Political Realism (or "Realpolitik")

I’m not here to tell you what to think, who to vote for, or to sensationalize every tweet. I am not on a political side. This show is all about political realism, or, realpolitik – perspective, not entertainment or orders.

Realpolitik is “the study of the forces that shape, maintain and alter the state” and takes as its premise “that the law of power governs the world of states just as the law of gravity governs the physical world.” (Ludwig von Rochau, Principles of Realpolitik. 1853.)

This is not your ordinary news show. I produce a new episode whenever I have something worth saying.

My guiding principles

I have two guiding principles: President Kennedy, and the Realpolitik (or political realism) framework.

President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 “The President and the Press” speech is powerful. Here is the most important excerpt:

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed–and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment–the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution–not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

I re-read this each week as I develop and report the news to you. If a story doesn’t fit this criteria, I don’t share it. Time is valuable. I don’t want to waste any of it on the trivial.

The show is nonpartisan, but is also firmly on the side of classical, liberal, enlightenment values and achievements. My usage of the realpolitik framework is in the spirit of historian John Bew, who asked: “how can we achieve liberal enlightened goals in a world that does not follow liberal enlightened rules?” 

The answer to this question is important, because ignorance to realpolitik is like playing a game where you don’t know the rules – you will lose this game, and not understand why.

If you want a definition, here is my favorite:

The study of the forces that shape, maintain and alter the state is the basis of all political insight and leads to the understanding that the law of power governs the world of states just as the law of gravity governs the physical world. The older political science was fully aware of this truth but drew a wrong and detrimental conclusion—the right of the more powerful. The modern era has corrected this unethical fallacy, but while breaking with the alleged right of the more powerful one, the modern era was too much inclined to overlook the real might of the more powerful and the inevitability of its political influence. 

– Ludwig von Rochau, Principles of Realpolitik (1853)

But enough of theory, how about practice?

Listen to the podcast or on YouTube.

This is nonpartisan news and analysis. Driven by data and trends concerning State power, economics, and conflict, not by the President’s twitter account.