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How Would the Classical Realists Characterize the Similarities and Differences Between American Intervention in Vietnam and Iraq?

  • Date Submitted: 02/12/2012 10:52 AM
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Giovanna Moncada Paterno Castello

How would the classical realists characterize the similarities and differences between American intervention in Vietnam and Iraq?

The purpose of this essay is to explain the differences between the Vietnam and Iraq war characterized by the classical realists. The essay will start with a brief explanation of the neo-conservative thinking to consequently explain the opposite classical realist theories. Following, it will introduce a brief explanation of Vietnam and Iraq wars. It will then go on, according to the classic realism and using reliable data, describing what are the similarities and differences between the USA intervention in Vietnam and Iraq.
Finally it will conclude with a brief summary of the argument found about the similarities and differences viewed by the classical realists between the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. Furthermore it will make a critical conclusion about the classical realist theories applied to the contemporary world.

‘Neo-conservatives correctly believe that the United States has a remarkably powerful military. They believe that there has never been a state on earth that has as much relative military power as the United States has today. And very importantly, they believe that America can use its power to reshape the world to suit its interests. In short, they believe in big-stick diplomacy, which is why the Bush doctrine privileges military power over diplomacy’ (John J Mearsheimer, 2005, p1). In fact, Bush (the President of the US from 2001 to 2009) and the neo-conservatives strongly believed that the power of their country was over the others, and thought that, acting unilaterally (John J Mearsheimer, 2005), intervening in the Iraq and Vietnam conflicts and initiating a war would made the rest of the world fear the US and consequently become its allies.

Conversely, classical realists were against the neo-conservatives thoughts and believed that it could engender hubris. As Dunne et all (2007,...

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