The Nature of International Politics
The first principle that Thucydides addresses regarding the nature of international politics calls into question the conclusive goals that each individual entity in the world of international relations deems most important. Thucydides states that a country or state’s ultimate goal is to gain power and ruling over other nations. He illustrates this best in The Melian Dialogue through the actions of the war-loving Athenians. In their effort to maintain their stance of power against their rival Spartans, they travel to the island of Melos with the goal of conquering the Melians; either through force or through the Melian surrender. The people of Melos wish to remain neutral friends of both Sparta and Athens, but the Athenians will not hear of it. In their eyes, staying on friendly terms with a neutral country would be construed as a sign of weakness and fear. The Melians refuse to surrender, resulting in the ultimate destruction of their society while the Athenians gain further rule and power for their empire. However, I believe that this principle need not to always hold true, especially in the terms of war through diplomatic countries such as the United States of America.
The United States has always held its principles in the effort to spread democracy and morality in the international realm. In The Fog of War, John F. Kennedy disproves Thucydides first principle. In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the last thing Kennedy and his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, wanted to do was to attack Cuba or go to war with the Soviet Union to gain power or ruling in any sense. They wanted to deal with the frightening presence of the Soviet Union’s extensive nuclear warheads on Cuban soil in the most diplomatic way possible in order to avoid nuclear war. While this was best for the self-interest of the American people, it was also for the benefit for the citizens of Cuba and the USSR, as nuclear war destroys nations....
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