to pursue its own goals.  Every country should be unrestricted, secure, and confident in pursuing these interests, regardless of the country’s size or strength.  

National interest, a force that drives a nation to interact with, or otherwise influence others, is known throughout the world somewhat as a double edged sword in the context of international relations.  This of course, meaning a nation’s pursuit of its own national interest can cause harm or foul to it or any sovereign bodies it may interact with.   The source literally states, however, that countries, even those with the power to do so, should not have any influence whatsoever on other nations.  The source however would stand overwhelmingly against this concept of internationally influential pursuit of national interest in contemporary society.  This source should be embraced to the extent that not intervening in a nation’s actions would result in conflict or harm to another.   With certainty, one can infer that this source would likely be that of an activist or similar organization in disfavour of countries that take advantage of others for their own gain.  This loyalty may be evidence of a bias based on past experience of perhaps suffering the consequences of another nation’s overarching national interest or interests.  Such parasitic practices, however, especially in the context of international relations, are objectively unacceptable.  This source should be rejected to the extent that intervening in a nation’s actions would do well to protect the lives of the innocent, is necessary intervention, or has otherwise been implied or requested.


The pursuit of goals and interests outside of a nation’s physical borders is a very common practice today.  The source would be better suited specifically opposing a more extreme form of corruption and relentless pursuit of national interest, instead of a seemingly vague argument against national interests as a whole whenever they influence another nation in one way or another.  In the early to mid 20th century through the events of WWI and WWII, national interest had attempted to be a force for the objective good, but ended up being infamous for great malfeasance when national interests were fulfilled by ideological extremists.   The source’s negative outlook on national interest would logically stem from arguments against the ideology of fascism as was seen during this time period.  Additionally, it thus is logical to argue that the immense damages to human life and society as a whole were caused by cases, albethem extreme, but cases nonetheless of the relentless pursuit of national interests.  For example, the national interest of a government founded on rather overkill soviet idealism, such as the USSR, saw the fruits of pursuing its national interest as mass death caused by a government-instituted famine in the Ukraine in the early 1900s, preceding the start of WWII.  In this way and through this methodology, the pursuit of national interest is understandably viewed with harsh and negative connotations.  


National interest has been the motivating force behind serious harm in the past, don’t get it twisted, but, on a smaller scale, it is practical and applicable today as a force for benefit.  As the source states, no single country should, under any circumstances, interfere or impede the progress of other nations to pursue their own national interests, bethem detrimental or charitable.  While it is fair to say that, from the examples stated previously, national interest certainly has the potential to be catastrophic, so too does it have the potential to do some good for the world.  The source may as well be calling for every nation of the world to adopt extreme isolationist policy, as seen by early-to-mid imperial Japan in the 18th-19th century.  Isolationist policies aforementioned would include virtually the complete and utter abandonment of pursuing global issues, involvement in global organizations, aiding countries in need, or even so much as foreign trade.  While, sure, it is completely fair to argue that this isolationist policy did not result in any ethnic groups outside Japan nearly being extinguished by genocide, it is ridiculous for the source to practically insist such isolationism become widespread in contemporary society.    


See, the argument directly contrasting to the source would be that national interest is simply not malevolent in nature.  Since national interest in and of itself is so general, so too are its applications.  It is simple to understand where the source is coming from.  Nations extending their interests over one another can and has been a serious problem in history.  As a well known example in recent history, Canada has been involved in Afghanistan for the purpose of providing humanitarian aid, including supplying infrastructure, clean water, and defense for the citizens there that are unfortunate victims of terrorism.  Canada’s national interest here is protecting the innocent and relieving the suffering of citizens; the fulfillment of this national interest would undoubtedly be for good. This evidence of national interest being a force for good refutes the source’s opinion on the matter easily.  

Society should generally reject the source and its perspective that the pursuit of national interest internationally must be avoided at all costs.  Although 20th Century history has examples aplenty of this pursuit going pretty far overboard, society today knows better than to let the rise of fascists go unchecked.  The national interest of countries with good intentions for those it seeks to influence must be pursued because it is the responsibility of more developed nations to come to the aid of those in need, otherwise, the poor in the world will only get poorer, and the rich are only destined to get richer.  National interest has no choice left in the present age but to be a force that lets those less fortunate have the same opportunities to be part of a developed nation.