. . . You can be an idealist and a realist at the same time. What is missing today from American foreign policy is a willingness to hold these two thoughts simultaneously, to find a way to move from what “is” — a world with a risk of increasing global disaster — to what “ought” to be, a peaceful, civilized world free of weapons of mass destruction.
The “ought” is an integral part of the political process. Our founding fathers proclaimed the “ought” of American democracy in the Declaration of Independence at a time when we had slavery, property qualifications for voting and second-class citizenship for women.
Yet we steadily moved the undesirable “is” of our society ever closer to the “ought” and thereby strengthened our democracy.
From: “Bombs Away,” New York Times op ed, April 23, 2006