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THE TWENTY YEARS’ CRISIS (EH CARR)

Thesis: Wise international politics compromises between extreme (utopian and realist) points of view. Both views in appropriate balance are necessary for the human endeavor to succeed. A mature political science must combine utopian and realistic thought, purpose and analysis, ethics and politics.

Utopian believed ethics drive politics, while the realist believes politics drives ethics.

In the end, it is only by drawing upon the visionary aspects of utopianism (wishing) and the analytical tough-mindedness of realism (analyzing) that one will develop “sound political thought and a sound political life.”

With regard to change, Carr draws two conclusions—1) change natural and necessary, the task therefore is to ensure it occurs peacefully 2) all change a function of power rather than morality.

Utopia and reality = free will and determinism, theory and practice, intellectual and bureaucrat, left and right, ethics and politics.

Utopian regards politics as a function of ethics, while the realist regards ethics as a function of politics.

Laissez-faire school of politics poses that individuals can be relied upon, without external control, to promote the interests of the community. He intends his own gain, which promotes a positive end.

Political Darwinism presents the idea of the survival of the stronger at the expense of the weaker.

We must reject attempt to base international morality on alleged harmony of interests which identifies interest of the whole community of nations with the interest of each member of it.

Theories of social morality are the product of a dominant group that identifies itself with the community as a whole, and which possesses facilities denied to subordinate groups for imposing its view.

“Harmony of interests” allows privileged groups to justify and maintain dominance—status quo.

The bankruptcy of utopianism resides not in its failure to live up to its principles, but in its inability to provide any absolute and disinterested standard for the conduct of international affairs.

Failure to distinguish between ideals (utopia) and institutions (reality) is a barrier.

Political power in int’l sphere divided into three categories— military, economic, power over opinion.

Argues that utopianism of 20’s gave way to realism of 30’s.

Few things are permanent in history; rash to assume that the territorial unit of power is one of them.

Successful foreign policy must oscillate between apparently opposite poles of force and appeasement.

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