I read with interest each post on CfD and await your thoughts on the last chapter....
Is it possible that Sharansky is seeking to combat a perspective which looks only at the unstable transition stage? Not having read the book I cannot make that judgement, but from your description it appears that may be his motive.
I think it unlikely. Here's how he describes the ideological dichotomy:
According to the realist, the role of prudent statesmen is to help promote an international order that advances their nation's interests, even if promoting that order abroad requires setting aside principles one would never abandon at home.
Recently, idealists have been vilified not only for risking blood and treasure in strategically insignificant operations that satisfy moral impulses alone -- a proclivity one writer memorably labeled "foreign policy as social work" -- but also for refusing to contemplate the use of force when vital interests are really at stake. (70, 71)
So far, he's been pretty consistent in making this the
key distinction. The picture he paints is of realists who do not make freedom abroad a priority at all, versus idealists who make it the overriding priority.