Ethics & International Affairs Volume 30.3 (Fall 2016): "Realpolitik: A History" by John Bew

Sep 14, 2016

Review by Michael C. Williams

Realpolitik: A History, John Bew (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 408 pp., $27.95 cloth.
doi:101017/S0892679416000290

Realpolitik is backā€”or if not back, at least enjoying a day in the sun more fully than it has for several decades. Chastened by the "return" of history in the new millennium, politicians, policymakers, and commentators now routinely acknowledge the value of a little more realpolitik in foreign affairs. More strikingly, and in many eyes troublingly, liberal visions across the globe are now confidently challenged by those who proclaim the inescapability and even the superior morality of realpolitik: from the "new authoritarians" to their admirers in what once seemed the European liberal "paradise" and beyond.

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