World Politics Question #4

Are ideas and ideals nothing more than masks for the interests of the powerful, or do they play some kind of independent role in international political life?

Note that in discussing this question you would probably be well-advised to tackle it both in the abstract and in some specific instance. An abstract answer without details can come across as superficial; a case-specific answer without a broader theoretical context can come across as groundless. So you probably want to try for some kind of combination of the two.

[Further thought: "human rights" and "free trade" are certainly ideas and ideals, but so are "death to the Great Satan of the United States of America" and "kill all of the {insert ethnic group here}." Would your answer change if we were talking about "bad" ideas/ideals as opposed to "good" ones?]

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