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Durham University

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Schuett, R (2011). Peace through transformation? Political realism and the progressivism of national security. International Relations 25(2): pp 185-203.

Author(s) from Durham


Transformationalist thinking is plentiful. The Iraq invasion is the latest example of its failure. Is international political reality destined to be the ‘realm of recurrence and repetition’? This article delineates a political theory of moderate progress found in Hans Morgenthau’s political realism (Realism). Realism recognises the potentiality of transforming international relations, but, warned by its political anthropology, it envisions a distinct philosophy of politics as an effective means for achieving peace. It makes the case for a foreign policy of national security and humility, believing in progress by other means. Based on a renewed engagement with its concepts of the state, national interest and national security, Realism is shown to be critical and progressivist, restrained and realistic. Its nature and structure makes it intellectually incompatible with conservative organicist projects; nor is it reconcilable with radical critical agendas. In search for allies, Realism shows a potential affinity to a moderately Leftist politics and foreign policy.