Realpolitik Redux: Can a Political Vision That Eschews Idealism and Ethics Be Right for America? (Margin Notes)

By Clarke, Kevin | U.S. Catholic, January 2002 | Go to article overview

Realpolitik Redux: Can a Political Vision That Eschews Idealism and Ethics Be Right for America? (Margin Notes)


Clarke, Kevin, U.S. Catholic


IF THE FIRST CASUALTY OF WAR IS TRUTH, THE SECOND surely is hope. A decade after Bush the elder called for a New World Order and beardy postmoderns were discussing the "end of history," watching U.S. political leadership rush the reconstruction of a new Cold War makes a sad spectacle indeed. Modern international relations might have followed a different path than the one now leading into the rocky hillsides of the Hindu Kush. Instead, we've escaped back to the future with the renaissance of "political realism" in America.

Like a moldering pair of bell-bottoms retrieved from a decrepit hamper, realpolitik is suddenly back in fashion and once again turning its sturdy, unapologetic mien upon a recalcitrant world. It is depressing to see with what evident relief our political leadership embraces the old world order, delighted to discover their CIA manuals won't have to be updated anytime soon. We are again ready to make "tough" decisions about other people's lives while reining in problematic civil liberties at home.

With the Taliban on the run, U.S. operatives are already at work in the fields of the sword with our latest allies in Afghanistan--the so-called Northern Alliance. Unfortunately, we may understand as little about these men and their ambitions today as we did back in the 1980s of the people who would eventually rise up as the Taliban. During those years, realpolitik dictated that anyone who could make trouble for the Soviets could deal with America. U.S. operatives paid for mujahideen weapons, military training--even schooling in Pakistani academies of Islamic radicalism.

Watching Bush the younger sign on with the Northern Alliance to rid Afghanistan of the dread Taliban inspires an awful deja vu (and inevitable comparisons to a certain lady who swallowed a fly). We have been down this road before. Previous Kissingerian forays into realpolitik have placed the U.S. into some of history's ugliest footnotes: support for the intemperate Shah of Iran; the bombing of civilians in Vietnam and ultimate destabilization of Southeast Asia; kidnap, murder, assassination, and coup in Chile; the liquidation of hundreds of thousands of "leftists" in Indonesia; a coup in Guatemala that led to four decades of mayhem and butchery; legally dubious escapades in Nicaragua; complicity in the slaughter of uncountable Catholic laypeople, clergy, and religious in El Salvador; support of Saddam Hussein as a balance against Iran, followed by a war against an overly ambitious Hussein, culminating in the shameful abandonment of Kurds and Shiites foolish enough to join a U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Realpolitik Redux: Can a Political Vision That Eschews Idealism and Ethics Be Right for America? (Margin Notes)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.