Is it the wave of the future for foreign policy? Beats me, but Robert Wright in the NYT makes a good case for it. [Permanently archived here].The money grafs are at the end.
This immersion in the perspective of the other is sometimes called “moral imagination,” and it is hard. Understanding why some people hate America, and why terrorists kill, is challenging not just intellectually but emotionally. Yet it is crucial and has been lacking in President Bush, who saves time by ascribing behavior that threatens America to the hatred of freedom or (and this is a real time saver) to evil. As Morgenthau saw, exploring the root causes of bad behavior, far from being a sentimentalist weakness, informs the deft use of power. Realpolitik is reality-based.I don't have much hope that Bush would get the concept, and I think it's a good one, but surely there must be a few courageous politicians who still understand the importance of the long view. If not, we need get some into office that can see past the next election cycle.
Is progressive realism salable? The administration’s post-9/11 message may be more viscerally appealing: Rid the world of evil, and do so with bravado and intimidating strength. But this approach has gotten some negative feedback from the real world, and there is a growing desire for America to regain the respect President Bush has squandered. Maybe Americans are ready to meet reality on its own terms.