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Overanalysis: Transforming Foreign Policy

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In my review of Transformers: Age of Extinction, I said the only Transformers film I actually enjoyed was Dark of the Moon.  Admittedly, it was probably only good by comparison, but it was a breath of fresh air to actually care about what happened to the characters.  It’s still not a good movie, but it’s my favorite of the three that I’ve seen.  Besides, it’s filled with relevant political commentary on foreign policy.  Don’t believe me?


Think about it…

Toward the end of the movie, Decepticons hold the planet hostage and threaten to destroy everyone unless the Autobots are sent away from Earth.  When the humans listen to their demands and shoot Optimus Prime and his followers into outer space, the bad guys break their word and destroy the Autobots’ ship and the city of Chicago.  In this one scene, the movie makes two bold statements about foreign policy.

First, nuclear deterrent is an important part of national security.  When the other guys have weapons that can obliterate you, you want to have weapons that can obliterate them.  A nation that gives up its WMDs leaves itself vulnerable to all the nations who kept their WMDs, and if it’s not on friendly terms with those countries, it’s in trouble.  Getting rid of the Autobots cost Americans dearly when the Decepticons refused to disarm; they left themselves vulnerable to an attack they couldn’t stop.  Thus Transformers become metaphors for nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Second, never negotiate with terrorists.  If someone has shown the willingness and capability to hurt you, do not trust that person.  The world has seen the destruction wreaked by the Decepticons, but instead of forming a counteroffensive led by the Autobots, humanity decides to trade their protectors for their own safety, trusting the evil robots with “deception” in their name to keep their word.  This, of course, ends badly, and offers some intriguing commentary on recent events in the Middle East, including the Bergdahl swap.

Thus, Transformers: Dark of the Moon appears to hold a conservative view of foreign policy, demanding an unyielding defense of our country, backed up by force.  If I wanted to polarize by parties, I could say that the Transformers franchise is Republican (it does seem to take a certain amount of glee in fictionally tearing up President Obama’s hometown).  Then again, I’m not sure I’m doing the GOP any favors by saying that.


Transformers: Dark of the Moon is owned by Paramount.


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