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The Reality Of Political Realism Essay

1907 words - 8 pages

When discussing whether or not a nation-state should enter a war and when to do so, three beliefs on foreign policy and war exist. The three different diplomatic stances are that of pacifism, just war theory, and political realism. Political realism, or realpolitik as it is often referred to, is the belief war should only occur when it is in the national interest of the particular nation-state. Henry Kissinger, a political realist, in his book Diplomacy argues that realism is the only logical answer. Just war theorists, along with pacifists, on the other hand oppose these arguments and therefore critique of this form of diplomatic action. To construct a valid understanding of the realist perspective the arguments Kissinger puts forth in his book Diplomacy will be examined, and then a critique of those arguments will be offered through a just war theorist perspective.

Policy differences between Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt lead to different actions and desires. These differences were substantial, and so were their different views on foreign policy. Roosevelt became a president more determined to lead the United States (US) by its national interests. Roosevelt was the first president to insist it was America's duty to make its influence felt globally. Although, Roosevelt only intended to relate the US to the rest of the world through the US's national interests. Roosevelt envisioned the US as a power like no other and felt obligated to draw on its strengths to prevail against other countries as necessary if their interests collided. Whether those strengths be that of embargo, diplomatic actions, or hostile confrontation, Roosevelt believed if it was in the nation's interest to attain this particular goal then so be it. In Roosevelt's ideals international interaction meant a struggle, and believed Darwin's survival of the fittest was a better guide to history rather than personal morality as Wislon would argue. Darwin's survival of the fittest was a strong belief Roosevelt held and theorized all life followed the ideas of natural selection. Natural selection and survival of the fittest are theories that the strong will naturally survive by both, eliminating the weak and having greater likelyhood to pass on.

With the German invasion of Luxenbourgh and Belgium directly breaking treaties previously signed stating peace Roosevelt stated to not take sides. Roosevelt's reaction was that of no concern at first, yet he was concerned once war erupted in Europe. Mainly concerned that the war would disrupt the balance of power in Europe and the German invasions would lead to German invasions pressing forward into Latin and South America. German military occupations in Latin America would pose a direct threat for the US if this were to be true. Roosevelt felt the problem would inevitably resolve itself prior to occupations in Latin America based on the principles that a balance of power still exists. A balance of power is the way the European...

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