Pragmatic Idealism: Ernesto Che Guevaras Strategic Choice for Bolivia
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA MONTEREY United States
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Throughout history there are political and military decisions that appear, on the surface, to have been made without a proper assessment of the situation they are meant to address. These decisions are sometimes discounted as wrongheaded or foolish. Ernesto Che Guevaras decision to fight a guerrilla war in Bolivia is one such event. Focus on the failure of Guevaras Bolivian mission and his subsequent death at the hands of the Bolivian military have allowed scholars to ignore the geopolitical and social context that framed Guevaras decision-making process. Dismissing the Bolivian mission as flawed based on its outcome creates a false sense that the circumstances surrounding Guevaras decision to fight are unimportant. Considering that ideas do not die, it can be argued that understanding why Guevara fought is more important than whether he was victorious or not. This thesis utilizes Guevaras writings and secondary sources to present the argument that his actions were not rooted in blind ideology and mindless rage, as some scholars suggest, but in a pragmatic blend of ideological, strategic, and psychological factors meant to achieve a specific end.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics