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View Diary: The Most Incredible Video of the Libyan Revolution (95 comments)

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  •  realpolitik is still a reasonable explanation (3+ / 0-)
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    Lawrence, joe from Lowell, raistuumum

    What's changed is the realpolitik calculation because the whole world environment has changed.

    Before, the realpolitik calculated that puppet dictators were in the national interest.

    Now, it's becoming clearer that democracies are easier to work with and more stable than puppet dictatorships. Even democracies like Venezuela which produce anti-American leaders like Chavez still sell their oil, for example.

    The realpolitik of 2011 is not the same as realpolitik of 1953. (Education levels, womens' rights, cold war, communication changes, changes in US state dept racism, success of democracies like the Philippines, S Korea, Indonesia, S America - even when flawed, etc. It's not the same world.)

    •  Interesting point. That's not the traditional.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raistuumum

      meaning of "realpolitik," though.  The belief that democracies are "easier to work with" is, itself, anathema to the principles of realpolitik, as it has been commonly defined.

      Realpolitik posits an inevitable conflict between national interest and values, though.  Its opposite, liberalism, has generally accepted that distinction, and made the case for pursuing values on moral grounds.

      To argue that there isn't, or needn't be, a conflict between the two represents a "third way."

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 03:05:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that doesn't sound right (0+ / 0-)

        The whole point of realpolitik is to ignore values and only focus on national interest.

        If  a democracy is in the national interest (i.e. better to work with than a puppet dictatorship), then your country should support a democracy based purely on realpolitik principles.

        There's nothing intrinsic about a democracy that makes it anathema to realpolitik. After all, Machiavelli himself considered a republic a more stable state.

        The conflict between values and interest isn't intrinsic to the concept of realpolitik. Opposing your values isn't automatically in the national interest. The point of realpolitik is when then two conflict, the interest should always win.

        And the point I'm making is that purely from national interest principles, supporting independent democracies is turning out to be a better strategy than playing clever games with puppet dictatorships.

        (And now I've repeated myself but can't figure out what should be cut.)

        •  "Democracy" vs. "a democracy" (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not saying realpolitikers are unwilling to support democratic governments or movements when they are clearly on our side.  One need only look at the Solidarity union in Poland to see that.

          I'm saying that realpolitik views democracy, liberalism, and other values as irrelevant.  They'll work with the good guys, they're work with the bad guys, it just doesn't matter, as long as they're our guys.

          As opposed to liberalism, which argues for supporting democracy regardless of whether it will result on a government that sides with us in power conflicts.

          purely from national interest principles, supporting independent democracies is turning out to be a better strategy than playing clever games with puppet dictatorships.

          I agree.  In doing so, events are proving the postulates of realpolitik wrong.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 09:12:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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