Czech Discourse on Missile Defense and National Interest
AbstractThe presented analysis empirically examines the Czech discourse on Missile Defense (part one) and situates this object of study into the context of a more theoretically and conceptually oriented (though with important practical repercussions) discussion of the utility and possible uses of the category of national interest (part two). The period spanning from January 2007 to August 2008 is investigated. In part one, two crucial dynamics are investigated: first, we pose the question of how the issue got into the Czech Republic in the first place and how the Czech government framed it; second, we tackle the question of how the issue subsequently got exported from the country and was presented as an international issue. We will approach the internalisation of the issue by the means of a thematic discourse analysis; the externalisation of the issue will be analysed through the means of a content analysis. Additionally, the Czech societal debate about the issue is examined through an analysis of metaphors. As for part two, the findings are inserted into a procedural conceptualisation of national interest in order to connect the theorisation of foreign and security policy with its practice and to find out whether or not the issue can be regarded to be in “the Czech national interest”. Three criteria of national interest are employed: relevance, consensus, and external acceptability. As the discussion makes clear, the issue in question has not been “in the Czech national interest” as far as the framework used. The cardinal reason for such an inference consists in the significant divergence between the governmental interest, which was hegemonically securitised and unreasonably presented as the alleged Czech national interest, and the public interest, which consistently opposed the installation. Followingly, the article ends with some concluding thoughts.
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