Friday, October 13, 2006
Can Leftists Be Realists?
There is no need for me to reinvent the wheel--an excellent summary has already been posted at Stop the Spirit of Zossen.
New America should be posting video of the event and when it is available I'll notify readers of TWR.
Some initial thoughts:
--the phrase "unintended consequences" was interestingly enough used by representatives of both camps as something to be aware of in assessing policy;
--following a point made by Paul Starobin, FDR was invoked as a progressive icon who was also quite the realist in foreign policy
--the real question is while there might be points of convergence or even occasional agreement, does realism serve as a sufficient base for a new broad-based coalition in U.S. foreign policy? Can "balance of power" blend with "community of power"?
I'll post more on this question shortly.
I consider myself both a progressive and a realist (in the sense of power politics).
Attended last night's event and found it an interesting discussion, although as so often people want to fight old battles and stress their ideological purity rather than get things achieved.
I think that progressives have a real problem dealing with the reality of power and interests; that people are essentially selfish; that a state needs to be able to resort to force when reason is insufficient as a persuader. I think that progressives may like realist critiques but they still think that the ideal world is just "over the horizon." It was a progressive world view that led us into debacles in Somalia and Haiti.
Yeah, Bush I was such a progressive, sending troops to feed the Somalis. Probably got the idea channeling Lee Atwater.
exteme prejudice by left wing
In order to retain any meaning, it has to go beyond a synonym for “practical”; it would be hard to find anyone that argues we should have an impractical policy as a matter of theory. A theory is largely defined by laying out preconditions that determine that practicality of various courses of action.