Scrolling through the Corner at NRO, e.g.: here, here, and here, I have become mighty disturbed with the general tone of the discussion in the Corner on realism. The most egregious case was when Rich Lowry wrote that "I always scorned Bush's notion that there is no conflict between our interests and our ideals." Let me put this as bluntly as possible: if we truly separate our ideals and interests, the American experiment is dead. Our ideals, our first principles, are our interests--that is the genius of our system.
American realism was born of the Cold War, as a counterpart to liberal internationalism (Wilsonianism). What is forgotten now by international relations scholars is that both Cold War realism and liberalism were foreign policy tactics in support of our ideals/interests. Communism was such an obvious threat because it ran counter to everything we stood for. Realists supported non-communist dictators in the short term during the Cold War because they believed that was the best way to defeat communism in the long term. Liberals supported international institutions during the Cold War because they believed that was the best way to defeat communism in the long term. But the ideals/interests were the same. The fact that so many have forgotten that truth is an indication of the success New Left critics had in slandering the motivations of Americans in the past. Why conservatives, who believe in first principles most of all, would follow that line of thinking escapes me.
Obviously, the best way to support our ideals/interests in the long term is to accept that parts of the world just are not ready right now. But that's a far cry from saying that short term dealmaking separates our ideals and interests.
(I've written about this in more detail in the past here.)