- Political realism believes that politics, like society in general, is governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature.
- The main signpost of political realism is the concept of interest defined in terms of power, which infuses rational order into the subject matter of politics, and thus makes the theoretical understanding of politics possible. Political realism avoids concerns with the motives and ideology of statesmen. Political realism avoids reinterpreting reality to fit the policy. A good foreign policy minimizes risks and maximizes benefits.
- Realism recognizes that the determining kind of interest varies depending on the political and cultural context in which foreign policy is made. It does not give "interest defined as power" a meaning that is fixed once and for all.
- Political realism is aware of the moral significance of political action. It is also aware of the tension between the moral command and the requirements of successful political action. Realism maintains that universal moral principles must be filtered through the concrete circumstances of time and place, because they cannot be applied to the actions of states in their abstract universal formulation.
- Political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral laws that govern the universe.
- The political realist maintains the autonomy of the political sphere; he asks "How does this policy affect the power and interests of the nation?" Political realism is based on a pluralistic conception of human nature. The political realist must show where the nation's interests differ from the moralistic and legalistic viewpoints.”
Response to Francis Boyle's '2011: Prospects for Humanity?'
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