Globalism (or globalization) has accelerated over the last 50 years. Today, we live live in an interdependent world in which global problems like global pandemics (e.g., COVID-19), infectious diseases, climate change, terrorism, and so on know no borders. In countries like Iran, Yemen, Venezuela and Syria where there is conflict, mass suffering, and/or tensions with the United States, should American foreign policy be guided by idealism or realism or some combination of the two?
Read the following article and post a response to this question.
Click Here for the article by Stephen Walt, “The World Wants You to Think Like a Realist.”
In addition to the article by Stephen Walt, you can find information on Realism and Idealism as philosophies of foreign policy by searching and reading my Lecture Notes. You can also easily find information on Realism vs. Idealism online with a simple Google search.
Again, in the first paragraph write about some idea or ideas that you learned, found interesting. This doesn’t require a long reading of this short article. In the second paragraph, offer an opinion. For example, “In my opinion, American foreign policy should be guided by a Realist approach because… Or, In my opinion, American foreign policy should be guided by Idealism, because… Or, American foreign policy should be guided by a combination of Realism and Idealism, because…”
Keep trying to figure out where you stand, are you a realist or are you an idealist? An idealist thinks about how the world should be. An idealist considers ethics and morality in foreign policy. For example, if we as a nation stand for principles of liberty, freedom, political equality, and civil right and liberties, then an idealist would argue that the American government should use it power to promote human rights, democracy, etc. around the world. And it should work with international institutions like the United Nations to reform governments to govern in the way we think they should. A Realist, by contrast, sees the world more like social Darwanism, a world of survival of the fittest. Each country should focus on their own national interest and be self interested. The Trump Administration’s “America First” slogan and approach to foreign policy is guided by a Realist philosophy to foreign affairs/policy.
Again, where do you stand? Are you a Realist or an Idealist?
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