Political Nuts and Bolts
Often economic-assistance goals are drawn by donor nations on the basis of a political realism that at root is cynical and largely divorced from humanitarian ideals. That fact is not always apparent because political leaders customarily package cynical, short-range programs in religious and moral rhetoric--a contradiction that explains in part why so many people have turned away in disgust from politics, and why some have even turned against our system.
Those who espouse political realism want to reject a moralistic approach which demands utopian results, or which tends to see the United States crusading as the children of light against the children of darkness. Such an approach leads to misguided efforts that are not only dangerous, but likely to disillusion people through failure. Against this, realism in politics obviously supplies a healthy dose of caution. But political realism fails precisely the test of realism, if it avoids coming to terms with insistent needs, and if it does not take into account the yearning of many