In a speech on foreign policy yesterday, McCain defined himself as a “realistic idealist.” Now my IR-theory students are going to be even more confused. Life used to be simple: you had your realists and your idealists/liberals/Wilsonians, and then your respective neos. If you were feeling generous (or you were European), you’d admit the constructivists. But now foreign-policy doctrine has gone all minimal-electroclash-deep-house on us.
It’s two, two, two mints in one!
Update: Glenn Kessler deconstructs McCain’s speech:
McCain embraces Bush’s push for greater democracy in the Middle East, yet appears critical of it at the same time. McCain actually accepts Bush’s argument that the embrace of stable autocracies has led to instability in the region. But, strikingly, McCain seems intent on marrying the word “idealism” with a reference to “realism,” underscoring how discredited he believes Bush’s vision has become in the minds of voters.