Philosophy of Statecraft: Realist or Idealist?
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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Did the fundamental nature of national security change with the collapse of the Soviet Union Can the spread of western values, the rewards of free market economies, and collective security eventually afford the world sufficient security Is it time now to throw the old playbooks out and start to uphold Woodrow Wilsons vision of the world The answer to each of these questions is distinctly no. Many of the problems we see around the world today -- inter-ethnic genocide random acts of political violence corruption or malfeasance leading to poverty and regional hegemonists, to name but a few -- morally outrage the core values of most Americans. Unfortunately, tragedies like these, as dreadful as they are, cannot be prevented, only controlled. Herein lies the crux of the debate between idealists and realists. Though world conditions are different now, the basic assumptions and tenets that differentiate idealists from realists remain the same as they have for nearly two centuries. This paper will test five basic assumptions pertaining to the international security system against present conditions. It argues that realism is the optimal choice for the present setting and ultimately proposes some guideposts for development of a realist strategy for the United States.
- Government and Political Science