Pragmatic idealism: Ernesto "Che" Guevara's strategic choice for Bolivia
Wise, Philip E.
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Throughout history there are political and military decisions that appear, on the surface, to have been made without a proper assessment of the situation they are meant to address. These decisions are sometimes discounted as wrongheaded or foolish. Ernesto Che Guevara's decision to fight a guerrilla war in Bolivia is one such event. Focus on the failure of Guevara's Bolivian mission and his subsequent death at the hands of the Bolivian military have allowed scholars to ignore the geopolitical and social context that framed Guevara's decision-making process. Dismissing the Bolivian mission as flawed based on its outcome creates a false sense that the circumstances surrounding Guevara's decision to fight are unimportant. Considering that ideas do not die, it can be argued that understanding why Guevara fought is more important than whether he was victorious or not. This thesis utilizes Guevara's writings and secondary sources to present the argument that his actions were not rooted in blind ideology and mindless rage, as some scholars suggest, but in a pragmatic blend of ideological, strategic, and psychological factors meant to achieve a specific end.
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