The National Interest and the ‘Great Debate’

  • Cornelia Navari


The concept of the ‘national interest’ first appeared in the context of the political contestation over America’s foreign policy following the break-up of allied cohesion after the close of World War II. It set in motion the ‘first great debate’ on the nature and direction of US foreign policy and established Hans Morgenthau’s reputation as the pre-eminent political realist. The debate revealed the different tendencies in the various realist approaches as well as among the idealists. Often understood as a simple debate between ‘idealist’ and ‘realists’, at the time the ‘realists’ were as emphatic in their denunciation of Morgenthau as were the idealists.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cornelia Navari
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BuckinghamBuckinghamUK

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