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A Matter of PrincipleHumanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq$
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Thomas Cushman, Gary Marx, and Christine Williams

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520244863

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520244863.001.0001

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Liberal Realism or Liberal Idealism

Liberal Realism or Liberal Idealism

The Iraq War and the Limits of Tolerance

(p.207) 13 Liberal Realism or Liberal Idealism
A Matter of Principle

Richard Just

University of California Press

This chapter reports the younger generation of liberals who have abandoned idealism for realism, thus jeopardizing the continuation of the most important defining quality of the liberal internationalist tradition. It is much more difficult to justify the Iraq war in October 2004 than it was in April 2003. Even in the absence of Al Qaeda links or weapons of mass destruction, even given the extraordinary difficulty of building a democracy in Iraq, it was clearly in our moral interest and self-interest to see Saddam removed from power. The war on terrorism and the situation in Iraq are clearly the nation's most important foreign policy priorities, as they should be. While the Democrats' embracing of foreign policy realism is disturbing, perhaps it is only a transient matter of politics; after all, political realities change quickly. It is believed that Barrack Obama's impulse is worth following, at home and abroad.

Keywords:   liberal realism, liberal idealism, Iraq war, Al Qaeda, Saddam, terrorism, foreign policy, Barrack Obama

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