When the significance of the Bosnian annexation was debated in the Duma in the spring of 1909, the conservative interests .. argued that the annexation had in no way damaged Russian interests or security .. The real enemy, they argued, was Britain, which was trying to push Russia into a war with Germany in order to consolidate British control of world markets. Against this position, the pro-French and pro-British liberals .. called for .. a Triple Alliance that would enable Russia to project power in the Balkan region and arrest the decline of its great power status.
This was one of the central problems confronting all the foreign policy executives (and those who try to understand them today): the 'national interest' was not an objective imperative pressing in upon government from the world outside, but the projection of particular interests within the political elite itself.
St Catherine's College
How Europe Went to War
Harper Collins, 2013©