Author Archive

Anne Deighton

Anne Deighton is Professor of European International Politics, University Lecturer, and Fellow, Wolfson College, Oxford.

“National Interest” has entered the lexicon as a phrase that implies a realist approach to International Relations. It carries an assumption that is it possible to define the national as a melding and cohering of all interests, including business, sectoral, regional, and religious, within a country. When politicians use the phrase National Interest they seek to convey a message about the importance of what they are saying. It is a term deployed to allude to grand ideas and strategies and to conjure up an image of national power, rather than to illuminate what is actually going on in the foreign policy process, or routine political activity. The phrase can and has been applied to the military, political and economic spheres—the …

Hylke Dijkstra, a Marie Curie fellow here in Oxford, has brought out a book that is of considerable contemporary interest as the EU struggles to relocate itself more firmly in the world not only of economics and finance, but of international relations. Congratulations to him! Security has been a catch-phrase for our times. Military, civilian, human, legal, economic, environmental? Delivered by states, institutions, by NGOs, by citizens, by armies or judges? The term has been defined almost to ‘meaningless-ness’. Classical defence debates have virtually disappeared from our vocabularies. And no roomful of political scientists could ever agree on an exhaustive list of what the most important security and defence threats actually are. So Dijkstra’s book is an ambitious one.