Friday, January 16, 2009
George W. Obama?
It is an interesting read, especially because of his view that second-term Bush is likely to continue under first term Obama.
... there be little change on issues of global grand strategy. A refrain from the campaign was rebuilding damaged ties with America’s allies. But those ties have largely been rebuilt already—in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Obama can certainly improve these relations further, especially with real action on climate change. But another challenge may be managing the bubbles of overinflated expectations for his presidency that will soon begin bursting in allied capitals.
Bush will also bequeath to Obama a realistic strategy for managing the rise of great powers. By pushing China, India, Japan, Brazil, and others to be responsible stakeholders in the international order, the Bush administration showed that “the rise of the rest” need not be synonymous with America’s decline. In fact, it might actually enhance U.S. influence.
Back at a magazine roundtable in 2007, Ian Bremmer said something quite similar (he used the term Bush-lite) to note that no matter who took over after--Democratic or Republican--the overall parameters of policy were unlikely to change in any radical direction.
Interesting arguments to consider as the Bush Administration enters its final days.
In the future, it is very doubtful that any of these powers will allow the US to push them around; what the US did in the last four years was reduce the degree to which we were trying to pressure other countries into cooperation.
Chris Brose points to a real danger if it is true that other countries get along with us better than with each other. But the implication that we can enhance our influence by taking sides in disputes that other countries have with each other could backfire.
America is in decline, at least relatively, and if the National Intelligence Council's 2025 Global Trends forecast is correct, this decline will continue in the decades to come. America should address the needs of a world that no one dominates and not try to imagine how the US can exploit its residual power as long as it can.
I notice Brose points to the management of the rise of competing powers by encouraging them to become responsible stakeholders in the international system. Perhaps he should consider who is being managed. Surely it's in the interest of rising powers to avoid taking on too much responsibility for the international system for as long as possible.