Liberalism and Realism are two schools of thoughts that argue differently about the peace, democracy and equality in the political context of the society. Realists advocate for the individualism while liberalists advocate for communism although it has not been fulfilled even in those countries that claim to be advocating for liberalism. This paper will examine the liberalists ideas presented by Immanuel Kant and realists ideas presented by Hans Morgenthau based on the film Dr. Strangelove.
The film Dr. Strangelove is a black comedy trailer that depicts the American history during the civil war. The film shows the America-Russian nuclear war conflict during the civil war. The film is about an American General Ripper, who sends out his unit of bombers to attack the Soviet Union, Russia with the claim that the Soviet Union has planned to pollute the American water (Kubrick et al, 1964). Convinced that the fluoridation of American water was a plot by the Soviet Union, he sends out the bombers unit to attack the Soviet without the presidents authorization. Upon hearing this, President Muffley complies by informing the Russian ambassador about the planned attack and after a consultation, the Soviet Unions ambassador to America informs the president that they have a computerized bomb set to go off immediately should do anything like attack occurs in Soviet Nation. Captain Mandrake manages to get the code and sends it to the white house through a pay phone after General Ripper has committed suicide in the washroom.
The film can be related to the liberalism and realism ideas; first, Liberalists believe that peace and democracy are the key factors to success (Strauss & Joseph, 2012). The proponents of liberalism such as Immanuel Kant argue that the peaceful existence in a country is based on the constitution that is based on the morals of the countrys citizens (Doyle, 1983). Liberalist argues that nations with liberalists ideology share resources and they stay together in peace guided by a common factor, the constitution. In the movie, Dr. Strangelove liberalist may develop their interest in the way the president reacted upon hearing that American forces were on their way to attack Soviet Nation. The president acts swiftly to prevent the attack through consultation of both the Pentagon and the Soviet ambassador, Premier Kissoff. The liberalist advocates for peace and they are against anything that might hinder the peace (Doyle, 1983). President Muffley can be said to be a liberalist; he does not wish to disturb the peace that has existed between America and Soviet nation. Therefore, upon hearing the order to attack the Soviet he calls off the bombers although, the mission becomes unsuccessful when Major King kongs aircraft loses communication and ends up bombing the Soviet Nation that in turn triggers the war between the US and USSR.
The liberalist would not agree with the attack on the Soviet nation with the claim of fluoridating the American water. According to Kant, democracy protects everyone despite the race and gender (Doyla, 1983:227). Liberalist criticizes the discrimination or oppression of one group for the advantage of the other (Strauss & Joseph, 2012). Nations with liberalist mind give every citizen equal opportunity despite the race, color, gender or age. On the other hand, realist believes in capitalism that everyone for himself/herself (Morgenthau, 1950:843). In such nations, discrimination is highly motivated, and people are treated according to popularity and power.
Realism on the other hand majorly argues that human beings are driven by their self-interest ambitions (Morgenthau, 1950:836). The proponents of this ideology believe that society is governed by laws that are rooted from the human nature. According to proponents of this ideology such as Hans Morgenthau, human beings are driven by their selfish and ego-centric desire to achieve something alone. Idealists argue that states tend to develop individually through accumulating many resources (Morgenthau, 1950:851). Realists would agree with some parts of the movie Dr. Strangelove where some of the President Muffleys advisors try to talk him out of preventing the attack so that the Soviet Nations war machinery could be destroyed; as such the US could remain with powerful military machines. Although, they claim that the Soviet would also attack them, so they have to prepare before, the intention is ego-centric; it aimed at enhancing the military system of America. Additionally, Realist would also agree with the General Rippers move to attack Soviet with the claim that they planned the fluoridation of American water; they would justify this that the general was only protecting their resources.
In conclusion, realism and liberalism differ in their ideologies; realism argues for individualism while liberalism argues against individualism. From the movie Dr. Strangelove, we can depict the realists ideas as the attacking of the Soviet Union and the Soviet in turn attacks the US in the interest of their country, while liberalists ideas as the president fighting to prevent the attack from occurring. Liberalism upholds to the moral and ethical standards, unlike the realist that ignores the equality.
Doyle, Michael W. "Kant, liberal legacies, and foreign affairs." Philosophy & Public Affairs (1983): 205-235.
Kubrick, Stanley, Terry Southern, and Peter George. Dr. Strangelove. 1964.
Morgenthau, Hans J. "The Mainsprings of American Foreign Policy: The National Interest vs. Moral Abstractions." American Political Science Review44.04 (1950): 833-854.
Strauss, Leo, and Joseph Cropsey, eds. History of political philosophy. University of Chicago Press, 2012.
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