Essay on realism and international politics

On alternate weekends, he plays cricket on Staten Island, the sole white man in a cricket club that includes Chuck Ramkissoon, a Trinidadian wiseacre, whose outsize dreams of building a cricket stadium in the city represent a Gatsbyesque commitment to the American Dream/human possibility/narrative with which Hans himself is struggling to keep faith. The stage is set, then, for a “meditation” on identities both personal and national, immigrant relations, terror, anxiety, the attack of futility on the human consciousness and the defense against same: meaning. In other words, it’s the post–September 11 novel we hoped for. (Were there calls, in 1915, for the Lusitania novel? In 1985, was the Bhopal novel keenly anticipated?) It’s as if, by an act of collective prayer, we have willed it into existence.

Critical and normative analysis shines through in the work of Morgenthau. Following Hannah Arendt, Morgenthau makes a distinction between the vita contemplativa and the vita activa , the first concept corresponds to truth and the second to power. In Morgenthau’s world the two realms are at odds with one another as they are oriented towards different goals. While truth tries to unmask power for what it actually is, in order to open up space for normative and critical challenges to the status-quo, power tries to cloak itself and pretend to be the bearer of truth and justice in hope of maintaining the existing order. Morgenthau argues that the task of the scholar is to speak truth to power and expose it for what it actually (Morgenthau, 1970: 14-15). This is the task Morgenthau undertakes when he relentlessly attack rational liberalism for uncritically accepting relations of domination by cloaking it under the banner of ‘rationality’ and ‘harmony of interest’ (Williams, 2005: 96). Rational liberalism then only reinforces the status-quo which Morgenthau claims to be contrary to the purpose of political science as a discipline designed to unsettle power and bring about change (Cozette, 2008: 8).

Essay on realism and international politics

essay on realism and international politics

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