Sovereignity and the National Interest

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Much of the world today is torn between national populists and liberal democrats. The national populists put the nation first; the liberal democrats argue for something closer to multicultural multilateralism. In doing so, they offer distinct visions of how sovereignty and the national interest interact. For national populists, sovereignty is an expression of the national interest; whoever wields sovereign authority should ensure that the national interest is served. For liberal democrats, sovereignty is the responsibility to determine what is in the nation’s best interests and then to reconcile competing claims and distribute scarce resources accordingly. The two groups also offer contrasting views of world order. The national populists focus on self-help and mutual respect. The liberal democrats emphasise integration, cooperation, and solidarity.

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Erik Jones