Hans Morgenthau and the Iraq war: realism versus neo-conservatism. Open source article – check for full text link won’t work. [ALL to review]. Add to My. 17 John J. Mearsheimer, “Hans Morgenthau and the Iraq War: Realism versus Neo-Conservatism,” , posted 19 May. Hans Morgenthau and the Iraq War: Realism Versus Neo-conservatism. Front Cover. John J. Mearsheimer. OpenDemocracy,

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Transform the region and make it into a zone of democracies, the neo-conservatives argued, and the terrorism problem would go away.

There is little doubt that Morgenthau saw nationalism as a potent political force and that, more than any other factor, it drove his opposition to the Vietnam war. Transformation Where love meets social justice. Here’s an example of what they look like: I think that Hans Morgenthau, who some four decades ago made the realist case against escalation in Vietnam using arguments similar to those realists employed in the run-up to the Iraq war, would have opposed that war as well if he had been alive.

Realists are often accused of disliking democracy and even of being anti-democratic. The American experience in Vietnam and the Soviet experience in Afghanistan fit the same basic pattern, although the American and Soviet learning curves were a bit steeper than the Israeli. After all, no state modelled on the United States would resort to terror.

Hans Morgenthau and the Iraq war: realism versus neo-conservatism | openDemocracy

Hobbes and the International Anarchy Previous: For them, the emphasis is constantly and emphatically on democracy, and they believe that invading countries to facilitate the spread of democracy is an attractive option. The solution was obvious: Simply put, we live in a balancing world. Fukuyama thought we had reached the end of history in with the end of the cold war, and that boredom would be the main problem in the decades ahead.


This belief in the utility of military force explains in large part why the Bush administration and the neo-conservatives favour unilateralism over multilateralism.

Creating democracies in areas like the middle east, where there is little experience with that form of government, is a daunting task.

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions. It is pursuing a radical foreign policy, regardless of what one thinks of its merits. It wzr natural to conclude that he would have understood that this same basic logic applied to Iraqand thus would have opposed the Iraq war as fiercely as he opposed the war in Vietnam.

There are many reasons to think that spreading democracy with military force is not an effective way to build democracy in Iraq, or any other place for that matter. Morgenthau, not surprisingly, thought that the domino theory was hooey. Hans Morgenthau and the Iraq war: Setting up reading intentions help you organise your course reading.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz understood that if the American military had to deploy huge numbers of troops in Iraq after Saddam was toppled, it would be pinned down, unable to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. The RMA is largely useless in combatting an insurgency, against which a large army is needed, as the Bush administration has discovered in Iraq. Thus, the Bush doctrine emphasises the importance of spreading democracy, especially in the middle east.


The Bush doctrine did not call for a large army. What are reading intentions?

Hans Morgenthau and the Iraq war: realism versus neo-conservatism | openDemocracy

Instead, it looks for ways morgentbau defend itself; it balances against the threatening state. Their opposition came early, long before it became clear that the war was a lost cause; in fact Morgenthau was warning against American military involvement in Vietnam in the late s.

Neo-conservatives correctly believe that the United States has a remarkably powerful military. Morgenthau was not opposed to making Vietnam democratic. For a short morrgenthau and summary of Hans Morgenthau’s work, see the box at the foot of this article. A clear step backwards: Knocking off Saddam, the war party thought, would have a cascading effect in the middle east, if not the wider world.

Follow the University on. But once the United States commits huge numbers of soldiers in a country like Iraq, it is no longer free to invade other countries because it is effectively stuck in a quagmire. If a misunderstanding of nationalism is the first problem with the idealism of the neo-conservatives, the second is that democracies, for all their virtues, do not always pursue benign foreign policies.