Tag Archives: foreign policy

A Darwinian world-AFJ

I think he is incorrect in giving future global influence credit to IGOs…if his argument is the economy, then it would be corporations and/or illicit corporations. IGOs will only give credibility to actions so that one nations actions are not perceived as one sovereign infringing on another sovereign.

At least we have conflict to look forward too.

Libya points to a new era of aggression and turmoil

As these words are written, U.S., British and French warplanes are striking Libyan ground forces along the Mediterranean littoral; American and other NATO troops are pounding out “fragile and reversible” gains in Afghanistan; and unrest continues to roil governments in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. To our south, criminal cartels and violent gangs murder government officials, civilians and one another in Mexico and points south. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, whose state policy protects cocaine production and smuggling, invites into his country the Iranian Republican Guard and Hezbollah, while, over the horizon, China continues its naval buildup.

Whatever happened to the “peace dividend” and the long rest the world was supposed to get after the end of the Cold War? Those days are long gone, obviously, in the tectonic forces moving the world forward into a century more unstable than many had predicted.

Three years from now will be the centennial of the 1914 disaster that set the 20th century careering down the road to two world wars and the mass murders of Hitler, Stalin and Mao. We can hope that the 21st century is more peaceful, but it’s not looking good. For all the hope that globalization and the communications revolution would bring people together — and they have — at least part of the result has been to make aggression and murder more practical.

via Armed Forces Journal


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Why failed states shouldn’t be our biggest national security fear – The Washington Post

Only a handful of the world’s failed states pose security concerns to the United States. Far greater dangers emerge from stronger developing countries that may suffer from corruption and lack of government accountability but come nowhere near qualifying as failed states.

via Why failed states shouldn’t be our biggest national security fear – The Washington Post.

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Terra Incognita – How the Frugal Superpower Navigates Democracy’s Latest Wave – Wikistrat

In the rush to define President Barack Obama’s “doctrine” following his decision to lead NATO’s initial no-fly-zone operations in Libya, experts have latched onto every detail’s possible meaning. But in the end, it’s easier to say what his strategy is not than what it is. While frustrating, such ambiguity makes sense for a cost-conscious superpower navigating what is arguably democracy’s emerging 4th great wave (see Samuel Huntington re: 1-3).

via Terra Incognita – How the Frugal Superpower Navigates Democracy’s Latest Wave – Wikistrat.

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The War on Soft Power – By Joseph S. Nye Jr. | Foreign Policy

Even the U.S. military doesn’t want to cut the State Department and foreign aid budget. So why is Congress playing a dangerous game with America’s global influence?

via The War on Soft Power – By Joseph S. Nye Jr. | Foreign Policy.


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Charles Wolf, Jr.: The Facts About American ‘Decline’ – WSJ.com

It’s fashionable among academics and pundits to proclaim that the U.S. is in decline and no longer No. 1 in the world. The declinists say they are realists. In fact, their alarm is unrealistic.

via Charles Wolf, Jr.: The Facts About American ‘Decline’ – WSJ.com.

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A Shift In Perceptions Of Power

Los Angeles Times
April 6, 2011
Pg. 17

A Shift In Perceptions Of Power

By Joseph S. Nye Jr.

Last year, when China broke off military-to-military talks following the Obama administration’s long-expected sale of defensive arms to Taiwan, a high American official asked his Chinese counterpart why China reacted so strongly to something it had accepted in the past. The answer: “Because we were weak then and now we are strong.” On a recent visit to Beijing, I asked a Chinese expert what was behind the new assertiveness in China’s foreign policy. His answer: “After the financial crisis, many Chinese believe we are rising and the U.S. is declining.”

These Chinese are not alone. A recent poll shows there are more Americans who believe China will be the dominant power in 20 years than believe the United States will retain that position. Some analysts go further and argue that China’s rise will result in a clash similar to that between a rising Germany and a hegemonic Britain that led to World War I a century ago.

One should be skeptical about such dire projections. China still has a long way to go to catch up in military, economic and soft-power resources. In contrast, by 1900, Germany had surpassed Britain. Even if Chinese gross domestic product passes that of the United States at some point in the 2020s, the two economies would not be equal. China would still have a vast underdeveloped countryside, and it would almost certainly have begun to face demographic problems and slowing economic growth. As some Chinese say, they fear they will grow old before growing rich. China is a long way from posing the kind of challenge to America that the Kaiser’s Germany posed when it passed Britain.

But many Chinese do not see the world this way. They believe that the recession of 2008 represented a shift in the balance of world power, and that China should be less deferential to a declining United States. This overconfident power assessment has contributed to a more assertive Chinese foreign policy in the last two years. The shift in perceptions seems to have emboldened the Chinese government, even though the judgment is wrong.

For years, China followed the advice of Deng Xiaoping to keep a low profile. However, with its successful economic recovery from the recession and 10% growth rate, China passed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy last year, and many in China pressed for a stronger foreign policy. Some blame this on President Hu Jintao, but that view is too simple. The top leaders still want to follow Deng’s strategy of not rocking the boat, but they feel pressured from below by rising nationalism, both in the bureaucracy and the blogosphere.

China’s new assertiveness affected its relations with others besides the United States. Its policies in the South China Sea created fear among countries in the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations, and its overreaction to Japan’s actions after a ship collision near the disputed Senkaku islands led Tokyo to reaffirm its alliance with Washington. Beijing alienated South Korea by failing to criticize North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island, irritated India over border and passport issues, and embarrassed itself in Europe and elsewhere by overreacting to the Nobel Peace Prize granted to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo.

How will these issues play out in the coming year? It is likely that China’s leaders will draw back somewhat from the overly assertive posture that has proved so costly. Hu’s stated desire to cooperate on terrorism, nonproliferation and clean energy should help reduce tensions, but powerful domestic interest groups in export industries and the People’s Liberation Army want to limit economic and military cooperation. And most important, given the increasing nationalism of the Chinese people that one sees on display in the blogosphere, it will be difficult for top Chinese leaders to change their policies dramatically. Hu’s state visit to Washington in January helped improve matters, but the relationship will remain difficult as long as many Chinese suffer from hubris based on nationalism and a mistaken belief in American decline.

Given that China and the United States face global challenges such as financial stability, cyber security and climate change, the two countries have much to gain from working together. Unfortunately, faulty power assessments have created hubris among some Chinese, and unnecessary fear of decline among some Americans, and these shifts in perception make cooperation difficult. Any American compromise is read in Beijing as confirmation of American weakness. But with more realistic projections and policies, China and America need not repeat the disastrous experience of Germany and Britain a century ago.

Joseph S. Nye Jr. is a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and author of “The Future of Power.”

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