Thursday, May 12, 2005

Realism vs. Idealism, Take 37

Henry Kissinger has a worthwhile piece about the "realism" vs. "idealism" debate in today's International Herald Tribune. The key paragraphs, to me, are:

The implementation of the freedom agenda needs to relate the values of the democratic tradition to the historic possibilities of other societies.

We must avoid the danger that a policy focused on our domestic perceptions may generate reactions in other societies rallying around patriotism and leading to a coalition of the resentful against attempts at perceived American hegemony.

A strategy to implement the vision of the freedom agenda needs consensus-building, both domestically and internationally. That will be the test as to whether we are seizing the opportunity for systemic change or participating in an episode.
I also highly recommend Rich Lowry's piece "Reaganism vs. Neo-Reaganism" in the current The National Interest.* He does a nice job of clarifying and disentangling the key arguments in the "neocons" vs. "realists" debate.

* For those who haven't been following it, a new journal under the helm of Francis Fukuyama and the very capable editorship of Adam Garfinkle, The American Interest, will shortly be standing up. You can read about this here and here.


Blogger Anthony said...

Interesting. I find it curious to see Zbig Brzezinski in the lineup and in may ways it's also surprising to see Fukuyama taking a lead in this way given that among the so-called "neo-con" set he's actually been quite critical of the Bush administration (though admittedly more in the matter of policy execution than polict principle).

Generally speaking I tend to prefer broad churches than closed niches, but given that it's not entirely clear whether the neos threw their toys out of the pram or whether the Realists actively conspired to drive them out I am at a loss as to quite whom I should be hurling faeces at.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the new advisory council and list of contributing editors for The National Interest, as of summer 2005:

Henry Kissinger, Honorary Chairman
James R. Schlesinger, Chairman, Advisory Council

Advisory Council:

Morton Abramowitz
Graham Allison
Brian Beedham
Conrad Black
Robert F. Ellsworth
Martin Feldstein
Fred Ikle
Daniel Pipes
Helmut Sonnenfeldt
Ruth Wedgwood
J. Robinson West
Dov Zakheim

Contributing Editors:

Ian Bremmer
Ted Galen Carpenter
Alexis Debat
John Hulsman
David B. Rivkin, Jr.
Paul J. Saunders
Ray Takeyh

10:52 AM  

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