Encyclopedia > Realpolitik

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Realpolitik (meaning practical politics) is the practice of politics independent of moral or ethical considerations, usually for the advancement of the national interests of a country. Another term for this is power politics.

One of the most famous proponents was Niccolo Machiavelli, best known for his Il Principe (The Prince). Machiavelli held that the soul aim of a prince was to seek power, regardless of religous or ethical concerns.

Other great practitioners of realpolitik include Otto von Bismark and Count Camillo Benso di Cavour.

The policy of Realpolitik was introduced to the Nixon Whitehouse by Henry Kissinger. In this context, the policy meant dealing with other powerful nations in a practical manner -- diplomacy with China rather than containment.

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