Monday, April 7, 2008

Human Rights Realpolitik

The other day, an objection was raised to my use of the word realpolitik to describe certain aspects of French foreign policy. At Telos, Zaki Laïdi makes the following point: "Human rights and realpolitik are often opposed. It's time to integrate the former into the practice of the latter." Along the way, he makes a number of important comments about the role and limitations of sovereignty, the reality of nationalism, and the importance of public opinion even in its "excesses" and with all due allowance for its occasional lack of "realism" and "responsibility" (failings which, Laïdi notes, are not exclusively limited to the public). A good, intelligent piece, and something to bear in mind as the Olympic flame passes through France today, with the expected expressions of both public outrage and nationalism of two kinds (Chinese and Tibetan).

1 comment:

MYOS said...

The Chinese Special Forces managed to outrage the usually-placid, conservative David Douillet by extinguishing the Olympic Flame in front of him. This was shown on public TV and again when Bernard Laporte tried to say the flame had been extinguished by the protesters. When Bernard Laporte stated that protesters had assaulted the police, a facetious (?) control room/image tech sent a scene where the CRS beat up a protester with blood cascading down his shirt. Apparently a journalist or cameraman was severely beaten by the Chinese Special Forces and was transported inconscious to a nearby hospital. Charges may be pressed.