WASHINGTON — It means something in foreign policy circles when realists and idealists converge on a policy, as they are beginning to do on Iran.
Realists assert that only the external behavior of a regime is of direct concern to America; its habits of repression matter little to the national interest. Idealists believe that the internal nature of a regime eventually determines its external behavior; a government that represses its people is more likely to be aggressive and destabilizing, so American interests are served by the spread of democratic ideals. Somewhere in the compromise between these views, U.S. foreign policy is formed.
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