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Stephen Walt: Right on Target - Essay Example

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27 October 2011 Stephen Walt: Right on Target A very intriguing article about foreign policy was written by Stephen Walt (2011). In his writing, Walt discusses various points of United States foreign policy actions that have taken place in history as well as some that are on going…
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Stephen Walt: Right on Target
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Download file to see previous pages Clearly, the American government did not learn from its past mistakes. First, it entered in to the Vietnam War, in spite of the warning that it was a losing fight. The result was that many lives were lost and the American people were crying out for an end to American involvement in the conflict. Decades later, the government has entered in to Afghanistan. There have been more losses with this war than victory, as in the Vietnam War, and yet again, Americans are petitioning their government to bring home the troops. Even though the current engagement has not reached the point of disaster as was experienced with the Vietnam War, it is enough to realize the similarity between these two battles. Walt broadly points out this similarity. He says, “We are once again being told that is the United Stares withdraws from Afghanistan before achieving a clear victory, its credibility will be called into question, al Qaeda and Iran will be emboldened, Pakistan could be imperiled, and NATO’s unity and resolve might be fatally compromised”(Walt, 2011). According to Walt, they are continuing in the war based on a fear that pulling out will weaken the reputation of the US. However, having a severely weakened state from the overexertion of power to an area that should not be granted attention can weaken not only the nation’s reputation, but the nation itself. ...
This statement could serve as a comforter for those who agree that the foolishness of the military activity in Afghanistan by the United States resembles the failure of the Vietnam War. They can take from this statement that although the actions of the government seem foolish, they will not lead to the mortality of the state. However, one might ask what the definition of powerful is when the word is applied to a state. The statement of Walt can be used as a test to uncover this definition. For if a foolish action is fatal to a state then that state was not truly powerful. If the state can withstand decisions that are deemed ‘foolish’ then that is a powerful state. In other words, foolish decisions serve to prove the power of a state, according to the statement of Walt. Nevertheless, it would seem to commons sense that a powerful state is not a foolish one. Although such actions by incompetent leaders might not lead to the death of a state, they should not be tolerated. Walt is to be applauded for his observations regarding the immunity of powerful states. Although Walt made many important points and gave numerous thoughtful observations in his article, just one more feature of his article will be explored here. Walt explained that the information that the government withholds from the people serve to cover up the failures and mistakes of US leaders. This observation was made to try and explain why the government would not learn from its past mistakes but continue to repeat them. Walt stated that one of the reasons is that the mistakes are not often revealed to the general public. The faulty polices are not subjected to analysis and debate, so they perpetuate. Instead of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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