In terms of foreign policy making, pragmatism has died in the west, although there are some glimmers of hope that it may be resurrected under a Trump Presidency.
But in other areas, pragmatism bordering on cynicism is not only present in the west but omnipresent. However, it is found virtually exclusively in the realm of domestic issues.
Pragmatism is about accepting the world as it is and making the best of it. Cynicism by contrast, is a belief that nothing can ever improve.
Such cynicism presented as pragmatism, defines the actions and rhetoric of western governments when it comes to domestic policy.
Here are just some examples
–Universal health care is too complicated and too expensive
–Building bridges, tunnels and paving broken roads is too expensive
–Funding sports and the arts is too inefficient
–Putting more well-trained police on the streets would be nice but on cost-benefit analysis, let’s hope that the criminals somehow police themselves.
There are many more examples one could consider.
Some make the argument that the money spent on foreign wars of aggression could be better spent on some or all of the aforementioned issues. I don’t disagree with such points of view.
But equally as sentient is the philosophical angle. People in the west do know how to be pragmatic and what’s more is that they know how to be downright cynical.
When it comes to geo-politics, wouldn’t it be refreshing if those who know nothing about Ba’athist Syria or even those who dislike Ba’athist Syria were to say some or all of the following:
— We simply cannot afford regime change
–War would be nice but it’s too inefficient
–Let the Syrian people run their own country, we cannot afford to do so and what’s more is that we lack the departmental expertise
I would be trilled to see the cynicism of western domestic politicians be applied to foreign policy and after that, maybe then they could work on applying the wild idealism to the domestic situation. That way, maybe people in Ba’athist Syria and 21st century America could both receive free health care from birth to old age.