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A usually expansionist national policy having as its sole principle advancement of the national interest.

[German : real, practical (from Late Latin reālis, real; see real1) + Politik, politics (from French politique, political, policy; see politic).]

re·al′po′li·tik′er n.


(Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a ruthlessly realistic and opportunist approach to statesmanship, rather than a moralistic one, esp as exemplified by Bismarck
[C19: German: politics of realism]


(reɪˈɑlˌpoʊ lɪˌtik, ri-)

(often cap.) political realism or practical politics, esp. policy based on power rather than ideals.
[1910–15; < German, =real real1 + Politik politics, policy; see politic]


realism in politics, especially policies or actions based on considerations of power rather than ideals.
See also: Politics


1. A German word meaning politics of realism, used to mean a cynical policy of pursuing a state’s own interests.
2. An approach to politics that is not idealistic but ruthlessly opportunistic, especially in advancing the interests of a country.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.realpolitik - politics based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations
political science, politics, government - the study of government of states and other political units
References in periodicals archive ?
A case in point is Theodore Roosevelt who, after becoming president in 1901, clearly delineated American foreign policy in the language of Realpolitik. It must be remembered, however, that Realpolitik did not originate with the Americans.
In an e-mail earlier this year, Mr Johnson told Labour supporters it was simply not "realpolitik" to get rid of the 164 that remain.
Less well known, however, is an alternate lineage, culminating in a Stoic Realpolitik that emerges in Justus Lipsius's political writings.
The latest volume in a simply outstanding science fiction action/adventure series, "Rogue Trooper: Realpolitik" continues the story of a genetically designed soldier who can survive the horrors and lethal environments of 'New Earth' as Northers and Southers battle for dominance over a ruined planet.
But even as public outrage mounts, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi must balance the grief of individuals against the demands of realpolitik.
Tambien suele suscitarse una confusion de indole similar a la anterior, cuando se incurre, en Chile por lo menos, en el error (tanto en el ambiente academico como en el debate publico) de ignorar la diferencia existente entre la Realpolitik y Machtpolitik, es decir, entre el realismo politico y la politica del poder desnudo.
Leaving its own provocative title unanswered, "Whatever Happened to Social Democracy?" was mostly comprised of works that blandly provided what the curators Pavel Buchler and Charles Esche promised in their text accompanying the show (published as a free newspaper): "independent thinking without a direct political purpose." The problem is that inciting independent thinking without building consensus toward a direct political purpose is a blank virtue, unmoored from realpolitik in both ambition and effect.
As a result, policies for the development of hybrid instruction and digital archives are often dictated by "Virtualpolitik," or the Realpolitik of virtual institutions, in lieu of a long-term vision for meaningful institutional change.
Two books of essays published in 2003 contrast the secular and the faith-based approach to politics and diplomacy: Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik, edited by Douglas Johnston; and The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics, edited by John Carlson and Erik Owens.
Bush's irritable, realpolitik, man-to-man bilateralism, in which Sandi princes he's known for years get treated with more respect than the less intimate but nonetheless elected leaders of Europe, is the kind of hubris that suggests impending collapse--in Soros' theory, a burst "bubble" of American prominence.
In a country whose leaders are marinated in realpolitik, unilateralism, and triumphalism, the message of this Buddhist monk is startling.
He also edited and was principal author of Foreign Policy into the 21st Century: the US leadership challenge (CSIS, 1996) and Faith-based Diplomacy: trumping realpolitik (Oxford University Press, 2003).