Realism And NATO Expansion

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Realism is defined as "a view that world politics is driven by self interest, and, therefore, that the central dynamic of international system is a struggle for power among countries." Today the world is seeing realist ideals being enforced by hegemonic powers such as the United States as well as less powerful countries including Georgia and the Ukraine. As fears of a third world war emerged after World War II, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed, but today NATO forces are trying to be manipulated into being used as strategic pawns for the United States. The United States and candidate NATO countries Georgia and the Ukraine are using a realist point of view when it comes to the issue of NATO expansion in the world today.

Realism is one of the three major political theories in the world today. Realists believe that when one country benefits from a policy for example then another country must be at a loss. This is known as a zero-sum game. Modern realism and realist ideals spurred from the failure to preserve world peace after World War I. It was seen that the blunders that occurred after World War I proved that all countries cared about was power and the ability to be viewed as superior to other nations.

Hans Morgenthau, who fled Nazi Germany, argued that "international politics, like all politics, is a struggle for power." Today there are many examples that would prove a realists point of view. Many nations, including the United States put their national security at the top of the priority list and have become a hegemonic power to the rest of the world. However, it is impossible to say that all acts committed by a nation are to only better their global position while hurting someone else's.

The United States and the issue of NATO expansion pose a serious threat to the balance of power in Eastern Europe. United States President, George W. Bush, pressed NATO on his visit to Bucharest, Romania to admit Ukraine and Georgia to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The President made the following statements "here in Bucharest, we must make clear that NATO welcomes the aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine for their membership in NATO and offers them a clear path forward to meet the goal" the President also stated that "NATO should welcome Georgia and Ukraine into the Membership Action Plan." The United States is now supporting a plan that will basically antagonize Russia, by placing NATO troops in their neighboring countries that were a part of the former USSR.

This is obviously an example of realist ideals. The idea that there will be NATO troops next to major Russian cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg deeply offends not only Russians but the French and Germans as well. During the 1960's America faced a massive crisis known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Americans were afraid that Russia could give Cuba a nuclear missile and launch it into the United States. Now, the United States is trying to gain a similar military tactical advancement against Russia.

By placing NATO troops in neighboring countries of Russia, which has been barred from joining the NATO alliance, Russia will feel that its security has been breached. France as well as Germany oppose Georgia and Ukraine's candidacies for this basic problem, it will disrupt the balance of power in Eastern Europe, and fears that it could start another cold war in the region. The idea that troops from an organization that your country cannot join are at your borders in countries that used to be a part of your nation must deeply offend Russian citizens.

France and Germany oppose these candidacies out of fear that there can be another cold war and other repercussions, or are there also ulterior motives for these Western European countries? France and Germany both receive oil for Russia and by them voting to approve Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO could possibly affect their oil supply.

This furthers realists' convictions of the current situation. France and Germany not really mind if Georgia and Ukraine were accepted into NATO, but their oil supply is definitely not worth the risk. Based on these facts it is unlikely either Georgia or the Ukraine would be admitted into NATO since it requires only one "no" vote to stop Georgia and the Ukraine's quest to be a part of NATO.

The unbalancing of power, oil, military tactics, and increased security are all major aspects of the current NATO expansion issue. Georgia and the Ukraine basically want to join to increase their security status. If they were admitted to NATO their security situation would be much better, yet another form of realist ideals in the quest for bettering themselves.

Eastern Europe has been in turmoil for many years now, and if either Georgia or the Ukraine were attacked it would be required that NATO forces come to their aid. Therefore they are gaining security, but they are also delivering a political slap to the face to the country they used to be a branch of, which will probably ignite political issues in the region.

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