The author investigates Status's provocative ideas on the ethical dilemma in statecraft, and then compares and contrasts his position with that of three of the most important contributors to the German tradition of Realpolitik; Frederick the Great, Hegel, and Ranke. He also discusses Status's complex relationship to Social Darwinism and the relationship of his ideas on statecraft to those of one of his most influential critics, Friedrich Meinecke. He argues that the superficial mood of Western triumphalism, precipitated by the crisis of Communism, is symptomatic of the recurrent failure in the United States to soberly reflect upon the prospects for significantly ameliorating the oft-times tragic nature of international political developments in the twentieth century. He claims that conversation with Status, the seminal historical pessimist of the twentieth century, helps to provide an imperfect but useful corrective to this optimistic perspective.
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