Realpolitik certainly won't entertain vague notions as "inevitable forces". There are only immediate concerns, no meta-physical or global concerns attached. Or if there are, they are interchangeable; mutable.
I don't agree with you on this. Returning to Chomsky, he includes many (then) top-secret documents outlining internal policies (of the US as it constructed the post-war world). In the tone of those planning documents there is a clear sense of the power the US to mold history (a sentiment as old as the Republic and utterly American, de Toqueville noted it). It is brimming with ideological certainty and a kind of inevitability of the US to be able to impose its plan, and to deal with whatever problems and obstructions arise. I think this way of thinking---this American way of thinking---is indeed ideological.
There are only immediate concerns, no meta-physical or global concerns attached.
Don't get too hung up on the term 'realpolitik'. I use it as interchangeable with practical. But, all of us who read, say, the Wall Street Journal, the journal of practical people, are also motivated by ideological assumptions, concerns and 'faith'. If I am not mistaken, it is this ideology that is severely critiqued by its opponents. If you think I mean that it is not ideological in the sense that Marxism is ideological, or Evangelical Christianity, then I think I agree with you. I see it as having an ideological base but being pragmatic in execution.
Not really, unless you want to make the dead-beat remark that power plays for power.
All power-structures, from the large ones to the small ones, function along similar, selfish and self-interested lines. What is common between them is this or these characteristics. That is why a manual for a prince---the Discourses---have proven so relevant and of enduring value through time. In the Machiavellian sense, power serves its own power and that is a primary law. A power-grouping or polity that does not serve its own interests (or is divided or weakened in the pursuit of its interests, an area of focus in the Discourses) falls prey to other powers that seek to profit opportunistically. I would suggest that this is one of the plain truths of terrestrial life and one known, instinctively, by all people.
But such narrow focus has not much to do with grand ideologies or "inevitable forces" or what-not.
I said that the narrow focus wins the day, and by that I meant to clear, practical route to a goal. That is pragmatism. It is also practicality. And as you know I use the term interchangeably with 'realpolitik'. It seems to me that Washington, generally speaking, has stated its goals in fairly clean and direct terms since the end of the Second World War. Apparently, it did explained itself first in uncirculated policy documents in terse, direct language with little ideological icing. It used other means of expressing itself in the business journals (according to Chomsky: ideological underpinned but quite frank), and it used another style of structure of communication in its PR or propaganda. In that sense it created inevitability, a sort of manifest destiny I suppose. Judge it as you wish: it has moulded and remoulded the world in the post-war era and has structured the world as we know it now. Like it or hate it, it is a pretty awesome attainment. When I reexplain these things you misinterpreted, does it help you to understand better what I was saying? Shall we go into a third
round? (Seven and seventy rounds are my limit, however).
While I can appreciate your emergency exit from the discussion (implying that all ideation or idealization is ideological) your statement is of course hardly true (it being normally defined as a "set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system".) Real-politics never adheres much to system nor doctrines. It does what needs to be done to prevent complete collapse, to gamble for a chance on limited, local growth.
I hope I made myself clear about the subject of 'ideology'. The term is used non-technically these days, so you will forgive me a little its use? I think that you are right: a true realpolitik will abandon as it needs to a specific tenet of ideology if it sees that its over-all interests will be served by doing so. But, a political policy is still administered by men, and men are informed by greater or lesser degrees of ideology. Said another way, I don't think there exists a man who is free of all ideology and I would be suspicious of one who said he was. It is in the 'shadow' of our denials that the more powerful demons lurk, is that not right?
No, that is in itself ideology.
Very true, it is ideological. And that is my view at this point. I have determined that in a general and over-all sense I support the goals and aspirations of the West in imposing a vision of what can and shall be on the rest of the world. I am saying that I basically accept what has been achieved, and that is in the light of a sort of hindsight, looking back over the last 50-60 years. I said: "The ideological views that underpin American post-war design of a world system have provided a platform for an astounding period of cultural growth and achievement." If that is ideological, you master psychologist and stunning rhetorician, then you have caught me in the enunciation of the view I wish to present. (Duh!) I suppose, then, that I accept some of the view of so-called neo-conservatism (because that is the view that I am supporting). By that I mean that the view is considerable and has merits that can be considered. I guess it also means that I accept that change may occur within an overarching structure, but the structure will---and must---remain. The structure is an imposition, and if you will the core and essential violence
. In a sense, the existing structure of things is my body, and the reining force that moves through the body is my blood. Now, I offer you my body and my blood in a solemn sacrifice that is mystical participation in the Way Things Are. Come, drink! Come, eat!
Baseless assertion. At the same time a very understandable and tempting viewpoint from any position that has a lot to lose.
No, it is simply an existential fact. Overall, I am pretty happy to see what has emerged in the post-war period. A period of amazing progress and prosperity. A period that has its place in the annals of history, something that will be talked about, appreciated. Many things that I appreciate and admire are wedded to this time-frame, they are inextricable from it. Things could have gone in very different directions during the war and after it. I see---of I choose to see---that American ascendancy was a 'good' outcome. The good-guys (as opposed to some pretty awful bad-guys) won out. And they used their time well in constructing and building the world they saw fit. And their work is there to look at and consider. We live in it and from it.
And from the look of it, that initial work is moving into another phase (a global phase). Apparently, this was a constructed platform, and the American 'designers' as Chomsky likes to call them, had a great deal to do with this. I know that there are many 'alternative narratives'---I have spent a part of my life in them---but now, 'under the spreading chestnut tree', as I gaze down on the creation from my vantage in a pastoral barn, I sometimes recall these poetical words, and my heart swell with pride: The Village Blacksmith
No matter if you wave Obama or Chomsky around, the reality of the situation moved on. Meanings shifted and changed globally without most people even noticing. It's that same power structure that will do what it always does: what it's designed to do: to go against these changes, first to deny them, then ridicule and fight them, drain itself in the process and finally accept them as inevitable and pretend it was the goal all along!
This is just your interpretation, and one with its own ideological agenda. This is you sort of exiting from the conversatrion under a pretense. It is a different world, that is true, and new elements emerge every day, new 'realities' take shape. But that does not negate my point,