Table of Contents
How The Earlier US Conflicts Are Similar or Different From the Present Conflict in Afghanistan, the Likelihood of a Victory in Afghanistan, and My Opinion of How Such a Victory Would Look Like
Why Are We in Afghanistan? is a 28-minute film that offers the figures and facts concerning the cost of Afghan war, as well as the consequent loss of resources meant for infrastructure, job creation and provision of public services. It argues against the idea that Americans continuous presence in Afghanistan intensifies national security. The film also evaluates the earlier US military adventures in nations such as Chile, Vietnam, which indicates the country’s repeated history of acting against democracies without provocation. This according to Zweig (2009) shows the belief of America that it is its right to intercede in matters of various countries in the world so long as it serves their economic interest. The documentary refers to movements all through history, which have opposed and altered the American foreign policy, as well as end the unpopular wars. Through narration and images, Zweig highlights the numerous groups that are working hard to ensure the current wars come to an end, and appeals to people to preach peace. According to Zweig, it is vital that America revises its national priorities and assesses its mission in Afghanistan, considering the economic effects that the war has on Americans (Zweig, 2009).
The earlier conflicts where US have been involved, and its present war with Afghanistan are similar in that they both have impacted negatively on America and its citizens. America’s spends more money on fighting wars and terrorism than on other matters that are equally weighty like job creation, provision of affordable housing and quality education. In addition, numerous lives have been lost in the process. The likelihood of US emerging victorious is extremely high. I can describe it as total victory in America’s fight against terrorism, because America has been able to weaken Al Qaeda through the killing of Osama Bin Laden and other significant members of the group.
Conditions under Which the Nonviolent Approach To Resolving Conflict Would Most Likely Succeed and Fail
According to Schrich (2005), there are various conflict resolution approaches that use nonviolence to attain its goals, and they include withdrawal, accommodation, compromise, and collaboration. Withdrawal is where one party avoids confronting the problem by withdrawing from a conflicting situation. Conditions under which this approach is likely to succeed include when one party does not push for resolution of the conflict, when the two parties value their relationship and wants to maintain it, as well as when there are minimum chances of winning (Genest, 2004). It is vital to point out that withdrawal does not solve the core problem causing the conflict, and; therefore, the conflict is likely to recur when one party keeps bringing up the issue. If this happens, this method will fail in resolving the conflict.
Accommodation is where one party sacrifices his or her personal concern so as to gratify the other person’s goals. The success of this approach is enhanced when the chances of emerging a winner is low and the conflicting parties desire to live in harmony (Genest, 2004). However, there are high chances of accommodation failing to achieve its intended purpose when the two parties both want to win, and are only interested in their personal concerns.
Compromising is a conflict resolution method where the conflicting parties bargain in order to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution. It is usually called the give and take approach. Circumstances under which this approach has a likelihood of success are: the presence of a deadlock, lack of adequate time to solve the conflict, and when there is a risk of the two parties loosing should they fail to compromise their positions. However, compromising may fail if there is the lack of trust of each other’s intentions between the parties in conflict or if they are self-centered (Genest, 2004).
Lastly, collaboration involves direct and open discussion, usually in the personal meetings between the two conflicting parties so as to arrive at an agreement that satisfies the concerns of both parties (Genest, 2004). Collaboration is most likely to achieve its intended goal when there is enough time to discuss the conflict and offer a solution, as well as when the two parties trust each other. Nevertheless, when the parties see violence as the only way out, then this approach cannot not work.
Whether Democracies Are More Or Less Prone To War than Other Government Systems, and How a Realist Would Respond To the Essay
Democracy is characterized by freedom and equality and refers to a government form where all citizens are the same before the law, and equally have a say in matters that impact their lives. This question discusses the opinions of Bruce Russett and realists regarding the war-proneness of democracies.
Russett, in his book Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post-Cold War World, asserts that democratically governed nations rarely fight with one another. This happens because they perceive that fighting amongst them is pointless since there are other methods of resolving conflicts peacefully (Russett, 1993). Therefore, according to Russett, democracies are less war-prone than other government systems. This means that the higher the number of democratic countries there are worldwide, the broader the peace zone, and the fewer the probable wars we are likely to witness. The vision of having peace amongst democracies has long been called upon as part of a broad structure of practices and institutions aimed at promoting peace between nation-states. Harvey (1992) also shared Russett's stance maintaining that democracies are less likely to be involved in wars compared to autocratically governed countries.
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A realist is any person who is inclined to the truth, views things the way they are, and deals with them practically (The Free Dictionary, 2012). With regard to the war-proneness of democracies, a realist would agree with Russett’s argument that democracies are less war-prone in comparison to other government systems. This is because they have institutions put in place specifically to encourage peace, as well as methods of conflict resolution in case of disputes amongst them. This has significantly helped in reducing possible wars among democracies.
The National Interest of the United States
According to Allison and Blackwill (2010), the national interests of the United States are classified into four types based on their importance i.e. vital, extremely important, important and less important. Vital national interests include preventing and lessening the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons attacks on America, or its armed forces deployed in foreign nations, in addition to, averting the emergence of aggressive key powers on US borders. Also, it is in the national interest of the US, to ensure the stability and viability of chief global systems (financial markets, trade, environment and energy supply), as well as establish consistent and productive relations with probable strategic adversaries like China and Russia (Allison & Blackwill, 2010).
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Examples of extremely important America’s national interests are preventing and lessening the utilization of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in all parts of the world; promoting the peaceful resolution of international conflicts, and preventing and ending conflicts in significant geographic areas. Others include promoting stability, democracy and prosperity within the Western Hemisphere; preventing substantial, uncontrolled migration across American borders, and suppress drug trafficking, terrorism and global crime (Allison & Blackwill, 2010).
Important interests for the US entail protecting the lives and welfare of US citizens who are terrorist targets; discouraging the violation of human rights in foreign nations; promoting global environmental policies that are consistent with lasting ecological needs, as well as minimizing the gap between rich and poor countries. Interests which are considered less important to the US according to Allison and Blackwill (2010) are promoting democracy in the whole world for its personal sake and ensuring that bilateral trade deficits are balanced. From the above list of interests, it is apparent that America’s chief national interest is fighting terrorism.
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Liberalism Aspect featured in De Soto’s Documentary and Whether it has Any Internal Inconsistencies or Contradictions
The Power of the Poor is a one-hour documentary that introduces viewers to the idea that a significant number of people all over the globe are poor. De Soto, a famous Peruvian author and economist, spent his youth in Switzerland, where he came to the realization that his host nation, just like his homeland, once struggled with a broken economy (Taylor, 2009). The film shows how ideas enabled De Soto to defeat Maoist terrorists, as well as how similar ideas can help developing nations to flourish. All through the documentary, De Soto shows his viewers how poor entrepreneurs and landholders in Peru are creating wealth via trade. It also offers examples of the way reforms have prospered the poor. Through the documentary, viewers get to understand the way informal economies of the developing world can be exploited to profit poor people around the world (Taylor, 2009). The liberalism aspect discussed in the film is economic transnationalism, since the project aims at bridging the gap between poor and rich people across nations. I have found no inconsistencies in the documentary.
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Concepts in Klare’s Film Relating to Class System Theory and How Other Theorists’ Would Respond to the Critique
The idea that the need for oil encourages the military engagements of America in the Middle East has always been disregarded. Klare’s attempts to challenge this ideology and sets straight the historical record. Through the film, Klare draws attention to the oil concerns that have been at the centre of American foreign policy in over sixty years. In the film, the then US President, Franklin Roosevelt and Saudi Arabia king signs a consignment on Saudi Arabia’s large oil mines. In the agreement, the US is supposed to offer military security to Arab in exchange of controlling the country’s oil reserves (Klare, 2004). When Sadam Hussein takes over power in Saudi Arabia following the gulf war, Americans are troubled since he opposes the US invasions on the context of exploitation and self-interests. Consequently, a significant number of US soldiers are deployed to Saudi Arabia, leading to a confrontation with the locals. The result is a war that claims numerous lives (Klare, 2004). At the end of the film, the author calls for a drastic rethinking of America’s energy policy and warns that failure to change direction may result in a probable oil war due to increase in the worldwide search for diminishing petroleum.
As evident in the film, self-centeredness and greed are some concepts that relate to the class system theory. The theory attempts to explain the reasons why several nations do not develop. In this case, the sluggish development witnessed in Saudi Arabia can be attributed to the greed and self-interest of the United States. The intention of America’s invasion of the enormous Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves has been to protect their own selfish interests. Even in the present day, US still occupy Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves. It is worth noting that Klare’s critique draws attention of many theorists all over the world, who similarly criticize America’s intentions.