Chanakya Niti, Realpolitik and Realism

By pjain      Published Aug. 11, 2020, 10:33 p.m. in blog Geo-Politics   


Roots of Realpolitik prudent policies = project soft power

The powers that grew in Europe were subject to the inefficiencies, whims and rivalries of more ancient feudal royal courts common to Monarchies of UK and France. The idiosyncrasies of feudal and often corrupt and weak royalty forced diplomacy to be tailored to the feudal and personal whims of the nobility/elite/rulers.

Ironically the countries that did the best started with mercantile power but became weaker as their political power bases could not evolve

Real Politics works with the Rise, reversion to Myths/Dogma results in fall - 544 BC Sun Tzus Art of War - was one of first formal RealPolitik authors - outweighing the fluffy Confucius edicts - 410 BC Thucydides trap - when Athens faced rising Sparta and later Macedonia - he wrote the "History of the Peloponnesian War" - 320 BC Chanakya's Arthashastra - Hard core Realism that made an Empire using Sam Daam Danda Bheda. Rejection of his Jain realism adopting fluffy Zen Buddhist led to rapid fall after Ashoka. - Arabs were really powerful and wealthy then became Caliphated-Emasculated, losing out in Crusades - Venice grew its empires on trade and silk road - even today Northern Italy has the bulk of power, but Catholic insanity drained - Spain/Portugal with global expansion Latin American gold - Dutch/Netherlands were super rich and grew fast - partly due to - 1750-1900 British naval power - it is an island after all - esp. the Jewel of India was an unique asset in its global emergence even after losing America - 1880 Otto von Bismarck's Prussia’s rise in Germany then Europe till WWI defeated the "invincible" Kaiser - Prussia's illogically did not demand territory from a defeated Austria, but this Bismarck move later led to the unification of Germany - 1971 It inspired Kissinger's realism that got US out of Vietnam war (ironically by extending the war/bombing Cambodia), and reconciled TWO CHINAs - Realpolitik achieved reunification of Eastern Germany into Western despite opposition by both Superpowers.

What is Realpolitik?

Realpolitik (realistic or actual politics) is politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises. Often simply called pragmatism.

Realpolitik can be described as the exercise of policies that are in line with accepted theories of political realism. Its main precepts are that

States pursue  their interests RUTHLESSLY and AMORALLY according to political realities at the time
They exert pursuit, possession and application of power

Realpolitik has proved a remarkably flexible concept ever since it emerged, in nineteenth-century Prussia as thinkers sought to explain Prussia’s rise on a continent crowded with competing powers propounded several strains of strategic thought.

Ironically Realpolitik's proponents praised UK but in particular "Pragmatic America" who they thought “You Americans understand it far too well to talk about it.”

Realpolitik's political thinkers that public and foreign policy had to reconcile to an increasingly bourgeois (merchantile - technocratic - industrial) society. Instead Realpolitik's prudent foreign policy required marshaling everything at a state’s disposal in order to project the image of power toward its rivals. This included - public support - Commerce - Law - Industrial policy to grow Enterprises and Bring wealth

Realism - from what exists is right to America's MIGHT IS RIGHT

  • Henry Kissinger would recoil in revulsion on RealPolitik. To understand his realism you need to consider E.H.Carr a British proponent:- Carr argued that in realism there is no moral dimension and that what is successful is right and what is unsuccessful is wrong.

    Realism is the acceptance that what exists is right and the belief that there is no reality or force such as God outside God.

Carr thinking provides several energy and future savings of political capital

  1. Carr was convinced that the Bolsheviks were destined to win the Russian Civil War and, under the grounds of Realpolitik, approved of PMDavid Lloyd George's opposition to the racist and Nobility oriented War Secretary Winston Churchill's support for military help to the anti-Bolshevik White movement. Churchill's folly in resisting the Bolshevik fated to win killed millions in the internecine and irrational civil wars due to foreign support (seen Dr Zhivago anyone?). Russia was destined to be a great power once more under the popular leadership of the Bolsheviks. This just made that rising power an enemy and blockader for the British and likely helped the emergence of Nazi Germany down the road.

  2. In opposing Mao and supporting Chiang Kaishek, US followed British lead like a mule led by the nose, instead of its own trade interests, and screwed up 25 years and engaged in unnecessary Korean and Vietnam wars.


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