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Unformatted text preview: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 2008 37 The political realism of Augustine and Morgenthau: Issues of Man, God, and just war Bettina Dahl Soendergaard* Abstract Augustine and Morgenthau are examples of classical political realists who base their arguments on the nature of man. Both believe that man is born evil but they differ on the question if man can improve. Augustine also believes that the statesman has a moral purpose while Morgenthau believes that the consequences of man’s nature can only be counterbalanced. This difference is rooted in Morgenthau and Augustine’s different views of the meaning of peace. To Morgenthau, peace is power balance and stability and a permanent peace cannot be achieved. Augustine, however, describes two kinds of peace, the earthly peace and God’s peace. The article discusses these differences and how it impacts their views on moral and war. These different views have similarity with the different views that led to the Reformation in the 1500’s and their difference is as great. 1 Keywords: nature of man; realism; just war; Augustine; Morgenthau 1. INTRODUCTION Realism is not one particular theory but a collection of theories with the common belief that it is impossible to achieve fundamental qualitative progress in international politics (IP). It is not possible to achieve a lasting peace, where peace is understood as stability and order, not war. According to Waltz, realists argue for this in three different ways, i.e. three different images of IP: First image is to argue based on human nature: “Wars result from selfishness, misdirected aggressive impulses, from stupidity” (Waltz 1993, 124). Second image is to look for explanations on national or domestic policy level: “Defects in states cause wars among them” (Waltz 1993, 127). Third image is to find the cause in the international system’s anarchy structure: “In anarchy there is no automatic harmony” (Waltz 1993, 129). Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 2008 38 In this article I focus on the first image approach where for instance Morgenthau and Niebuhr are central, the so-called classical realists. Niebuhr, however, describes the church father Augustine as the first great realist (Niebuhr 1953, 124). According to Niebuhr, Augustine argues that ‘self-love’ is the source of evil, not some natural impulse that the mind cannot yet control (Niebuhr 1953, 125). Therefore, Augustine can be interpreted to also have a first image/classical realist perspective on IP. According to Waever (1992, 42), there was not a realistic IP tradition before the 20 th century but this school of thought arose as a reaction to inter alia liberal IP theory. Morgenthau’s Scientific Man vs. Power Politics from 1946 became a central contribution. Since Morgenthau and Augustine therefore both seem to be key first image realists in each of their age, I will compare them, particularly on the issues of...
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