Magazine
Latest Issue

War and democracy

Tony Blair's former foreign affairs adviser considers the ambiguous lessons of the Iraq war. Realpolitik, he finds, is still necessary in a world of power but increasingly unworkable in a world of democracy

By Robert Cooper   June 2006

Most politics is a matter of trial and error. You try something; if it works you carry on, if it fails you try something else. Usually the trial is based on some theory. Intelligent policymakers will test the theory against reality in a small way before making a big bet on it.

Foreign policy is more difficult. It consists of a series of one-off problems, and you do not get a choice about whether they are big or small. Even after the event it may not be clear whether you did right or wrong. One school of thought argues that…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect