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Liberalism and Marxism: Foreign Policy

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By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Of four dominant theories of international politics, two rival each other, or explain foreign policy in near completely different ways. These two are Liberalism and Marxism. Liberalism approaches that foreign policy is done in a way that is ethical and done to benefit all of human kind. It gives a good outlook to foreign policy. Marxism argues that corporations built up by a capitalist society impose policy through their governments whether it is imperialism or perhaps other means. These two easily conflict in the relatively recent invasion of Iraq in the year 2003.
Liberalism is a theory that shows an ideal side to human nature. Foreign policy is seen as something done for the greater good of all mankind. It argues that things should be done, and often are done, to improve unity, but also stresses the importance of the individual so as to improve freedoms. It emphasizes that action must me done in a peaceful way, and that is why war is avoided, not because of a fear of being wiped out. To assure this, international regimes implement certain rules and regulations that keep states from waring with each other despite the state of anarchy in international politics. Perhaps the strongest argument is that humanity is capable of reason.
Liberalism also emphasizes international trade. Here it claims that captalism provides mutual gains that come from international trade. From this trade all nations will prosper. The trade is also a means of keeping peace. Key believers in the concept of Liberalism are Adam Smith, John Locke, and Immanuel Kant.
Capitalism is also a powerful component in the explanations of international relations by Marxism, but in a far different light. Marxism argues that capitalism has created a major class conflict and dived humankind into two classes. The bourgeoisie, or rich, ruling class, and the proletariat, the working class. The ruling class often bullies the workers and imposes their policies both domestic and foreign. In foreign policy businesses grow too large for their domestic markets and expand to other markets and may even go to war on who will get the markets. This argument comes primarily from Vladimir Lenin.
Marxism also argues the dependency theory. It is defined as " a theory hypothesizing that less developed countries are exploited because global capitalism makes them dependent on the rich countries that create exploitative rules for trade and production."
More recently the two theories have bashed heads in explaining the Iraq war. Liberalism argues that it is done to bring democracy to the country and peace to our own country, while Marxism argues that it was done for oil and corporate means that are more elusive to the public eye.
The Iraq war can be seen as a way to exploit the country and use its oil resources. In a sense it can be seen as colonization of the country so trade can come from it. The Communist Manifesto states that markets grew and a world market was established. "The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere."
This can correspond to how The United States has made efforts into gaining more oil from Iraq. It can be argues that this is done mainly due to key ties from the Bush administration to oil investments. In addition a democratic and capitalist country in addition to Israel in the Middle East could provide a new market for American companies to exploit.
Liberalism can easily attack this claim. First of all it can go after a Marxist approach is wrong by simply saying that a free market expansion is better. "The End of History" shows liberalism as the dominant ideology that has prevailed over communism. This is very true in how the Soviet Union failed and how China has a far more capitalist economy in present day.
More importantly, the war can be seen as a way to bring democracy to a country ruled by a violent dictator who possessed weapons of mass destruction that were a threat to the United States. At the beginning of the war, then President Bush said "In this conflict, American and coalition forces face enemies who have no regard for the conventions of war or rules of morality," a very true statement of Iraq at the time of the invasion.
Although Marxism is most likely not a good way to go about economics it displays truth by a key corporate gain often overlooked by those explaining causes for the war, the military industrial complex. The military industrial complex means that our weapons are built by private contractors. It is spread throughout the entire country so most all of the congressman must allow it to be present for the capability of more jobs being available to keep their constituents happy. President Dwight Eisenhower warned the United States about the military industrial complex, but his warning has been highly ignored. All presidents since him have used military force at sometime, even democrats such as Bill Clinton who ordered the bombings of more countries than any other president.
The military industrial complex can only see greater profits if more war is seen, so they get it. Truly this shows the grip of corporations on the the government, and even the people who must die for it whether they are the brave men and women fighting the war in Iraq, or innocent Iraqi civilians killed out of confusion or because of faulty weaponry.
In the view of foreign policy, things are not done entirely based on one theory or the other. Reason and corporations both have a say in what action is taken, even in the Iraq war. However, it can be seen that corporations had too much of a say in the Iraq war. If weapons are to be made by private contractors, then a steady eye must be kept on the military industrial complex to make sure that innocent lives are not lost at the hands of economic profit.


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