Foreign Policy and the Political Process by William Wallace (auth.)

By William Wallace (auth.)

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Discussion of the involvement of groups in the foreign policy process merges into discussion of the foreign policy elite. The wider elite, in most countries, consists partly of the leading representatives of non-official and official organisations: the military, for instance, a highly 'interested' section of the elite, or the leaders of the commercial and financial community. As with the attentive publics for foreign policy issues, the relevant elites are a small and specialised stratum of national elite groups.

In practice power is not merely a goal but is also a means to an end'; pursued and husbanded, it may be argued, not for itself but as the most important means available for the furtherance of other goals. 77 31 The most fundamental of these goals, we may agree, are national survival and national security - the protection and preservation of the political system as such; but it is hard to argue that these are the only observable goals. 78 Most governments pursue economic goals as a major foreign policy objective: the pursuit of trading advantages, the advancement and protection of foreign investment, the acquisition of materials, equipment and technological information for their domestic economy.

166 52 5 Crossing the Boundary Political relations between states are not exclusively intergovernmental, channelled neatly through embassies, foreign offices and ministerial contacts. The nation-state has never been as impermeable an entity, with boundaries as secure, as its apologists and theorists have argued. Interference by foreign governments in the internal affairs of other states is as old as civilisation - openly or secretly, by threat or by subsidy. Trading connections, marriage, personal acquaintance, 'the republic of letters', the fellowship of believers, have all created loyalties which crossed the boundaries of the nation-state.

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