History of Events Term Paper

Pages: 20 (7033 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Government

The United States has a stake in the region. The protection of South Korea and Japan, both of whom would be drawn into a nuclear conflict, is important. From a strategic standpoint, the U.S. military presence in the region is important because it can keep an eye on the Chinese.

The U.S. press often bandies the India-Pakistan conflict, though because of Afghanistan and Iraq it has not made the news. In the coming future, the region of Indian Kashmir will eventually attain independent statehood. Though it is a political football that will be tossed around for a few more years. The European Union will grow stronger to counter American strength. Though one can safely concur that the EU will be strategic partners. Some of the problems that countries like France and Germany have are due to their historically colonial leanings. Citizens of these colonies (some of them Muslims) form significant portions of French and German populations. They then dictate the international policies of these nations.

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Russia is a remarkably resilient country. Though it is a shell of what it used to be. The people have shown instances of bravery that have not been matched. During the Second World War, they fought the Germans defending every street if Moscow until the tide of war began turning. Strong leadership and alliances based on mutually beneficial exchange will help strengthen it. The U.S. should always attempt to remain strategic and amiable partners with Russia. Other nations in Eastern Europe have come out from under the yoke of totalitarianism and communism. As evidenced by the support of the U.S. In the war against Iraq, one can look to these countries to become mainstays and spreaders of Democracy.

Human nature will dictate that the twenty-first century will not be very different from the last. But if by skillful strategizing, being assertive and avoiding complacency, it is possible that major disasters that worldwide conflicts can be averted.

Term Paper on History of Events in the Assignment

Realism is indeed the dominant theory in the study of international relations. Realism is based on a conservative outlook of the three modes: conservatism, liberalism and revolutionism. Joshua Goldstein proposes one definition: "Realism (or political realism) is a school of thought that explains international relations in terms of power." (p. 1) Hence power can be seen as the ascendancy of an individual or a group of individuals, societies, nations, or coalition of nations over another. These entities are collective called "actors" by Goldstein. As the word suggests realism involves a realistic worldview. Realism takes into account the real behavior of people (or actors) and realism policies are about reacting (or adopting a proactive stance) to the realistic behavior of an actor. Political realism can be easily contrasted with political idealism. The contrast is simply between what things are vs. what they are perceived to be or perceived how they should be. Recent (and not so recent) history has shown that political idealism in international relationships can have fatal consequences. One might imagine that World War II might have not come to pass if World War I allies had followed a policy of preemptive deterrence against the rise of Hitler. In following a policy of appeasement, Neville Chamberlain and Franklin Delano Roosevelt paved the way for the events to come. At the same time, Winston Churchill, a relatively junior member in the British Parliament realistically saw the sign of things to come. He waged a lone battle to convince and warn his colleagues of the impending problems faced by Europe. Others saw the wisdom of his predictions a little too late. After the events of September 11, 2001, while the citizens of the United States were bristling with outrage and wanted to wreak vengeance on the perpetrators of this, there were some who adopted an introspective stance, as in "What have we done to deserve this attack." The realistic stance would have been to look for steps to ensure that this might never happen again. In Chapter 2, Goldstein gives an example of the street mugger. (p. 79) Using the same example, consider the following analogy. A person might take to mugging for various reasons. Rebelling against prior abuse, poverty, a purely criminal mindset or simple kleptomania. A realist when mugged would try to extricate himself from this perilous position -- either by a defensive or an aggressive stance. An idealist reaction would be to question the motives or the foibles of the would-be victim that caused the criminal to do what he did. This would almost never happen in real life. Realism declares that it should not be a policy decision in international relations.

The core assumptions of realism are that man is inherently selfish -- as are actors and nations. These players act or are motivated from a need to fulfill their own selfish interests. This pursuit of self-interests is what lends nations their sovereignty. The question then arises: Are the self-interests of nations mutually exclusive? Does one nation's self-interest impinge on another's right to self-determination? Can these matters be solved equitably? The answer to Realism's core assumptions is premised on the concept of Power. Power is what determines whose self-interest is prioritized. Power comes from many forms: military might, economy, geographical location and the availability of natural and human resources. Goldstein avers that though not ideal, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of a nation is the best indicator of power. (p. 74) He illustrates this point from the point-of-view of the Iran-Iraq war and the Iraq War of 1991 (and 2003). In the former case, the GDP of Iran was not significantly higher than that of Iraq. Iran is Caucasian. Iraq is Arab. Iraq also has more oil and it could use it as leverage. Iraq also enlisted the help of other Arab nations who had an emotional investment in Iraq's support. These factors nullified the small advantage that Iran had. Iran was also coming out from political upheavals where the capitalist and liberal Shah was deposed and replaced by the despotic, religious conservative Ayatollah Khomenei. This equity in power ensured that the war lasted for more than ten years. It killed more than a million people. Then just as it has begun, it ended with no clear victor emerging. In the case of the Gulf War to liberate Kuwait by pushing away the Iraqis was fought between the U.S.A. who had a GDP advantage of 100 to 1. This overwhelming superiority ensured that no matter how Iraq strategized, they could not win. The U.S.A. had overwhelming support for that war from the United Nations. The same GDP superiority was enough to depose Saddam Hussein even thought the unconditional support came from select pockets of nations scattered throughout the Globe.

The doctrine of using the GDP in this manner could in a sense be called the Powell doctrine named after Colin Powell who was the Chief of Staff during the Gulf War. His doctrine involved the use of overwhelming force to rout the enemy as soon as possible; this was to be followed by a quick exit strategy. In speaking of Doctrines, the new Bush doctrine was proposed by President George W. Bush and engineered by Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The doctrine promotes the idea of spreading of democracy by preemptive deterrence followed by economic aid to cement the newfound independence. One would suspect that the doctrine might also do well to identify cultural and national mores as part of the thought process.

Realism works well. It has been shown to work well. The quick victories in Afghanistan and Iraq are testament to this. The escalation of arms by Ronald Reagan while forcing the Soviets to collapse in an attempt to keep up is also realism in action. The escalation of arms that would be anathema to most idealists did end the cold war and gave independence to many of the former Soviet republics that only took orders from Moscow. It also reunified Germany. There is nothing wrong in the premise of idealism. But it comes back to the core assumptions of realism. That man is by nature selfish. Realism recognizes man for what he is and policies are tailored with this in mind. Imagine how different American history would have been if the Powell doctrine had been applied during the Vietnam War. The U.S.'s approach was idealistic. The mistake was in sending what the policy makers considered were just enough resources to win the war. They did not realize that environmental and climatic factors of the tropics would play a major role. They also did not account for the levels of support that the North Vietnamese got from the Russians and the Chinese. What also did not help the cause of the war because of the counter-cultural thought that was sweeping the United States. If one carefully looks at the tenets of the counter culture of the sixties and seventies, one can see that they closely resemble the core… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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