One of the hot topics in the global political economy has been national interest and the right to sovereignty, the tone and rhetoric of nationalism and the desire for absolute independence from external institutions, was visibly displayed throughout the Brexit campaign and in many nationalist parties throughout the West.
While many of these politicians and right-wing parties have used distasteful and rather xenophobic rhetoric to justify their beliefs, some of them did make justifiable points, arguing that a country should be able to dictate its own politics, be respected in their sovereignty and be able to exercise economic freedoms.
Ironically, most of these countries arguing for the advancement of national interests lead and dominate institutions that violate that exact concept and the sovereign rights of other countries.
Historically, European nations imposed their sovereignty onto countries they chose to invade for a long period of time. Many European nations currently continue to influence and control the politics of countries mostly in the name of ‘economic growth’ and ‘development’.
For countries that already dominate the most powerful institutions in the global political economy to call for further advancement of national interest, in campaigns like ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘Vote Leave, Take Back Control’ it raises concerns of what implications their demands for greater national interest actually hold.
Many of these nationalist parties across Europe have used “emphasis on sovereignty and policies that promote a ‘national preference’” (Halikiopoulou, 2017) to directly advocate for “strict immigration policies, Euroscepticism and policies that place the ‘native’ inhabitants first in a range of areas including welfare and social services” (Halikiopoulou, 2017) – the emphasis on putting the ‘native’ inhabitants first expresses the desire for an expansion of the supremacy and superiority of European ‘natives’ in contrast to ‘foreign’ inhabitants.
In all honesty what would an advancement of national interest entail for countries that are leading in global institutions like the IMF, World Bank and the UN?
Isn’t this just a call for the advancement of European sovereignty and more power, than what already exists, to be placed in the hands of European nations?
Grace Ashenafi M00557803
Daphne Halikiopoulou (February 2017), What is new and what is nationalist about Europe’s ‘new nationalism’?, London School of Economics and Political Science. Available at:
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