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A realist walks into a bar
and orders a half-empty glass of vodka.
The term realism I think gets under people's skin.
It's hard to compete with a paradigm or perspective that's called realism.
So then you become an idealist, right?
The idealist would walk into the bar and order a half-full glass of vodka.
Realism is a theory essentially about power and security.
States relentlessly seek power and security because they exist in a self-help system.
You seek security, you seek prestige.
And, most of all, a realist would say you seek autonomy.
Because in a world where you can never trust anyone,
you don't want to be interdependent.
Liberals believe in interdependence, think that it leads to peace.
But realists tend to be very skeptical about interdependence,
because who wants to be mutually dependent
in a world that's very dangerous?
Essentially, today's friend could be tomorrow's enemy.
And to the extent that that's true,
you never know who's gonna be aligned against you down the road,
or who's making plans against you now.
So you can never have enough power.
Like, how much is enough power?
I don't know.
Who's gonna be lined up against me in ten years?
Realists don't believe in sort of utopian muddle-headed schemes
that would provide a perpetual peace in the world
based on some notion of a natural harmony of interests among states.
Instead, realists see the world in terms of tragedy and evil,
and essentially, the best you can hope for
is that people choose the lesser evil
and try to be as good as they can be in an evil world.
I guess the bottom line is that realists may not be angels,
but in the real world, angels often turn out to be brutes.
Because if you're moralizing, crusading,
saying we don't like your human rights policies
and we don't like your regime the way --
it's not democratic enough, it's not liberal enough,
well, then you're going to get involved everywhere.
And the problem with promoting democracy is it doesn't work, first of all,
and second of all, it almost always leads to a quagmire.
Again, there is no natural harmony of interests in the world.
Realists understand that, so you just have to live with diversity.
And I think liberals don't understand that.
Most of American wars have been --
and particularly since the end of the Cold War,
have been all about promoting democracy and human rights.
And liberals would actually say that the only just war is one that promotes human rights,
whereas a realist would say the only just war is one that promotes the national interest.
And if there are no threats in the environment, well, then you retrench.
So essentially, if I had to give one sort of view of how realism sees the world,
it would be sort of a Hobbesian war of all against all,
in a state of nature.
The state of nature meaning there is no 911,
there is no world government,
it's just everyone out for themselves.
Which doesn't mean that war always occurs;
it just means that the danger of war
is always lurking in the background of all international politics.


Theory in Action: Realism

58 タグ追加 保存
孫宜君 2019 年 11 月 26 日 に公開
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