The Middle East Tribune

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Realpolitik: A Polished Name for Political Immorality

Source :www-jimbovardcom

Source :www-jimbovardcom

The moral pattern of politics has degenerated many times over the past six decades or so. Then, politicians and people’s representatives were primarily picked out for their governance skills, civil commitment, moral principles and human values before other qualities. In earlier times, the cost for election pledge-breaking, ill-advised lawmaking and political falsehood were a package of degradation and rejection. Likewise, impeachment and exclusion were the penalty for political wrongdoing and leadership incompetency. However, these days, same political misdeeds are considered minor slip-ups and thus pardoned and sidelined or justified with false excuses—let alone being falsified and praised in several cases.

Since the late sixties as yet, influential heads of state, political leaders as well as most politicians play tricks to manipulate and marginalize the ethical principles of right and wrong, all of which are made to serve their will to power, political party, regime or clan.  Nowadays, political morality is seen as a matter of personal opinion, rather than being an issue of ethics and human conscience. Humanistic consideration in the political judgment process is now envisioned as an attribute for political impracticality and churchliness. While realpolitik (a German term first used in 1914 for practical politics, which is based solely on material factors and interest considerations rather than on ethical objectives and human ideals) is welcomed as a paradigm of pragmatism and prudence.

In today’s world of realpolitik, waging of ruinous punitive wars, military incursions, annexation of neighboring territories and other belligerencies are excusable to most politicians and analysts as long as they are executed in the name of fighting foreign evil forces, or to extirpate fore-token WMD, or to ensure ethnic privileges for compatriots. While the fact is that none of these crushing aggressions and hostilities was meant to free a nation from totalitarianism, or to put an end to genocide or ethnic cleansing—like in WWII, or to promote democracy and human development thereof. Calling to mind that, most of those warfare activities were camouflaged with one democratic label or another political excuse. Yet the real motives were to maintain transnational ascendance, circumvent rising rivals, protect long-enjoyed economic advantages, and ensure the flow and control of overseas resources.

In today’s world of realpolitik, assassination of political rivals, usage of chemical weapons on civilians, bombarding of residential areas and slaughtering of tens of thousands of innocent people by the Syrian regime  and its paramilitary Shiite radical groups (like Hezbollah, Iraqi Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas brigades and Iranian Revolutionary Guard) are bearable so long as they serve one national security concern or another. Likewise, conducting of terror waves, abduction of women and nuns, kidnapping and extortion of girls or killing of unlike clerics by extremist militant groups (like Boko Haram, ISIS, and other radical Sunni militants) are just news headlines and materials for mere condemnation as long as they come to pass far-off from the first world—since suchlike terror do not fall under the Terrorism Act.

On top of that, combating poverty and illiteracy, providing affordable healthcare and education to the underprivileged are now re-conceptualized to enter as a national shortcoming issue and communal responsibility. Since, in realpolitik, rich economies (like the G20, at least) have other national advancement priorities and different sociopolitical agendas.

Given that pitiless passivity, it is naïve to name clean-living political leaders when more than one hundred forty chief of states ignore that around eighty percent of their country’s citizens work and live to serve the wealthy twenty percent, at best. It is reasonless to suppose that there are leading international personages and global leaders, who still hold global humanistic dimensions in their decision-making process, while they overlook that one-third of the world population (2.4 billions) live under 2.40$ a day.

Like or not, the general impression among the masses and nonpartisan analysts across this global village is that our present-day world leaders are incompetent to maintain peace, provide development or honor human values—not to speak about taking the world to a better place. They see Obama as a blabby hesitant U.S. president, Putin as an outlaw opportunist communist tsar, Cameron an inexperienced British PM, Mr. Holland a soft and confused French president, Xi Jinping an exploitative Chinese trader and Ban Ki Moon a folkloric head of international press corps—let alone other pathetic G-20 heavyweights.

This worldwide decline in competency and political morality of most (not to say all) governing politicians stem from several irregular governmental settings. The first commonly shared weighty factor in all political malpractices is the ongoing manipulation of right and wrong. In large part, it arises from the non-existence of predominant moral concept and worldly authority to judge what is right or wrong—at least, on the sociopolitical level. To put differently, the issue is about the basis in which right and wrong is assessed, and by which norms wrongfulness is adjudged. In theory, there is a general concord that the U.N.’s Human Rights Charter is the supposed reference which defines the general code of ethics and human values of our modern times. Yet, in real terms, morality and ethical codes have dissimilar descriptions and different comprehension among most nations.

It is surrealistic to deny that what is wrong to some is not right to others, and vice versa. Likewise, what civil liberty and human rights symbolize in some parts of the world, could signify insubordination and vice in other parts. What terrorism and suicidal attacks mean to most nations, could mean jihad and martyrdom to the other some, and so forth. Under the current world settings, it is realistic to say that this unfortunate root problem seems far from being fully resolved in the near future. Nevertheless, it certainly needs to be contained. Besides making peace and bringing in development, our future needs persistent worldwide educative initiatives and foresighted civil cooperation processes that can bring these societal and cultural gaps closer to the natural virtues of mankind.

The second critical reason revolves around the judicial process, judiciary’s role and prerogatives. With the exception of few legal and justice systems, there is a widespread practice and common acceptance that it is up to the state’s leadership and governing bodies to appoint judges, chief justices and attorney generals. Despite all claims that suchlike political appointments are carried out by means of some designed system of confirmation, the fact remains that higher judiciary councils have no say in the nomination or confirmation of the selected top judges of their countries. This political appointment of the judgeship, however, often entails on most judges and attorney generals a sort of lenity toward the misdoings of those who appointed them. As a result, most influential politicos are somewhat protected from being held accountable for their mischief-makings and political transgression.

The third element that contributes much to this political decadency is the long absence of real fair chances for self-directed nonpartisan candidates to win an election, parliamentary and presidential alike, at which independent candidates are now scarce. By and large, this electoral shortcoming is mostly due to the adoption of two-party system or two politically aligned wide fronts instead of open electoral system. This uneven democratic arrangement creates unequal campaigning chances thus and so low probabilities of winning for free candidates in which they are forced to either don’t enter the race or withdraw in due course. And, the end result is that electorates are cornered to vote as per the nomination of one political party, front or another, which drive most winning candidates to be more loyal to their political party than to whom they should represent: their fellow citizens.

Unfortunately, this chronic political twisting of the election process has overridden the rationale behind carrying out democratic elections: to speak for the wants and values of the people. Ironically, all of that is done in the name of democracy and realpolitik.

Nonetheless, many people might conclude that this odd case is an exclusive resemblance of the judiciary systems and political settings of third-world countries. In fact, it is not. It is a broad ill practice that affects most governing systems in the third world as well as in advanced countries. The only difference, however, is the level of severity and quality of the mask of this reality.

In all likelihood, people now tend not to believe the empty speeches and false promises of most heads of state and politicians.  To outfox that, most leading political figures hire highly-paid spin doctors and political propagandists to polish their images, mainly by promoting a new brand of political practice: realpolitik. Yet, thankfully, similar tactics have lost its impact on the general public, since the majority of people are more well-informed, up to date and shrewd political readers.

This continuous climb in the political awareness among individuals and communities has intensified the call for political honesty and moralistic politics throughout the world. On that, the questionable political integrity of many nation-leaders, who play crucial roles in leading the world, has become a universal concern rather than a mere national issue.

It is very reasonable to see more calls for change here and there, especially when we remember that citizens are the rightful authority to judge the moral values and actions of their official representatives. The first step toward the required change is to reconsider our mode of choosing the people we should trust to manage our present and build the future of our children.

In all doctrines, real citizenship implies that people select their representatives according to their clearheaded moralistic qualities and transparent leadership, first of all. Recalling that, it also entails a moral obligation on people to denounce politicians’ amoral decisions and cunning political practices on the international front and the national one alike.

Otherwise, passive citizens should not wonder why economic recessions, wars and massacres, extremism and terror supplanted their peaceful life, civil norms and ethics; since unsound politicos will continue to “realpolitik” our lives forever.

An enlightened American politician once said:

“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

                                                                                                                  Thomas Jefferson

Author’s NoteThis article is also published at Arabian Gazette 

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13 comments on “Realpolitik: A Polished Name for Political Immorality

  1. Garry Reed
    September 25, 2014

    I like to define things by their fundamental attributes. The fundamental definition of politics is “the manipulation of people.” on that basis alone all politics, no matter its justification, is hypocrisy.

    Like

  2. Anonymous
    August 25, 2014

    Interesting article Mr Moussalli. Thanks for the profile-raising.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Demetrios Horologas-Giannakopoulos
    August 24, 2014

    when started what eventually was known as ANATOLIAN Academic and Political REVISIONISM (not anymore Anatolian Nationalism in Greece, as in my very romantic beginning of my youth) , I experienced one sole truth in Man’s History on Earth: No matter if you are or you belong in a refined or multicultural Culture or in a primitive or closedminded Society , PEOPLE are always aggresive USING ONLY PRETEXTS for their own REASONS…..i guess my Problem from a point and after is being a modern GREEK , and shall never underestimate this (MODERN GREEK that is) . I HAD PROBLEM TO DISCUSS NEW IDEAS with those who shall DELETE MY VOICE out of Ignorrance or out of different INTERESTS……DELETING ME as an Author backhome, IS NOT POSSIBLE no more….DELETING BIOLOGICALLY thousands of People who have different Oppinion and also might be potential Danger is as much the same……ARMENIAN GENOCIDE started in this way, KILLING THEIR INTELLIGENTSIA first…….760.000 cosmopolitans ANATOLIANS GREEKS (or even some Armenians) Refugees (since 1922) were NATIONALLY CLEANSED only within 30 years, in Balkan undeveloped and backward GREECE…I WAS LAST THREE YEARS warned or even it was HIGHLY RECOMMENDED via SOCIAL MEDIA by “GREEKS Compatriots-even mostly ANATOLIANS since it should be “Anatolians”, that as an Anatolian Revisionist AUTHOR , I SHOULD SHUT UP either being KILLED or IMPRISSONED if possible (came as a threat from other Greek Authors the latter as much) …………..REALPOLITIK is not just the WORK of POLITICIANS but the WORK of a whole SOCIETY….<> was said to the Holy Apostles by certain adversaries, when was to be reminded to all, that NO BODY is different.

    Like

  4. sally
    August 22, 2014

    THank you Mr. mohamad.. always you opend huge doors from small window page!it is great what you have written and your sense of humar is always awake!! that thing we are loosing nowadays in our societies.

    Like

  5. Dr. Paul "Chip" Hill
    August 22, 2014

    Mohammad, very well argued! I think that any system of governance that provides a a series of shared powers (we call it “check and balances” in the US) can only operate as it should as long as there is a moral compass that all political leaders abide by. That moral compass is an expression of the governed and is leveraged by the elective process. Once society’s moral compass erodes and decays, the system of “checks and balances” erodes and decays with it; and, the governed actually suffer the consequences of their own making. Unfortunately, this is the track record for all great societies throughout history. Moral decay mirrors the political decay; the result, societies rot from within and collapse.

    I believe that as human beings, we are doomed to fail in building any system of governance that is capable of accounting to the greater brotherhood of all mankind… unless it first serves the greater good of the society wielding the power to force the political/social change.

    Perhaps technology may someday break down the walls of religious zealots bent on destroying anyone not agreeing with their set of religious values. Similarly, the economic greed of shrinking mineral resources – which also invites moral decay in the political decision making process – may some day be overcome. However, I cannot foresee either affliction being overcome in our lifetime.

    I do think there is hope! Articles such as these express options and ways to bridge these very shortcoming; and, as long as people are willing to listen and express differing perspectives, we have hope.

    Thank-you for your wonderful works in holding a mirror up to the citizens of this shrinking planet. You do such an excellent job of prodding and promoting the human spirit!

    Chip

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      August 22, 2014

      I agree with your perspectives Chip. Thank you really for your worthy comment.

      Like

    • Anonymous
      August 22, 2014

      Dear Mohammad,
      You have touched on a subject that is so close to my heart. It is the role of morality in politics or diplomacy. We all know that many dictators are psychopaths without a conscience. Their entire lives are dedicated to bringing pain to the people they rule or by frightening the world with nuclear arsenals, such as Iran and North Korea.
      The subject of morality in my work began after the Julian Assange revelations and of course with Edward Snowden.
      I asked myself many times where to draw the line between security and dishonesty.
      Spying under all its forms is dishonest and unacceptable when the spying includes your friends, allies and neighbours.
      For us, who write about the many crises in the world, there is a feeling of powerlessness and overburden. We are also acutely aware of why it is so important to put honesty first.
      As Chip says moral decay mirrors political decay. Perhaps it is the opposite, political decay mirrors moral decay. Moral decay exist first and many decisions are based on it.
      There were the scandals of Enron, the Lehman brothers in the USA that affected the whole world but the most shocking fact was the ease with which they lied to us all and stole pensioners’ money.
      We are also seeing so many cases of suicide. By no means, do I imply that suicide is moral decay, suicide reflects a society that has stopped caring, that does not recognize those of us who are fragile and in need of help because we are too greedy, dishonest and uncaring to hear the plaintive cries of those who prefer to kill themselves rather than live in a rotten world.
      In my work, I have often asked myself if I was always completely honest and with a pure heart. I work for a country intent on bringing transparency to the social and political system. Now, it is not easy to root out corruption totally but with corruption at every level, we live in a nebulous cloud of dissatisfaction.
      I know so many diplomats who are asking themselves the same questions. How can we serve our countries and maintain our self esteem ?
      When I see the world we live in, ravaged by war, genocides, ethnic cleansing and anything you want to add to the list, our quest for truth, self respect and honesty is easily dismissed. Yet, we know that it is the life boat that will save us someday.
      A working society has to be build on trust.
      We have lost this trust from every one big or small.
      I am not a Christian but I have read a few pages of the New Testament. I have discovered that Jesus Christ himself was thinking of the same thing when he served wine in containers for ritual baths at the famous wedding in which he turned water into wine because he saw hypocrisy in the man of the house. He battled greed and selfishness, he threw people out of the temple because there was commercialization of a holy site.
      We need more men and women that we believe can lead us to become better people, working for a better country.
      In US politics in particular, hypocrisy and mysteries abound. This gave rise to the phenomenon of conspiracy theories as if there were always two truths , two possibilities to the same problem and the first explanation was therefore not to be believed. Conspiracy theories are everywhere covering everything. Sadly they are often true. Nothing is what it seems to be in Washington, DC for example.
      It would appear that the world needs to be destroyed and rebuilt according to a new set of
      parameters and yardsticks. It cannot get worse and it is very sick.
      The world, seen as a patient, may die because of all the indignities we have unleashed upon it.
      How to start afresh ? What to do when refugees are turned away because a country does not have the resources to care for them. In Lebanon, there are about 4 million people and …one million refugees from Syria or other unfortunate places.
      I learned the power of honesty from one set of grandparents who often said :” in this house, we do not keep secrets . we live according to a set of values that we share “. It became my moral compass because I have influence and I want to keep it blameless.
      My grandparents lived in a small town and most people adhered to the same values. Life was peaceful and kind.
      When a funeral was marching on the streets, all the men took off their hats and the women prayed for the dead person, whether they knew him/her or not.
      Life was based on respect.
      Thank you, Mohammad, for writing another article , which is right at the heart of our distress and is relevant to all, as always. It is the search for a moral compass in a world gone mad.
      Romy Kerwin

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Stephen J. Higgins
    August 21, 2014

    I do want to add my friend churchliness – good phrase. Piety the false piety that devalues others hasn’t a given the world what it so deeply needs – hope. There are those thankfully to don’t fancy the mask of false piety that comes from fear, pride or hate. I always have the feeling we are merely fearfully trying to save room for God; I would rather speak of God at the center than at the limits, in strength rather than weakness, and thus in human life and goodness rather than in death and guilt. That is why I am in this mixed up world with you as a good friend, thinker and one who is not afraid. Thank you for always teaching truth in troubled times. Cheers, Stephen

    Like

  7. Stephen J. Higgins
    August 21, 2014

    Well done, my friend. Modernity is at the root of it, when faced with evil it hides as it did following WW1 and tried to fix it with committees and parlor games. Now it is fully developing again, sadly it will take even more blood to eradicate it this evil. We need leaders with a strong moral core, people who will not bend the knee to go under the sword but fight the sword fully. I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

    Thomas Jefferson
    Our cause as fellow humans against this evil is right! Honored to have you as a friend! Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      August 21, 2014

      I am always cheered to read your words and comment. The honor is my mine Stephen. Thank you so much

      Like

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