Leon Hadar in a Washington-based journalist, analyst and author, focusing on global affairs. A former research fellow with the Cato Institute, he is the author of, Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East (2005, Palgrave Macmillan). He graduated from the schools of journalism and international affairs at Columbia University and holds a PhD in international relations from American University.
counter-factual scenarios are very intriguing, history doesn”t flow in some linear fashion that leads from X to Y, and that assumes that if only we had taken this road as opposed to that road, we would have reached our destiny. The benefits of a realist perspective in foreign policy is that is makes it easier for us to develop specific policies based on the consideration of our concrete national interests”preserving the security of the nation-state is a top priority”and the military, economic and other means that are available to us. In that sense, both Churchill and Chamberlain were realists”while differing on the means to achieve the same goals. The overall goals that both Stalin and Hitler set for themselves were based on religion-like ideologies and fantasies that challenged the entire nation-state system of the time. Stalin (very much like Franco, and at an earlier stage, Mussolini) ended-up embracing realist strategies, including the agreement with Hitler and later the alliance with the capitalist West. Hitler’s decision-making and behavior during the war”his decision to abrogate the treaty with Stalin and attack the Soviet Union as well as his declaration of war on the U.S.”raises doubts whether he was a “rational actor” in the same way that Stalin proved to be. My main criticism of the decisions made by President Bush and his aides in the last eight years is that they were based on religion-like ideologies and fantasies and that unlike Stalin, they have never been able to cut their losses and take steps to secure long-term U.S. interests.