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The Neoconservatives Have Declared War on the Realists

The Neoconservatives Have Declared War on the Realists

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In recent years, I’ve increasingly suspected that when it comes to foreign policy, the realists offer some of the most sane observations.

These suspicions were confirmed earlier this year when after the election of Donald Trump, John Mearsheimer, one of modern realism’s current standard bearers, wrote in The National Interest that Trump should “adopt a realist foreign policy” and outlines a far better foreign policy agenda that what we’ve seen coming from Washington.

And what is this realist foreign policy? For Mearsheimer, some main tenets include:

  • Accepting that the US attempt at nation building in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen “has been an abject failure.”
  • “Washington [should] respect the sovereignty of other states even when it disagrees with their internal policies.”
  • “Spreading democracy, especially by force, almost always fails.”
  • Understanding that “America’s terrorism problem … is fueled in part by the U.S. military presence on Arab territory as well as the endless wars the United States has waged in the greater Middle East.”
  • “The Trump administration should let local powers deal with ISIS.”
  • Recognizing that Russia poses no real threat to the United States: “Even if Russia modernizes its economy and its population grows in the years ahead — big ifs — it will still be unable to project significant military power beyond eastern Europe.”
  • “A Syria run by Assad poses no threat to the United States”
  • “The new president should also work to improve relations with Iran. “
  • “Encourage the Europeans to take responsibility for their own security, while gradually reducing the remaining U.S. troops there.”

Against Liberal Hegemony

There are some specific recommendations, but in a larger context, Mearsheimer is reflecting what has been building for years among realists led by Barry Posen, Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, and Harvey Sapolsky, among others: an opposition to so-called “liberal hegemony”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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