Government policy makers and academic experts not infrequently speak of a foreign policy ‘concept’. This refers to a principle in some way summarizing or guiding the particular policies that a government, often a new incoming government, will adopt on taking office. The concept may be ‘containment’, ‘bridging the missile gap’, ‘de-escalation’, or ‘spreading democracy’, but all are metaphorical, and inevitably so. Metaphors are not mere words or fanciful notions; they embody modes of thought, and they structure the ‘discourse’ of foreign policy in the deepest sense-not just the words used but also the mode of thinking.