Monday, February 26, 2007

No Concert for Democracies

Paul Saunders and I discuss in the forthcoming issue of the International Herald Tribune why "Even Democracies Don't See Eye to Eye".

We note:

No one would expect Finland, Australia and Botswana to have identical foreign policies simply because each enjoys a representative form of government. Shared values have not enabled European states to create a unified foreign policy, even in dealing with undemocratic countries like Russia.


There is no question of the benefits when democracies work together.

But shared values cannot substitute for common interests — neither can they ensure that a government will blindly follow Washington.

Being a leader among democracies requires a sense not only of common values and interests, but an appreciation of differences, including differing priorities even to shared goals. Without this, and without the ability to successfully manage those differences instead of dismissing them as the result of illegitimate or uninformed policies, the United States could become a very lonely superpower.

Well, us being a "lonely Superpower" is exactly how we want it, with our "No country may have any more influence anywhere than they did in 1992, and less if we can arrange it" foreign policy. Its just now that countries are refusing to deal on that basis and are able to get away with it that the downside of our policy is apparent.
Superpower is also about "Super-economy", the investment banking sector has gained massive influence over US policy, specifically keeping the Dollar value high throughout the 90s and driving the trade deficit towards an insuperable

Another issue is printing Dollars in amounts which imply lunacy.

And on top of it, disenchanting the American military power, therefore political power, through senseless commitments undermining flexibility and domestic legitimacy for going to war at all.

But what is of major importance and scholars do not mention it very often, is the excessive image damage that was dealt to America, American lifestyle and American business by the Bush-Administration. The catastrophic public relations approach of the Bush-Administration undermined legitimacy of all governments which were inclined to lean towards America, e.g. Tony Blair. In a couple of years the Neo-cons managed to mutate America from the place to be into the country to hate. This crime against the American people will need a long "reverse-process".

So a shaky economy and ignorant, brutal, normative foreign policy basically disenchanted American hegemony.

But these issue are about policy, and they are, irrespective of how sad it is, homemade.

Fortunately it is not only the US facing major competition, and a decent administration in the EU (which needs some more time to develop a consolidated bald position on most issues, except of banning smoking) and the US will inevitably push those economic Giants into the TAFTA and political cooperation.

But the US-Administration has to recognize those common interest, which are there, but the current administration just refuses to see them, they see other things, which are not there nor are they anyhow in the reach.

The EU cannot go anywhere, if the US shows real efforts, they can only trust the US, because the US is reliable (mainly because of the fact that the American people stick with their publicly announced allies) and in terms of military basically the bodyguard of Europeans.

Transatlantic political cooperation and transatlantic economic fusion is the smartest and most realistic way to go. You have common interests and "relatively" common values.

So where are the transatlantic cooperation think tanks?

P.S.: I am just wondering how you guys are going to handle those evangelicals...
D. Dimitrov - The banking sector has always wanted a high value of money relative to goods. But there is no imbalance in the money supply right now of which I am aware.

Since 1945, the rest of the world has generally benefited from the security that we have run deficits to provide. The question is whether the costs to the rest of the world are beginning to exceed the benefits.

As long as we still have people, like the foreign graduate student who denounced US policy as evil and demanded to know why his visa to study in America was taking so long to be approved, I will be uncertain how much damage our foreign policy is really doing. That said, we could certainly do a better job in many areas.
"Since 1945, the rest of the world has generally benefited from the security that we have run deficits to provide."

Hm. Who was providing security eight years ago when we were running a surplus?

And notice what we think of countries who try to provide their own security. Did you miss Cheney's ruminations about the Chinese military buildup? The situation is dire, I tell you. We only spend about 10 times as much on defense as the Godless Chinee! Clearly, they're starting an arms race!!

Anyway, the point is, we try to dominate the globe militarily, not to benefit others, but because we can't stand the idea of another country able to resist our power. Unfortunately, some powerful countries have noticed and are taking advantage of our lack of strategic acuity in getting stuck between the Tigris and Euphrates.
Until our allies and major trading partners stop financing US debts, we will continue to live in a world in which we provide the military and other countries at least indirectly pay for it.

The real question for the future is not whether the US will crush resistance. We're failing to do that right now and it is hard to believe that we will do any better at it in the future. The question is (1)whether wars like Afghanistan and Iraq will cause the American people to withdraw from the eastern hemisphere and force the great powers there into new arms races with each other, or (2) we will find some new basis for international cooperation that we and the world can live with.
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