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Any Presidential candidate is going to have make a choice between foreign policies: The Wilsonian Idealism belief that spreading Democracy is the key to World Peace or by choosing Nixonian Realism, allowing Dictators to counter-balance against each other, giving a temporary peace until the next revolution. Collective security by the United Nations is fading like the League of Nations after Italy's invasion of Abyssinia. Thus, the power of the Executive Branch will force the individual holding the power to make a choice: Wilsonian idealism or Nixonian realism.
By nature, I am a reader. There are books everywhere. In my car, in my room, in my bathroom. Here are books that led me from Nixonian Realism to Wilsonian Idealism. You will be very surprised.
Books on Nixonian Realism
In the Arena by Richard Nixon -- This book helped a 21 year old understand Realpolticks in a Cold war world.
Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger -- How Realpolitick was once the provenience of Kings, Tsars and Presidents. How Wilsonianism begot the United Nations and the history of modern Foreign policy by the Master of Diplomacy.
Books on Central Asia
The Great Game Series by Peter Hopkirk -- Afghanistan and Iran as the Chessboard between two Empires: The British (City and Raj) and the Russians; later, The British and the Soviets.
Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden -- On November 4, 1979, the world changed. The first Islamic Republic changed the face of the Middle east and Central Asia. Because of the breach of protocol by taking hostages from the American Embassy, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and Iraq attacked Iran.
Ghost wars by Steve Coll -- The history of Afghanistan from December 25, 1979 until September 10, 2001. From a failed invasion by a nation scared by the Islamic Revolution to a failed state that gained succor by attracting NGO's with a dangerous purpose.
Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile -- Because of Prime Minister Zia of Pakistan, American troops were not allowed in Afghanistan. Our money and our weapons found their way through a shady Texas Congressman who found the Mujahideen, a Rebel force to be respected. Once the Soviets were defeated, the Democratic Congress pulled the plug and made Afghanistan a failed state. Tom Hanks will star as Charlie Wilson in the movie version.
A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin -- Sometimes, Diplomacy doesn't work.
The Prize by Daniel Yergin -- Oil and it's influence in war and Diplomacy. Again, why diplomacy is not always the answer.
Your assignment, if you so choose, Mr. Phelps, is to read these books. If Wilsonian Idealism doesn't work, then please do a Blog Post on why Thomas Friedman's Golden Arches Theory is wrong too.