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Quotes / Realpolitik

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We could feed them, and we did, with or without the consent of the Senate. But if we could sneak a few outlying planets away from the Empire by doing it, why not?
Captain Kanril Eleya to Jake Sisko, From Bajor to the Black

When your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you. And any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no true king at all. Aerys never understood that, but you will. When I’ve won your war for you, we will restore the king’s peace and the king’s justice.
Lord Tywin Lannister to King Joffrey Baratheon, A Song of Ice and Fire

"Gather 'round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun
A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience
Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown
'Nazi Schmazi', says Wernher von Braun"
— "Wernher von Braun", That Was the Year That Was

    Film — Live-Action 
There is an old Vulcan proverb; "Only Nixon could go to China."

Adm. Dougherty: We have the planet. They have the technology. A technology we can't duplicate. You know what that makes us? Partners.
Cpn. Picard: Our partners are nothing more than petty thugs.
Dougherty: On Earth, petroleum once turned "petty thugs" into world leaders.

In order for everything to remain the same, everything will have to change.
Tancredi Falconeri, The Leopard.

    Live-Action TV 
Work in intelligence long enough, you hang on to phone numbers. No matter who your enemy is, there's a chance you'll need them tomorrow. Churchill and Stalin weren't chummy in 1941, but once the Nazis marched on Moscow they got past their differences.
Burn Notice, "Devil You Know"

Are you serious? This woman made the Durian Massacres look like a church picnic and Earth wants to give her a grant?
Garibaldi, Babylon 5 ("Deathwalker")

Claire Underwood: There were political realities we couldn't ignore.
Megan Hennessy: Do you ever wonder why so many people hate Washington? It's because of people like you using phrases like that.

17 schoolgirls were forced to burn alive because they weren't wearing the proper clothing. Am I 'outraged'? No. That is Saudi Arabia, our partners in peace.
CJ Cregg, The West Wing

You don't need to make formal alliances with people you trust.
Lord Tywin Lannister, Game of Thrones

    Stand-up comedy 
"We got attacked.
"By who?"
Osama bin Laden.
"That guy from Afghanistan? Didn't we used to send him weapons?"
Yeah, I know!
"We went after him, right?"
"Did we get him?"
"Well, what do you mean 'almost'?"
Well, we went after Hussein, because he had weapons of mass destruction.
"That guy from Syria. I knew that fuck would do this."
No, the one from Iraq.
"SADDAM Hussein? Bush Sr. kicked his ass!"
Yeah, he did!
"And we got him?"
Oh, fuck, we got him.
"And we found the weapons of mass destruction? Cause he would tell you where they are."
Well, they executed him.
"Fuck off! And did you get bin Laden?"
Almost. We got four of his number threes.
"Okaaay.... But he's in Afghanistan."
Maybe. He might be in Pakistan.
"Well, let's go after him in Pakistan!"
Well, there's a problem there. They're allies, and they have weapons of mass destruction.
Robin Williams, Weapons of Self-Destruction

    Video Games 
Mike Toreno: Some traitors from another department think they can help the 'overseas situation' by financing militaristic dictators in exchange for arms contacts.
Carl "C.J." Johnson: (double take) ...Hey, ain't that exactly what you do?
Toreno: Well, kind of, but we get to pick our dictators; degenerates that we can control. We try to stay the hell away from these guys with "principles" because that just muddies the waters.

    Web Comics 
The fifty families play a game
That all revolves around a name.
To play the game you must be skilled
The Game of Kings can get you killed.
They plot and murder, lie and sin
Determined no one else should win.
They’ll turn Europa upside down
To try to claim the Lightning Crown.
Anonymous (No, really, we don’t know who wrote it. Honest.), Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, Girl Genius

If someone can't handle an unpleasant truth? Lie to them. If somone won't listen to reason? Make them. If people don't choose to live peaceably—don't give them a choice. If you don't like the rules—change the game.
Tarvek Sturmvoraus, Girl Genius , summarizing what he learned from watching Baron Wulfenbach at work.


    Web Original 
It all comes down to who's side 'we' are on... or rather, who is on 'our' side. Since 'we' are, by definition and by common sense, the goodies, then our friends must, ipso facto, be goodies too... goodies don't ally with baddies, after all... and so those who attack 'our' friends must, logically, be baddies. This is what responsible journalists call 'living in the real world'.

    Real Life 
Politics is the art of the possible.

"Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock."
Will Rogers

Yet in the most mean, cowardly, hypocritical way the British ruling class did all they could to hand Spain over to Franco and the Nazis. Why? Because they were pro-Fascist, was the obvious answer.
George Orwell, Fighting in Spain

Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
John Kenneth Galbraith

Great powers have no principles — only interests.
Att. Henry Kissinger

No one is innocent after the experience of governing.
— Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Politics is like boxing — you try to knock out your opponents.

We know Saddam at one time had weapons of mass destruction because we have the receipts!
Chalmers Johnson

"If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible."
Senator Harry Truman, June 1941 note 

You Palestinians can never see the fucking big picture.
—National Security Advisor Susan Rice to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat

America's unique global power allows it to be the balancer in every region. We balanced Iraq by supporting its weaker neighbors in the Gulf War. We balance China by supporting the ring of smaller states at its periphery (from South Korea to Taiwan, even to Vietnam).
Charles Krauthammer, The Unipolar Moment

In politics it is necessary either to betray one's country or the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.


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