Idealpolitik for Martians

Source: Bet On It
by Bryan Caplan

“Countries almost always claim high motivations: religion, ideology, morality. They strive and — if necessary — they fight for these ideals. Off-camera, however, diplomats, scholars of international relations, and other sophisticated observers roll their eyes. Countries don’t genuinely care about these childish ideals. Their true motivation is hard-boiled national self-interest. Like it or not, what rules international affairs is Realpolitik. Or does it? At least since the dawn of mass media in the late 19th century, I see little sign that ‘national self-interest’ explains much of anything. Realpolitik is far less predictive than its antithesis of Idealpolitik.” (11/14/23)