Still Worth Fighting Over? A Joint Response   [open pdf - 55KB]

"Readers may recall that in the Autumn 2002 issue of the 'NavalWar College Review', Professor James F. Miskel, of the National Security Decision Making Department, argued that the U.S. government often defines national interests in such general terms that its specific goals are not clearly communicated to the American public and to other governments. In the Spring 2003 issue, Professor P.H. Liotta, also of the National Security Decision Making Department, responded with a counter-essay arguing that while distinguishing core strategic interests--those for which Americans would be willing to die--from significant interests is almost never easy, it is also essential. Liotta disagreed with Miskel that U.S. national interests are 'vague platitudes' used by policy makers and argued that they are in fact long-term, enduring, abstract principles that are embedded in the U.S. Constitution. He disagreed as well with Miskel's argument that national security strategies are simple expressions of national interests. […] After further consideration of each other's views, we agreed to disagree on key issues that involve defining and declaring interests and the fundamental purpose of publishing a formal national security strategy (and we have promised to continue to argue with each other). There are areas, nonetheless, where our views are less contradictory than our respective essays might suggest. We thought it would be worth clarifying these areas of agreement because, in light of the latest 'National Security Strategy of the United States', there are issues where we have mutual concerns about how, when, and where the concept of national interests is used and abused."

2003 P. H. Liotta and James F. Miskel
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Naval War College Review: http://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/Naval-War-College-Review.aspx
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Naval War College Review (Winter 2004), v. 57 no. 1, p. 102-108
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