the real interests of the country as a whole. To determine what is in the national interest a community needs common agreement on its goals and the extent to which any proposed action contributes to those goals. This is not always easy to obtain. As P. A. Reynolds states in An Introduction to International Relations: "The words, 'the national interest' are among those most frequently to be heard from the lips of politicians. Many of them, if pressed, might be hard put to say with precision what the words mean, still less to define the criteria by which the interest is to be determined. The term commands such obesiance that to claim an act to be in the national interest immediately, if sometimes spuriously, increases the act's acceptability; and consequently groups in all polities endeavour to identify with the national interest."
A political and strategic interest of the United States that guides the identification of recipients of foreign assistance and the fundamental characteristics of development assistance.
The national interest concerns the well-being and security of the United States. It applies to the furtherance of the Nation's foreign policy objectives and overseas interests; protection of the Nation from internal subversion, sabotage, espionage, and other illegal acts as well as from foreign aggression; promotion of the domestic well-being and the economic and productive strength of the Nation; and fulfillment of the public trust through the proper and lawful conduct of the Government's business.