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The Tragic Vision of Politics
Ethics, Interests and Orders

$129.00 (C)

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  • Date Published: December 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521827539

$ 129.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Is it possible to advocate ethical policies to preserve national security? Contrary to some beliefs, Richard Ned Lebow demonstrates that ethics are conducive to the pursuit of national interests. Reinterpreting the writings of key figures in the history of "realpolitik", he argues that national interests are framed in the language of justice, and indicates the dangers arising from the unilateral exercise of American power in the post-Cold War world.

    • Asks whether ethics has a place in international politics, and criticises US foreign policy
    • Accessibly written for a range of readers across subjects
    • Lebow is a leading US scholar of IR, political psychology and international history
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    • Winner of the Alexander George Book Award of the International Society of Political Psychology

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Ned Lebow has written a book of exceptional reach, insight, learning and ambition. Thucydides provides a template and inspiration for a tradition of classical realism which Lebow elaborates through highly original, richly contextualized readings of Clausewitz and Morganthau. Lebow's critique is political as well as theoretical and methodological. He offers detailed examples and historical evidence to illustrate classic realist arguments..." J. Peter Euben, Duke University

    "This is an important book. Brilliantly conceived and argued, Lebow analyzes in the original the texts of three "classical" realists-- Thucydides, Clausewitz and Morgenthau-- to argue for a more humanistic and compassionate American foreign policy. Ethical behavior and justice, he argues, are not incompatible with Realpolitik. Fragmentation and compartmentalization have built a firewall between the humanities and social sciences. Lebow calls for a balance, a synthesis. He may, in his own words, be like a "salmon swimming upstream," but in his case, the journey is worth the effort." Holger H. Herwig, University of Calgary

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2003
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521827539
    • length: 424 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.79kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Nixon in Hell
    2. Tragedy and politics
    3. Thucydides and war
    4. Thucydides and civilization
    5. Carl von Clausewitz
    6. Hans J. Morgenthau
    7. The wisdom of classical realism
    8. Running red lights and ruling the world
    9. Tragedy and scholarship.

  • Author

    Richard Ned Lebow, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
    Richard Ned Lebow is the James O. Freedman Presidential Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. He is the author, co-author or editor of over eighteen books, many of them about international conflict and its management. He is currently President of the International Society of Political Psychology.


    • Winner of the Alexander George Book Award of the International Society of Political Psychology
    • Winner of the Alexander George Book Award of the International Society of Political Psychology

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