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Maximizing Naitonal Security Through Foreign Policy

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Foreign policy can be understood as a set of political goals that aims to outline how a particular state will interact with others For Beach (2012), “Foreign policy actions can be undertaken using a variety of different instruments, ranging from adopting declarations, making speeches, negotiating treaties, giving other states economic aid, engaging in diplomatic activity such as summits, and the use of military force”. No matter which instruments are used, the primary objective of states in outlining their foreign policies is to maximise their national security. As such, states go about maximising national security through different means such as by military force, economic prosperity and/or the welfare of its people. However, it has been difficult to analyse to what extent national security is a primary objective of states. Wolfers (1962) notes that it as an ambiguous concept because there is no universal understandings of what constitutes national security. Because of this, theories of International Relations have been important in explaining states’ motives and how they go about maximising state security, if it is their prime objective at all. This essay will first analyse the concept of national security through realism, which focuses on military power. It then assesses the liberal understanding, which espouses cooperation through liberal internationalism and broadening the concept of national security. Then, the constructivist position discusses the roles of political actors in placing emphasis on certain security issues to heighten it to a national security concern.

For realists, the concept of national security is an effective balancing of external threats. The realist tradition of IR theory is said to have stemmed from th...

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