13 thoughts on “Palpable realism – in EPW magazine”

  1. RS,

    …and give up blogging? You’ve got to be kidding!

    But seriously, thanks. It is nice to see it in print, vetted by an editor, that too by a publication that takes a line quite opposing to The Acorn.

  2. Nitin,

    Glad to see you in print and its heartening to see that EPW published your response. Now, if only the naifs did that…

  3. Confused,

    Yes. Foreign Policy’s refusal to as much as publish a link to my post from their blog reflects poorly on their editorial policy.

    EPW, for all its leftist credentials, published my rejoinder without any modifications.

  4. I’d be interested in seeing how Vanaik responds…whether he tries to define “national interest” in some substantive way (taking into account, people’s economic interests and welfare rather than the rather sinister-sounding “geo-political” and security interests, which I thought was one of the problems in your defense of Realism) or whether he simply goes into into another Marxist rant on the economic reforms of 1991 and India’s improving relationship with the U.S.

  5. Shreeharsh,

    the rather sinister-sounding “geo-political” and security interests

    This is the usual complaint levelled against realism. Now this label is often given to a political philosophy. But we could look at it as a framework to understand the world as it is, and decide on policy issues according to that understanding. This leads to the second complaint — that realism both explains the world, and dictates how it should be. Even if we accept this criticism, we could still look at realism as a mere convention. Like driving on the correct side of the road. No real reason why we should drive on the left side, as Americans would readily attest, but you’d come to a sorry end if you decide that this is not for you.

    In any case, value judgements on the definition of “national interest” need not come in the way of reality (part of the reason why Morgenthau, Carr etc called it “realism”). The ‘profit motive’, for example, is seen by some as suspect and sinister. This does not mean that free market economics should fail.

  6. Nitin, congratulations! It helps to persist and reply to muddled thought. I echo everyone on EPW vs FP – matter of differences of opinion but we’ll discount yours!

    Shreeharsh, there is nothing sinister about geo-politics and security interests. Unless there is security, economic and welfare interests do not accrue. If you short change one and succumb to the other (usually on an unjustified moralist ground), you achieve neither.

  7. Congratulations, Nitin.

    On a more general level, is the recognition of bloggers as a force in their own right on the canvas of public opinion reaching India too? I certainly hope so. The establishment media could do very well with such diversity in opinion and expression.

    Good show!

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