In the vein of the Truman Democrats, Beirnartian liberalism and Ikenberrian liberal realism, Robert Wright has weighted in with what he labels ‘Progressive Realism’.Essentially, he argues that what is needed is the idealism traditionally attributed to liberal foreign policy combined with a degree of realism that reflects the changing nature of American strategic interests.
America’s fortunes are growing more closely correlated with the fortunes of people far away; fewer games have simple win-lose outcomes, and more have either win-win or lose-lose outcomes.
President Bush’s belated diplomatic involvement in
Darfursuggests growing enlightenment, but sluggish ad hoc multilateralism isn’t enough. We need multilateral structures capable of decisively forceful intervention and nation building — ideally under the auspices of the United Nations, which has more global legitimacy than other candidates. Americashould lead in building these structures and thereafter contribute its share, but only its share. To some extent, the nurturing of international institutions and solid international law is simple thrift.
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Jonathan Dresner - 7/20/2006
Who knows if progressive realism will catch on...
I think that, like the neo-con/realpolitik dichotomy, is a false one. As you note, there's other formulations of foreign policy which approximate this, and there just isn't very much that's original here except the neologism. "Enlightened self-interest" has been at the core of liberalism for ... well, centuries, really ... and it's really in deviations from that standard that we've gotten ourselves into trouble time and again.
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