Monday, November 27, 2006

Wilsonian Idealists v. Nixonian Realists

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When Woodrow Wilson proposed his "14 Points" during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, he opened up the door to American idealism in foreign policy. By the time of the Vietnam War, Nixionian Realism determined the opening to China.

The first term of the Bush Presidency was based on Wilsonian Ideals, Democracy for the Middle East, defend America by creating Capitalism abroad. Thanks to the results of the 2006 midterms, Bush pere's main advisor, James Baker, returns the Bush fils administration to the realist ideology. And with him comes the return of Realpolitiks to the Foreign policy desk.

Realpolitik is what brought the pre-World War One world to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Leaving diplomacy to the diplomats brought the world to the brink. And today? The leaving of Wilsonian idealism brings the world closer to the "Archduke Ferdinand moment" (if it hasn't happened yet already). The chessboard is not the poppy fields of Europe, but the desert sands of the Middle East.

Under Realpolitik, Israel is put a pawn on a chessboard to be given away. Under Wilsonian rules, it is a lighthouse to a darkened area. Balance of power is an ideal goal for the Nixonians, but it is not how the world works today. During the 70's, the USSR was a balance to America. Balance of Power made sense. What is our balance today? The USSR might return, but not yet.

The realists are rising. The idealists are falling. Since 9/11, America has lived with the Damocles' Sword of another attack on our shores. By bringing Democracy to an autocratic region, America was building another pillar to use for the Realists. The return of the Realists is the end of a dream.

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  1. What we have here is a failure to communicate :)

  2. The problem is that both the idealism of Wilsonian concept of politics or the realism Realpolitik when taken to the extreme are characterized by a lack of communication, as well as the absence balance and even handedness.

    The current situation reminds me of a quote by Abba Eban and a quote by Golda Mier

    Fitst, the lack of open and frank discussion and a constructive dialogue reminds me that humankind only exercises its mental faculties when they have expended their surplus engery in fruitless efforts.

    As Eban said: History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.

    Ptimeinster reinforced this ide when she said: Not till the fire is dying in the grate, Look we for any kinship with the stars. Oh, wisdom never comes when it is gold, And the great price we paid for it full worth: We have it only when we are half earth. Little avails that coinage to the old!

    Second, in my heart the situation in the Middle East that a consensus arrived at easily will not endure.

    The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel has withstood and remained largely intact for almost 28 years. It took three years of intense negotiation to achieve it.

    Anyone who says a hastily negotiated truce will last and not be broken should take note of Meir's thought on detente

    I don't know why you use a fancy French word like detente when there's a good English phrase for it-cold war.

    A true and lasting peace between the Palestinians and Israel, and a peaceful resolution in Iraq will take time and require consideration of many alternatives.

    The question we must ask ourselves is are we willing as a nation to do what is necessary to achieve peace?


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