When The National Interest was founded in 1985, its editors, Owen Harries and Robert W. Tucker, noted that "This is a new magazine about American foreign policy. Its subject is the content, conduct, and making of American policy, and the ideas that inform all three. Its concern is to make that policy more effective and coherent." Seventeen years later, The National Interest, in partnership with The Nixon Center, is continuing this tradition by launching In the National Interest, an online weekly designed to provide insight and analysis of American foreign policy and world events from a realist perspective. In heralding the launch of this new endeavor, Mr. Maurice R. Greenberg, chairman of the board of directors of the Nixon Center, observed, "What has long been lacking is a thoughtful and cohesive foreign policy--not one that is developed on a daily basis in response to a new event. A strategic view of our interests, more than anything else, has been lacking and identifying what they are is part of that process." This is something that the print quarterly has been doing for nearly two decades; the creation of the online weekly is designed to augment and strengthen that voice.
It is natural for The National Interest and The Nixon Center to collaborate in publishing In the National Interest, to provide a voice calling for principled realism and a firm evaluation of the nation's interests to serve as the basis for U. S. foreign policy. This joint venture is an outgrowth of the synergy between the two institutions, and is well positioned to take advantage of the intellectual resources and the global connections of both the magazine and the center.
In the National Interest is not an on-line carbon copy of the print magazine, but rather, a complement to it-to provide, in a weekly, internet-accessible format, an additional forum to stimulate and focus the discussion. As with the print edition, so with the on-line version-we echo the original editors' sentiments that "The foreign policy of this country can only benefit from such a sustained and open exchange, however sharp the disagreements that may emerge." We hope to foster such exchanges through original reporting, hard-hitting interviews, first-hand reports from all over the globe, and insightful analysis from experts and practitioners alike.
In the National Interest will be the place to hear distinguished voices such as those of Henry Kissinger, James Schlesinger, and Conrad Black. It will feature dispatches filed from around the world--from Moscow, Berlin, Brussels, and London, as well as eyewitness accounts of the events that define international politics--from Kabul to Shanghai. It will be a place to hear the leading practitioners and analysts speak in their own words--with first-person interviews with figures such as Richard Perle and Evgenii Primakov. From the future of nuclear weapons to the politics of financing oil pipelines, from the security implications of trade policy to the linkages between immigration and anti-terrorist policies, In the National Interest promises lively coverage of all aspects of foreign policy.
Why a weekly publication? Over the last two decades, the quarterly format of The National Interest has allowed for in-depth analysis and thoughtful reflection on global trends and the course of U.S. policy. A quarterly allows one to ruminate on the past and anticipate the future. Complementing the print quarterly with an on-line weekly allows for timely commentary on breaking events and immediate responses to changes in the world. It even gives authors who have appeared in The National Interest the opportunity to extend or update their analyses in light of current developments. Thus, we hope that The National Interest's readers and contributors, without forsaking their attachment to the print version, will also take part in the ongoing conversations that In the National Interest will foster.
Why online? This is not an attempt to follow a fad, or to assert that the future of a magazine rests in cyberspace. Yet, it would be folly to ignore the reality that the internet is an important tool for communicating news and shaping opinion. A constant and steady realist perspective on foreign policy is needed on the information superhighway. Moreover, an on-line format allows for easy and rapid distribution across the country, and, indeed, around the world. And just as we hope readers of the "hard copy" The National Interest will peruse the online weekly, so too we anticipate that In the National Interest will introduce a new audience to the print magazine.
Like its print forbear, In the National Interest has a realist temperament: it respects the primacy of self-interest as a motive, and of power as a means, in the international system. This does not mean, however, that this new endeavor, like its quarterly cousin, will exist in an ideological straitjacket. A periodical in which Henry Kissinger, Richard Perle, James Schlesinger, and Evgenii Primakov can all coexist and converse will not be bland pablum. We will emphasize realism-not the formulaic academic sort, but the temperamental philosophical sort-as we always have. But we offer a place for thoughtful writers from a variety of schools--neo-conservatives, neo-liberals, even unreconstructed idealists---to engage in debate. Welcome aboard.
Nikolas Gvosdev is the editor of In the National Interest.