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Robert McNamara: Creating an Analytical Shift in Terms of Crisis - Research Paper Example

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Section TA Date Robert McNamara: Creating an Analytical Shift in Times of Crisis Robert McNamara: Creating an Analytical Shift in Times of Crisis The period between the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War were essential in terms of identifying ideologies that would shape the nation and its decisions…
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Robert McNamara: Creating an Analytical Shift in Terms of Crisis
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Download file to see previous pages With that said, a close look will be taken at the “Lessons” of Robert McNamara to illustrate how he best fits into the Idealist camp and to define how his “Lessons” might be of impact on current policy makers, politicians, and citizens in today’s modern world. In attempting to direct the actions of President Kennedy and President Johnson, a definite shift occurred in differences between how both they and he related to the war efforts. Both Johnson and Kennedy felt that definitive strikes should be taken, when deemed necessary, and that such actions would have a greater impact on the war efforts as a whole. On the other hand, McNamara believed that war could not be relegated in such a way. Every action had consequences and reacting in the same way (be it with violence, air strikes, or offensive maneuvers), would not bring the same results. The easiest way to define the differences between the Idealist and Realist camp is to define how they both view the world in which they live. In fact, “the most salient modern meanings of security seem to be dependent on the structural elements of the container schema; the boundary element of the image schema is particularly crucial. If something is secure, then no one can get into it, or out of it: ‘a secure building,’ ‘secure prison,’ even ‘secure computer program.’” (Beer, Hariman 203). McNamara believed, especially with his strong background in mathematics, that the every nation within the world could be viewed as a separate, for lack of a better word, storage container. Each operated independently , but all have the capacity for mold, a ‘penetration of security’ as well as ‘leaks of security,’ ‘security leaks,’ while a ‘hole in security’ or a ‘breach in security’ can imply movement in either direction” (Beer, Hariman 203). The container motif is maintained by the ideal that everything moving in and out of the container can be tracked and either welcomed into the container or taken care of—the means of which would generally be defensive in nature. Robert McNamara “argued for minimum deterrence based on ‘mutual vulnerability’— a cognitively uncomfortable position. How can ‘security,’ if it is based on [the] container [motif], be also based on vulnerability, [the] container's antithesis?” (Beer, Hariman 204). Moreover, McNamara’s belief centers around the ideal that all sides of a conflict be mutually at risk. That if one nation have nuclear arms, that all nations must. If one nation refused to give up those weapons, as in the Cold War, then actions must be taken to ensure their compliance. It hardly seems fair that the United States be responsible as the global super power in deciding these matters; however, as a super power, it did grant certain status among the other nations as a world leader, relegating some omniscient control in matters of crisis. At the time, McNamara was considered a weak Secretary of Defense, unable to take offensive action when it seemed like the only recourse. Because of this, “it is, of course, profoundly ironic that McNamara's replacement (Clark Clifford), chosen by Johnson because McNamara was too ‘dovish,’ was in fact a dissenter on the war whose arguments helped turn around Johnson's policy of escalation” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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