In ‘High Noon’ Will Kane justifies the use of pre-emptive violence to stop a potential threat to society. In his article James Woolsey uses the same reasoning to defend US foreign policy and criticize Europe. Comment on this analogy. To what extent do you think American foreign policy has been influenced by Western mythologies?
At first glance, the analogy between Fred Zinnemann’s masterpiece and Mr. Woolsey’s article is well grounded. However, a close scrutiny suggests that few substantial elements differ, undermining any serious analogy between the two materials. In the long run, I however think that this analogy is accurate, essentially because James Woolsey defends an American foreign policy that is deeply influenced by Western mythologies. The first common element between Zinnemann’s movie and Woolsey’s article is that in both situations, the traditional law system failed. Be it the governor who pardoned Frank Miller (the gangster) for his crime, or international agreements that normally forbid Iran, Iraq and North Korea to produce mass destruction weapons and that condemn their political regime. Hence, in order to protect civilians, an alternative, more efficient method has to be employed, i.e. the “law of the West” or War. Second, in High Noon, Marshall Kane, although “off duty”, takes on full responsibility of protecting the civilians. When asked about the reasons of his commitment, he simply answers:” because I have too”. It takes “broad shoulders to be a man”, as another character puts it, and Marshall Kane is certainly The Man in the movie. The same situation also holds pertaining to American foreign policy: the US are the ones who take the initiative, regardless of the reasons (that’s another subject), of “protecting the world against terrorism”, which also triggers other countries to refer to the US, sometimes ironically, as the “Marshalls of the World”. Third, in both cases, there’s a personal story between with the main protagonists. When...
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