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Where would your foreign policy ideas fit on this spectrum?

Idealist
8
22%
Realist
18
49%
Isolationist
7
19%
Other
4
11%
#13905183
Rather than listing out specific foreign policy ideologies, I'd like to take this chance to gauge what pofo's foreign policy priorities are. To that end, I'm broadly dividing foreign policy ideologies upon three basic subdivisions, as follows:

Idealism: Idealists have some sort of universal political ideal, which they believe the use of force and/or international pressure is justified in achieving -- such as, for example, neolibertarians; who favor foreign interventionism to prevent natural rights from being violated abroad.

Realism: Realists believe that the international arena is a lawless free-for-all, and are interested in, and only in, what's in the best interests of their own sphere of influence.

Isolationism: Isolationists believe that they have no right to interfere in the affairs of other nations, except directly for self-defense. They aren't interested in spreading ideology, or expanding their influence abroad. This is distinct from realism in that realists are amenable to intervene abroad if it is in national interests neutralizing a potentially threatening power, or securing resources abroad for the home market).

You may choose any combination of the above, but it would be good if you explained why.

Personally, I'd consider myself a mixture of realist and idealist, somewhat more the former than the latter. My foreign policy philosophy so far is as follows: First and foremost, a nation is beholden to its own constituents, securing its own interests, resources, and geopolitical importance. This does not mean a nation must at all times act in a selfish manner. Displaying magnanimity towards the rest of the world, assuring global security; is a very good way to display the relative power and influence of a nation, and at the same time claim the moral high ground. I don't believe that a nation has the moral obligation to intervene to promote peace, security and stability abroad; but I do believe that doing so is beneficial to the nation from a spiritual standpoint, as it bolsters the morale and pride of its constituents.
#13905218
Machiavelli was a big weenie. The Prince was actually well-disguised satire.
#13905222
Some convex combination of all three.
#13905236
Machiavelli didn't mean to propose the best regime to the people, the regime he would like to live in. The brilliant thing in his book is to describe the bare truth of how people are been controlled. That's all. I don't think that the purpose of his book is of autopen regime, rather of revealing the cards of the rulers.
#13905240
Can you explain?


I don't have a coherent philosophy on foreign policy. I can fall into any of the three camps depending on context, situation, my mood, etc.
#13905261
LehmanB wrote:Machiavelli didn't mean to propose the best regime to the people, the regime he would like to live in. The brilliant thing in his book is to describe the bare truth of how people are been controlled. That's all. I don't think that the purpose of his book is of autopen regime, rather of revealing the cards of the rulers.


You may very well be right and I am the first to admit that I am not expert on this matter. However, I have yet to see any extensive claim of him writing The Prince as satire until around after World War II, which some will say is the beginning of the decline of the West so it is very well possible that modern soft philosophy has polluted the idea of Machiavelli's work so that it is not so much of a threat (and a backhand to their opponents). Regardless if the work was polluted or not, it has served as an inspiration for many leaders, diplomats, and common men in leadership, foreign relations, and even those that do not deal with "controlling people" but controlling one's own finances and thinking rationally by making decisions in everyday life.

Like I said, I am not expert (and you are probably more knowledgable on the subject than I am considering you have him as your avatar) on this and perhaps you are right, but I refuse to accept anything outright.
#13905270
until around after World War II, which some will say is the beginning of the decline of the West


I rather see it as an effective death knell.

We just don't know we're dead yet.

However, in darkness there can be light and in death there is rebirth.
#13905276
I'm primarily Realist. My foreign policy viewpoint is primarily predicated on what is of benefit to the American people and the sustained power of the American state. That said, I do not reject the use of idealistic means to realistic ends, nor would I callously ignore human suffering when it can easily be stopped. For instance, humanitarian objectives can be good public relations and thus net a country soft power over other nations, in addition to often producing little damage upon the benefactor state. The minimum amount of force required to attain such an objective should be used so as to not strain national resources, meaning a common use of Special Forces, assassinations, blockades, financial sanctions, and precision strikes rather than outright occupation and nation-building. Thus, my foreign policy thinking best approximates historical figures like Dwight Eisenhower and modern thinkers like Daniel Drezner.

Also, House, your characterization of neolibertarianism is inaccurate. What you've described is a liberal viewpoint that is shared by neoconservatives. Neolibertarians tend to be realists, albeit of a distinct variety that rejects Kissinger-esque ultra-realpolitik as silly. Neal Boortz is a consummate realist, for instance. Indeed, one of the leading thinkers in realist IR theory today is a neolibertarian - the aforementioned Daniel Drezner. The only idealists who could be described as libertarian are Objectivists, and they reject the label.
Last edited by Harold Saxon on 25 Feb 2012 20:14, edited 1 time in total.
#13905284
I'm a realist for the most part, however, I can see when some idealist principles can be important. For example, I think the West should have intervened in Rwanda (though in hindsight I also believe that would have been in its "soft" interests too), and some principles (ideals) are likely to determine what does the "national interest" consist of. Likewise, I think in some situations (e.g. internal turmoil) isolationism can be justified as well (though even these are subject to fulfilling basic geopolitical objectives).

Still, overall I could be considered to be a realist.
#13905291
Machiavelli described many methods that were been used. Revealed the bare truth of how the public is manipulated.

The other side of the equation (of giving tools to people who want to control others)- is that revealing the manipulations to the people, will disarm those who uses it. And I think that the public did not want to see it. He rejected the blue pill of reality. Prefered repressing as long as it was captured. But that is my psychological interpretation.
...
#13905324
However, I have yet to see any extensive claim of him writing The Prince as satire until around after World War II, which some will say is the beginning of the decline of the West so it is very well possible that modern soft philosophy has polluted the idea of Machiavelli's work so that it is not so much of a threat (and a backhand to their opponents).


The Prince is satire, full stop. It wasn't even actually well disguised since the book was dedicated to one of the men who expelled from Florence for being Republican. Machiavelli wrote pro-Republican essays before writing the Prince, and after. It was satire.
#13905355
Isolationist Mankind is a local and ephemeral phenomenon that is not benefited by a long view of history or a heroic episode. eg. Bush Jr was a jackass that did more harm than good.

Realist when push comes to shove (So, not a realist in that I don't agree with balance of power theory). eg. Bush Sr acted realistically, I don't see this as a balance of power issue so much as a resource war, and I would have preferred that we never had such a pressing interest in the Rumaila field.

Idealist only internally (so, not an Idealist in that this is not foreign policy). eg. foreign aid to Africa has merely increased the magnitude of the coming population collapse, but if Americans don't quit screwing each other over it may become necessary to violently redefine America.

I strive to personally embody my ideology; I don't assume I know what is best for others but I know that I must strive to be the best I can be. On the other hand I refuse to be bullied. Military readiness (Martial Arts) is part of my idealism; kind of a Swiss attitude.

I am antagonistic to the idea that nations and rule of law are necessities of human nature. eg. Cultural prosthesis are either a form of entertainment or therapy, an actual technological device , or an invention of the parasite class - and therefore class is the actual division of contention instead of nation, which to a modern American is merely the trenches constructed between the classes, and not a meaningful group identity.
#13905452
Very hard to tell for me, but I'm largely centrist in foreign policy. Moderately non-interventionist in the current American situation, and I generally feel that the self-interest of our nation should be put above the interest of others, so I lean towards realism in that respect. I do lean towards idealism in some cases with regards to very basic rights being violated and when it is not too conflicting with the nation's self-interest. So I'm going to vote for both realism and idealism, about 50/50.

Harold Saxon wrote:Also, House, your characterization of neolibertarianism is inaccurate. What you've described is a liberal viewpoint that is shared by neoconservatives. Neolibertarians tend to be realists, albeit of a distinct variety that rejects Kissinger-esque ultra-realpolitik as silly. Neal Boortz is a consummate realist, for instance. Indeed, one of the leading thinkers in realist IR theory today is a neolibertarian - the aforementioned Daniel Drezner. The only idealists who could be described as libertarian are Objectivists, and they reject the label.

I think that it depends on the libertarian, and the ethical viewpoint that they subscribe to. For example, a utilitarian libertarian may demonstrate realist policies, whilst a natural rights libertarian may be fond of idealism.

On a side note, what exactly is neolibertarianism? :?: I couldn't find a wiki article.
Last edited by Fraqtive42 on 25 Feb 2012 23:55, edited 2 times in total.

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