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  • Liberal Internationalism

    Astralis spoke about Liberal Internationalism few days ago and since Hillary's confirmation hearing, the term "smart power" and "Liberal Internationalism" seems to be back as topic of conversion.
    “the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson

  • #2
    Smart Power

    By Suzanne Nossel

    From Foreign Affairs , March/April 2004

    Summary: The Bush administration has hijacked a once-proud progressive doctrine--liberal internationalism--to justify muscle-flexing militarism and arrogant unilateralism. Progressives must reclaim the legacy of Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy with a foreign policy that will both bolster U.S. power and unite the world behind it.

    Suzanne Nossel was Deputy to the Ambassador for UN Management and Reform at the U.S. mission to the United Nations from 1999 to 2001 and is currently an executive at a media company in New York.


    Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, conservative foreign-policy makers have united behind a clear agenda: combating terrorism, aggressively preempting perceived threats, and asserting the United States' right and duty to act alone. Progressives, in contrast, have seemed flummoxed. Stuck on the sidelines, they advocate tactics that differ sharply from those of the Bush administration. But they have not consistently articulated a distinct set of progressive U.S. foreign policy goals.

    This is a mistake. Progressives now have a historic opportunity to reorient U.S. foreign policy around an ambitious agenda of their own. The unparalleled strength of the United States, the absence of great-power conflict, the fears aroused by September 11, and growing public skepticism of the Bush administration's militarism have created a political opening for a cogent, visionary alternative to the president's foreign policy.

    To advance from a nuanced dissent to a compelling vision, progressive policymakers should turn to the great mainstay of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy: liberal internationalism, which posits that a global system of stable liberal democracies would be less prone to war. Washington, the theory goes, should thus offer assertive leadership -- diplomatic, economic, and not least, military -- to advance a broad array of goals: self-determination, human rights, free trade, the rule of law, economic development, and the quarantine and elimination of dictators and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Unlike conservatives, who rely on military power as the main tool of statecraft, liberal internationalists see trade, diplomacy, foreign aid, and the spread of American values as equally important.

    After September 11, conservatives adopted the trappings of liberal internationalism, entangling the rhetoric of human rights and democracy in a strategy of aggressive unilateralism. But the militant imperiousness of the Bush administration is fundamentally inconsistent with the ideals they claim to invoke. To reinvent liberal internationalism for the twenty-first century, progressives must wrest it back from Republican policymakers who have misapplied it.

    Progressives must therefore advance a foreign policy that renders more effective the fight against terrorism but that also goes well beyond it -- focusing on the smart use of power to promote U.S. interests through a stable grid of allies, institutions, and norms. They must define an agenda that marshals all available sources of power and then apply it in bold yet practical ways to counter threats and capture opportunities. Such an approach would reassure an uneasy American public, unite a fractious government bureaucracy, and rally the world behind U.S. goals.


    Woodrow Wilson's attempt to build a stable international order in the wake of World War I failed spectacularly. More than two decades later, however, his liberal internationalist vision helped Franklin Roosevelt rally the United States and its allies to vanquish fascism. After the war, Harry Truman fused pragmatism with Wilsonian idealism in a liberal internationalist agenda that guided such seminal accomplishments as the creation of a global free trade system and the reconstruction of Europe and Japan. When the United States, the only industrialized power left intact by the war, faced challenges ranging from containing Soviet ambitions to rebuilding war-ravaged Europe, it did not try to shoulder the burden alone. Instead, it crafted an interdependent network of allies and institutions that included the UN and NATO. The United States stood at the center of this order, but it shared the task of maintaining it. The sources of U.S. strength -- economic, political, and moral -- thus reinforced one another. International institutions helped spread American values, which in turn fueled an appetite for American products. Trade enhanced political influence, and political influence helped further extend American values.

    John F. Kennedy also understood that to effectively counter the Soviet threat, Washington had not only to be tough on Moscow, but also to champion self-determination, democracy, and human rights. In his inaugural address, he argued that by fighting for the people "in the huts and villages" of the world, the United States would help itself, because "if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." Kennedy stood up for a free Berlin and kept Soviet missiles out of Cuba while creating the Peace Corps and the U.S. Agency for International Development to promote lofty American ideals. Conservatives supported efforts to spread democracy and freedom as a means of facing down Soviet aggression, and progressives rallied behind containment as a means of protecting democracy and freedom. The result was a relatively broad consensus at home that strengthened the United States' hand overseas.

    After Kennedy, however, liberal internationalism lost its way. Its decline began with Vietnam, where the goal of extending democracy proved elusive and led the United States to resort to illiberal methods of subversion and secrecy that undercut Washington's credibility as a force for liberal change. So enduring was the damage done by Vietnam that even the ultimate triumph of liberal ideals -- the end of the Cold War -- did not embolden progressives. Instead, it ushered in a period of profound ambivalence about global leadership. Vietnam echoed in Ronald Reagan's withdrawal of troops from Lebanon in 1984 and Bill Clinton's retreat from Somalia a decade later, two cases in which Washington cut and ran to avoid potential morasses.

    In the years after Somalia, Clinton tried to revive liberal internationalism. He intervened (albeit much too late) to stop the Bosnian genocide and later to eject Slobodan Milosevic's marauders from Kosovo. He expanded free trade, enlarged NATO, and pressed hard for peace in the Middle East. Each foreign expedition, however, met resistance from across the ideological spectrum. Liberal internationalists argued for the use of force primarily on humanitarian grounds in places such as Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo, exposing the doctrine to charges of naive idealism. Self-proclaimed "realists" derided progressives as global social workers, and isolationists dismissed far-flung interventions as wastes of time and money. Bush took office in 2001 committed to jettisoning international commitments in favor of a pared-down list of strategic priorities. In its first months, his administration shunned nation-building, denounced the Kyoto Protocol, withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and scorned other agreements based on a narrow definition of national interest.

    September 11 transformed Bush's foreign policy. Channeling outrage over the attacks, the administration shifted from a detached to a defiant unilateralism. Bush adopted an evangelical, militarist agenda. At the same time, however, he embraced some of the idealistic rhetoric of his liberal predecessors. His 2002 National Security Strategy, for example, pledges not only to fight terrorism and "preempt" threats, but also to "actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world." To this end, Bush vowed to make post-Saddam Iraq a model for democracy in the Middle East. Some conservatives even proclaimed themselves Wilson's rightful heirs.

    Conservative appropriation of liberal internationalist tenets might sound like good news for progressives. It is not. By invoking the rhetoric of human rights and democracy to further the aggressive projection of unilateral military power, conservatives have tainted liberal internationalist ideals and the United States' role in promoting them. A superpower that is not perceived as liberal will not be trusted as a purveyor of liberalism. The analogy between the United States' current role in Iraq and its role in postwar Japan and Germany is thus beguiling but false. After World War II, most of the world viewed the United States as a rightful victor over tyranny; today, it is seen as an oppressor, hungry for oil and power. Its professed commitment to democratization -- advanced only after other justifications for U.S. intervention in Iraq had worn thin -- comes across as tinny opportunism. And although such perceptions are in part anti-U.S. caricature, the Bush administration has given its detractors plenty to work with. Its us-versus-them rhetoric, its manipulation of the evidence on Iraqi weapons programs, its refusal to stand up to Saudi Arabia's illiberal royal family, its denial of basic rights to prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, its allocation of lucrative, no-bid contracts to companies with connections to administration officials -- all of this has made the administration's rhetoric of freedom and equality seem baldly hypocritical.

    There is a second problem with conservatives' brand of democratization. Having initially rejected nation-building on principle and then ignored the advice of planners and experts on what to expect in postwar Iraq, the Bush administration has proven woefully ill equipped to implement in practice the ideals it purports to champion. The result has been a chaotic and deadly occupation that has deepened doubts about U.S. motives abroad. It has also threatened to undermine domestic support for an activist foreign policy: much of the U.S. public fears that declared military victories in Kabul and Baghdad will be buried under a wider failure to contain anti-Americanism from Trafalgar Square to the Sunni Triangle. This unease has spread to the U.S. security establishment as well.

    By undermining alliances, international institutions, and U.S. credibility, the Bush administration has triggered a cycle that is depleting U.S. power. Spurning global cooperation has encouraged distrust of U.S. motives, hampering U.S. effectiveness in Iraq and fanning hostility. The pernicious result is that liberation and freedom, the most contagious ideas in history, are becoming associated, at least in the Middle East, with a violent and unwanted occupation. A new liberal internationalist agenda must turn this vicious cycle into a virtuous one, in which U.S. power generates confidence in U.S. leadership, enhancing U.S. power all the more.


    Much of the world still buys into the ideals of liberal internationalism. According to the July 2003 Pew Global Attitudes Project survey, even in Muslim countries such as Lebanon, Morocco, and Pakistan, most people believe that Western-style democracy could work well for them.

    As fascism and communism once did, terrorism and nuclear proliferation today make the liberal internationalist agenda as urgent as ever. Liberal societies are not only less prone to war but also less likely to breed or knowingly harbor terrorists. It is no coincidence that many countries on the Justice Department's terrorist watch list also appear in the Freedom House inventory of the world's most repressive regimes. Progressives, therefore, must reframe U.S. foreign policy according to their abiding belief that an ambitious agenda to advance freedom, trade, and human rights is the best long-term guarantee of the United States' security against terrorism and other threats. Although an aggressive campaign against al Qaeda and its kin remains central, it must form only part of a broader strategy, one that offers something to societies struggling to resist the rise of extremism and to overcome underdevelopment, health crises, and environmental degradation. Selective efforts to seed democracy and free markets in strategically important territories will always be dogged by perceptions of hypocrisy and narrow self-interest unless accompanied by a broader foreign policy that is viewed as genuinely liberal.

    Progressives have shied away from such proposals for two reasons. First, with U.S. forces stretched thin in Iraq, they seem too grandiose -- a recipe for liberal internationalist overextension. Second, progressives are trying to project a tough image that they fear the language of democracy and human rights would undercut. But as the folly of the conservative approach is revealed, a determined rearticulation of liberal internationalist priorities will signify courage and strength, not weakness. Most important, if progressives do not reclaim this agenda, no one will. As the Bosnia crisis proved, Europeans lack the will and the wherewithal to put liberal internationalism into practice, even in their own backyard. Nor is there hope, as there was briefly after the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe, that liberal ideals will triumph universally on their own. And entrusting the liberal internationalist agenda to the multilateral system is neither viable nor sound.

    As to the danger of overstretch, progressive policymakers should learn from the example of the U.S. military, which has long recognized that its comparative advantage comes not from size or firepower but from farsighted strategy, sophisticated intelligence, professionalism, and precise weaponry. Although the military's weapons systems have been calibrated to conserve firepower and minimize collateral damage, the same cannot be said of U.S. foreign policy. Instead, Washington is currently creating new sources of friction, turning friends into antagonists, damaging once-valuable policy tools, and impairing its own ability to harness the power of its citizenry, bureaucracy, and allies. It must reverse course and embrace a smarter, less draining brand of power guided by a compelling and coherent conception of national interest.

    A smart definition of U.S. interest would recast the fight against terror and nuclear proliferation just as Kennedy recast containment, transforming it from a dark, draining struggle into a hopeful, progressive cause aimed at securing an international system of liberal societies and defeating challenges to it. In the United States, the terrorist threat has convinced many conservatives that democratization and freedom should be viewed as more than second-order effects. The revival of a genuine commitment to spreading freedom and liberalism, conversely, would unite progressives in the fight against terrorists and rogues. Whereas liberal internationalism can overcome the isolationism of the anti-imperialist left (exemplified by its defense of Iraqi sovereignty before the war), the war on terrorism can overcome the aversion of the right to humanitarian endeavors.

    By demonstrating that wars against terrorists and rogues, the rehabilitation of failed states, and the liberalization of repressive societies are all smart investments that will yield lasting results -- not cowboy expeditions or imperialist adventures -- liberal internationalism can galvanize both the U.S. public and the international community behind its agenda. During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt rallied an isolationist U.S. public to fight Hitler by offering a postwar vision that went well beyond defeating fascism. He pledged that a generation's sacrifice would yield not just military victory, but also institutions and alliances to protect against future wars. Today, proven progress toward rehabilitated states, stronger alliances, more effective international institutions, and entrenched human rights can likewise overcome public misgivings over what seem to be fleeting successes.

    Rather than asking other governments to fall into formation on Washington's terms, liberal internationalism enfolds the fight against terrorism and rogues into an ideology and set of interests that many U.S. allies already share. By linking today's struggles to long-standing European visions of collective security, liberal internationalism can take advantage of Europe's commitment to humanitarian aid, postconflict resolution, policing, and development. Similarly, by incorporating into the agenda a genuine commitment to free trade and economic development, liberal internationalism can impress Latin American, Asian, and African countries that otherwise view the U.S. antiterrorist agenda as neglectful of their priorities. Moreover, building a broad-based liberal internationalist movement will not force the United States to give up the driver's seat. On the contrary, liberal internationalism has flourished during periods of U.S. preeminence. The key is that other nations must welcome rather than resent U.S. leadership. A new liberal internationalist approach would persuade much of the world once again to contribute its resources and energy to U.S. causes.


    Washington must reconceptualize the fight against terrorism and WMD as a sustained effort to expand freedom and opportunity. But, as the pitfalls of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns illustrate, it can do so only with more efficient and effective methods of exercising its power. Policymakers must pragmatically seek out opportunities for action where idealism and realism intersect and pursue their goals in ways that reinforce, rather than deplete, U.S. power.

    A renewed liberal internationalist strategy recognizes that military power and humanitarian endeavors can be mutually reinforcing. Rather than renouncing preemption as out-of-control militarism, progressives should turn the concept around: smart preemption would emphasize that traditional liberal priorities such as counterproliferation and economic development have the potential to eliminate threats long before military action becomes an issue.

    The global order created by Roosevelt and Harry Truman was like an electrical grid that maintains equilibrium across different power sources and users. The nature of today's threats -- rogues and terrorists, not other great powers -- attests to the enduring success of this strategy. The international system they built became so broad and cohesive that outliers became few in number and easily recognized. This grid, however, has grown old and neglected. At key points, the Bush administration has chosen to abandon it entirely, relying on the military instead. But it is one thing to go it alone when the grid fails; it is quite another to rely on a lone generator as a first and last resort. Smart power means knowing that the United States' own hand is not always its best tool: U.S. interests are furthered by enlisting others on behalf of U.S. goals, through alliances, international institutions, careful diplomacy, and the power of ideals.

    Progressives should focus on shoring up the grid so that it can fulfill an ambitious liberal internationalist agenda. The following prescriptions merit consideration.

    Stabilization Corps. The United States needs a new branch of the military dedicated exclusively to postwar stabilization and reconstruction. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, writing in these pages in 2000, argued that the military "is most certainly not designed to build a civilian society." But as Rice now knows, there is not always a good alternative.

    U.S. forces were not designed or configured to perform basic tasks such as restoring electrical and sanitation systems and rebuilding dams -- let alone to undertake more complex political and legal challenges such as adjudicating local disputes and organizing elections. Although a reconstruction mission can be at least as daunting as a military operation, little thought has been devoted to how the United States should go about restoring order and implanting democracy in chaotic places. Although any plan that reeks of colonialism will fail, bureaucratic czars and ad hoc rosters of postconflict specialists are only stopgap solutions. Washington should create a corps capable of bringing postconflict missions up to the standards of military interventions. It should draw on the skills of military officers who have distinguished themselves as peacekeepers and develop capabilities as diverse and specialized as are those of today's war fighters. Before entering Harvard, a 22-year-old U.S. Army sergeant named Henry Kissinger served briefly as de facto mayor of a German town during the U.S. occupation. Policymakers should consider ways to enlist talented young people interested in national service, some of whom would otherwise never consider joining the military. A standing force, this stabilization corps could be available for large-scale deployments such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan and smaller missions conducted independently or through multilateral organizations.

    Revived burden-sharing. Bush's critics have decried the fraying of U.S. alliances. Yet a revamped approach to partnership must go beyond rapprochement. In addition to signaling a wholehearted commitment to restoring these relationships, the United States should insist that the obligations entailed in its alliances be renewed.

    A liberal internationalist agenda would welcome a unified Europe, coupling a pledge of common purpose with a determined effort to break the logjam over burden-sharing. The United States cannot be the only global power with strategic airlift capabilities to support rapid deployments, for example. Washington should also reaffirm its own commitment to NATO in order to shore up the central role of that body; by insisting that its reengagement be accompanied by true burden-sharing, it can ensure that the alliance is equipped to play an expanded role.

    At the same time, the United States should maintain its ability to act unilaterally, as a prod to force others to fulfill their responsibilities and as a backstop when they fail to do so. The United States' position relative to allies should be like that of the world's best teaching hospital: it leads in training, developing new prevention methods, and handling the toughest cases, but although its emergency room never closes, not every case belongs there.

    A revived liberal internationalism will also emphasize building respectful relationships with regional powers in Latin America, eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. These countries are other essential links on the grid, capable of addressing and containing regional conflicts. As Poland has learned, a willingness to shoulder global duties can enhance a country's regional influence. Other nations should be encouraged and rewarded as they assume similar responsibilities. Another chief priority is building stronger bonds with the Persian Gulf states. Washington could create a formal alliance umbrella for the antiterror coalition, one that makes it more difficult for countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to have it both ways on fighting terrorism. And symbolically, reaching out to solidify relationships with other countries will help take the edge off the United States' lone superpower status.

    Reforming the United Nations. Liberal internationalists view multilateral engagement not as a sacred ideal but as a choice dictated by the logic of smart power. Washington should seek the blessing of the UN not because it confers otherwise unattainable legitimacy but because of its pragmatic benefits. Yet reinvigorating international institutions will require more than just going to the UN to turn a page. Progressive policymakers should launch an aggressive reform campaign, working with Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has vowed to devote his remaining term to revitalizing the UN. By doing so, they can erase the perception of their blind faith in multilateralism while fashioning a world body that is up to its tasks.

    Reform must address five elements: the organization's bureaucracy, its field capabilities, its membership blocs, its committees, and Washington's own diplomacy. In the 1990s, the United States pushed a unilateral and often punitive reform program, withholding its dues while demanding strongly resented bureaucratic changes. Any viable reform agenda in the future will need wide backing from heads of state and UN delegates alike.

    Reform of the UN bureaucracy must convert the staid civil service into a dynamic professional corps, much like the organization's best-regarded specialized agencies, such as the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Food Program. This will mean standing up to the organization's staff union, so that top performers can be rewarded and poor ones weeded out.

    The UN's track record in Cambodia, East Timor, Namibia, and elsewhere shows that, flaws and all, the organization can be a powerful vehicle for peacekeeping and postconflict operations. Although Washington should work to augment its own rehabilitation programs, it would be foolish not to build on what the UN can offer. The 2001 Brahimi Report on UN Peacekeeping Operations addressed the expansion of peacekeeping and postconflict capabilities and highlighted the need, still largely unmet, for rapidly deployable forces stationed throughout the world. The United States should support rapid deployment and contribute units for tasks such as logistics and transport that it is uniquely positioned to provide.

    Washington should also tackle a long-standing, destructive anachronism: anti-Western developing-world blocs. The Group of 77 and the Nonaligned Movement -- Cold War relics -- retain outsized importance at the UN, leading to such travesties as Libya's leadership of the human rights committee, Cuba's domination of budget debates, and constant scapegoating of Israel. Breaking this dynamic is essential to restoring the UN's credibility. A bloc of democratic nations, for consultation before key debates, would multiply the influence of liberal states and supplant that of outdated alliances. U.S. policymakers should also raise the issue with their allies in the developing world -- few of whom, if pressed to cooperate, would defend a status quo that they recognize as in many ways unproductive.

    Structural reforms should begin by eliminating outmoded and redundant committees, reports, meetings, and bureaus. Examples include the multiple "housekeeping" committees, on topics such as conferences and contributions, that have neither decision-making nor implementation responsibilities. Although the United States should participate in formulating proposals for the reform of the Security Council, it cannot prescribe a solution.

    Finally, Washington must undertake more effective UN diplomacy. Being aloof and dismissive squanders U.S. influence by letting others develop firm positions before U.S. delegates even make their case. By taking the initiative early on key issues and working behind the scenes to build support before formal debate begins, the United States can get its way most of the time without forcing other governments to capitulate publicly to its demands. A careful focus on this kind of retail diplomacy -- the art of winning support on a delegation-by-delegation basis through persuasive, tailored arguments and tangible incentives -- can help policymakers succeed in even the toughest negotiations. Through such diplomacy, the Clinton administration managed to cut U.S. dues to the UN and keep Sudan off the Security Council. Had the Bush administration adopted this approach during the debate over Iraq, allowing more time for deliberation, not adopting an absolute position from the beginning, and working behind the scenes between Security Council sessions, the rupture might have been averted.


    An ambitious new effort to spread democracy, human rights, and freedom may seem a fool's errand at a time when the United States is overextended militarily and financially. But the alternative -- squandered power, mounting international hostility, an overburdened military, and an ingrained inability to correct course -- is worse. A unilateralist, militaristic foreign policy is not working, and September 11 proved that isolationism is no longer an option. Now is the time, before liberal principles are further misapplied, complacency returns, or the international system created by Roosevelt and Truman deteriorates beyond repair, to reassert an aggressive brand of liberal internationalism, reviving tested strategies to meet a range of new challenges. The rightful heirs of Wilson should reclaim his liberal legacy and fortify it through the determined, smart use of power. By reinvigorating the traditional tools of liberal internationalist statecraft, progressives can rebuild a grid capable of powering the world reliably and safely for years to come.
    “the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson


    • #3
      Security and Opportunity for the Twenty-first Century

      By Hillary Rodham Clinton

      From Foreign Affairs , November/December 2007

      Summary: The next U.S. president will have a moment of opportunity to reintroduce America to the world and restore our leadership. To build a world that is safe, prosperous, and just, we must get out of Iraq, rediscover the value of statesmanship, and live up to the democratic values that are the deepest source of our strength.

      Hillary Rodham Clinton, a U.S. Senator from New York, is a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

      To lead, a great nation must command the respect of others. America has been respected in the past as a powerful nation, a purposeful nation, and a generous and warm-hearted nation. In my travels around the world as senator and as first lady, I have met people from all walks of life. I have seen firsthand how many of our past policies have earned us respect and gratitude.

      The tragedy of the last six years is that the Bush administration has squandered the respect, trust, and confidence of even our closest allies and friends. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the United States enjoyed a unique position. Our world leadership was widely accepted and respected, as we strengthened old alliances and built new ones, worked for peace across the globe, advanced nonproliferation, and modernized our military. After 9/11, the world rallied behind the United States as never before, supporting our efforts to remove the Taliban in Afghanistan and go after the al Qaeda leadership. We had a historic opportunity to build a broad global coalition to combat terror, increase the impact of our diplomacy, and create a world with more partners and fewer adversaries.

      But we lost that opportunity by refusing to let the UN inspectors finish their work in Iraq and rushing to war instead. Moreover, we diverted vital military and financial resources from the struggle against al Qaeda and the daunting task of building a Muslim democracy in Afghanistan. At the same time, we embarked on an unprecedented course of unilateralism: refusing to pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, abandoning our commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, and turning our backs on the search for peace in the Middle East. Our withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol and refusal to participate in any international effort to deal with the tremendous challenges of climate change further damaged our international standing.

      Our nation has paid a heavy price for rejecting a long-standing bipartisan tradition of global leadership rooted in a preference for cooperating over acting unilaterally, for exhausting diplomacy before making war, and for converting old adversaries into allies rather than making new enemies. At a moment in history when the world's most pressing problems require unprecedented cooperation, this administration has unilaterally pursued policies that are widely disliked and distrusted.

      Yet it does not have to be this way. Indeed, our allies do not want it to be this way. The world still looks to the United States for leadership. American leadership is wanting, but it is still wanted. Our friends around the world do not want the United States to retreat. They want once again to be allied with the nation whose values, leadership, and strength have inspired the world for the last century.

      To reclaim our proper place in the world, the United States must be stronger, and our policies must be smarter. The next president will have a moment of opportunity to restore America's global standing and convince the world that America can lead once again. As president, I will seize that opportunity by reintroducing ourselves to the world. I will rebuild our power and ensure that the United States is committed to building a world we want, rather than simply defending against a world we fear.

      We should aim to lead our friends and allies in building a world of security and opportunity. America has long been the land of opportunity. But as we know at home and as we see today in Iraq and Afghanistan, opportunity cannot flourish without basic security. We must build a world in which security and opportunity go hand in hand, a world that will be safer, more prosperous, and more just.

      We need more than vision, however, to achieve the world we want. We must face up to an unprecedented array of challenges in the twenty-first century, threats from states, nonstate actors, and nature itself. The next president will be the first to inherit two wars, a long-term campaign against global terrorist networks, and growing tension with Iran as it seeks to acquire nuclear weapons. The United States will face a resurgent Russia whose future orientation is uncertain and a rapidly growing China that must be integrated into the international system. Moreover, the next administration will have to confront an unpredictable and dangerous situation in the Middle East that threatens Israel and could potentially bring down the global economy by disrupting oil supplies. Finally, the next president will have to address the looming long-term threats of climate change and a new wave of global health epidemics.

      To meet these challenges, we will have to replenish American power by getting out of Iraq, rebuilding our military, and developing a much broader arsenal of tools in the fight against terrorism. We must learn once again to draw on all aspects of American power, to inspire and attract as much as to coerce. We must return to a pragmatic willingness to look at the facts on the ground and make decisions based on evidence rather than ideology.


      Leadership requires a blend of strategy, persuasion, inspiration, and motivation. It is based on respect more than fear. America's founders wrote the Declaration of Independence to explain our actions to the world out of a decent respect for the opinions of mankind. Gaining the respect of other nations today requires that we harness our might to a set of guiding principles.

      Avoid false choices driven by ideology. The Bush administration has presented the American people with a series of false choices: force versus diplomacy, unilateralism versus multilateralism, hard power versus soft. Seeing these choices as mutually exclusive reflects an ideologically blinkered vision of the world that denies the United States the tools and the flexibility it needs to lead and succeed. There is a time for force and a time for diplomacy; when properly deployed, the two can reinforce each other. U.S. foreign policy must be guided by a preference for multilateralism, with unilateralism as an option when absolutely necessary to protect our security or avert an avoidable tragedy.

      Use our military not as the solution to every problem but as one element in a comprehensive strategy. As president, I will never hesitate to use force to protect Americans or to defend our territory and our vital interests. We cannot negotiate with individual terrorists; they must be hunted down and captured or killed. Nor can diplomacy alone stop the perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity in places such as Darfur. But soldiers are not the answer to every problem. Using force in lieu of diplomacy compels our young men and women in uniform to carry out missions that they may not be trained or prepared for. And it ignores the value of simply carrying a big stick, rather than using it.

      Make international institutions work, and work through them when possible. Contrary to what many in the current administration appear to believe, international institutions are tools rather than traps. The United States must be prepared to act on its own to defend its vital interests, but effective international institutions make it much less likely that we will have to do so. Both Republican and Democratic presidents have understood this for decades. When such institutions work well, they enhance our influence. When they do not work, their procedures serve as pretexts for endless delays, as in the case of Darfur, or descend into farce, as in the case of Sudan's election to the UN Commission on Human Rights. But instead of disparaging these institutions for their failures, we should bring them in line with the power realities of the twenty-first century and the basic values embodied in such documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

      Ensure that democracy delivers on its promises. Gnawing hunger, poverty, and the absence of economic prospects are a recipe for despair. Globalization is widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots within societies and between them. Today, there are more than two billion people living on less than $2 a day. These people risk becoming a vast permanent underclass. Calls for expanding civil and political rights in countries plagued by mass poverty and ruled by tiny wealthy elites will fall on deaf ears unless democracy actually delivers enough material benefits to improve people's lives. The Bush administration's policy in Iraq has temporarily given democracy a bad name, but over the long term the value of democracy will continue to inspire the world.

      Stand for and live up to our values. The values that our founders embraced as universal have shaped the aspirations of millions of people around the world and are the deepest source of our strength -- but only as long as we live up to them ourselves. As we seek to promote the rule of law in other nations, we must accept it ourselves. As we counsel liberty and justice for all, we cannot support torture and the indefinite detention of individuals we have declared to be beyond the law.


      Ending the war in Iraq is the first step toward restoring the United States' global leadership. The war is sapping our military strength, absorbing our strategic assets, diverting attention and resources from Afghanistan, alienating our allies, and dividing our people. The war in Iraq has also stretched our military to the breaking point. We must rebuild our armed services and restore them body and soul.

      We must withdraw from Iraq in a way that brings our troops home safely, begins to restore stability to the region, and replaces military force with a new diplomatic initiative to engage countries around the world in securing Iraq's future. To that end, as president, I will convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the secretary of defense, and the National Security Council and direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home, starting within the first 60 days of my administration.

      While working to stabilize Iraq as our forces withdraw, I will focus U.S. aid on helping Iraqis, not propping up the Iraqi government. Financial resources will go only where they will be used properly, rather than to government ministries or ministers that hoard, steal, or waste them.

      As we leave Iraq militarily, I will replace our military force with an intensive diplomatic initiative in the region. The Bush administration has belatedly begun to engage Iran and Syria in talks about the future of Iraq. This is a step in the right direction, but much more must be done. As president, I will convene a regional stabilization group composed of key allies, other global powers, and all the states bordering Iraq. Working with the newly appointed UN special representative for Iraq, the group will be charged with developing and implementing a strategy for achieving a stable Iraq that provides incentives for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey to stay out of the civil war.

      Finally, we need to engage the world in a global humanitarian effort to confront the human costs of this war. We must address the plight of the two million Iraqis who have fled their country and the two million more who have been displaced internally. This will require a multibillion-dollar international effort under the direction of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Meanwhile, the United States, along with governments in Europe and the Middle East, must agree to accept asylum seekers and help them return to Iraq when it is safe for them to do so.

      As we redeploy our troops from Iraq, we must not let down our guard against terrorism. I will order specialized units to engage in targeted operations against al Qaeda in Iraq and other terrorist organizations in the region. These units will also provide security for U.S. troops and personnel in Iraq and train and equip Iraqi security services to keep order and promote stability in the country, but only to the extent that such training is actually working. I will also consider leaving some forces in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq in order to protect the fragile but real democracy and relative peace and security that have developed there, but with the clear understanding that the terrorist organization the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) must be dealt with and the Turkish border must be respected.

      Getting out of Iraq will enable us to play a constructive role in a renewed Middle East peace process that would mean security and normal relations for Israel and the Palestinians. The fundamental elements of a final agreement have been clear since 2000: a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank in return for a declaration that the conflict is over, recognition of Israel's right to exist, guarantees of Israeli security, diplomatic recognition of Israel, and normalization of its relations with Arab states. U.S. diplomacy is critical in helping to resolve this conflict. In addition to facilitating negotiations, we must engage in regional diplomacy to gain Arab support for a Palestinian leadership that is committed to peace and willing to engage in a dialogue with the Israelis. Whether or not the United States makes progress in helping to broker a final agreement, consistent U.S. involvement can lower the level of violence and restore our credibility in the region.

      To help our forces recover from Iraq and prepare them to confront the full range of twenty-first-century threats, I will work to expand and modernize the military so that fighting wars no longer comes at the expense of deployments for long-term deterrence, military readiness, or responses to urgent needs at home. As the only senator serving on the Transformation Advisory Group established by the U.S. Joint Forces Command, I have had the chance to explore these issues in detail. Ongoing military innovation is essential, but the Bush administration has undermined this goal by focusing obsessively on expensive and unproven missile defense technology while making the tragically misguided assumption that light invasion forces could not only conquer the Taliban and Saddam Hussein but also stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq.

      Our brave soldiers who are wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq must receive the health care, benefits, training, and support they deserve. The treatment of wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center was a travesty. Those convalescing or struggling to build new lives after grievous injuries need an expanded version of the Family and Medical Leave Act to enable their families to provide the support they need. Beyond health care, it is also time to develop a modern GI Bill of Rights in order to expand professional and entrepreneurial opportunities as well as access to education and home ownership.


      We must be unrelenting in the prosecution of the war on al Qaeda and a growing number of like-minded extremist organizations. These terrorists are as determined as ever to strike the United States. If they think they can carry out another 9/11, I have no doubt that they will try. To stop them, we must use every tool we have.

      In the cities of Europe and Asia -- such as Hamburg and Kuala Lumpur, which were the springboards for 9/11 -- terrorist cells are preparing for future attacks. We must understand not only their methods but their motives: a rejection of modernity, women's rights, and democracy, as well as a dangerous nostalgia for a mythical past. We must develop a comprehensive strategy focusing on education, intelligence, and law enforcement to counter not only the terrorists themselves but also the larger forces fueling support for their extremism.

      The forgotten frontline in the war on terror is Afghanistan, where our military effort must be reinforced. The Taliban cannot be allowed to regain power in Afghanistan; if they return, al Qaeda will return with them. Yet current U.S. policies have actually weakened President Hamid Karzai's government and allowed the Taliban to retake many areas, especially in the south. A largely unimpeded heroin trade finances the very Taliban fighters and al Qaeda terrorists who are attacking our troops. In addition to engaging in counternarcotics efforts, we must seek to dry up recruiting opportunities for the Taliban by funding crop-substitution programs, a large-scale road-building initiative, institutions that train and prepare Afghans for honest and effective governance, and programs to enable women to play a larger role in society.

      We must also strengthen the national and local governments and resolve the problems along Afghanistan's border. Terrorists are increasingly finding safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Redoubling our efforts with Pakistan would not only help root out terrorist elements there; it would also signal to our NATO partners that the war in Afghanistan and the broader fight against extremism in South Asia are battles that we can and must win. Yet we cannot succeed unless we design a strategy that treats the entire region as an interconnected whole, where crises overlap with one another and the danger of a chain reaction of disasters is real.

      Combating terrorism around the world will require better intelligence and a clandestine service that is out on the street, not sitting behind desks. As president, I will work to restore morale in our intelligence community, increase the number of agents and analysts proficient in Arabic and other key languages, and raise the profile and status of intelligence analysis. Most of the terrorists apprehended for plotting attacks against the United States, both before and after 9/11, were arrested in other countries as a result of cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

      To maximize our effectiveness, we have to rebuild our alliances. The problem we face is global; we must therefore be attentive to the values, concerns, and interests of our allies and partners. That means doing a better job of building counterterrorist capacity around the world. We must help strengthen police, prosecutorial, and judicial systems abroad; improve intelligence; and implement more stringent border controls, especially in developing countries.

      We must also keep our guard up at home. As a senator from New York, I have long advocated full investment in our first responders and in protecting our critical infrastructure. I have pushed for new strategies and new technologies, such as a new federal interoperable communications and safety system. After years of Bush administration neglect, 80 percent of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations on homeland security have now been enacted, principally as a result of the Democratic Congress' work. But there is more to do. We must match the resources to the stakes and help the most vulnerable and at-risk cities prepare for an attack. We must improve health-care delivery systems in order to manage the consequences of attacks. Finally, we must improve the security of chemical plants and safeguard the transportation of hazardous materials so that terrorists do not have easy targets.


      The Bush administration has opposed talks with our adversaries, seeming to believe that we are not strong enough to defend our interests through negotiations. This is a misleading and counterproductive strategy. True statesmanship requires that we engage with our adversaries, not for the sake of talking but because robust diplomacy is a prerequisite to achieving our aims.

      The case in point is Iran. Iran poses a long-term strategic challenge to the United States, our NATO allies, and Israel. It is the country that most practices state-sponsored terrorism, and it uses its surrogates to supply explosives that kill U.S. troops in Iraq. The Bush administration refuses to talk to Iran about its nuclear program, preferring to ignore bad behavior rather than challenge it. Meanwhile, Iran has enhanced its nuclear-enrichment capabilities, armed Iraqi Shiite militias, funneled arms to Hezbollah, and subsidized Hamas, even as the government continues to hurt its own citizens by mismanaging the economy and increasing political and social repression.

      As a result, we have lost precious time. Iran must conform to its nonproliferation obligations and must not be permitted to build or acquire nuclear weapons. If Iran does not comply with its own commitments and the will of the international community, all options must remain on the table.

      On the other hand, if Iran is in fact willing to end its nuclear weapons program, renounce sponsorship of terrorism, support Middle East peace, and play a constructive role in stabilizing Iraq, the United States should be prepared to offer Iran a carefully calibrated package of incentives. This will let the Iranian people know that our quarrel is not with them but with their government and show the world that the United States is prepared to pursue every diplomatic option.

      Like Iran, North Korea responded to the Bush administration's effort to isolate it by accelerating its nuclear program, conducting a nuclear test, and building more nuclear weapons. Only since the State Department returned to diplomacy have we been able, belatedly, to make progress.

      Neither North Korea nor Iran will change course as a result of what we do with our own nuclear weapons, but taking dramatic steps to reduce our nuclear arsenal would build support for the coalitions we need to address the threat of nuclear proliferation and help the United States regain the moral high ground. Former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and former Senator Sam Nunn have called on the United States to "rekindle the vision," shared by every president from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton, of reducing reliance on nuclear weapons.

      To reassert our nonproliferation leadership, I will seek to negotiate an accord that substantially and verifiably reduces the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. This dramatic initiative would send a strong message of nuclear restraint to the world, while we retain enough strength to deter others from trying to match our arsenal. I will also seek Senate approval of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by 2009, the tenth anniversary of the Senate's initial rejection of the agreement. This would enhance the United States' credibility when demanding that other nations refrain from testing. As president, I will support efforts to supplement the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Establishing an international fuel bank that guaranteed secure access to nuclear fuel at reasonable prices would help limit the number of countries that pose proliferation risks.

      In the Senate, I have introduced legislation to accelerate and reinvigorate U.S. efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. As president, I will do everything in my power to ensure that nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and the materials needed to make them are kept out of terrorists' hands. My first goal would be to remove all nuclear material from the world's most vulnerable nuclear sites and effectively secure the remainder during my first term in office.

      Statesmanship is also necessary to engage countries that are not adversaries but that are challenging the United States on many fronts. Russian President Vladimir Putin has thwarted a carefully crafted UN plan that would have put Kosovo on a belated path to independence, attempted to use energy as a political weapon against Russia's neighbors and beyond, and tested the United States and Europe on a range of nonproliferation and arms reduction issues. Putin has also suppressed many of the freedoms won after the fall of communism, created a new class of oligarchs, and interfered deeply in the internal affairs of former Soviet republics.

      It is a mistake, however, to see Russia only as a threat. Putin has used Russia's energy wealth to expand the Russian economy, so that more ordinary Russians are enjoying a rising standard of living. We need to engage Russia selectively on issues of high national importance, such as thwarting Iran's nuclear ambitions, securing loose nuclear weapons in Russia and the former Soviet republics, and reaching a diplomatic solution in Kosovo. At the same time, we must make clear that our ability to view Russia as a genuine partner depends on whether Russia chooses to strengthen democracy or return to authoritarianism and regional interference.

      Our relationship with China will be the most important bilateral relationship in the world in this century. The United States and China have vastly different values and political systems, yet even though we disagree profoundly on issues ranging from trade to human rights, religious freedom, labor practices, and Tibet, there is much that the United States and China can and must accomplish together. China's support was important in reaching a deal to disable North Korea's nuclear facilities. We should build on this framework to establish a Northeast Asian security regime.

      But China's rise is also creating new challenges. The Chinese have finally begun to realize that their rapid economic growth is coming at a tremendous environmental price. The United States should undertake a joint program with China and Japan to develop new clean-energy sources, promote greater energy efficiency, and combat climate change. This program would be part of an overall energy policy that would require a dramatic reduction in U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

      We must persuade China to join global institutions and support international rules by building on areas where our interests converge and working to narrow our differences. Although the United States must stand ready to challenge China when its conduct is at odds with U.S. vital interests, we should work for a cooperative future.


      It is important to engage our adversaries but even more important to reassure our allies. We must reestablish our traditional relationship of confidence and trust with Europe. Disagreements are inevitable, even among the closest friends, but we can never forget that on most global issues we have no more trusted allies than those in Europe. The new administration will have a chance to reach out across the Atlantic to a new generation of leaders in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. When America and Europe work together, global objectives are within our means.

      In Asia, India has a special significance both as an emerging power and as the world's most populous democracy. As co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, I recognize the tremendous opportunity presented by India's rise and the need to give the country an augmented voice in regional and international institutions, such as the UN. We must find additional ways for Australia, India, Japan, and the United States to cooperate on issues of mutual concern, including combating terrorism, cooperating on global climate control, protecting global energy supplies, and deepening global economic development.

      At our peril, the Bush administration has neglected our neighbors to the south. We have witnessed the rollback of democratic development and economic openness in parts of Latin America. We must return to a policy of vigorous engagement; this is too critical a region for the United States to stand idly by. We must support the largest developing democracies in the region, Brazil and Mexico, and deepen economic and strategic cooperation with Argentina and Chile. We must also continue to cooperate with our allies in Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean to combat the interconnected threats of drug trafficking, crime, and insurgency. Finally, we must work with our allies to provide sustainable-development programs that promote economic opportunity and reduce inequality for the citizens of Latin America.

      Equally important are the growing ranks of democracies in Africa -- some established, some new -- which will be the engines of Africa's future. We should target these countries for aid and other forms of support and work with them to strengthen regional institutions such as the African Union. The AU seeks to emulate the European Union by requiring and supporting democracy among its members, but it has a long way to go. It has thus far failed even to denounce the blatant political corruption and brutality of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. It must also develop the ability to act with sufficient strength and speed to stop mass atrocities, such as those in Darfur.

      Our interests in Africa are strategic, not just humanitarian. They include al Qaeda's efforts to seek safe havens in failed states in the Horn of Africa and the growing competition with other global players, including China, for Africa's natural resources. The long-term solution, for us as well as for Africa, is to help Africans develop both the will and the capability to address their own problems and help the continent live up to its vast potential.


      To build the world we want, we must begin by speaking honestly about the problems we face. We will have to talk about the consequences of our invasion of Iraq for the Iraqi people and others in the region. We will have to talk about Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. We will also have to take concrete steps to enhance security and spread opportunity throughout the world.

      Education is the foundation of economic opportunity and should lie at the heart of America's foreign assistance efforts. More than 100 million children in the developing world are not in school. Another 150 million drop out before they finish grade school. By failing these children, we sow the seeds of lost generations. As president, I will press for quick passage of the Education for All Act, which would provide $10 billion over a five-year period to train teachers and build schools in the developing world. This program would channel funds to those countries that provide the best plans for how to use them and rigorously measure performance to ensure that our dollars deliver results for children.

      The fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other dreaded diseases is both a moral imperative and a practical necessity. These diseases have created a generation of orphans and set back economic and political progress by decades in many countries.

      These problems often seem overwhelming, but we can solve them with the combined resources of governments, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and charities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We can set specific targets in areas such as expanding access to primary education, providing clean water, reducing child and maternal mortality, and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases. We can strengthen the International Labor Organization in order to enforce labor standards, just as we strengthened the World Trade Organization to enforce trade agreements. Such policies demonstrate that by doing good we can do well. This sort of investment and diplomacy will yield results for the United States, building goodwill even in places where our standing has suffered.

      We must also take threats and turn them into opportunities. The seemingly overwhelming challenge of climate change is a prime example. Far from being a drag on global growth, climate control represents a powerful economic opportunity that can be a driver of growth, jobs, and competitive advantage in the twenty-first century. As president, I will make the fight against global warming a priority. We cannot solve the climate crisis alone, and the rest of the world cannot solve it without us. The United States must reengage in international climate change negotiations and provide the leadership needed to reach a binding global climate agreement. But we must first restore our own credibility on the issue. Rapidly emerging countries, such as China, will not curb their own carbon emissions until the United States has demonstrated a serious commitment to reducing its own through a market-based cap-and-trade approach.

      We must also help developing nations build efficient and environmentally sustainable domestic energy infrastructures. Two-thirds of the growth in energy demand over the next 25 years will come from countries with little existing infrastructure. Many opportunities exist here as well: Mali is electrifying rural communities with solar power, Malawi is developing a biomass energy strategy, and all of Africa can provide carbon credits to the West.

      Finally, we must create formal links between the International Energy Agency and China and India and create an "E-8" international forum modeled on the G-8. This group would be comprised of the world's major carbon-emitting nations and hold an annual summit devoted to international ecological and resource issues.

      The world we want is also a world where human rights are respected. By surrendering our values in the name of our safety, the Bush administration has left Americans wondering whether its rhetoric about freedom around the world still applies back home. We have undercut international support for fighting terrorism by suggesting that the job cannot be done without humiliation, infringements on basic rights to privacy and free speech, and even torture. We must once again make human rights a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy and a core element of our conception of democracy.

      Human rights will never truly be realized as long as a majority of the world's population is still treated as second-class citizens. Twelve years ago, the UN convened a historic conference on women in Beijing, where I was proud to represent our country and to proclaim that women's rights are human rights. Since then, women have been elected heads of state in countries on nearly every continent. Thanks to the United States, many, but not yet all, Afghan women have been liberated from one of the most tyrannical and repressive regimes of our day and are now in schools, in the work force, and in parliament.

      Yet progress in key areas has lagged, as evidenced by the continuing spread of trafficking in women, the ongoing use of rape as an instrument of war, the political marginalization of women, and persistent gender gaps in employment and economic opportunity. U.S. leadership, including a commitment to incorporate the promotion of women's rights in our bilateral relationships and international aid programs, is essential not just to improving the lives of women but to strengthening the families, communities, and societies in which they live.


      Seasoned, clear-eyed leadership can take us far. We must draw on all the dimensions of American power and reject false choices driven by ideology rather than facts. An America that rebuilds its strength and recovers its principles will be an America that can spread the blessings of security and opportunity around the world.

      In 1825, 50 years after the Battle of Bunker Hill, the great secretary of state Daniel Webster laid the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument that stands today in Boston. He exulted in the simple fact that America had survived and flourished, and he celebrated "the benefit which the example of our country has produced, and is likely to produce, on human freedom and human happiness." He gloried not in American power but rather in the power of the American idea, the idea that "with wisdom and knowledge men may govern themselves." And he urged his audience, and all Americans, to maintain this example and "take care that nothing may weaken its authority with the world."

      Two centuries later, our economic power and military might have grown beyond anything that our forefathers could have imagined. But that power and might can only be sustained and renewed if we can regain our authority with the world, the authority not simply of a large and wealthy nation but of the American idea. If we can live up to that idea, if we can exercise our power wisely and well, we can make America great again.
      “the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson


      • #4
        A rallying call for the resurgence of American hegemony and regime change. I love the way it's only the rhetoric that changes.
        Nice articles Xinhui.
        In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.



        • #5
          you are welcome, and in my book, Hillary is a hawk.
          “the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson


          • #6
            Originally posted by xinhui View Post
            you are welcome, and in my book, Hillary is a hawk.
            Couldn't agree more.
            In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.



            • #7
              too bad liberal internationalism is not really sustainable in the long run. the problem i have with these blanket theories is that international relations demands a flexibility of use. liberal internationalism AND realism have their time and place.
              There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


              • #8
                Nye is back, baby!

                Get Smart
                Get Smart

                Combining Hard and Soft Power
                July/August 2009
                Joseph S. Nye Jr.
                JOSEPH S. NYE, JR., is University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University and the author of The Powers to Lead.

                In her confirmation hearings, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America. . . . We must use what has been called 'smart power,' the full range of tools at our disposal." Since then, editorial pages and blogs have been full of references to "smart power." But what does it mean?

                "Smart power" is a term I developed in 2003 to counter the misperception that soft power alone can produce effective foreign policy. Power is one's ability to affect the behavior of others to get what one wants. There are three basic ways to do this: coercion, payment, and attraction. Hard power is the use of coercion and payment. Soft power is the ability to obtain preferred outcomes through attraction. If a state can set the agenda for others or shape their preferences, it can save a lot on carrots and sticks. But rarely can it totally replace either. Thus the need for smart strategies that combine the tools of both hard and soft power.

                In an otherwise estimable new book, Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy, Leslie Gelb argues that "soft power now seems to mean almost everything" because both economic and military resources can influence other states. (Gelb's recent article in these pages, "Necessity, Choice, and Common Sense" [May/June 2009], is drawn from the book.) But Gelb confuses the actions of a state seeking to achieve desired outcomes with the resources used to produce those outcomes. Military and economic resources can sometimes be used to attract as well as coerce -- witness the positive effect of the U.S. military's relief efforts in Indonesia following the 2004 tsunami on Indonesians' attitudes toward the United States. This means that many different types of resources can contribute to soft power, not that the term "soft power" can mean any type of behavior.

                In his book, Gelb defines power too narrowly, as "getting people or groups to do something they don't want to do." He ignores a long literature on the other facets of power that are used to persuade others to do what is in fact in their own interests. As U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower put it, leadership is about getting people to do something "not only because you tell them to do so and enforce your orders but because they instinctively want to do it for you." Sometimes that is possible, and sometimes not, but it is certainly an important aspect of power. Even if soft power is rarely sufficient, it can help create an enabling or disabling context for policy.

                The major elements of a country's soft power include its culture (when it is pleasing to others), its values (when they are attractive and consistently practiced), and its policies (when they are seen as inclusive and legitimate). Over the past decade, public opinion polls have shown a serious decline in the United States' popularity in Europe, Latin America, and, most dramatically, the Muslim world. Poll respondents have generally cited the United States' policies, more than its culture or values, to explain this decline. Since it is easier for a country to change its policies than its culture, U.S. President Barack Obama should focus on choosing policies that can help recover some of the United States' soft power.

                Of course, soft power is not the solution to all problems. The fact that the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il likes to watch Hollywood movies is unlikely to affect his country's nuclear weapons program. And U.S. soft power got nowhere in drawing the Taliban government away from al Qaeda in the 1990s; it took hard military power in 2001 to end that alliance. But broader goals, such as promoting democracy, protecting human rights, and developing civil society, are not best handled with guns.


                In 2007, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and I co-chaired a bipartisan commission at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that helped popularize the concept of smart power. It concluded that the Pentagon is the best-trained and best-resourced arm of the government but that there are limits to what hard power can achieve on its own and that turning to the Pentagon because it can get things done will lead to an overmilitarized foreign policy. Gelb criticizes us in Power Rules for "a mechanical combining rather than a genuine blending of the two ideas," but we never proposed a mechanical formula for smart power. Figuring out how to combine the resources of both hard and soft power into smart-power strategies requires what I call "contextual intelligence" in my book The Powers to Lead. In foreign policy, contextual intelligence is the intuitive diagnostic skill that helps policymakers align tactics with objectives to create smart strategies. Of recent U.S. presidents, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush had impressive contextual intelligence; the younger Bush did not.

                Academics and pundits have often been mistaken about the United States' power. Just two decades ago, the conventional wisdom was that the United States was in decline, suffering from so-called imperial overstretch. International relations theory at the time suffered from a materialist bias that truncated conceptions of power and ignored the full range of factors that can influence behavior through attraction. This is what I tried to recover in 1990 with the idea of soft power.

                A decade later, with the Cold War rivalry over, the new conventional wisdom was that the world was characterized by unipolarity and U.S. hegemony. Some neoconservative pundits drew the conclusion that the United States was so powerful that it could decide what was right and others would have no choice but to follow. This new unilateralism heavily influenced the George W. Bush administration even before the shock of 9/11 produced the Bush doctrine of preventive war and coercive democratization.

                Contextual intelligence must start with an understanding of not just the strengths but also the limits of U.S. power. The United States is the only superpower, but preponderance does not constitute empire or hegemony. The United States can influence, but not control, other parts of the world. World politics today is like a three-dimensional chess game. At the top level, military power among states is unipolar; but at the middle level, of interstate economic relations, the world is multipolar and has been so for more than a decade. At the bottom level, of transnational relations (involving such issues as climate change, illegal drugs, pandemics, and terrorism), power is chaotically distributed and diffuses to nonstate actors.

                Military power is a small part of any response to these new threats; these necessitate cooperation among governments and international institutions. Even at the top level (where the United States represents nearly half the world's total defense expenditures), the U.S. military may be supreme in the global commons of air, sea, and space, but it is much less able to control nationalist populations in occupied areas.

                Contextual intelligence is needed to produce an integrated strategy that combines hard and soft power. Many official instruments of soft power -- public diplomacy, broadcasting, exchange programs, development assistance, disaster relief, military-to-military contacts -- are scattered across the U.S. government. There is no overarching policy that even tries to integrate them with hard power into a comprehensive national security strategy. The United States spends about 500 times as much on the military as it does on broadcasting and exchange programs. Is this the right proportion? And how should the U.S. government relate to the generators of soft power in civil society -- including everything from Hollywood to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?


                Despite its numerous errors, the United States' Cold War strategy involved a smart combination of hard and soft power. The U.S. military deterred Soviet aggression, while American ideas undercut communism behind the Iron Curtain. When the Berlin Wall finally collapsed, it was destroyed not by an artillery barrage but by hammers and bulldozers wielded by those who had lost faith in communism.

                In today's information age, success is the result not merely of whose army wins but also of whose story wins. The current struggle against Islamist terrorism is much less a clash of civilizations than an ideological struggle within Islam. The United States cannot win unless the Muslim mainstream wins. There is very little likelihood that people like Osama bin Laden can ever be won over with soft power: hard power is needed to deal with such cases. But there is enormous diversity of opinion in the Muslim world. Many Muslims disagree with American values as well as American policies, but that does not mean that they agree with bin Laden. The United States and its allies cannot defeat Islamist terrorism if the number of people the extremists are recruiting is larger than the number of extremists killed or deterred. Soft power is needed to reduce the extremists' numbers and win the hearts and minds of the mainstream.

                The United States can become a smart power by once again investing in global public goods -- providing things that people and governments in all quarters of the world want but cannot attain on their own. Achieving economic development, securing public health, coping with climate change, and maintaining an open, stable international economic system all require leadership from the United States. By complementing its military and economic might with greater investments in its soft power, the United States can rebuild the framework it needs to tackle tough global challenges. That would be true smart power.
                Copyright © 2002-2009 by the Council on Foreign Relations, Inc.
                “the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson


                • #9
                  Originally posted by astralis View Post
                  too bad liberal internationalism is not really sustainable in the long run. the problem i have with these blanket theories is that international relations demands a flexibility of use. liberal internationalism AND realism have their time and place.
                  Pure ideology never really existed as a foreign policy, there are always contingencies. The difference is how much you want to add in your otherwise realistic approach of International relations. Concerning Liberal internationalism hijacked by Bush, well as already said, the dividing line is not between Democrats and Republicans, Clinton and Bush have much more in common than with some in their respective party.


                  • #10

                    certainly-- i meant in academic theory, however. there are theorists whom don't see how practicioners use shades of each theory, see the suzanne nossel piece above.
                    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


                    • #11
                      The Illusion of Liberal Internationalism’s Revival - Council on Foreign Relations

                      The Illusion of Liberal Internationalism’s Revival
                      Charles A. Kupchan, Senior Fellow for Europe Studies
                      Peter L. Trubowitz, Associate Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin and Senior Fellow, Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law

                      Vol. 35, No. 1 (Summer 2010)
                      International Security


                      Over the past two decades, political polarization has shaken the domestic foundations of U.S. grand strategy, sorely testing bipartisan support for liberal internationalism. Stephen Chaudoin, Helen Milner, and Dustin Tingley take issue with this interpretation, contending that liberal internationalism in the United States is alive and well. Their arguments, however, do not stand up to careful scrutiny. Their analysis of congressional voting and public opinion fails to demonstrate the persistence of bipartisanship on foreign policy. Indeed, the partisan gap that widened during George W. Bush's administration has continued during the presidency of Barack Obama, confirming that a structural change has taken place in the domestic bases of U.S. foreign policy. President Obama now faces the unenviable challenge of conducting U.S. statecraft during an era when consensus will be as elusive at home as it is globally.

                      This article appears in full on by permission of its original publisher. It was originally available here (Subscription required).

                      * The Illusion of Liberal Internationalism’s Revival (87K PDF)
                      “the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson