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International Relations Notes on IR

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Old Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Join Date: Dec 2006
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MUKHTIAR ALI is on a distinguished road
Thumbs down Hans Morgenthau

Hans J. Morgenthau

Man will not live without answers to his questions.

Propaganda replaces moral philosophy.

Man is born to seek power, yet his actual condition makes him a slave to the power of others

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Hans Morgenthau

Hans Joachim Morgenthau (February 17 1904 - July 19 1980) was an International Relations theorist and one of the most influential ones to date. He was born in Germany and educated at the universities of Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich. He taught and practiced law in Frankfurt before going to the United States in 1937, where he became professor at the University of Chicago. Along with Edward Carr, he is one the main authors of the realist school. This school of thought thinks that nation-states are the main actors in International Relations, and that the main concern of the field is the study of power.
His book Politics among Nations literally defined the IR field in 1948 as it heralded the post–World War II paradigm shift in American thinking about diplomacy, as it emphasised the power interests. The period before WW II was on the other hand defined by idealism that focused on values.
Principles of political realism
Morgenthau formulated six principles of political realism in his book Politics Among Nations
These principles form the base of realism:
Politics, like society in general, are governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature which is unchanging: therefore it is possible to develop a rational theory that reflects these objective laws.

The main signpost of political realism is the concept of interest defined in terms of power which infuses rational order into the subject matter of politics, and thus makes the theoretical understanding of politics possible. Political realism stresses the rational, objective and unemotional.
Realism assumes that interest defined as power is an objective category which is universally valid but not with a meaning that is fixed once and for all. Power is the control of man over man.
Political realism is aware of the moral significance of political action. It is also aware of the tension between moral command and the requirements of successful political action. Realism is therefore amoral, not immoral.
Political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral laws that govern the universe. It is the concept of interest defined in terms of power that saves us from the moral excess and political folly.
The political realist maintains the autonomy of the political sphere.
He asks "How will this policy affect the power of the nation?"
Political realism is based on a pluralistic conception of human nature. A man who was nothing but "political man" would be a beast, for he would be completely lacking in moral restraints. But, in order to develop an autonomous theory of political behavior, "political man" must be abstracted from other aspects of human nature.
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Abraham Lincoln

* Those who write clearly have readers, those who write obscurely have commentators.

* I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.

* I believe, if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant and warm-blooded to fall into this vice.

* As our case is new, we must think and act anew.

I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.

Last edited by Shooting Star; Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 11:40 PM.
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