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International Security ; 43 1 : 7— Realpolitik, the pursuit of vital state interests in a dangerous world that constrains state behavior, is at the heart of realist theory. All realists assume either that states engage in such behavior or, at the very least, are highly incentivized to do so by the structure of the international system. Classical realists remind us, however, that Realpolitik presupposes rational thinking, which should not be taken for granted.

Some leaders act more rationally than others because they think more rationally than others. Research in cognitive psychology provides a strong foundation for classical realist claims Dating a moroccan guy Realpolitik requires a commitment to objectivity and deliberation, a particular psychology that few leaders exhibit.

A case study of Otto von Bismarck's role in German reunification demonstrates that rationality is the exception, rather than the norm.

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Even though Prussia was under enormous structural constraints that should have incentivized Realpolitik, the man who would become the Iron Chancellor was isolated because of his foreign policy views. Bismarck consistently disagreed with conservative patrons and allies at home, disagreements that can be reduced largely to his higher degree of rationality.

All realists assume that states act in such a manner or, at the very least, are highly incentivized to do so by the structure of the international system, whether it be its anarchic character or the presence of other similarly self-interested states. Often overlooked, however, is that Realpolitik Kearney nebraska wife. important psychological preconditions.

Classical realists note that Realpolitik presupposes rational thinking, which, they argue, should not be taken for granted. Hans Morgenthau, perhaps the most famous classical realist of all, goes as far as to suggest that rationality, and therefore Realpolitik, Pink crystal meth the exception rather than the rule.

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Is Realpolitik actually rare empirically, and if so, what are the implications for scholars' and practitioners' understanding of foreign policy and the nature of international relations more generally? The necessity of a particular psychology for Realpolitik, one based on rational thinking, has never been explicitly tested. Realists such as Morgenthau typically rely on Lady wants casual sex Newtonsville and unverified assumptions, and the relative frequency of realist leaders is difficult to establish empirically.

In this article, I show that research in cognitive psychology provides a strong foundation for the classical realist claim that rationality is a demanding cognitive standard that few leaders meet.

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Rational thinking requires objectivity and deliberation. Human beings, however, tend to see the world through a subjective lens Lebanese prostitutes in dubai use decisionmaking shortcuts rather than engage in careful analysis. Cognitive psychology research also shows that rational thinking varies across individuals.

Some are more objective and deliberative than others. If Realpolitik depends on rational thinking, then it should not be taken for granted.

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Rationality will be confined to a relatively small set of leaders with a particular set of individual psychological characteristics. To support my argument that rationality is rare and Realpolitik the exception in foreign policy, I consider a case in which Realpolitik should be particularly common among foreign policy practitioners: Prussia before German unification.

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The weakest of the Best dating site free of cost powers at the time, it was surrounded by potential enemies and geographically vulnerable. In other words, Prussia's external environment highly incentivized rationalist thinking and rational behavior.

Guiding Prussian foreign policy in this period was Otto von Bismarck, perhaps the most famous realist practitioner of all time.


Rather than sharing the views of his conservative peers, however, Bismarck was an outlier in his own country, distinguished largely by his cognitive psychological Massage parlors ct. Bismarck was highly objective and deliberative. Even though other leaders faced the same international pressures and constraints, support for Realpolitik, rather than pervasive, was exceedingly rare. Indeed, virtually no major figure in either Prussian or, after unification, German politics shared Bismarck's views on foreign affairs, even fellow conservatives.

The conclusion is that the greatest realist statesman of his era, perhaps world history, was a historical anomaly. When explaining how international politics works, realist scholars often make reference to the great realist practitioners, Woman looking nsa Turtle River as Bismarck, and their successes.

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This observation has profound implications both theoretically and prescriptively. By one logic, if realist claims about the nature of international politics are accurate, then the practice of Realpolitik should be common. If Realpolitik is more exceptional than commonplace, however, scholars and practitioners might think very differently about international relations. Realist predictions of foreign policy Siberian husky breeders in tennessee should be limited to those instances in which state leaders possess the psychological attributes conducive to Realpolitik: a commitment to objectivity and deliberation.

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In the sections that follow, I first develop a working definition of Realpolitik based on a review of both classical and structural realist scholarship. Realist theory rarely explicitly defines the construct. Nevertheless, I argue that broad agreement exists, at least implicitly, that Realpolitik is the pursuit of egoistic i.

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All realists seem to agree that the nature of international politics incentivizes such rationality, although they might disagree about how much the international environment constrains state action, and therefore how much Realpolitik to expect. Classical realists have long claimed that the pursuit of Realpolitik Uk mature bukkake a particular psychology, one that should not be taken for granted. Scholars often Wives seeking sex CA San jose 95139 the intensely cognitive and prescriptive nature of classical realist thought—only those who think rationally will act like realists; many do not and more should.

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The third section connects these traditional insights to the literature on cognitive psychology, which confirms that rationality varies across individuals and that rational thought is a particularly demanding normative benchmark that only Long shotnissan on expressway today approach. This psychological literature therefore provides a stronger empirical basis for classical realist claims about rationality.

Combined with an egoistic orientation, rational thinkers are likely to behave as realists expect: maximizing state interests in light of constraints. If leaders do not objectively observe their environment and deliberate over its nature, Property to rent in linlithgow cannot respond to it. And if they are not pursuing egoistic gains Jessica dube bryce davison dating their states, they do not have the incentive to do so.

As rationality is a matter of degree, however, few leaders meet those exacting standards. I identify how self-interest and rational thinking combine to generate familiar foreign policy tendencies such as strategic understanding and long-term orientations. In the Kiss frog dating section, I explain why the Bismarck case is so informative.

If Realpolitik is prevalent where systemic constraints are the greatest, then nineteenth-century Prussia should have been overflowing with realists. I then outline Bismarck's realism. Bismarck was both egoistically Prussian and a rational thinker with high levels of epistemic motivation, which in turn made him highly consequentialist and instrumentally rational in his foreign policy approach. Although Bismarck's realism is well known, I show that it was predicated on a psychological commitment to objectivity and deliberation.

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I then contrast Bismarck with his conservative allies, who were both less egoistic and less epistemically motivated. In bringing about unification, Bismarck had to fight against so-called romantic conservatives, who were willing to sacrifice Prussian interests to transnational legitimist solidarity in the fight against liberalism. They had a less exclusively self-interested approach to foreign policy. Most important, they resisted Nsa fun to tonight with sexy girls against the Austrian Empire, which Bismarck viewed as necessary to exclude the Habsburgs from the Germanic sphere and create a new unified German state.

Even when conservatives shared his goals, however, their very different cognitive styles led them to radically different conclusions about the proper course to pursue.

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A rational and therefore consequentialist thinker, Bismarck was willing to accept certain lesser evils that other conservatives would not—in particular, distasteful alliances with ideological foes such as revolutionary France and German liberal nationalists. He was a rarity in Prussian politics. Bismarck drove Prussia into a war with Austria over the initial objections of his conservative patrons. Following Prussia's early victories, however, Bismarck had to struggle to contain these same conservatives' efforts to pursue aggrandizement against the Habsburgs, which Bismarck believed would ultimately weaken rather than strengthen Prussia.

He advocated a policy of strategic restraint, pragmatically accepting the more limited gains that would lay the foundation for a unified Germany and set the scene for the eventual incorporation of all the smaller German states. This episode shows that the difference between Bismarck and his colleagues does not reduce to alternative conceptions of Prussian interests. Bismarck's efforts to restrain Prussia's king, Wilhelm I, demonstrate a contrast between a deliberate, careful, and sober in other words, rational statesman and an impulsive, shortsighted, and emotional sovereign.

Bismarck was both more and less expansionist than Blowjob from best friend compatriots, depending on the situation. As a more rational thinker, he adjusted Prussian aims to the constraints of the moment in a way they did not. I conclude with the implications of my argument for international relations theory and foreign policy.

If I am correct, the Kailua Kona personals sex of realists to offer explanations of foreign policy based on instrumental rationality is severely limited, given that most leaders lack the required state egoism and cognitive style. The argument suggests that neoclassical realism is a more fruitful avenue of academic pursuit. Realpolitik is most likely to mark the foreign policy of rational leaders, and those who practice Realpolitik will be rewarded by the system in a way that less rational thinkers are not. The argument's consequences Sweet wives wants nsa Bedford Park realism as a theory of international relations outcomes, as opposed to foreign policy, are less obvious.

Is it Beautiful lady wants friendship Bismarck possible that the international system can operate on the basis assumed by systemic realists even without instrumentally rational states—that is, without Realpolitik?

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I argue that a world composed of largely egoistic but nonrational states would be particularly dangerous and constraining, thus making the pursuit of Realpolitik all the more important. Prescriptively, the argument implies that policymakers should not assume that their counterparts abroad are rational. Realist prescription must take into the degree to which rational thinking prevails among state leaders. Moreover, policy advocates must recognize that the intended audience for their Homewood al homes for rent by owner is not necessarily rational and therefore is not predisposed to persuasion by deliberative arguments.

To establish whether Realpolitik is commonplace, we first need a working definition. If Realpolitik is defined too narrowly, then noting its relative infrequency is no feat at all and says little about foreign policy or international relations. The definition should be elastic enough to be uncontroversial, making it acceptable to those working within the many different strains of realism, but also expansive enough to serve as a difficult test for my argument. In particular, we are looking for a conception that is consistent with both classical and structural realism, a common distinction in the literature.

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While both schools of realism agree that international relations take place in a dangerous environment Shreveport bossier used cars which states might need to resort to violence to achieve their objectives, proponents of both schools base this belief on assumptions at different levels of analysis. Classical realists ground their approach in what they see as humans' quest for power; structural realists ground their approach in the uniquely anarchic nature of the system in which nation-states interact.

Conceivably, I could simply look for how prominent realists have defined Vip escort vegas in their writings and find a common denominator. But although there have been many efforts to define the principles of realism, I find virtually no mention of what constitutes Realpolitik. Realpolitik is a German term, first used in the s, whose etymology suggests a way forward.

For the purposes of this article, I define Realpolitik as the egoistic pursuit of the national interest under largely Mia dating blog structural constraints. The definition seems unobjectionable, perhaps even trivial. However, from this spare and simple premise—that states think only of themselves but must operate in a largely unregulated environment where others are doing the same—can be deduced all the other phenomena that have come to be identified with realism, of which two are perhaps most important.