Ireland is irrelevant in the brutal global reality of 'realpolitik'
In the 1990s, the concept of 'realpolitik' was regarded as a relic of the Cold War period. A combination of economic downturn, military adventurism, a succession of crises in the Middle East and the widening gap between rich and poor - not forgetting Isil - have ensured that realpolitik has a receptive audience once more. A pragmatic concept, it has its origins in the Germany of Bismarck and each successive generation reinvented it. The foundation of realpolitik is based on a number of interlinked assumptions:
• The law of the strong is the determining factor in politics, thus sovereignty is not a natural right.
• Ideas in politics matter but essential truths are irrelevant.