chapter  4
22 Pages

Dialogue in a World of Emotional Politics

ByPaul Saurette, Henrik Thune

For much of its post-WWII history, the study and practice of international politics has dismissed the idea that emotional elements might play an important role in international conflicts. On one hand, realists have represented international politics as the ultimate Hobbesian state of nature: an arena where rationality, strategy, state interest and cold calculations trump all other human considerations – including the feelings of sympathy, generosity, fear, empathy and solidarity that are often seen as crucial in the sphere of domestic politics. Idealists, on the other hand, have often suggested that logic clearly demonstrates that states should and must use global norms, international institutions and practices of cooperation to avoid slipping into emotional misunderstandings and responses that only exacerbate the challenges of global politics.