On Wednesday, March 23, The Public Affairs Society (with the combined effort of Dr. Garrison) organized yet another outstanding event that provided an interesting insight on a popular topic of discussion – foreign policy. The event featured an introduction by the Public Affairs Society, and transitioned to a philosophical analysis on foreign policy by Dr. Michael Federici himself, then followed up by a question and answer portion.
Federici opened up his speech by comparing realists and idealists. He suggested that the divide between these two is one of the greatest divides we see in the American world of politics. Federici mentioned that idealists often bend on the hope of accomplishing what may seem to be impossible tasks, while realists tend to look at a situation and look at things realistically, no matter how harsh they may be. Also strongly embedded within his speech was references to Alexander Hamilton and his outlook on foreign policy. To further strengthen his speech, he used specific examples within our history to explain why idealist choices may have been the reason behind our current mess with foreign policy, and the evolution of terrorist organizations.
Federici’s strongest point was his examination of the Iraq War. To point out the divide between realism and idealism, he reflected on the idealist decision President Bush made to enter warfare in Iraq. He quoted a series of Bush’s statements during the war to point out that the objective of entering the Middle East was to encourage democracy within the Middle East. This reason for going to war is what Federici feels “got us in this mess in the first place.” He furthered his argument by stating that a goal to create democracies all around the world is an impossible task. Thus, concluding the discussion by saying that this idealist decision is what created a vacuum in the Middle East for terrorist organizations to rise.
Hinging off of this argument, he drew more attention from the audience by suggesting that this vacuum and mistakes like these may be the reason for the Donald Trump phenomenon. He said, “we have never seen this before, but a candidate, Donald Trump, is taking advantage of idealist mistakes and using it to gain support.” Simply, Federici suggested that Trump is taking the aftermath of idealist mistakes elicit support from American voters.
Federici then made his closing remarks, which left the crowd with an interest perspective on what a realist truly is. Not only did he accomplish this, but he also left the audience wondering what our nation would look like today had we made a realist decisions instead of idealist.