Chapter

The Perils of Neorealism

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Abstract

Neorealists such as Stephen M. Walt argue that the Bush administration's war on terror did not promote democratic reforms in the Middle East but instead heightened anti-American sentiment in the region. They argue that the US should have adopted a policy that allowed the natural dynamics and structure of the international system to provide global security, thereby limiting the country's involvement in foreign affairs. What they failed to consider, however, is that ideologies, regime types, and the propensities of individual leaders to significantly affect how states behave as can be seen in the contrasting results of the appeasement policy used on Nazi Germany during the 1930s and the prudent and more far-sighted strategy used during the Cold War. Even as the situation in the Middle East remains unstable, the Bush Doctrine can hardly be considered a failure as its critics claim. American intervention not only led to free elections in Iraq but brought down the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and thwarted Al-Qaeda's attempts to attack the US once again.

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