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The “National Interest”

28/09/2010

I have seen this come up in twitter land a few times now. And I saw it written in the various RED and BLUE books of both major parties and its probably a good time to sit down and try and scrawl my thoughts down about it before I see a small puppy or a kitten or something and get distracted.

So where to start?

Well, I can only deal with what is out there. Lets look at one of the most available albeit probably most maligned sources: Wikipedia. Now it is not the first and last pace I advise anyone to get their information from. However, it is usually a very good start.

The national interest, often referred to by the French expression raison d’État (“reason of the State”), is a country‘s goals and ambitions whether economicmilitary, or cultural. The nation is an important one in international relations where pursuit of the national interest is the foundation of the realist school.

The national interest of a state is multi-faceted. Primary is the state’s survival and security. Also important is the pursuit of wealth and economic growth and power. Many states, especially in modern times, regard the preservation of the nation’s culture as of great importance.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_interest

Well the first thing I have to say is DAMN! Those French stick their fingers in everything! <sigh> Still, like I said, it’s a start. Now if we were to take the French at face value here, “National Interest” seems to be some weird concept that involves the ‘country’s goals and ambitions whether economic, military, or cultural‘. Well that’s a pretty open statement right there! I mean where is the bit where it involves MY GOALS AND AMBITIONS! What about MY ECONOMY! Not so fussed on the military bit. But I do have an interest on the CULTURAL bit!

For example my goals and ambitions include writing a book and becoming FAMOUS! and very rich! That also of course includes that economy thing. As for cultural, well how can anyone go past a snag on the barbie and an icy cold beer! VB equals beer if you had any doubts!

But wait. That is really mostly MY interests. Can’t really say to anyone that my interests are the ‘National Interests’. Well I could, but no one will is going to go just for my interests now are they?

So lets step back and try and make them less about me and more about the ‘Nation’. If my bias allows of course.

What are Australia’s goals? I could rattle off a few paragraphs, but how can I surmise it into one small concise sentence. A mission statement if you will. Hmm this may be tough.

How about….

To ensure the country prospers in such a way that all its citizens have opportunities that allow them to better themselves and their families and by so doing, betters the Nation as a whole.

I know what you are thinking. PINKO!!!! But is it really? If you have another way to best describe all these aspects; goals and ambitions, in one sentence then please contribute!

Now, can I fit my PERSONAL ‘National Interest’ into this pinko statement that I came up with? Well… I think I can. See if the country prospers, that means more people can afford to buy my books when I become famous! Further, it all the nations citizens have opportunities, then I too have a shot at this writing/famous thing right? It also means if I ever find the right woman and start a family, then their interests are also covered! So yeah. I am liking my one line definition so far.

Inadvertently, I also seem to cover that cultural/military thing too! God! I’m a genius!

Lets assume that is the line we all go with. Lets apply it to a couple of ISSUES. I could add more but I want to limit this blog to under 10,000 words

1) CLIMATE CHANGE.

Well, I personally think there is something going on here. Hell, even if I have a little doubt about it all, I got to think about the future of my possible/probable family here! Do I want them to grow up in a country/world that has significant problems? Will not these possible problems interfere with their chances for their own interests? Hmm. Quandary. I mean I can always say bugger them! They don’t even exist! Hell they may never exist! However, what about the kids that do exist? That can exist? Should we do something to make sure they have that equal opportunities thing? I wont answer that. I’ll leave it to you. But I will, for sake of argument, say that the answer is maybe yes. So where does that leave me?

Basically it means I will have to look at something that will minimise the chances of destroying or even minimising the chances of all these kids that I don’t have simply because one day there maybe kids I will have. And that does mean, I hate to say it, some hard look at the options. Including Carbon Pricing.

At this point I want to point out that the Coalition refuses to involve itself in this debate because they hope there will be no Climate Change. I mean yes they believe there is something going on, but they want to cross their fingers and hope it will fix itself up. That is there view on “National Interest”. Further, according to the Coalition’s own Blue Book, the themselves are prepared to consider the option of Carbon Pricing. Yet they don’t want the public to know that as it is not in THEIR interest we do so. But wait! Isn’t this a debate about ‘National Interests’? What a weird mob!

Now lets assume the Coalition realises that they best do something and finally admit that Carbon Pricing is a good idea. What now? Last thing we want is to set the price too high as that starts to eat into the other interest, the economy. Still, there is no such thing as a free lunch right? So if we have to have some kind of cost, what is the best way to implement a cost that (a) doesnt cost me too much, and more or equally important (b) does not impose too heavy a cost on business that they all pack up and leave and those possible/probable/improbable kids of mine have their opportunities drastically reduced.

Obviously there is going to be some kind of cost (no free lunches remember) so we got to make up something that address the issue, minimises the cost and does not minimise those opportunities.

Well that’s getting all too complex for me. I think I will need some kind of Climate Change Committee to work that one out. Lets try another issue!

2) POPULATION GROWTH.

Hmm see I am now pretty screwed. How can I be against growth and at the same time want to have the chance to breed? I mean I want some of that baby bonus too you know!

Here is the thing again from the RED/BLUE books. The RED book (ALP) has opted on some rather harsh sticks in regards to this issue. But even with their best restrictions, the numbers in 2050 come up to (close your eyes if you are easily shocked) 35.9 million.

WHAT THE F@@@!!!

Yes. 35.9 million. And we complain about traffic now! Hey maybe the boys(and girls) in BLUE have a better option! YES! They do! They were going to stop all those boats and stuff! And as a result, by 2050, they were going to give us 35.3 million.

What a minute. That can’t be right can it?? I am afraid it is.

So we still have to face an extra 13 million Australians either way here. That’s more workers though right? And more workers mean more income tax so the Nation gets more budget money! But where do we put them? How many Barangaroo Projects can we build??

Of course I am being very very overly simplistic here. Because there are many other issues. And we can see where doing something too much in one will tip the balance on the others. Like income tax. Infrastructure. Eductation. Hospitals. Airports. Suburbs. Jobs. etc etc etc.

All in the ‘National Interest’.

So next time you hear the words ‘National Interest’, you really need to ask yourself do you really mean ‘Your Interests’?

PS: Lets make a debate of this! If you have a better smarter mission statement, put it up here! Add a comment! Add a point. Or demean the ones I have raised. And study the RED/BLUE books for the issues our government is look at dealing with before you think your ideas are better. Okay?

Consider it in the National Interest.

PPS: I’ll add pictures later. For the National Interest.

A. Ghebranious    2010              All Rights Reserved

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One Comment
  1. Matthew Ross permalink

    me likey I like the way you think, however thinking along the lines that 35 mil will happen 1 day, defences of national intrest is going to be a doozie ruff ride in future, so hold on to ur little bit of land , ur good times cause theres going to be a lot more people to share it with, the good times are the best.

    I am sure these views will lead to conversation after conversation the postive goes forward assesing the negative and just keeps going. anywayz

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