Naturally then, we must ask ourselves, what kind of comprehensive global strategy would preserve primacy most effectively in the face of so many, and varied challenges.
Primacy provides scores of benefits for the United States, it would not be practical for it to sit back and permit other states to catch up thus surrendering the many rewards of its international influence as sourced through its massive ideological, military, and economic capacity. Unquestionably, the U.S. must continually review its grand strategy for engaging with the world to preserve its present position, at least for as long as it can.
There are some clear considerations in light of this. U.S. military power although robust, should not be wasted needlessly, and its economy requires prudent management to enhance its long-term strength since its global power is also dependant on economic output. Especially given that, both the Chinese and Indian economies are set to be in the same league by around 2050 whilst declining and ageing populations will adversely affect the output of Japan, Russia, and the European Union. Also of concern is that both China and India are well placed to bite into America’s technological advantages, accordingly to keep its edge, its task is to fashion a new evolving international economic architecture, one that will maintain stability and growth. U.S. vulnerability also stems through its considerable dependency on oil, indeed competition for natural resources is likely to peak well before 2050.1 Clearly, numerous trials will continue to beset U.S. policy makers, naturally then, we must ask ourselves, what kind of comprehensive global strategy would preserve primacy most effectively in the face of so many, and varied challenges.
Evidently, the present strategy whereby the U.S. attempts to run the course of global proceedings on its own, more or less setting the agenda and using military power to enforce it, is proving costly, I am not solely referring to Iraq. It is counterproductive to be derisive of existing institutions and indifferent toward the judgment of other nation states. In the longer term, this weakens America in two ways by eroding America’s ability to attract the support of even some of its traditional allies and emboldening purported rogue states such as Iran and North Korea and past enemies like Russia who is presently engaged in both re-building and old-fashioned saber rattling. Finally, it also exacerbates existing anti-americanist views around the world. Global hegemony per se, as encouraged by the likes of Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, and various individuals associated with the Project for a New American Strategy2 is realistically, beyond even the United States.
Nevertheless, there is nothing improper about the U.S. seeking to support only those forms of government embracing liberal democratic processes, nor is there anything wrong intervening in global affairs to encourage forms of regional balancing in favour of U.S. interests. To achieve this and notably, safeguard primacy, a stratagem that primarily employs America’s traditional approach by which it deploys its power, in no uncertain terms, only when there exists a direct threat to its interests is now called for. Hence, offshore balancing which utilises and assists friendly regional powers (its allies and including Israel) to curb the rise of potential hostile nation states comes close to being the ideal option.
As stated in the opening paragraph this approach logically engages but more importantly, it is does not segregate. One must not assume that such a policy would render the U.S. inactive, more exactly; it would intervene even militarily but only when friendly regional powers are unable to act decisively of there own. Instead of trying to be the global police officer, the United States needs to adopt a more selective, restrained foreign policy with rules that concentrate on defending America's expansive array of vital interests. Because it limits military intervention overseas, offshore balancing in fact makes it less burdensome to intervene when genocide or other vital interests are threatened by rogue states, such as Iran.
American global pre-eminence is not a permanent arrangement but attempts to extend it through the present doctrine build resentment and resistance. Military power must be upheld perhaps even augmented but used more judiciously. The effects of such a strategy will filter through to other elements of U.S. relations and promote its economy, expand flows of information, technology, capital, goods and services. While terrorism and nuclear proliferation complicates matters it is through consensus coupled with military muscle that best results be achieved. Engagement therefore becomes paramount to U.S. interests for if America wants to retain its position of primacy for, as long as possible it must convince the world that its dominance is preferable to any alternatives. A better balance is sought as empires rule best and longest, through consent as opposed to force of arms. As a final point, it will also assist the United States through the enhancement soft power, winning hearts and minds, and respond effectively to competing worldviews, such as Chinese non-interference, Islamism, and European social democracy which are developing wide appeal of late.
1. In 2000, net U.S. oil imports, as a percentage of total supply was 52.8%, by 2025, it is estimated to be around 68%.
2. Established during the Clinton years, the goal of this educational institution is to promote the USA’s world leadership, which critics interpret as a blueprint for world domination. Some 20 of its members took up positions in the Bush administration inc. the Vice President and Secretary of Defense. As a strong advocate of the invasion of Iraq, its reputation has been tarnished.
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August 31, 2007
Naturally then, we must ask ourselves, what kind of comprehensive global strategy would preserve primacy most effectively in the face of so many, and varied challenges.
August 23, 2007
Global homogeny as fashioned through globalization is diluting American diplomatic influence and power.
The United States presently exerts global power on an unprecedented scale and whilst Americans assume that their position of dominance is largely unchallenged, other nation states are progressively more concerned about U.S. hegemony and openly defiant of Washington’s foreign policy initiatives.
Americans and their leaders generally see their country as a positive force in the world. Harvard University political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, for example says, U.S. primacy is central, “to the future of freedom, democracy, open economies and international order…”, whilst neo-conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer says of U.S. predominance, “the landmine between barbarism and civilization”. I have affirmed my position before but it is worth restating, “… if the day were to come that the U.S. does collapse economically, financially, politically and strategically, not completely but enough to cause major shifts … then the world may be faced with a global situation of startling instability and great risk. A global shift in power of which the end product cannot be accurately guessed at, nor can it be forecast with any exactitude's”.
Conditions are shifting, albeit slowly and progressively, whereas the world today does not commonly appreciate U.S. dominance in the same light as it once did. However, it is one-dimensional to suggest the sole reason is due to the actions of the current administration in particular, the Bush/Cheney doctrine. The effects of a new global world is cited as a further basis for diminishing America’s capacity to harbour international support and build coalitions centered on Washington’s needs. Through Globalisation, national borders are consistently eroding, raw materials and knowledge travel rapidly across nations and continents and supply channels have accelerated like never before enabling developing nations to draw near industrialised nations through increased employment and technological advances. For all that is positive about this it presents new challenges that U.S. policy makers are only now beginning to grapple with. As the forces of globalization continue to take hold, benefiting, as it will people and societies, we shall witness a world of greater uniformity or sameness consistent with America. A development that is gradually eroding America’s distinction, perceived or otherwise, accordingly global homogeny as fashioned through globalization is diluting American diplomatic influence and power.
To arrest this, The United States should adopt a foreign policy that is welcomed by other states as based on a degree of consensus. This is not a call for a weakened America but precisely the reverse whereby it consolidates power by empowering other nation’s thorough collective consensus driven international relations with Washington at the helm. A return to traditional methods of building alliances and assembling international institutions as centered on a robust conservative foreign policy platform and importantly, underpinned by great military supremacy.
Valid disagreements are part and parcel of world politics, a reality that sometimes makes diplomatic arguments viciously blunt. The U.S. cannot afford to appear arrogant and ostentatious toward other nations as was, on occasion, former Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld, and even past Secretary of State Madeleine Albright whatever the short-term gains as ultimately, legitimacy is undermined. 1
I am drawn to Theodore Roosevelt’s counselling, “Speak softly, but carry a big stick”.
1. Secretary Albright irritated her foreign counterparts when she declared that the United States was the “indispensable nation" … that “stands taller and hence sees further than other nations", and Secretary Rumsfeld annoying NATO allies by drawing an offensive distinction between “old Europe” (did not support Iraqi war) and “new Europe” (more supportive).
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August 21, 2007
I am opposed to any suggestion of selling the F-22A to Japan or any nation for that matter.
This is no ordinary fighter jet, in mock dogfights its pilots commonly take on six F-15 Eagles at once. Despite the favorable odds, the F-15s, still one of the world's most capable fighters, are no contest for the fastest radar-evading stealth jet ever built and the world's only operational fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
This article highlights why selling this plane remains risky and adds to a growing chorus of concerns about a possible sale, the Project on Government Oversight organisation has also expressed concern in a recent letter to Senator John McCain:
Senator John McCain
241 Russell Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator McCain, POGO appreciates that you are holding hearings on the F-22. We find it distressing that the U.S. appears to be at, or rapidly approaching, a point at which the only way we can afford tactical air superiority is to eventually undermine it by selling it abroad. It strikes us, that if we as a nation are going to continue to develop and upgrade F-15 and F-16 technology not just for our own forces but also for export, we must retain the F-22 exclusively for U.S. use; or, if the F-22 is cancelled, we must limit the upgrade technology available for foreign export.
August 19, 2007
NO not another cold war, pay no heed to the sensationalist reporting...
Yes it is true that Russia will immediately resume the Soviet-era practice of sending strategic bombers on long-range flights well beyond its borders. President Vladimir Putin announced this yesterday whilst speaking as he, and Chinese President Hu Jintao wrapped up joint military exercises at a new training ground in Russia's Ural Mountains region. In July 2001 China and Russia signed a formal treaty of friendship and cooperation explicitly intended to foster a new international order in what Russian commentators cited as as an "act of friendship against America". Putin said, "We have decided to renew flights of Russian strategic aviation on a permanent basis."
The headliners have been interesting to say the least, here's a sample as they appeared across cyberspace on Saturday 18 August.
Vladimir Putin rearms his Cold War military Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom Moscow revives Cold War flights Gulf Daily News, Bahrain Alarm Russians restart bomber flights Scotsman, United Kingdom Russia's war planes to patrol the skies again Independent, UK Russia renewing 'permanent' strategic bomber patrols INQ7.net, Philippines Kremlin resumes long-range bomber flights InTheNews.co.uk, UK Russian bomb flights spark 'grave' fears The Age, Australia
Some a saying that it will return the relationship between between Washington and Moscow to Cold War levels. But while there has been a deterioration in East-West relations, it is idealistic to talk of another Cold War. Did it all begin when Bush announced its intent to set up a defensive missile shield in Europe, or is it simply a case of new found confidence on the part of Moscow's leadership? A bit of both. At the start of his presidency, Russia was a mess and Putin was weak and incapable of challenging US supremacy, and fact is, he still is, but by bringing the country's vast energy wealth under the Kremlin's control, Mr Putin has gained at least the capacity to reassert Russian influence and what power it has.
Russia's military and economic prowess continues to improve but is still no match for the United States. Clearly, Putin is posturing because now, he can.
See also: Russia stirring , Russia: It's about power
August 15, 2007
Would you agree that military confrontation with Iran is inevitable and is this labeling exercise a good move on the part of the U.S.?
August 13, 2007
No matter what part of the world one is in, anti-Americanism is widespread. Not that I have traveled recently to find out first hand, who needs to, just about every news media and web portal, and including any official body that’s left of center-right repeatedly, (and systematically) cultivates its share of anti-U.S. detractors. It’s not just the thousands of media commentators and journo’s that are banging this drum, statistical research shows that well over half of French, British, and Germans believe that the U.S. now exerts a damaging influence on the world. Hence, I suspect Italian, Spanish, and the Dutch would harbor similar views; attitudes and beliefs, which show no sign of abating. America may be leading the world but fewer and fewer appear to care.
What is interesting, and beckoning our attention, is that the statistics also reveal that on average some 35% of respondents in the aforementioned nations and including Australia have pro-American inclinations being partial to that which America has contributed to the world and their nation, as the case may be. They are a diminishing group of individuals (and groups of individuals) who although still influential, their capacity to lead and impact policy and opinion is, like there numbers, declining. These citizens identify with U.S. ideology, way of life, and its democratic principles and have deep-seated liberal values or otherwise, they may simply be persons who remain appreciative and indebted of U.S. support and assistance in times past. More recently, I refer to the people of Kosovo who fervently appreciate the U.S. position in relation to their independence drive, or middle aged and elderly (formerly anti-communist) Poles, who fondly recall President Reagan’s steadfast support in the 1980’s. Not surprisingly, and because they have little memory of communism, younger Poles do not have as strong an affinity for the United States.
Age patterns therefore are important, and raise pertinent questions about where anti-Americanism is heading. In most nearly all nations, those with the least anti American views are people older than 50. Europeans who, for example, still recall the devastation of World War II and America’s contribution to rebuilding the continent through the Marshall plan or Australians who remember how America, not Britain saved them from a Japanese onslaught in 1942. Here we have clear examples demonstrating the positive effects of U.S. foreign policy decisions in the past. These middle aged and elderly citizens are currently serving in the parliaments of nations, within higher management positions of corporate sectors and in all probability, exert noteworthy influence within conservative think tanks or comparable institutions and establishments. They apply pressure on Governments, organizations and institutions to support U.S. initiatives, enterprises, products and services, culture and policies. The concern however, is that in twenty years hence, a new generation in Europe and Asia will not have the pro American empathy to which I refer if only, because of attritional factors and a poor appreciation and/or understanding of history; a subject that is far from popular in schools today.
What then is the solution? Firstly, it is not all bad news for America, we need consider that there will always be a share of peoples who will defend it, again statistics show that principally they will be males and be socially and upwardly mobile, and possess typically American style, consumer driven aspirational values – a strong desire for success or achievement. Nevertheless, United States Ambassadors and diplomatic staff need to re-examine their function. Indeed, and notwithstanding extraordinary circumstances to counter such, it is my belief, that anti-Americanism is going to grow further in most nearly all parts of the globe unless its representatives in foreign nations make another study of there foreign engagements. The U.S. Department of State website, under the heading ‘Transformational Diplomacy, states that diplomats, ‘reach beyond the borders of the traditional diplomatic structures and beyond foreign capitals’, and ‘move out from behind their desks into the field, from reporting on outcomes to shaping them’, this is a start, but no methodology is provided. Where once an ambassador's function was to serve as the President's representative, ambassadors need to adopt a more active, dynamic local role, as if an inter-agency manager who can promote an idea of where a country should be going, what the visions are, and then move inter-agency processes forward to primarily serve U.S. interests of the day.
Ultimately, they need to adopt a practical, down to business role that advances and augments America’s interests by identifying and assisting through supplementation, individuals, groups, and establishments who share and advocate the vision. Ambassadors listen up, it is not merely about Foreign Government courting, not just about bringing progress and prosperity to nations, or to increase access to trade and relieve the burdens of debt, not just about building, and sustaining well governed democratic states. These are noble and very critical functions no doubt, and the State Department does an admirable job to achieve these objectives. However, the fundamental point remains; anti Americanism is highly prevalent within existing nations that already exhibit these principles and including good democratic governance, strong economic growth, rules of law and embrace U.S. style culture. The Department of State needs to up the ante in terms of the selling of America as a perplexing dilemma remains. Just because states harbor and fully embrace U.S. style culture and value’s does not mean their population is for America and highlights a need to study diplomatic staff function, in particular the need for broad based community engagement further down the social ladder of societies. As in good salesmanship, you can point out as many features of a product or service as you wish, but unless you convey the benefit of each feature to your customer, you are unlikely to make the sale...
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August 11, 2007
President George W. Bush will host his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy for the first time on Saturday, having him round for lunch in a hint of warming bilateral relations after the chill that fell under France's last president. "This is an opportunity for the two leaders and their wives to get to know each other better, spend some time together in a private setting," Bush's National Security Council spokesman said.
Recently, the bilateral relationship between the United States and France has been described as cold and marked by competition, and reached new lows when France and the United States disagreed over Iraq.
"As President Bush prepares to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Maine August 11, Georgetown University professor and Director of Europe Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations Charles Kupchan says there is reason to believe the two countries will develop a reliable partnership on areas of mutual concern such as the humanitarian situation in Darfur, Sudan, and nuclear weapons nonproliferation. The United States and France ought to be the closest of allies"...
Weekly News deemed pertinent to American Interests
Troop levels in Iraq at all time high
The number of US troops in Iraq has rose to nearly 162,000, a new high in four years old, according to the Pentagon. The previous high for U.S. forces was during January 2005, when the force level hit 161,000. At the time, U.S. generals in Baghdad had arranged for a brief increase in forces to coincide with Iraqi elections. The US buildup, which began in February and peaked in June, added five combat brigades and other support units to the US ground force in Iraq after an Iraqi-led operation failed to secure Baghdad.
Pentagon loses 190,000 thousand guns in Iraq
The Pentagon cannot account for 190,000 AK-47 rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, or about half the weapons earmarked for soldiers and police, according to a government report. The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the US Congress, said in a July 31 report to lawmakers that the Defence Department also cannot account for 135,000 items of body armour and 115,000 helmets reported to be issued to Iraqi forces as of September 22, 2005.
The danger that is Pakistan
U.S. military intelligence officials are urgently assessing how secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons would be in the event President Gen. Pervez Musharraf were replaced as the nation's leader.
Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was on the brink of declaring a state of emergency in his increasingly volatile country but backed away after a gathering storm of media, political and diplomatic pressure. In what highlights the concern raised by recent events in the country Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned General Musharraf about 2 a.m. Thursday according to the State Department however officials refused to discuss in public what was said. The conversation lasted about 15 minutes.
U.S., Japan Sign Agreement on Intelligence After Leak
Japan and the U.S. signed an agreement to protect military intelligence and help prevent a recurrence of the leak of classified information on Aegis destroyers by the Japanese navy earlier this year. The agreement between the two allies follows the revelation of a series of Japan's embarrassing leaks of sensitive information including confidential data on the US-developed high-tech Aegis combat system. Under the agreement, both governments will restrict the personnel allowed to access secret military information provided by each other.
In a related matter Japan has also been testing opinions in Washington on the possibility of purchasing the latest stealth F-22, but Congress has repeatedly banned the sale or license of the "Raptor'' to foreign governments, largely to safeguard its advanced technology.
August 9, 2007
Stability will depend on whether real democracy can be restored and in the meantime the U.S. faces the difficult task of cultivating a push toward democratic principles whilst concurrently shifting some military emphasis on the nation where, as recent U.S. intelligence indicate, Al Qaeda is reorganizing. Difficult because Washington must not do anything that might compromise the fragile U.S.-Pakistan alliance thats keeping Musharraf in office.
Military intervention in Pakistan, however, would be a recipe for disaster and would require at least 250,000 troops.
Related links: State of emergency in Pakistan
August 5, 2007
They say he's a new hero of the left, a star of U.S. culture and poster kid for small liberals; he advocates an alternative foreign policy, an internationalism that sidelines the sticks in favor of carrots (rooted in liberal tradition) for fighting jihad and is quite close to Democratic Presidential candidates – that is what they say, and that sums my knowledge of him.
I refer to Peter Beinart and he is coming to town, my town that is. His book, The Good Fight is released in Australia this month. The planned tour will see him appear at a writer’s festival and address the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue.
But what's he really all about, should one make an effort to go see him, listen to his point of view for knowledge sake?
August 4, 2007
Weekly News deemed pertinent to American Interests
China continues to modernise and increase defense
Chinese President Hu Jintao has told his military that it will have higher budgets as the country enjoys double-digit economic growth. Speaking Wednesday on the 80th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army, the Chinese leader promised to build the military into a modern, high-tech fighting force.
Links: China exudes military confidence , China courts high-tech talent for military drive
Condoleezza Rice in new Middle East peace drive
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Thursday wrapped up her about 24-hour trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories, ending the mission, as what she had put, to take advantage of "mutual opportunities" to advance the two-state solution. She also pressed Israel to begin tackling the age old issues about settlements...
As a way of bolstering the Fatah leadership, headed by Mahmoud Abbas the U.S. Secretary of State has signed an agreement giving the Palestinian Authority $80 million to reform their security services.
Links: U.S. in $80m Palestinian aid deal , U.S. urges Israel, Abbas to tackle issues
Bush, Brown meeting
Gordon Brown presented a united front Monday in his meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush at Camp David, but while the British Prime Minister spoke of “duties and responsibilities” in Iraq, he declared Afghanistan as the front line in the war on terror. But analysts noted their first meeting since Brown became prime minister last month offered hints the new British leader is less aligned with Bush than Brown’s predecessor, Tony Blair.
Links: Bush and Brown stress unity , Bush, Brown flaunt unity , A deeper strategic shift in tackling terrorism is emerging
Russian Sub plants arctic flag
Following up on my post dated July 25, Russia wants North Pole, the russian submersible reached the bottom of the Arctic Ocean in its mission to symbolically claim the resource-rich region by planting a flag on the seabed. That's one small sub for man, one giant dive for Russiankind. Russians equate this first — reaching to bottom of the top of the world — with the U.S. moon landing in 1969...
Links: Russians Plant Flag on the Arctic Seabed , Mineral war begins as Russians plant flag...
Ahmadinejad criticizes U.S. arms deal
Iran's president criticized the U.S. on Friday for its plan to increase weapons sales to several Arab countries and step up military aid to Israel, saying Washington was trying to impose its dominance on the Middle East. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments were sparked by Washington's announcement earlier this week that it would sell advanced weaponry to Persian Gulf nations worth at least $20 billion and provide new 10-year military aid packages to Israel and Egypt.
Said Ahmadinejad, "The Americans are trying to strengthen their relations with countries in the region because they understand such kind of relationship has been weaker, so they want to create divisions between our brothers in the region to impose their own will upon them".
Links: U.S. readies major Middle East arms deals
Phoenix nears launch
The space probe Phoenix will soon launch on its 9-month journey to Mars ... click here to see my earlier post.
Bush to hold world climate change talks
US President George W Bush has invited representatives of the world's leading industrialised nations to Washington next month for talks on climate change.
Links: Bush planning summit , Bush sets emmissions summit
Since the attack on 9/11, we have witnessed and heard of a virtual plethora of books and online social commentary assertively predicting the decline of America. Too numerous to mention here they include Johnson’s Blowback, Ferguson’s Colossus: The price of America’s empire, the writings of Chomsky and Fisk in addition to a near army of lefties opposed to U.S. foreign policy and what they refer to “cultural imperialism”.
The anti-americanist overtures dwell on familiar, now hackneyed themes and are driven by Bush’s unilateralist policies and pre-emptive military action that, according to the writers have stretched “our imperial capabilities so much that America will go down the same path as Persia, Rome, and the Soviet Union. What they term classic errors of empire that will not be exempt from the decrees of history.
In spite of volumes literature predicting its fall the fundamental foundations of U.S. power and hegemony remain rock solid and compared to its nearest rivals and including the basket case we term the EU, there remains vast gaps in education quality, military spending, technology, and economic activity.
Here are some well-published and current facts set to dishearten those who thought America’s fall was well underway:
... Of its 300 million people, it has the largest group of middle class citizens with excellent life expectancy outcomes by world standards ...
... America has the best and largest higher education schools in the globe (17 of the worlds top universities are in the U.S.)...
... Its percentage of world GDP is just short of 30% with strong economic growth...
... Of all the top Fortune 500 companies, 170 are American, which is more than double that of Japan in 2nd place and way ahead of Britain and China...
... In terms of total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange is vastly larger than Tokyo in 2nd place with $US22 Trillion against US$4.5 trillion...
... National debt is high but as a percentage of GDP is not too bad...
.. Military spending is still 50% of the world total with the technological gap still growing...
No, U.S Declinism theories are nothing new. In 1970, Andrew Hacker a political scientist published a book entitled, “The end of the American Era where he confidently predicted American decline citing poor fiscal policies, excessive individualism, and imperial overstretch. Sound familiar?
Routinely such dim predictions stem from antagonism toward its culture and values and/or simply a desire to see it fail as a result of contrasting ideologies and beliefs. To what end eludes me. Will the world be better of if the USA fails? Will the world be more secure and, will our children be better off? Finally, it seems declinism theories are always exaggerated just as we overestimate the virtues of America’s competitors like China, India…none of which come close to unseating the U.S.
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August 3, 2007
The space probe Phoenix will soon launch on its 9-month journey to Mars. The $420million mission will be aimed at the Martian arctic region to look for microbial life utilizing research tools never before used.
Just like the Apollo moon missions of the late sixties and early seventies, the innovative technologies developed to enable these missions will benefit humankind for decades to come. Regrettably, human kind either does not notice or chooses to swear allegiance to the enemy all the while utilizing the many advantages of the newfound technologies and maybe even profit from them.