I almost skipped day five considering that I have never been good with quotes, but then I remembered a quote from my favorite TV show: House of Cards. This is an American TV show with the main characters, husband and wife, Claire and Frank Underwood, played by Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey. The show revolves around the couple moving every card (by using realpolitik) to achieve their dreams of ruling the white house, thus the US. (Lately, sexual assault accusations have been made against the star of the show Kevin Spacey who will hopefully get the right punishment if the accusations are proven to be true.)
Together with what happens behind closed doors, this show teaches you the (REALPOLITIK OF LIFE), which is rather pleasant for the public policy and international relations students such as myself.
What is Realpolitik
Firstly, let’s explain what is meant by realpolitik. Its beginnings are since the Thucydides and its analysis of the Peloponnesian war, can be seen in Machiavelli’s masterpiece “The Prince”, became the way of how the world political powers prevailed the balance within them from the Peace of Westphalia, but became a real political term by the German political analyst August Ludwig von Rochau. Realpolitik basically means making decisions based on calculations and principles which do not consider ideology as the main concern. It means that one can take a situation into his/her hands and put it into his/her advantage and achieve particular goals. “After all, we are nothing more or less than what we choose to reveal.”
The (mis)usages of Realpolitik
Such way of acting can be used rather wrongly from people who can not make a difference between professional and personal. Realpolitik is rather useful if it used in proper ways, meaning in the right time and place by people who are able to calculate the outcomes of their actions and also know how to handle situations that get out of control, but it is extremely harmful if it used in every single situation just because one is obsessed with getting what s/he wants. Realpolitik requires to abandon the notion of morals and consideration for other people’s feelings, needs, and wishes and put yourself first, and when you think about it, it is a rather harsh way of living and achieving goals.
However, I like to see things in different perspectives. What realpolitik taught me was to know myself and take into consideration different scenarios of one particular action and then make the move that will give me the most pleasant outcome. For such thing to happen, there is no need to step over other people, on the contrary. The best outcomes come if you work together with those other people. Most of us are after the same things right? We are all fighting for survival in this cruel world, in order for us to reach happiness one day. Realpolitik follows the rule of “the big fish eating the small fish”, but since I can name 100 different kinds of love from the top of my tongue, I can also find 100 kinds of good ways to use such thing as realpolitik.
As I was saying, it is very harmful if the wrong people decide to live their lives in this matter. For example, a person who does not know him/herself properly cannot calculate his/her reactions towards having money or power. A person who is not able to put him/herself in the others’ shoes and calculate how they will react after particular actions, cannot handle the responsibilities that come with using an opportunity in the wrong way. However, a person who knows him/herself and knows how to read and understand others can make a great usage of realpolitik, and achieve many great things.
Realpolitik your way towards confidence
Knowing how to properly use it or not, all of us can do one thing that is part of this political game. Each one of us can set particular goals for our future and shout to the world what Frank shouts in the middle of the American parliament in the TV show House of Cards: “I repeat I will not yield, I will not yield, I will not yield!”. By repeating these words to ourselves, sooner than later we will believe them, and maybe Realpolitik is not the right choice for everyone (hopefully not), but at least we will have the confidence to be ourselves and not only take advantage from the opportunities given to us, but also create our own.
Sorry for the late post, hopefully, you enjoyed it. Lots of love 🙂