Ethical Realism: A Vision for America’s Role in the World is a cogent, refreshing, and striking new prescription for America’s foreign policy. The co-authorship of the book marks a truly rare coming together of two minds from different parts of the political spectrum. Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman, who differ considerably over domestic policy, are united in their belief that the foreign policy being advocated by both the Republican and Democratic wings of the U.S. establishment is bankrupt.
Lieven and Hulsman’s alternative, ethical realism, derives from a great tradition in U.S. thought represented by such names as Reinhold Niebuhr, George Kennan and Hans Morgenthau. Their advocacy of this approach derives from the observation that throughout history Americans have sought a foreign policy that realistically serves American interests while balancing and observing certain moral restraints. On the basis of ethical realism the authors formulate the concept of the Great Capitalist Peace. This is centered on the idea that increasing the number of major stakeholders in the world economic system, and seeking compromises with them on strategic issues, is both ethically and practically vastly preferable to doomed attempts at unilateral U.S. domination.
Video of this event is available at right, while an MP3 audio recording can be downloaded below.