These are good points.
My impression about realists like Andrew Bacevich is that they think we should not be so wedded to countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel that we end up supporting policies that are immoral for no good reason. Also, we should be on better terms with Iran. We should not have tried to overthrow Assad or Gadaffi. We just created chaos and there was no self defense justification for our policies there. In general, we should not be running around the world intervening. Or that is my impression of the type of realist I like to read, but there are others of a more militant interventionist frame of mind. I think people used to call Kissinger a realist, but he was the militant intervening type.
I am guessing most realists would probably favor a 2ss since it is the solution most people claim is realistic. Whether that is true is a separate question.
As for strategy, I am decent at criticizing and worthless at strategizing.
I agree that the Carter post a few weeks back was, um, implausible. I am old enough to remember stagflation and the hostage crisis and how Carter was seen, fairly or not, as in over his head. Also the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan made him look weak. Israel policy was pretty far down the list of factors— if anything, his Camp David agreement was seen as one of his few foreign policy triumphs.