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World Association of International Studies

Post All Nations Follow Their Interests
Created by John Eipper on 08/18/17 1:45 PM

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All Nations Follow Their Interests (Istvan Simon, USA, 08/18/17 1:45 pm)

Eugenio Battaglia (17 August) seems to be a hopeless romantic. Now do not get me wrong: I am a romantic person myself, so this is not necessarily meant to be a criticism. On the other hand, one difference between Eugenio and me seems to be that I am a romantic in personal relationships, but do not expect nations to be also romantic, and therefore I find Eugenio's post a bit naive.

Eugenio faults the United States for following its interests. This is frankly absurd, for that is precisely what the United States, and every country for that matter, is supposed to do. Now when one talks about interests, it does not follow that it has to be a narrow interest. International Relations is not a zero-sum game. That is the whole point of International Relations for any country--the art of finding common interests, so that what is my gain is not necessarily your loss. There definitely are many many win-win situations, though whoever reads Eugenio would hardly ever suspect this is so. He always attacks the United States, and always for behavior that he condones in other countries, most notably his own country under Mussolini and Russia under Putin.

It is true that the United States promised Russia that NATO would not be expanded and it is true that this is not what happened. But the other side of this coin is that for example Hungary and the Czech Republic (and others) were allowed into NATO, something that these countries deeply wanted. For Hungary's and the Czech Republic's experience with Russia is an unhappy one. Both were raped and invaded by Russian troops against their will. This is very different from the invasion of Italy in the Second World War. Italy was liberated from the Germans in World War II and our troops remain there because the Italian government wants us there. Contrary to Mussolini, the Italian government today was elected by the people of Italy democratically, and so they express the views of the Italian people.

Of course, Mussolini did not invite the United States and its allies in, as Eugenio will no doubt point out. But Mussolini was not Italy--he was just a totalitarian dictator of Italy, who betrayed Italy by being a puppet of Hitler, particularly towards the end of the war, who was not chosen by the Italian people, who had overstayed his welcome in power, so much so that he was hanged for it by Italians that Eugenio abhors, but who nonetheless were Italians, and considered by others to have been patriots. The people of Italy in general though not including Eugenio, were grateful for being liberated of Mussolini's tyranny, to say nothing of the brutal Nazi occupation of Italy.

JE comments:  We could extend Istvan Simon's appraisal of diplomacy.  Whenever international relations are not win-win, there is only one outcome:  conflict.

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