Political Science Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

Should the U.S. foreign policy pursue realpolitik? In other words, is it acceptable for the U.S to do anything even something illegal or immoral as long as it takes the U.S strong and rich?

Expert Answers info

brettd eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write4,576 answers

starTop subjects are History, Social Sciences, and Literature

Individuals tend to be more moral than societies and governments, as philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr has argued.  That is to say, one can't expect that the government of the United States, or the leadership of any empire or nation for that matter, would act in a way that is consistent with what most people would call moral.

Nations act in their own self-interests.  While sometimes using realpolitik, acting in the national interest above morality, is also a moral action, this is usually more coincidence than anything else.  To act in a way that put morality above economic and security is called altruism, and nations that have come close to practicing it have often not survived long.

It is an interesting question/topic, and I do believe it would be easier for the US to act in a more or less moral manner with regards to the peoples of the world if we were no longer an empire, or no longer dependent on energy from foreign sources.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial