The 'National Interest' Tradition and the Foreign Policy of Albania
Shembilku, Rozeta E.
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Abstract: With the demise of communism, Albanian foreign policy was punctuated by an era of fundamental change qualitatively separated from the past. That era is being marked by Albania's efforts to build a democratic society that, if successful, would enable Albania grad... read moreually to prosper and enjoy closer ties with neighbours and the Western world as well as with their political, economic and security organisations. Today there is a widespread agreement that Albania's political philosophy and institutional environment are changing significantly along with moral principles and interests with which it feels identified. This turning point in the nation's history has resulted in growing pressure on Albanian leaders to 'reinvent' the foreign policy of Albania. Calls have been issued for the formulation of new strategies and policies that would create conditions that promote Albania's stability, security and prosperity, and would prepare the nation to deal with realities of nationalisms in Southeastern Europe as well as the prospects of regional co-operation and European integration. Clearly, Albanian leaders will need some guidelines for the formulation and analysis of foreign policy as well as for deciding in a systematic fashion, what activities to oppose and where to let events run their course. Traditionally, at least in the Western world, the concept of national interest has served as this standard. A commonly accepted definition of 'national interest' -- at least in the Western world -- refers to it as 'the general and continuing ends for which a nation acts.' However, if the concept of national interest is to be of greater utility, it must be more precisely defined so as to provide a greater measure of policy guidance to decision-makers. For several reasons, defining the new Albania's national interests is particularly difficult. First, this process necessarily takes place in the domestic context, and reflects the character of the internal political system and the relative fortunes of political leaders, parties, factions, and schools of thought. The severe political instability that prevails in Albania produces substantial uncertainty about how it will come to define and defend its national interests. Second, by virtue of its geo-political position and location and the identity of its neighbours, Albania must confront security threats, inescapable diplomatic relationships, worrying scenarios, and neighbouring trouble spots. Establishing priorities among these issues will, at times, be difficult. Third, Albania, as a former-communist society with a legacy of chronic isolation, absent socio-economic modernisation and a daunting democratic deficit, could not immediately put in place a coherent and widely accepted conception of its national interests and requirements -- it could not even conduct a well developed national debate. In view of these considerations, it is not surprising that Albania has yet to determine its identity, its national interests, or its place in the world. In other words, Albania faces the task of developing its national purpose as a political ideology and of articulating a vision of the national interest, which refers to something of substance and weight in the life of nations. That is the aim of this work, to provide an account of the concept of the national interest and to examine the choices that confront Albania as it seeks to define its national interests. The argument here is that, if Albanian foreign policy needs to mature and emerge successful from the trials of the new era, it should follow 'one guiding star, one standard for thought, one rule for action: the national interest.'read less