Theories Of The Fog Of War

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The Fog of War: Breakdown Using Theories of International Relations Many influential leaders or people in positions of power make weighted decisions which could have a lasting impact on the world around them. When it comes to Robert McNamara, former Secretary of Defense to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson during a 7-year term, the theory of Realism can explain his decision-making greatly, while Constructivism manages to explain a few decisions but to great and important effect. A few lessons from the documentary The Fog of War highlight his decision-making during a torrid time at the White House. One lesson in The Fog of War is entitled “Empathize with your enemy” (The Fog of War), in which he describes the need to view a…show more content…
saw the war in Vietnam as a battle of the Cold War, the Vietnamese saw it as a civil war instead. Unfortunately, President Johnson failed to empathize with the Vietnamese the same way President Kennedy was advised to do so with the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even though constructivism would fail to explain this decision in world politics, Realism manages to explain it well. The U.S. saw the Soviets as a threat to their own security, both due to their growing economy and their military capabilities. Seeing as the Vietnamese were communists, in the eyes of the U.S., the Soviets had just gained an ally in the South-East Asia region. Vietnam saw the war as a fight for independence while the U.S. saw the war as a fight against the communist regime, aiming to instil its capitalist approach in order to alienate the Soviets from the rest of society. This is a perfect example of numerous things in the theory of Realism, namely: the balance of power, the idea that peace and stability are most likely to be maintained when military power is distributed to prevent a single superpower from controlling the world; the security dilemma, the tendency of states to view the defensive arming of adversaries as threatening, causing them to arm in response so that all states’ security declines; and national interest, the goals that states pursue to maximize what they perceive to be selfishly best for their country (WPTT, 2011, pp.32-33). The U.S. saw the Vietnamese becoming allies with the Soviets as a security dilemma, so in order to somewhat restore the balance of power, a war was declared on the Vietnamese, all to preserve its national interest. The U.S. declared war on Vietnam even though there was no real need for one, as the Vietnamese were much too busy fighting for their independence from the Chinese in an attempt to differentiate

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