The "Realists" Who Aren't

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Adam's Apple, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Realists Who Aren't
    By Paul Greenberg, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
    Nov. 15, 2005

    Is there a less realistic school of American foreign policy than the one whose leaders go by the name "realists"? Again and again, these realists tend to be ambushed by reality. Which is what happens when you try to formulate a foreign policy for a country based on certain ideals—like all men having been created equal with certain unalienable rights—without taking those ideals and their universal appeal into account.

    Tyrannies collapse, freedom buds, yet the realists are always surprised. Because they hold it self-evident that American foreign policy should be about strategic interests and nothing more. Ideals just get in the way, or, worse, can lead to a dangerous, Wilsonian moralism in foreign affairs.

    Each generation of Americans seems to produce its apostles of realism in foreign policy. Especially when the country hits a rough patch abroad. For defeat is the health of what is called realism, an approach that can at times bear a marked resemblance to traditional American isolationism, the unrealistic belief that we can withdraw from the world.

    Today's realists seek out every American setback; each one can be cited as a sign of things to come unless the country disengages from the world's troubles. It's unrealistic, we're told, to think that democracy will ever take hold in Iraq or any place else in the Arab world. (Just as we were once told that Germans and Japanese were incorrigibly autocratic; it was built into their nationalistic genes.) So forget those successful elections in Iraq; only bad news is real news.

    No wonder Brent Scowcroft, a key adviser to the first President Bush and an honor graduate of the Kissinger school of realpolitik, construes even the good news out of the Middle East as bad. In a long interview in The New Yorker magazine, he deplores every sign of freedom in that dysfunctional region. Far from encouraging peace and stability, he explains, the rise of freedom abroad will only upset things.

    for full article: http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/greenberg111505.asp
     
  2. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    It's that old stereotype coming back. Any time you call somebody a pessimist, they'll immediately correct you by saying that they're a 'realist.' The myth that only bad news is real news is one of the oldest in the book.
     

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