The Virtues of Political Realism

Christopher Vasillopulos


Despite the simplicity of its objectives, Realism has proved difficult to apply, all the more so once the military option is undertaken. The chief advantage of Realism is its confrontation of the facts, especially the costs of war. It seems therefore that, for all its acceptance of the harsh realities of the world of Nation-States, Realism is not only a more successful way to account for the behavior of Nation-States; it may be a preferable way to formulate policy. Not only does it focus on achievable goals, by focusing on the facts and appreciating the limited ability of dealing with them, it weighs the costs of desirable outcomes. This may not be a very thrilling way to deal with the problems of the world. But it does promise to be far less destructive than its more radical, read “Idealistic” alternatives.

Key Words: Realism, Idealism, Cold War, Neo-conservative Idealism, Gulf War, Vietnam War

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