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THE CHALLENGES TO AMERICAN PREDOMINANCE
PETER W. RODMAN
THE NIXON CENTER
ABOUT THE NIXON CENTER
The Nixon Center is a non-partisan public policy institution established by former President Richard Nixon shortly before his death in 1994. Committed to the analysis of policy challenges to the United States through the prism of the American national interest, the Center is a substantively and programmatically independent division of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation. Major programs of the Nixon Center include the Chinese Studies Program, European Security Program, Immigration Program, National Security Program, Regional Strategic Program, and U.S.-Russian Relations Program. Topics addressed by Center programs range from U.S. relations with China and Russia to energy geopolitics in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Basin and European security issues. The Center is supported by the Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation endowment as well as by foundation, corporate, and individual donors.
Copyright 2000 The Nixon Center All Rights Reserved
Rodman, Peter W. Uneasy Giant: The Challenges to American Predominance by Peter W. Rodman
The Nixon Center 1615 L Street, N.W., Suite 1250 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: (202) 887-1000 Fax: (202) 887-5222 E-mail: email@example.com Website:www.nixoncenter.org Prepared by: Meghan Bradley Order from the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation 1-800-USA-8865
This monograph is the fifth in The Nixon Center’s series of annual strategic assessments produced by Peter W. Rodman, our Director of National Security Programs. Unlike his most recent papers in this series, which focused on particular strategic issues (China, Russia, Europe), this one surveys America’s global position and the challenges to it. It is a broad yet concise examination of American strategy and an inquiry into the American national interest in today’s new post-Cold War conditions. It is also a valuable contribution to our national debate on foreign policy. Having served in key foreign policy positions under four presidents – with responsibilities that gave him a strategist’s global perspective – Peter Rodman is particularly wellqualified to undertake this task. Forthcoming Nixon Center monographs will examine problems no less central to American foreign policy. This fall, we will release a new monograph by Geoffrey Kemp, Director of Regional Strategic Programs, reevaluating American policy in the Caspian Basin and the Middle East. In December, China Studies Director David M. Lampton and Center Assistant Director Greg May will complete a study assessing the potential for a new arms race in East Asia and proposing U.S. policies to avoid that outcome while ensuring the defense of vital American interests in the region. Dimitri K. Simes President The Nixon Center
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY………………………………………………..vii INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………1 I. HOW OTHERS ARE REACTING………………………………………5
The Multipolarity Brigade Desperately Seeking Autonomy A World “Unbalanced” Keeping Our Cool
II. THE HISTORICAL TREND………………………………………….19
Theories of American Decline How Unipolar? And for How Long? Problems Nonetheless
III. OUR REAL VULNERABILITIES……………………………………27
Military: Asymmetric Challenges Economic: Systemic Weaknesses Political: Centrifugal Forces
IV. STRATEGY FOR A SUPERPOWER…………………………………39
National Interest Makes a Comeback A Grand Strategy The Problem of American Unilateralism
CONCLUSION: A NEW GRAND BARGAIN?…………………………..53 NOTES………………………………………………………………..59 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS………………………………………………..69
While Americans celebrate their “unipolar moment” in history, the rest of the world seems not to be joining in the celebration. On the contrary, for the world’s other major powers (including our friends), the extraordinary predominance that America now enjoys is a problem rather than a blessing. A main theme of their foreign policies today is to build counterweights to American power. Americans seem strangely oblivious to this trend, and to the need for a strategy to deal with it. For many nations, “multipolarity” is the mantra; it is the explicit rejection of the idea that the world ought to be, or remain for long, unipolar. The Russians and Chinese have made this a central theme of their foreign policies. Our European allies, as well, see it as one of the main purposes of the growing European Union to be a counterweight to the United States and to reduce Europe’s dependence on us. A number of Third World countries openly declare their unhappiness with a world that is now “unbalanced” since the demise of the Soviet Union. Most likely, this “unipolar moment” will last for a long time. There is no challenger that will be able to match the scale and range of America’s global predominance for the foreseeable future. But this does not exhaust the problem of American foreign policy. In the real world, our predominant strength is not enough by itself to ensure against a range of potential disasters. Whether America’s physical preponderance translates into predominant influence over events depends, for one thing, on a variety of intangibles – like political will and staying power, the credibility of our commitments, our perceived willingness or unwillingness to take risks, our reputation for reliability and competence. All these depend on our actual performance over time – and could be badly undermined by a policy fiasco (such as a failed military intervention). Even if we remain Number One in the GDP standings for a long time, both we and the international system are more vulnerable than we seem to realize. In the military dimension, there are potential adversaries pursuing “asymmetric” strategies, attempting to zero in on our weaknesses. Some, for example, are pursuing by either advanced conventional weapons or weapons of mass destruction to raise the risk of American casualties and thereby to deter us from intervening against regional challenges. In the economic sphere, the Asian crisis was a warning of the fragility of the international financial system, and the present prosperity remains vulnerable to crisis. In the political realm, relations among all the world’s major powers are much
more precarious than they were a decade ago in the first euphoric years after the Cold War. The United States can defuse some international resentments by a foreign policy based on the American national interest, rather than a Wilsonian mission of global improvement. Given the scale of American predominance, our assertiveness in any cause, no matter how selfless we perceive it to be, is seen by others – including our friends – as an assertion of our power. How else to explain the paradox that resentment of the United States seems to be so high in the time of an Administration so eager to be virtuous, even to the point of apologizing for much of America’s postwar foreign policy? A policy grounded in the American national interest, paradoxically, implies less sweeping American claims and thus a greater possibility of fruitful collaboration with friendly countries. Strategically, the United States is in a central, pivotal position. All other powers either need us for something (protection; economic ties), or are afraid to cross us, or are afraid to leave us in bed with another power they fear as a more immediate rival. In addition to maintaining our military strength and deterring major challenges to peace, therefore, this central position furnishes the essence of a political strategy for the American superpower: It gives us flexibility and leverage, and the possibility of having better relations with the world’s other powers than they have with each other. It will help us preserve our position of advantage over the long term. Despite its predominant power, therefore, the United States would be smart to conduct itself as a good internationalist – helping maintain the world economic system, meeting its responsibility to preserve the balance of power, working in concert with capable and like-minded nations and international institutions wherever possible. On security matters, too, we should prefer to consult and work with allies. Building and leading an international consensus is a task at which the United States has demonstrated great skill over the postwar period. Yet, all this being said, there are some important security issues on which we will not be able to sacrifice our freedom of action even if it means being accused of “unilateralism.” If international pressures on us seem not based on serious strategic analysis (e.g., to ban all land mines, or to ease pressures on Iraq, or to constrain all missile defenses) we have a responsibility to say no. Whether we will be indulged on this score by our friends, in return for our more dutiful internationalism on all the other issues – as a new “grand bargain” – remains to be seen.
A sympathetic European observer, German official Karsten Voigt, has described in concise terms the unprecedented scale of America’s present global preeminence – its superiority or overwhelming influence not only in military but also in economic and cultural affairs: The USA is the only remaining superpower and for the first time in history has neither comparable opponents nor rivals. It is the only country in the world which is in the position to make lasting global projections of military strength. It has the strongest economy in the world. Only the USA is in the position to impose its own norms and standards (take the Internet for example) on a worldwide scale. Many Europeans still harbor feelings of superiority over the USA as far as culture is concerned; but the days when this was justified are long gone. The USA has long been setting standards on a worldwide basis, not just for the general populace, but has been leading the field in the classic cultural spheres, for example in research and teaching, or film and modern art. Its global role is rooted in a hitherto unknown blend of economic power, the ability to set the global cultural agenda and military superiority.1 Voigt concludes with a pointed comment on the extraordinary freedom of action that this gives us: Never before has American self-esteem had less reason to use benchmarks other than its own as the guiding principle for worldwide action.2 The nervousness implicit in that last sentence speaks volumes about the reaction of other nations, even friendly nations, to American preeminence today. Arnold Toynbee once reportedly compared the United States to “a large, friendly dog in a very small room – every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.”3 And that was in the old days of bipolarity. History has not been kind to dominant powers. In the last 500 years, a number of powerful nations that enjoyed or aspired to imperium have exhausted themselves by overextension, or provoked a coalition of other powers against them, or otherwise lost their position of advantage.4 Presumably the United States wishes to avoid such a fate. One thesis of
this paper is that the United States is more likely to succeed if it makes the task of preserving its preeminence a matter of conscious strategy, rather than leaving the matter to chance or to the usual array of ad hoc, reactive decisions by which it habitually makes foreign policy. Warren Christopher once declared that the United States did not have an overall strategy and, moreover, was not going to get one during his tenure as Secretary of State. He had learned as a lawyer, he said proudly, that it was best to handle issues case by case as they arose.5 National security adviser Samuel R. Berger has said the same thing, doubting whether anything as grand as “grand strategy” ever really existed.6 This is, to be sure, thoroughly consistent with the pragmatic tradition in American philosophy (as well as the equally venerable tradition of appointing lawyers to top national security posts). But the fluidity and turbulence of today’s world, as well as the cautionary lessons of history, nonetheless argue for thinking in more coherent fashion (that is, strategically) about how our preeminence is to be maintained. Happy endings are not guaranteed, and the world is still a dangerous place. Charles Krauthammer, a great coiner of apt phrases, was one of the first to speak of the “unipolar moment” – the extraordinary predominance that suddenly fell to the United States when Soviet power collapsed. He wrote this in 1990, when the Soviet Union still existed. But Krauthammer chose the word “moment” wisely. He did not doubt that this time, as so often before in history, challenges would soon arise to this American predominance and its duration could not be predicted.7 He did not have to wait long. Well before the decade was out, challenges began to appear. The unipolar moment that Americans so enjoy, it seems, is not universally celebrated elsewhere. The reason goes far beyond Karsten Voigt’s polite expression of unease. Most of the world’s other major powers have made it a central theme of their foreign policy to attempt to build counterweights to American power. This is, in fact, one of the main trends in international politics today. Americans seem strangely oblivious to this. There is, of course, a general apathy about foreign affairs among the American public. But among the foreign policy elite in this country, which presumably does care about America’s international leadership, there must be other factors that explain it. An important one is the traditional Wilsonian bent of American policy: An America that sees itself as leading and acting in the name of universal moral principles has a tendency to assume that its leadership is welcomed by everyone else. Why shouldn’t it be, if we are not acting out of selfish national interests but in the general interest? Such an America is genuinely puzzled by the idea that American assertiveness in the name of
universal principles could sometimes be seen by others as a form of American unilateralism. Yet unilateralism is precisely one of the charges being levied against this Wilsonian administration by many countries – including, again, some of our friends. Our assertiveness, in any cause, is perceived by others in present conditions as an assertion of our predominant power. Therein lies the explanation not only for American obliviousness to the world’s reaction, but for that reaction itself. How else to explain the paradox that international resentment of American power seems to be so high in the time of an Administration so eager to be virtuous and that has made it standard procedure to apologize for much of postwar American foreign policy? The fact is, the rest of the world is reacting to American power in a thoroughly classical, un-Wilsonian, balance-of-power fashion. The Russians and Chinese, for the past five years, have made it a centerpiece of their foreign policies to restore what they call “multipolarity” to the international system. Our Western European friends, in the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, committed themselves to a stronger European Union not only in the economic and monetary field but also in foreign and security policy; the Kosovo war of 1999, instead of vindicating NATO and American leadership, as it was seen to do in Administration eyes, had the result of accelerating efforts to build a new all-European defense organization so that Europe would not remain so dependent on the United States. Others are reacting similarly. American military policies which we see as defensive and necessary, whether on land mines or missile defense, prompt new charges of unilateralism, which other nations seek to restrain through arms control. Sentiment is growing that the United Nations Security Council ought to be restored to the role of principal arbiter of international security that was envisioned in the UN Charter, and that military interventions are not legitimate unless the Security Council authorizes them. One of the main motives for this elevation of the UN Security Council, too, is to restrain the American superpower. Before going any further, I should state some of my assumptions up front. I believe it is in America’s interest to preserve its preeminent position, without either vainglory or false modesty. It affords us the extraordinary luxury of a great influence over events, with which to serve and advance our interests. Nor are the costs excessive. In the turbulent new global environment after the Cold War, moreover, American leadership still seems the most efficacious means of organizing international responses to serious challenges. Until the world evolves into a more balanced and harmonious international system, American
abdication is more serious a danger than American “hegemonism” (and I suspect that most other friendly nations, when being honest, agree). Nor must the United States renounce its own judgment or interests just because it encounters resentment. Much of the resistance to us is structural – the inevitable and natural reaction of others to a single power’s predominance. Nonetheless, there are two basic questions we must try to address: First, are we handling it right? While much of the resistance to us may be unavoidable, there are also legitimate issues of style as well as substance that call for a genuine collaboration with others. There is a smart way to be a superpower and a dumb way. This will also bring us back to the basic question of whether there is a strategy for the United States that will best head off some of the challenges we will discuss. The second key question is: What is our real vulnerability? Is it long-term decline? Imperial “overstretch”? Counter-coalitions forming against us? Or (as I believe), something less theoretical and more mundane – namely, the risk of near-term policy failures? In Chapter I, we will examine the challenges to American predominance that are already evident in the reactions of much of the world – China, Russia, Europe, and other significant international players – that are attempting to build counterweights to our power. How seriously should we take all this? Chapter II will attempt to put the problem in perspective and assess the historical trend: What about the theories of American decline we heard so much about a few years ago? How inevitable is it that the American “unipolar moment” will end soon? Chapter III will consider a range of more specific challenges to the American position – military, economic, and political. Our overall power may endure, but we are not invulnerable. What are those vulnerabilities? Chapter IV will explore some broad issues of American strategy, suggesting an approach to mastering these challenges. It will examine, among other things, the problem of American “unilateralism.” The Conclusion will offer specific recommendations.
I. HOW OTHERS ARE REACTING
THE MULTIPOLARITY BRIGADE
In the summer of 1997, TIME reported on the G-7 Summit in Denver: As soon as it happened, the incident became legend. Germans called it “the boots fiasco.” French commentators sniggered over it. On June 21, as Bill Clinton was playing host to world leaders in Denver, the guests were asked to trick themselves out for the banquet in jeans, cowboy hats and boots. Though fancy dress was meant just to break the ice, the idea went as wrong as a garden party at the O.K. Corral. Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany, who weighs in at Panzer proportions, balked at the whole rig, but especially the boots. “We had a long discussion about boots, and Kohl said he would never wear them, absolutely never,” Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said later. President Jacques Chirac of France also refused. A man who very rarely wears jeans, and has never been seen in any kind of hat, Chirac had made a solemn deal with Kohl to stick together on “the vestimentary question.”8
It was a trivial episode in the grand scheme of history, but there was a wave of resentful media commentary in Europe. In European eyes it was of a piece with other aspects of the Denver Summit, such as watching White House aides gleefully hand out charts contrasting the high economic growth in the United States with the weak performance of Europe and Japan. All the triumphalism about the “American model” was hard to take.9 Europeans also complain about peremptory American impositions of policy – the insistence on only three new admittees to NATO in the first round at the 1997 Madrid Summit after some allies had publicly committed themselves to five; the abrupt U.S. veto of Germany’s first nominee for IMF director this year. Whatever the substantive merits of the U.S. position, the style rankles. The leftist German weekly Der Spiegel has complained:
The Americans are acting, in the absence of limits put to them by anybody or anything, as if they own a blank check in their “McWorld.” Strengthened by the end of communism and an economic boom, Washington seems to have abandoned its self-doubts from the Vietnam trauma. America is now the Schwarzenegger of international politics: showing off muscles, obtrusive, intimidating.10 It is not hard to accumulate evidence for the proposition that much of the rest of the world, and not only leftists, see American preponderance as a problem, rather than a blessing. The mantra for this point of view is “multipolarity” – the explicit rejection of the idea that the world ought to be, or remain for long, unipolar. The Russians and Chinese were the first to develop this theme. There is some irony here in that the Clinton Administration for a long time congratulated itself on its “strategic partnerships” with both countries. A “strategic alliance with Russian reform” was how President Clinton once characterized his policy towards Boris Yeltsin’s Russia.11 He could visualize, or so it seemed, a natural Wilsonian affinity between a progressive American administration and a reformist Russian leadership. A “constructive strategic partnership” was also often said to be the aim of American policy toward China.12 Yet, if there has been any consistent theme in Russian foreign policy in the post-Cold War period, it is its categorical rejection of American leadership. Yevgenii Primakov, then Foreign Minister, expressed it this way in his address to the UN General Assembly in September 1996. One of the basic conditions for achieving a durable peace, as he saw it, was: the emancipation from the mentality of “those who lead” and “those who are led.” Such a mentality draws on illusions that some countries emerged as winners from the Cold War, while others lost it. But this is not the case. Peoples on both sides of the Iron Curtain jointly got rid of the policy of confrontation. Meanwhile the mentality of “those who lead” and “those who are led” directly paves the way for a tendency to establish a unipolar world. Such a world order is unacceptable to the overwhelming majority of the international community.13 Boris Yeltsin often hailed the trend toward multipolarity that he professed to see gaining ground in the world. “This trend in universal
Chapter I: How Others Are Reacting
development has been formulated by Russia,” he boasted in May 1998. “Most of the countries have agreed with it.” And since, as Yeltsin insisted, attempts were still being made to foist the interests of one state or group of states on the world community, “[t]he time has come to understand that in the present-day world, particularly in the 21st century, no state, however strong, can impose its will on others.” Yeltsin described Russia’s aim as a relationship of equality with the United States, but also without “yielding” to American dictation: Equal interaction with the United States is being established after a period of certain illusions and extravagant expectations. Positive dynamics in relations with the United States should be preserved, while there should be no yielding to the United States.14 “Striving for a multipolar world” is a main theme of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy line, as part of the continuity he has promised.15 There is nothing objectionable in such declarations. Russia’s independence, and even its reemergence as a great power, are not intrinsically threatening to the United States. Nonetheless, RussoAmerican relations ought to be viewed by Americans without the sentimentality of the early post-Soviet years – just as they are now viewed by Russians. Whatever Wilsonian affinity the Clinton Administration may have been assuming it had with Russian “reform,” Russians themselves have been thinking in more classical terms about how to define their own national interests in the extraordinary circumstances in which they now find themselves. Resisting American dominance seems clearly to be a part of that definition. The Chinese have expressed the same passion for “multipolarity.” Liu Huaqiu, a Vice Foreign Minister serving as the chief national security adviser to the President and Premier, expressed similar confidence in 1997 that world trends were moving toward multipolarity, with China in the forefront: A multipolar world has become the growing trend, and China has developed into a main force.…The international status of socialist China has strengthened; its reputation has grown, and its influence has expanded. China will develop into an important role in the future multipolar world.16 Nor is it surprising that Russia and China have come together on this theme. When Yeltsin visited Beijing in April 1996, the rhetoric on
both the Russian and Chinese sides was extraordinary in its bluntness. The joint communiqué of that visit, signed by Yeltsin and Jiang Zemin, came close to branding the United States a threat to peace: [T]he world is far from being tranquil. Hegemonism, power politics and repeated imposition of pressures on other countries have continued to occur. Bloc politics has taken up new manifestations.17 Yeltsin in his own remarks in China warned of an attempt by certain other countries to “dominate” and celebrated the fact that “Russia and China are [as] one in creation of a new world order, in which no one will aspire to a monopoly in world affairs.”18 When Chinese Premier Li Peng visited Yeltsin in Moscow at the end of December 1996, their joint communiqué stressed their strategic cooperation in the cause of multipolarity: The sides are unanimous that….a partnership of equal rights and trust between Russia and China aimed at strategic cooperation in the 21st century…promotes the formation of a multipolar world.19 The joint communiqué of Yeltsin’s last visit to Beijing, in December 1999, offered more of the same, only updated after Kosovo: [N]egative momentum in international relations continues to grow, and the following is becoming more obvious: The forcing of the international community to accept a unipolar world pattern and a single model of culture, value concepts and ideology, and a weakening of the role of the United Nations and its Security Council; the seeking of excuses to give irresponsible explanations or amendment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter; the reinforcing and expanding of military blocs; the replacing of international law with power politics or even resorting to force; and the jeopardizing of the sovereignty of independent states using the concepts of “human rights are superior to sovereignty” and “humanitarian intervention.” 20 I, for one, take this Russian-Chinese collaboration seriously. If there is any relationship that deserves the name “strategic partnership,” it is this one. It reflects a geopolitical convergence of view – contrary to ours – on a wide range of issues, from missile defense and humanitarian intervention to Chechnya and Taiwan. It includes Russian arms sales to China that already pose a danger to U.S. forces (see Chapter III below).
Chapter I: How Others Are Reacting
These arms sales reflect a kind of Gaullist strategic decision by Russia that building up China’s power is a good thing. “The stronger China becomes, the more peace and stability in the region will benefit,” Yevgenii Primakov declared a few years ago.21
DESPERATELY SEEKING AUTONOMY
More surprising, and therefore perhaps more significant, is the degree to which this reaction to American predominance is also a feature of some contemporary European attitudes. The dependence that marked the last 50 years was the source of accumulating resentments on both sides of the Atlantic, and the end of the Cold War danger has led our allies to seize the opportunity to expand their autonomy. The new European “identity,” of course, is also the product of a long-standing and thoroughly positive project – that of European integration – which the United States has supported from the beginning. This has produced historic reconciliations on the Continent, and enormous economic progress. Western statesmen after World War II were exceedingly wise to seek to avoid the political and economic debacle that followed the more punitive peace after World War I. Yet, there is no mistaking that in present conditions Europe is seeking to define its identity at least in part by differentiation from the United States. A common theme of European rhetoric, even of the friendliest of our allies, is that it is time for Europe to build itself into an equal of the United States, to be a counterweight to the United States, to achieve greater autonomy from the United States, to lessen its dependence on the United States, and so on. The French, as often, express this the most sharply. Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine has labeled the United States not only a superpower but a “hyperpower,” for the unique range of its dominance in the political, military, economic, and cultural realms. The need for Europe to counterbalance this power is, for France, a self-evident axiom. To a conference of French ambassadors in 1997, Védrine declared: Today there is one sole great power – the United States of America. …When I speak of its power, I state a fact…without acrimony. A fact is a fact. …But this power carries in itself, to the extent that there is no counterweight, especially today, a unilateralist temptation … and the risk of hegemony. France’s policy, he went on to say, was:
to contribute….to the emergence of several poles in the world capable of being a factor of equilibrium. …Europe is [such] an actor, a means of influence absolutely necessary for such a multipolar world to come about.22 In an interview in 1998, Védrine complained again that “a major factor in the world today” was “the overriding predominance of the United States in all areas and the current lack of any counterweight.” He urged his fellow Europeans to step up to the task of being that counterweight: We have to have nerves of steel. We have to persevere. We have to methodically broaden the basis for agreement between Europeans. We have to coordinate with the United States all along the line on a basis agreed by all European states, combining a friendly approach with the need to be respected, and defending organized multilateralism and the requirements of the Security Council under all circumstances. Finally, we have to plan politically, institutionally, and mentally for the time when Europe has the courage to go farther.23 When President Jacques Chirac visited Beijing in May 1997, he joined with Jiang Zemin in insisting on “multipolarity” in the global system and in opposing “domination”: Both parties [China and France] have decided to … foster the march towards multipolarity, to support efforts to create wealth and well-being on the basis of respecting plurality and independence, …and to oppose any attempt at domination in international affairs.24 Building “counterweights.” The “risk of hegemony.” Opposing “attempts at domination.” If anyone thought that the end of the Cold War meant the end of “old-fashioned” balance-of-power thinking, this is as classical as one can get. But the French are not the only Europeans to think in these terms. In the economic realm, the strengthened Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) brought about by the Maastricht Treaty had the explicit goal of making the EU a stronger economic bloc in the competition with other powers. Helmut Kohl, no enemy of the United States, put it this way in a speech in Louvain in 1990: [W]e all need Europe to be competitive in the global market. Only together are we able to assert
Chapter I: How Others Are Reacting
ourselves against the trade blocs of the Far East and North America, and with the Mercosur pact that Latin America will join as well.25 Joschka Fischer, now German Foreign Minister, summed up the significance of the EMU in an address to the European Parliament in January 1999: The introduction of a common currency is not primarily an economic, but rather a sovereign and thus eminently political act. With the communitarization of its money, Europe has also opted for an autonomous path in the future and, in close collaboration with our transatlantic partners, for an autonomous role in tomorrow’s world.26 Likewise Wim Kok, Dutch Prime Minister: “EMU can develop into a cornerstone for Europe’s further political integration – forming the foundation for Europe’s increased power in the world.”27 Making Europe into a “counterweight to the United States” (as Wim Kok put it on yet another occasion) is even more evidently the goal of Europe’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, also mandated by Maastricht.28 The Kosovo crisis only intensified this. In the early days of the Kosovo diplomacy, in late 1998, Tony Blair – perhaps America’s closest friend among European leaders – cited Kosovo as a reason for the European Union to develop a defense institution of its own. This was a major reversal of British policy that had always insisted on NATO as the exclusive organization for Western security. In a speech in Edinburgh in November 1998, Blair complained that Europe had been “hesitant and disunited” over Kosovo; it was time for Europe to develop a capacity for autonomous action so it would not always be so dependent on the United States.29 The Kosovo war in the spring of 1999, as already noted, only intensified this impulse in Europe. While the air campaign was a remarkable demonstration of transatlantic solidarity and a dramatic success of an American-led Alliance operation, the breathtaking scale of American technological dominance had a paradoxical if not perverse effect. For many European governments, particularly those of a center-left coloration, participation in any American-led war was political agony; governments were bitterly assaulted by anti-American leftists (and Gaullist rightists in France), though the anti-Milosevic cause was enough to sustain public support. The conclusion drawn by many Europeans, across the political spectrum, was that Europe needed to accelerate its own
technological development and its creation of a European defense institution, precisely in order that it not be in such a position again. An official German account of the Bremen meeting of the Western European Union in May 1999 reported: Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping urge a rapid buildup of common EU forces to master crises and conflicts in Europe even without participation of the United States. The Kosovo conflict expresses how urgent and indispensable this buildup will be for the future of Europe, declared Fischer….30 At the Helsinki summit of the EU last December, the Europeans decided on the goal of fielding an all-European force of 50-60,000 men by 2003, to handle middle-range military tasks of peacekeeping, crisis management, and humanitarian intervention. While the position of all the allies is that the North Atlantic Alliance remains the foundation of European security, German Greens have hailed the EU’s defense project as the beginning of Europe’s “emancipation” from the United States. As they see it: Especially in the context of the war in Kosovo, many voices have called for the emancipation of the European states from the USA, and the development of an independent European security policy.31 Japan’s attitude to American preeminence is somewhat more complicated. While the end of the Soviet threat led many in Japan to question why the Americans were still around, the North Korean menace and the emergence of China have supplied an answer to the question. Japan’s assertiveness on many issues has also probably been dampened by the disappointment of its economic performance in recent years. Yet, the experts agree that Japanese nationalism is also reemerging. Japanese government officials now stress “autonomy” from the United States as a central theme. Japan “must paint its own self-portrait” in security relations with the United States, they argue.32 Other Japanese are calling on their country to rewrite its American-drafted Constitution; to forge a new identity as a bridge between East and West, not just an appendage of the West; to seek a greater influence and empowerment visà-vis the United States by becoming more active in the United Nations; and to challenge U.S dominance of international economic policy. Kyofuku Fukushima of Nomura Research Institute, for example, has complained that “American control of the strategic decision-making in important international economic organizations” has given rise to a
Chapter I: How Others Are Reacting
“Market Fundamentalism and idealization of the Anglo-American type capitalism” that is “dangerous and counterproductive.”33 In its own way, the debacle of the Seattle meeting of the World Trade Organization last December may have had some of the same impact in Japan as the Kosovo crisis had in Europe. “The failure poured cold water on the overconfidence of the United States,” trumpeted Asahi Shimbun in an editorial. “The conference was an occasion that the other developed countries and developing countries said no to the United States, which is selfish and over-proud of itself as the sole superpower of the world.”34
A WORLD “UNBALANCED”
Many countries in the Third World, as well, see the emergence of the United States as the sole superpower as a mixed blessing. During the Cold War, many of them had played off the two superpowers against each other, or were able to claim much of the superpowers’ attention while the competition raged. (There was even a period, in the 1950s and ‘60s, when Washington and Moscow seemed to believe the whole East-West conflict would be decided in the Third World, though this panic gradually faded.) In any case, the Soviet collapse has left the international system too “unbalanced” for some countries’ taste. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Amre Moussa, in a revealing 1996 interview in Middle East Quarterly, let the cat out of the bag. There was a “lack of international balance,” he lamented, now that the Soviet Union was gone. The following exchange took place: Interviewer: And the negative side [of the Soviet collapse]? Moussa: Its negative aspects center around the lack of international balance. Interviewer: You’re telling us that the United States is too strong? Moussa: You can take it as you like. Interviewer: This is a remarkable comment; America’s foremost Arab partner says it misses the balance provided by the Soviet Union!35 This was indeed a remarkable shift from the policy of Anwar Sadat, who had expelled the Soviet presence from Egypt and thrown in Egypt’s lot with the United States, calculating (even while the Soviet Union still existed) that America held “most of the cards” in the Middle East. Egypt now tends to align itself, ironically enough, with its old adversary Syria, to counterbalance what it sees as a U.S.-Israeli-Turkish-Jordanian axis.
The conservative Mexican daily Ocho Columnas expressed its resentment at U.S. domineering and presumption, due in part, according to the newspaper, to the lack of a counterweight to U.S. power: As the step before establishing the universal new world order and as a successor to manifest destiny…the U.S. has revoked international laws and now certifies other nations in every possible area…from drug trafficking to internal political affairs…. This happens for two reasons: The corrupt leaders of the developing nations, who fall prey to the pressures of powerful U.S. interest groups, and because of the absence of balancing forces in the world to oppose the United States.36 A more passionate statement comes from Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia. Mahathir’s speech to the UN General Assembly last September was a long diatribe to the effect that the international system was totally unbalanced without the Soviets. Now the West was dominant and developing countries’ independence was threatened. Their economies were subject to capitalist diktat under the banner of globalization; their internal affairs were the object of brazen interference on human rights pretexts; and Western culture and civilization were to be imposed on everyone. This indictment is worth quoting at length: The destruction of the Eastern bloc was complete. It could never again militarily challenge the Western liberal democratic free marketeers. Now there would be only one choice for the world and no defection would be possible for the countries of the world, big or small. With this the liberal democratic free market capitalists see no more need to be gentle in spreading their systems or in profiting from them. No one would be allowed any other political or economic system except what is prescribed by the sole dominant bloc. The true ugliness of Western capitalism revealed itself, backed by the military might of capitalism’s greatest proponent. For the small countries the demise of the Eastern bloc is a major disaster. Now they are exposed to pressures which they cannot resist.…Soon their political freedom was also subverted and many had to accept political direction by the IMF or the loans would not be made available. For practical purposes there was no independence.…
Chapter I: How Others Are Reacting
[T]he principle that prevailed in the third quarter of the 20 Century was that no one should interfere in the internal affairs of a nation. That in fact was the essence of independence. As long as the world was divided into Eastern and Western blocs this principle was respected.
But then a President decided that his country had a right and a duty to oversee that human rights are not abused anywhere in the world irrespective of borders and the independence of nations. No one conferred this right on this crusading President. But small things like that was [sic] not going to stop him. The claimed victory of the West in the Gulf War was regarded as a moral endorsement of the right of the powerful to interference in any country’s internal affairs. …Soon it was not just human rights. Systems of Government and the administration of justice, of the financial and commercial systems came under the scrutiny of the powerful countries. They insist that there must be only one way of administering a country and that is the liberal democratic way. They insist that there can be only one economic system for the whole world and that is the free market system. For the poor and the weak, for the aspiring tigers and dragons of Asia, the 21st Century does not look very promising. Everything will continue to be cooked in the West. Just as Communism and Socialism came from the West, liberal democracy, globalisation, a borderless world, deregulation, unfettered free flows of capital and their flights to quality, the disciplining of Governments by the market and by currency traders and a host of other ideas all come from the West. And what is from the West is universal. Other values and cultures are superfluous and unnecessary. If they remain there will be a clash of civilisations. To avoid this there should be only one civilisation in the world. Everything should be standardised according to Western best practices.37 Mahathir is an extreme case, to be sure, but it is not so certain that these resentments on his part are an isolated phenomenon or whether he merely says openly what other Third World leaders, perhaps in a less
overwrought form, privately believe. Indeed, there is an echo of Mahathir’s diatribe against “globalization” in the more polite statement with which the President of India greeted President Clinton in Delhi last March. Mr. Clinton got an earful from President Narayanan about how American dominance in the world required a strengthening of the United Nations: [T]he other dominant fact is the emergence of the United States of America as the major economic, technological and military factor in the world. The USA holds a tremendous responsibility for strengthening peace and stability in the world. For that purpose, the United Nations organization should be strengthened and made the centerpiece of the new global architecture. And about how India was determined to protect its identity and independence from the “hegemonistic” forces of globalization: But for us, globalization does not mean the end of history and geography, and of the lively and exciting diversities of the world. As an African statesman has observed to us, the fact that the world is a global village does not mean that it will have only one village headman.… Globalization means that global societies should be sustained by each unit – the nation states, groups, families and individuals who have their own inextinguishable identities and unique characteristics.…In such a globalized world society, there would be no place for hegemonistic controls or cutthroat competition.38
KEEPING OUR COOL
Much of this reaction is inevitable, given the extraordinary degree of American preponderance. In some contexts, there is even a healthy aspect to it. For our allies, in particular, as suggested, it is an opportunity to restore some balance to a relationship of dependency. Relationships of dependency are by their nature corrosive; they breed resentments on both sides. A U.S. Congress that has been complaining for years about inequitable “burden-sharing” should be pleased if allies now seek a greater self-reliance. The issue with the Europeans, then, becomes a narrower one. The Atlantic Alliance remains important, and valued, on both sides of the Atlantic. (Even the French avow this.) Therefore, the task of policy
Chapter I: How Others Are Reacting
is to develop the European Union’s new defense policy and structure in a way that complements the Alliance and remains in its broad framework rather than disrupting Western unity.39 Assuming the anti-American rhetoric in Europe can be kept under control, the result could be positive – especially if the Europeans actually develop effective military capabilities for handling a variety of crises and peacekeeping chores that the Americans would be glad to pass on to them. With Japan, similarly, sufficient dangers exist to justify continuation of the security alliance, but a more equal strategic partnership would be healthy. As for the general foreign complaint that the world is “unbalanced,” there is not much the United States can do about this, short of collapsing or abdicating its international role. The demise of the Soviet Union did, alas, vindicate market economics and the idea of freedom; if this is painful for governments that would prefer to govern by contrary principles, then they have a problem we cannot solve for them. The laws of economics apply to everyone, and we live in an age when every authoritarian regime faces a problem of legitimacy. We could not shield others from these forces even if we wanted to. Some of the complaints about American imposition have a familiar ring. It has often been the case that other countries’ leaders found it convenient to use Uncle Sam as a scapegoat for problems created by their own failings, or as an excuse for painful (and necessary) decisions. In fact, being a useful foil in this manner is a service we have provided for other countries for many decades.40 Yet, all this being said, the United States has a problem too. Americans need to understand that other countries will not all automatically and happily fall into line under our tutelage. Europe is the continent where the balance of power was invented; for most nations the fact of a single predominant power triggers the reflex to build counterweights. We shouldn’t take it so personally; it is a survival instinct of smaller countries throughout history. It is a law of geopolitics – something that should be a surprise only to those who know not geopolitics. The first question we must now turn to is: How serious is this trend, or aspiration, to build counterweights to American power? Is there a countercoalition forming, as Russia, China, Europe, and other key countries find common cause in blocking U.S. predominance? Will this, in the end, mean a reduction of U.S. dominance and an end to the “unipolar” world?
II. THE HISTORICAL TREND
Anyone writing about the durability of America’s preponderance of power needs, first of all, to try to separate the ephemeral from the fundamental. Much of America’s seeming invincibility, no doubt, is a function of its present, brilliantly successful economic performance. If so, one must ask: How dark a shadow over this picture would be cast by the next economic downturn, or the next energy or financial crisis? And wasn’t it Alan Greenspan who warned in 1996 that at least part of the U.S. economy’s current boom was fueled by “irrational exuberance” in the stock market?41 On the other hand, it is the same Alan Greenspan who has been repeatedly affirming his wonderment at the extraordinary phenomenon we are witnessing in the U.S. economy – several years of accelerating increases in productivity, the result of a technological revolution (particularly in information technology) which, he believes, may still be in its early stages.42 If that is the case, then the economic basis for American strength would seem to have a robust future, regardless of temporary fluctuations. Which is the real Alan Greenspan, and what can one sensibly say about the basic trend of international power relations – about America’s absolute, and relative, strength?
THEORIES OF AMERICAN DECLINE
Not long ago, the idea of “American decline” was very much in fashion. An important influence was Paul Kennedy’s 1987 opus, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers,43 which surveyed the past 500 years and the experience of Habsburg Spain and Austria, the Netherlands, France under Louis XIV and Napoleon, Britain and Germany, among others. The lesson Kennedy drew was that “imperial overstretch” doomed all these powers. Their military overextension eventually sapped the economic dynamism that had given rise to their imperial drive in the first place: [W]ealth is usually needed to underpin military power, and military power is usually needed to acquire and protect wealth. If, however, too large a proportion of the state’s resources is diverted from wealth creation and allocated instead to military purposes, then that is likely to lead to a
weakening of national power over the longer term. In the same way, if a state overextends itself strategically – by, say, the conquest of extensive territories or the waging of costly wars – it runs the risk that the potential benefits from external expansion may be outweighed by the great expense of it all – a dilemma which becomes acute if the nation concerned has entered a period of relative economic decline.44 Kennedy was not shy about applying his analysis to the contemporary United States. Writing during the heyday of the Reagan military buildup, when we were spending more than 6 percent of our GDP on defense, Kennedy was convinced the United States was weakening itself – especially vis-à-vis other powers (like Japan) whose relative economic dynamism, he thought, foreshadowed their eventual rise to superpower status.45 History played a cruel trick on Professor Kennedy. Within a few short years of his publication came the Soviet collapse and Japan’s economic crisis. In addition, even as he was writing, the Information Revolution was transforming the technological base of the global economy – and the United States was leading it. The good professor seems to have been guilty of some “intellectual overstretch” of his own. Walt Rostow wrote a perceptive critique of the Kennedy thesis very soon after it appeared. First of all, he criticized Kennedy for making no distinction in his historical survey between powers that had hegemonial ambitions (like Napoleonic France) and powers that merely pursued a balance-of-power policy to block other, would-be hegemons (e.g., 19thcentury Britain). Rostow thought the American case was closer to the British model and that this was a much less exhausting role. Britain’s imperial decline came from causes other than pursuit of a hegemonic dream in Europe. The gradual rise of other economic powers – another key factor that eroded Britain’s preponderance – similarly, in Rostow’s view, had nothing to do with Britain’s “imperial overstretch.”46 Another important corrective came from Joseph Nye. In his 1990 book, Bound to Lead, Nye demonstrated that America’s post-Cold War proportion of the world’s gross domestic product – about 22 percent – was in the same range as in the period between World Wars I and II. In other words, nothing had really changed in America’s global position over the course of the 20th century. What some misinterpreted as an American “decline” was really the world’s rebound from the immediate aftermath of World War II, when the U.S. share of the world economy had reached an extraordinary one-third to one-half – due to the exhaustion of Europe and
Chapter II: The Historical Trend
Japan. Once they recovered, things went back to where they were before.47 Nor can it plausibly be argued that the “costs of empire” are exhausting to the United States. Its defense budget is now only 3 percent of GDP – the lowest since before Pearl Harbor. (For purposes of comparison, the figure averaged around 10 percent in the Eisenhower Administration and around 9 percent in the Kennedy period.)48 The modest recent increases notwithstanding, the country is still benefiting from the “peace dividend” provided by the Soviet collapse – a defense budget 33 percent lower in real terms than the 1985 peak of the Reagan buildup.49
HOW UNIPOLAR? AND FOR HOW LONG?
There are many who warn the United States against the sin of hubris, and such warnings should always be taken to heart. Christopher Layne, for example, has written: In the real world,…this unilateral dominance – what political scientists call hegemony – is self-defeating. In the first place, hegemony cannot be sustained. Secondly, attempts to do so may ultimately prove more harmful than beneficial to American interests. Careful students of world politics know that hegemony has never proven to be a winning strategy. When one state becomes too powerful, other states become fearful and unite to “balance” against it.50 Who are the potential balancers? Who are the potential peer competitors? Two in particular come to mind – China and the European Union. China has achieved an extraordinary explosion of economic growth since Deng Xiaoping’s reforms began in 1979. China’s GDP growth has averaged 8 percent a year since then – more than quadrupling the size of its economy.51 In 1992, the then-chief economist of the World Bank, Lawrence Summers (now U.S. Treasury Secretary) predicted that China’s GDP (measured by purchasing power parity) would exceed that of the United States by 2003.52 By 1996, to be sure, the World Bank was moderating its projections and deciding that China’s moment of overtaking the United States was somewhere between 20 and 40 years off.53 But the sheer size of China – harnessed to its economic dynamism and nationalistic energy – suggests this is not so fanciful. Not since early
in the last century have we Americans even had to conceive of another country with an economy the same size as ours. China’s vast scale makes it, too, an 800-pound gorilla in the world trading system; it is also a transforming factor in the regional order. By that definition, it is an emerging superpower.54 “The size of China’s displacement of the world balance,” Lee Kuan Yew observed in 1993, “is such that the world must find a new balance in 30 to 40 years. It’s not possible to pretend that this is just another big player. This is the biggest player in the history of man.”55 Chinese strategists, as it happens, have shown an eager if not morbid fascination with the subject of American decline, encouraged by Paul Kennedy’s book. It has become a sub-genre of Chinese strategic analysis. Writers in Beijing are looking hard for American military vulnerabilities; they are convinced that America’s relative predominance is bound to erode as other powers gain in strength; they believe our allies will gradually distance themselves from us; they see our social ills mounting at home. “A dying camel always thinks it’s stronger than a horse,” some Chinese like to crack.56 But even the Chinese do not seriously see U.S. decline as imminent. Especially in light of our recent economic performance, they give us a good 50-year run or so, before history catches up with us.57 In the meantime, they make do with what they can achieve diplomatically to foster “multipolarity” in the international system. The European Union is already an $8 trillion economy, on a par with the United States. The advent of Economic and Monetary Union in 1999 – the new common currency – has further consolidated its unity and its capability as an economic competitor to the United States. Similarly, its new aspiration to develop a common foreign and security policy and the institutions to go with it. Measured by ability to marshal resources, range of cultural influence, and experience of global policy, in addition to military and technological sophistication, Europe should probably be viewed as the candidate with the greatest potential to be a global peer competitor (China having a more regional impact).58 If the EU had the political will to establish a more unified decision-making and to develop its military strength, then it would indeed increase its global influence. It is very far from this at the moment, however. The fact is, despite Christopher Layne’s warnings against American hubris, the trend of the last ten years has been to revise upward, in the common view, the assessment of the relative American position. Henry Kissinger, writing in 1993-1994, saw the world in political and
Chapter II: The Historical Trend
economic terms as re-acquiring the classical characteristics of a multipolar system: The end of the Cold War has created what some observers have called a “unipolar” or “one-superpower” world. But the United States is actually in no better position to dictate the global agenda unilaterally than it was at the beginning of the Cold War. America is more preponderant than it was ten years ago, yet, ironically, power has also become more diffuse. Thus, America’s ability to employ it to shape the rest of the world has actually decreased. … America will be the greatest and most powerful nation, but a nation with peers; the primus inter pares but nonetheless a nation like others….Americans should not view this as a humbling of America or as a symptom of national decline. For most of its history, the United States was in fact a nation among others, not a preponderate superpower. The rise of other power centers – in Western Europe, Japan, and China – should not alarm Americans. After all, sharing the world’s resources and the development of other societies and economies has been a peculiarly American objective ever since the Marshall Plan.59 As the last decade progressed, however, observers seemed to change their view of how durable the American ascendancy would be. Samuel Huntington, in a 1998 lecture, described the emerging world as neither unipolar nor multipolar but still in some sort of transition from one to the other – a hybrid which he termed “uni-multipolar”: A uni-multipolar world…is one in which resolution of key international issues requires action by the single superpower plus some combination of other major states, and in which the single superpower is able to veto action by a combination of other states. My central thesis this evening is that global politics has now moved from a brief unipolar moment at the end of the cold war into one or perhaps more uni-multipolar decades on its way toward a multipolar twenty-first century.60
Another distinguished scholar, Coral Bell, writing even more recently, put even more emphasis on the American ascendancy. Her recommendations for U.S. policy are similar to Huntington’s and Kissinger’s – namely, that the United States would be smart not to throw its weight around and to act in concert with other like-minded big powers and international institutions – but she has no doubt about calling the reality “unipolar.”61 Perhaps the definitive word on the question of the durability of American preeminence, however, comes from William C. Wohlforth, who analyzes the subject in depth in the journal International Security in the summer of 1999. Wohlforth surveys the historical and theoretical literature and finds a widespread scholarly consensus that the present world is not really and truly unipolar; that a unipolar system is inevitably unstable if not dangerous, because of the inevitability of challenges to it; and that it cannot last in any case.62 Wohlforth refutes the consensus on all these points: • In a nutshell, he sees the United States as too strong to be counterbalanced. By a variety of military, economic, and technological measurements and historical comparisons, he concludes: “The U.S. combination of quantitative and qualitative material advantages is unprecedented, and it translates into a unique geopolitical position.”63 Second, he argues that a unipolar system, if it is as unambiguous as the present situation, discourages majorpower challenges and is therefore a stable rather than unstable arrangement. Third, he points out how difficult it actually is to form countercoalitions when the unipolar leader is in a position to frustrate them by its rich repertoire of carrots and sticks. In addition, the power of many would-be rivals is more constrained by their own regional competitors than is the power of the unipolar leader. These regional balances of power are likely to kick in, heading off a regional would-be hegemon, before anyone is in a position to tackle the United States.
Wohlforth acknowledges that the end of the Cold War has loosened the U.S. alliance system and thus seemingly attenuated U.S. influence. But this does not, in his view, change the structural essence of the matter:
Chapter II: The Historical Trend
The fact that some important states have more room to maneuver now than they did under bipolarity does not mean that unipolarity is already giving way to some new form of multipolarity. The end of the bipolar order has decreased the security interdependence of regions and increased the latitude of some regional powers. But polarity does not refer to the existence of merely regional powers. When the world was bipolar, Washington and Moscow had to think strategically whenever they contemplated taking action anywhere within the system. Today there is no other power whose reaction greatly influences U.S. action across multiple theaters. China’s reaction, for example, may matter in East Asia, but not for U.S. policy in the Middle East, Africa, or Europe. However, all major regional powers do share one item on their political agenda: how to deal with U.S. power. Until these states are capable of producing a counterpoise to the United States, the system is unipolar.64
Wohlforth’s is a convincing analysis. Structurally speaking, America’s position of unipolar preponderance seems impregnable for the foreseeable future. But that, alas, does not exhaust the problem of American foreign policy. It cannot be pleasant or healthy, first of all, to conduct American foreign policy in an environment in which all other countries are driven by their resentments into a posture of distancing themselves from us or actively blocking American initiatives. One does not have to be a Wilsonian zealot to note that American internationalism since World War II has been an extraordinary exercise in coalition-building and institutionbuilding. We have identified our national interest in expansive terms of global responsibility, and we have not been merely self-serving in doing so. In the new, post-Cold War environment, when the American people are less eager than before to “bear every burden,” there is probably an even greater premium on acting in concert with others if we wish to promote progress and peace in accordance with our interests.65 Thus, a world in which American leadership is resisted more than it is followed, while not an immediate threat to America’s global preponderance, would be a very different world – almost unrecognizable, in fact – and probably one much more turbulent and disordered than today. It cannot be welcome. How the United States can conduct itself to head
off such an evolution is the large question of strategy to be discussed below in Chapter IV. In the meantime, there is yet one more foreign policy problem that is not allowed for in Wohlforth’s analysis. That is, in a word, the kind of vulnerability that can come from failed performance. Policy ineptitude is capable of making American power much less impressive. Whether our physical preponderance translates into predominant influence over events depends on a variety of intangibles – like our political will and staying power; the credibility of our commitments; our perceived willingness or unwillingness to take risks; our reputation for reliability and competence. All these depend on our actual performance over time. They could be badly weakened by a major policy fiasco (such as a failed military intervention) or by a significant turning inward (as after Vietnam, or in an economic recession). Our top position in the GDP rankings would remain unmatched. But in such circumstances, nevertheless, we might discover that other countries’ impulse to distance themselves from us could graduate from the merely rhetorical to something of serious practical consequence. Our influence could erode. What might be the challenges that could precipitate such a policy debacle? To that question we now turn.
III. OUR REAL VULNERABILITIES
Speaking concretely, the vulnerabilities of American power come in three areas – military, economic, and political. We will take these in turn.
MILITARY: ASYMMETRIC CHALLENGES
This is not the place for a comprehensive discussion of the flaws in the U.S. force posture. But there are a few broad categories of vulnerability that come to mind. One is the concept that the Pentagon refers to as “asymmetric strategies” – that is, strategies by which the weaker can aspire to defeat the stronger. It can attempt this by exploiting its own comparative advantages while zeroing in on the vulnerabilities of the stronger power. This is a classic principle of warfare going back to Sun Tzu, not to mention Achilles and his heel. Having recently commemorated the 25th anniversary of the fall of Indochina, Americans can recall the frustrations of attempting to counter a guerrilla insurgency that exploited its advantages of mobility, dispersal, and ability to blend in among the population. In the post-Cold War world, the challenge may take the form of terrorism – even, conceivably, terrorism against the American homeland and involving chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction. As one military expert puts it: In a way, seeking asymmetries is fundamental to all warfighting. But in the modern context, asymmetrical warfare emphasizes what are popularly perceived as unconventional or nontraditional methodologies. For most potential adversaries, attacking the United States asymmetrically is the only warfighting strategy they might reasonably consider for the foreseeable future.66 Unconventional means are not the only possible asymmetrical means. Given the vital importance of power projection in U.S. strategy, this too is a vulnerability in a new era when advanced conventional weapons are also proliferating. Our dominance of the air; our dependence on the sea lanes and on forward bases; our increasing reliance on space and cyberspace – all are subject to challenge by adversaries fielding
advanced but all-too-widely accessible new technologies. The independent National Defense Panel in 1997 listed the various kinds of things a resourceful adversary could attempt to do: • Employ military tactics that cause high casualties among U.S. forces and civilians to raise the cost and possibly deter U.S. involvement; Turn to weapons of mass destruction and ballistic and cruise missiles to neutralize forward ports, bases, and prepositioned assets and to inflict heavy casualties on us and our allies; Attack our information systems, seeking to debilitate them; Counter our control of the sea by seeding key straits and littorals with large numbers of mines and by subjecting any forces therein to missile salvos; Counter our control of the air with speed-of-light weapons and extensive anti-aircraft systems; Target fixed installations and massed formations within the range of their weapons and seek greater stand-off ability with those systems; Attack the underlying support structures – both physical and psychological – that enable our military operations; Deny us access to key regions and facilities; Use terror as a weapon to attack our will and the will of our allies, and to cause us to divert assets to protect critical installations, infrastructures, and populations.67
• • •
Chinese strategists, for example, have devoted a considerable amount of time to analyzing the 1991 Gulf War and looking for the weaknesses of the U.S. strategy in that conflict. Lt. Gen. Li Jijun, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, has pointed out the following: U.S. Armed Forces revealed many weak points. For example, the combat consumption was too great, and it could not last long. There was great reliance on the allied
Chapter III: Our Real Vulnerabilities
countries. The high-tech equipment was intensive and its key links rather weak; once they were damaged, combat effectiveness was greatly reduced. Also, if the adversary of the United States was not Iraq, if the battle was not fought on the flat desert, if the Iraq armed forces struck first during the phase when U.S. Armed Forces were still assembling, or if Iraq armed forces withdrew suddenly before the U.S. Armed Forces struck, then the outcome of the war might have been quite different.68 The Chinese are also looking for the Achilles heel in the American reliance on advanced computer and telecommunications technology – what the Pentagon calls the “Revolution in Military Affairs.” The Chinese know they are generations behind the United States in this technology, and therefore cannot match us in any foreseeable period. But they can look for vulnerabilities – ways to cripple an opponent’s information systems through viruses, jamming, and electromagnetic pulses; weapons to attack satellite communications systems; radar techniques that might detect stealth, etc. The Chinese have research and development programs in all these areas.69 It is also likely, as a general rule, that many potential challengers are looking at nuclear, chemical, and/or biological weapons as a great “equalizer.” Even a rudimentary arsenal of such weapons could have – for Iraq, or North Korea, or Iran – a powerful benefit. As was the case in the classical era of nuclear deterrence, a challenger’s mere possession of such a capability could make the world safe for conventional aggression. Should a local crisis arise, the United States would be deterred from intervening, or might well be. This is clearly Saddam Hussein’s calculation as he goes all-out to build chemical or biological weapons and the means to deliver them, shielding his plans from the prying eyes of international inspectors. There is no doubt that the Chinese too have this in mind as they seek, by both nuclear and conventional means, to raise the potential costs to the United States of intervening in a future Taiwan crisis. Being able to blow the U.S. Seventh Fleet out of the Pacific is not the standard that the Chinese must meet. Already, with their new acquisition of advanced Russian anti-ship missiles and torpedoes, they are in a position to increase the risk of American casualties and thereby to increase the inhibitions of an American President who contemplates such an intervention. This is a significant shift in the regional balance.
The United States is attempting in various ways to prepare itself for asymmetrical challenges. Independent experts are placing new importance on protecting the American homeland against new-era unconventional threats like terrorism, possibly including weapons of mass destruction.70 The U.S. Secretary of Defense is calling for redoubled efforts to build a versatile “full spectrum” force that can counter asymmetrical military threats.71 The problem of asymmetrical challenges, however, is not solely a matter of military structure. It is also built into the structure of international politics. Given American preponderance, almost every challenge will be by definition asymmetric. And given the scope of American interests and commitments abroad, these challenges are likely to be many in number. Nor should anyone doubt how serious such a challenge could be, or how precarious our ability to defeat it. Part of the problem is psychological. In most of these potential crises – say, Iraq, North Korea, Taiwan – the local challenger is counting on the fact that the issue in dispute is of much more intense interest to him than to the United States, for whom all these issues are part of a generic responsibility for international security. If the threat of weapons of mass destruction can be brought to bear against us (even a rudimentary capability), as already noted, a potential crisis could be a doozy. It will not suffice for us to wave a copy of International Security in Saddam’s face and insist that the world is still unipolar. It boils down to intangibles of political will. Will we have it in sufficient degree? Deterrence depends on a reputation for being formidable. And that depends on credibility. In practice, no matter how secure our Number-One ranking in the GDP tables, our influence in a given case will depend on whether our challengers believe our warnings and whether our allies believe our assurances. A Western unwillingness to risk casualties is thought by Edward Luttwak to be a distinguishing feature of a new era of conflict, given social, demographic, and cultural changes.72 And the American unwillingness to risk casualties – as allegedly demonstrated by the outcomes in both Indochina (1975) and Lebanon (1984) – was precisely what Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi leaders constantly invoked before the Gulf War as reasons not to believe American warnings.73 Credibility, once lost, had to be re-earned the hard way – by going to war again, and winning. In recent years, both Iraq and North Korea have outmaneuvered us – Iraq by shutting down the effective and vitally important UN inspection system, and North Korea by blackmailing us into an agreement that gives
Chapter III: Our Real Vulnerabilities
us no direct restraint on its clandestine nuclear weapons program (or its missile program). These are bad omens. A new military fiasco of some kind could have a serious, perhaps disproportionate, political impact. It could accelerate whatever trend there might be among other countries to distance themselves from us or attempt to organize against us. All challengers would be emboldened. All our military problems could become simultaneously more complicated and more acute, and our ability to remedy them by new technology and new doctrine could take years. Powerful as we are, it is not clear how much margin for error we really have.
ECONOMIC: SYSTEMIC WEAKNESSES
Other factors that could deflate the current euphoria are economic. Again, the long-term, underlying forces of U.S. technological innovation and growth seem strong. Yet, a brief economic downturn could bring Americans down to earth as well as generate a number of foreign policy problems for the United States. Alan Greenspan’s caution about the “irrational exuberance” of the stock market has been noted at the beginning of Chapter II. Yet, many economic experts have commented on how the “wealth effect” of these stock market gains is playing an unusually large role in sustaining consumer and investor confidence in present circumstances. Robert J. Samuelson has pointed out how many of the features of today’s “New Economy” are unprecedented and poorly understood – the new importance of the stock market in economic growth; the durability of technological advance and productivity gains; the relation between growth, unemployment, and inflation; globalization and the impact of foreign economic developments on the U.S. economy. The economic experts “(and we) don’t know whether, in the long run, these forces make the economy more or less stable. But not one admits this,” Samuelson says.74 For our purposes here, the implications are manifold. The extraordinary performance of the U.S. economy over the last 18 years – not only its growth but its technological innovativeness – underlies much of this country’s present formidableness as the sole superpower; a recession, even if short-lived, could dampen some of the euphoria. The recent spike in energy prices may be the omen of a new long-term trend as global demand builds. The Asian financial crisis revealed the interconnectedness of the new global economy and the ease with which financial crises can spread; though the United States escaped the contagion the last time, the international system is not so well understood that we can be sure of such good fortune the next time around. Thus, the vulnerability
of the American economy only compounds, and is compounded by, the vulnerability of the international economic system. A recession could reduce Americans’ willingness to carry international burdens. It would dampen Congressional enthusiasm for much-needed increases in the defense budget. It would strengthen protectionist forces in domestic battles over trade policy (e.g., "fast-track" legislation) that are remarkably bitter even in these good times. A recession here that spreads abroad (as it inevitably would) would demoralize allies, destabilize a number of weaker economies, and add generally to international turbulence and tensions. The breakup of last November’s Seattle meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) pointed to serious divisions among the world’s economic powers. Developing nations, led by India and China, resisted what they saw as dictation by the advanced industrial countries. They particularly objected to the American attempt to link further trade liberalization to improvements in labor and environmental standards in the Third World, viewing this as a protectionist ploy. The WTO meeting was also a forum for developing countries to display continuing resistance to what they see as Western imposition of market-oriented reforms in the name of globalization (as we saw in Chapter I). There were also the usual trade policy divisions between the United States and the European Union, especially over agriculture. Thus the Seattle meeting was a missed opportunity to organize the world community around a positive agenda of trade liberalization and reform. And that was the fiasco occurring inside the hall. Outside the hall, the radical demonstrations in Seattle (and later at the April World Bank/IMF meeting in Washington) were a symptom of a deeper political malaise beneath the surface of the current prosperity. On one level, it is a rebellion of classical protectionist forces against anything that smacks of trade liberalization. But there is also, inchoate, an ideological challenge reemerging – against capitalism, against multinational corporations, against international financial institutions, and against everything that is known as globalization, for their alleged indifference to the fate of poorer countries and the environment.75 The intellectual incoherence of this neo-Leftism is no barrier to its spread. Protectionism is extremely regressive in its effects. Economic growth in the Third World is a precondition for environmental improvement there. The World Bank and IMF have been promoting (not always effectively, to be sure) the structural reforms without which developing countries have no hope of progress at all. The street demonstrations were a mixture of frivolousness and nihilism. All this may
Chapter III: Our Real Vulnerabilities
be true – yet the psychological rebellion against economic change is real. Globalization, even as it makes possible unprecedented prosperity, inevitably produces economic and social dislocations; it also produces a profound political unease given that national governments – which are politically accountable – have less and less control over these forces that affect their peoples’ well-being so powerfully.76 Since much of the innovation originates in the United States, much of the resentment is directed at the United States. All this will take even more virulent form if a global economic downturn should occur. Reforming and ensuring the stability of the international economic system in the new era of globalization is an urgent task for the industrial democracies, and an opportunity for a creative American contribution.
POLITICAL: CENTRIFUGAL FORCES
Even more than the economic trends, the political vulnerabilities that are relevant to this discussion are not so much vulnerabilities of the United States as vulnerabilities of the international system. It is a simple fact that the end of the Cold War has resulted in a number of structural changes in international politics. To the extent that the United States and Soviet Union imposed a sort of discipline over their clients in the Third World, for example, and that the dangers of that competition also imposed a certain cohesion in the Western alliance system, that discipline and cohesion have eroded. Friendly countries, friendly as they may continue to be, now have more “space” to themselves, safe from any overriding danger and usually eager to reclaim some freedom of action. One of the most important phenomena of the current period is the precariousness of relations among the world’s major powers. We have come a long way from 1990-1991, when the Gulf crisis saw an extraordinary harmony in the UN Security Council – a Russia (still then Soviet Union) that endorsed a U.S.-led coalition; a China quiescent in its post-Tiananmen funk. It was that remarkable great-power harmony that inspired hopes of a benign and lasting “new world order.” Today, that harmony is badly frayed. We saw this in Chapter I. The point to make here, though, is not the counterbalancing against the United States but the weakening of the international structure. A dramatic case is the European Union. It was the Maastricht Treaty that launched the EU on the course of a stronger Economic and Monetary Union as well as in the direction of a common foreign and security policy. That Maastricht was signed in 1992 was not a coincidence. We saw in Chapter I that much of its motivation was to
make Europe more of a counterweight to the United States in the postCold War world and to carve out more autonomy from the United States. The 1999 war in Kosovo only accelerated this; while this war was a common enterprise, the Europeans chafed at the scale and extent of America’s military/technological superiority and at the degree of dependence it implied.77 The North Atlantic Alliance had sought in 1996 to create a structure for the European members of the Alliance to take military action autonomously, in the NATO framework. But by 1998 and 1999, the Europeans had decided to pursue this instead in the EU framework. In a historic reversal of British policy, which had hitherto stressed the primacy of NATO in the security sphere, Prime Minister Tony Blair took the initiative in late 1998 to promote the idea of an EU defense organization. If the EU aegis inspires the Europeans to do more on defense, all to the good. Both the Clinton Administration and the Republican Congress have expressed a general support for this EU enterprise, coupled, however, with a concern that it not be pursued in a way that complicates NATO cohesion.78 There are those in the United States who are less concerned that this EU project will disrupt NATO, mainly on the grounds that the Europeans, in the end, are unlikely to spend the money or the effort to give themselves a truly modern military capability. But the danger is that we could end up with the worst of both worlds – an independent EU defense organization that provides no effective new capabilities but that disrupts NATO decisionmaking and the unity of the West. The centrifugal forces at work in the world are hardly limited to Atlantic relations. U.S. relations with Russia and China have also deteriorated over the past decade. Russia’s post-Communist transition has been a painful one. Its evolution toward a modern market economy and normal democratic politics has been far less smooth than those in Central Europe. This is a reflection of Russia’s different historical circumstances and its erratic leadership. But, whatever the uncertain course of Russia’s internal evolution, the direction of its foreign policy seems already clear: It is a classical Russian nationalism, stressing a recovery of Russian preeminence in its immediate sphere and (as we saw in Chapter I) a “multipolar” international environment that reduces American dominance. This is how Russia now defines its national interest. Vladimir Putin promises a more vigorous and tenacious version of this policy. It is not necessarily hostile to the United States, especially
Chapter III: Our Real Vulnerabilities
given Russia’s present weakness. But neither is there the emotional affinity for the United States that seemed evident in the first few years of the Yeltsin era. In a multitude of areas – selling arms to China and Iran; cultivating former clients in Iraq; attempting to constrain U.S. missile defenses; objecting to NATO’s enlargement and to NATO policies in the Balkans – Russia perceives its national interest in terms that conflict, often sharply, with U.S policies. Relations with China have deteriorated most of all over the past decade. While there have been policy blunders on both sides, the underlying problem is, as usual, structural. The Soviet menace that propelled China and the United States together three decades ago is no more. Indeed, China and Russia have enjoyed a significant rapprochement, dating back to Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit to Beijing in 1989. The Tiananmen crackdown in 1989 dealt a blow to U.S.-China relations from which they have not yet recovered. Taiwan’s democratization has enormously strengthened American public and Congressional support for Taiwan, even while the population on Taiwan gives voice to a diminishing interest in reunification with the mainland – all of which exacerbates the relationship across the Taiwan Strait as well as the U.S.-China relationship. Finally, China’s emergence as a potential superpower in its own right puts it on somewhat of a collision course with a United States that remains committed to the protection of millions of people around China’s periphery who are increasingly worried about Chinese regional dominance. These U.S.-China tensions are manageable, by a combination of deterrence and engagement. The relationship remains precarious, however, and highly vulnerable to crisis. Amid these centrifugal forces among the major powers, there has been an international effort in the past decade to build a consensus on norms of behavior. This is reflected in the increasing activism of the United Nations and a new effort to develop the corpus of international law. Remarkably, nearly 40 percent of all the UN Security Council resolutions since 1945 have occurred in the Clinton Administration.79 The cause of human rights has led to a new conviction – at least in the West – that national sovereignty can no longer provide a protective shield over gross violations of human rights. The road to this new international order has proved a rocky one, however. The attempt to construct a new international criminal law, for example, has run up against a number of obstacles, in particular from the American perspective. A new International Criminal Court, as negotiated
by an international conference in Rome in 1998, went beyond what even the Clinton Administration could tolerate. The Court’s sweeping assertion of “universal jurisdiction” even over countries not parties to the treaty would overturn hundreds of years of treaty law; its prosecutor would have broad discretion to indict without the restraint of Security Council authorization. The Administration was legitimately concerned that U.S. military personnel – already covered by the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice – could be subjected to politically motivated prosecution. Similarly, the fiasco of the indictment and attempted extradition of Augusto Pinochet illustrated the need for political accountability; initiated by an individual Spanish judge, the process in the UK threatened to undermine Chile’s fragile democratic consensus and to complicate relations among a number of countries involved. The cause of international criminal law did itself yet another disservice when the chief UN war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, let it be known she was reviewing NATO’s 1999 air campaign against Serbia for possible war crimes charges;80 the uproar was immediate. One of the most important themes of this new order is the need to elevate the UN Security Council to the role of principal arbiter of international peace and security as envisioned by the framers of the Charter. The Russians and Chinese have made this a central theme of their common policy. On Boris Yeltsin’s last summit trip to Beijing last December, in the aftermath of NATO’s Kosovo war, the Russian-Chinese joint communiqué stressed: that one diplomatic priority for both China and Russia is safeguarding the authoritative role of the United Nations (UN) in international affairs….Also, the two sides believe that the UN Security Council takes prime responsibility for safeguarding international peace and security, so that its status and function should not be doubted or lessened under any circumstance.81 But it is not only Russia and China that were upset at NATO’s bypassing of the UN Security Council in the Kosovo conflict. For our European allies, too, this was a source of much anguish and guilt, even as they went along with an “emergency exception” because of the enormity of Serbian violations of human rights. The Social Democratic/Green coalition that governs Germany found it particularly troublesome. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told the UN General Assembly: A practice of “humanitarian interventions” could evolve outside the UN system. This would be a very problematic development.
Chapter III: Our Real Vulnerabilities
The intervention in Kosovo, which took place in a situation where the Security Council had tied its own hands after all efforts to find a peaceful solution had failed, was intended to provide emergency assistance and, ultimately, to protect the displaced Kosovo Albanians. The unity of the European states and the Western Alliance, as well as various Security Council resolutions, were of crucial significance here. However, this step, only justified in this special situation, must not set a precedent for weakening the UN Security Council’s monopoly on authorizing the use of legal international force. Nor must it become a license to use external force under the pretext of humanitarian assistance. This would open the door to the arbitrary use of power and anarchy, and throw the world back to the 19th century.82 The unease about bypassing the Security Council is not due only to an abstract devotion to international order. In the post-Cold War environment, it is almost certainly a response to the American predominance. In a passage quoted in Chapter I, the President of India told President Clinton openly last March that it was the preeminent power of the United States that required the strengthening of the United Nations. Because we were so strong, he said, we had a “tremendous responsibility” – which we could best fulfill by making the UN “the centerpiece of the new global architecture.”83 If, for most of the world, the most important way to bring order to a disordered planet is to rein in the United States, then we (by “we” I don’t mean only the United States) have a major problem. This brings us back to where this essay began. The world’s concept of the requirements of international order may not coincide with Americans’. An America that wishes to remain an international leader – and to have followers – will have to cut through these contradictions. Centrifugal forces among the major powers are a source of danger for the international system. Yet America’s ability to lead others is turning out to be more complicated than one would have expected in the “unipolar” era. In the next chapter, we will come to some conclusions about American strategy.
IV. STRATEGY FOR A SUPERPOWER
The problem for American foreign policy can be summarized as follows: Our political strength is unequaled, and will be for some time, but its exercise seems also a source of increasing resentment. In the absence of an overriding threat, the protective umbrella we have provided is no longer sufficient incentive to allies and friends to accept American leadership as (relatively) unquestioningly as they once did. On the contrary, they see a long-awaited opportunity to assert their independence. The international system, rather than being totally dominated by a pax Americana, is being pulled apart by centrifugal political forces even as its economic foundations are also increasingly vulnerable. Adversaries we still have, who are probing for our weaknesses even in the military dimension in which our superiority is most assumed. Meanwhile, the American public seems not all that interested in exercising the hegemonic domination of which their country is accused. The result is an American policy that is erratic, capable of unilateral action (because others cannot stop it), but less effective at leadership – leadership being something quite different from possessing overwhelming power. The American ability to shape an international consensus or lead coalitions seems in question. (Kosovo may look like a successful U.S.-led coalition, except that the allied reaction has the air of “never again.”) The appropriate American response to this is, in part, a question of style. Someone once defined “style” in this context as the deference that confidence pays to uncertainty, or the capacity to speak with conviction while listening sincerely to the views of others.84 A little subtlety wouldn’t hurt us – a little less official crowing about being the “indispensable nation” or our ability to “stand taller and see farther” than others.85 This is not a new idea. Theodore Roosevelt, after all, suggested that we “speak softly” while wielding our power. Shakespeare advised us: O, it is excellent To have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant.86 Arrogance does not suit the kind of leadership that we Americans have always thought of ourselves as providing. And it is avoidable.
But a big part of the problem is not avoidable; it is the natural reaction of others to our disproportionate strength. Nor can we defer to others on every issue of importance. This problem requires of us not just more politesse but a more systematic approach to sustaining our central position. There is a way, as we shall see, for a power in our situation to head off mischievous organizing against us and otherwise to deflect (if not defuse) resentments. As we consider an appropriate American response, we start with an observation about the home front. The domestic debate in this country has taken an interesting turn.
NATIONAL INTEREST MAKES A COMEBACK
The Clinton Administration has embodied a version of Wilsonian liberal internationalism, aspiring to base world affairs on moral principles rather than geopolitics, and with a heavy emphasis on what Walter McDougall calls “global meliorism” – that is, an agenda for political, economic, social, and cultural improvement.87 Promotion of democracy, economic development, human rights, and other American values in the world is an important part of the Clinton Administration’s ideological makeup. “Enlargement of the democratic world” was a major theme of its early public statements,88 and its activism expressed itself in a long series of humanitarian interventions from Somalia and Haiti to Bosnia and Kosovo to East Timor. Functional issues – support for international institutions and international law; the environment; multilateral arms control – have also been high on its agenda.89 This is classic Wilsonianism. The Administration’s performance has been weaker, however, on classical hard-ball geopolitical challenges like those from Iraq and North Korea, and in the handling of big-power relations with Russia and China. The President was reported by Jim Hoagland to dismiss narrow emphasis on geopolitics and strategic interests as “Old Think.”90 The moral component of this enthusiasm is ironically shared with the neoconservatives on the other side of the political spectrum. The neoconservatives represent, in fact, a Reaganite variant of Wilsonianism. They share the liberals’ ideological enthusiasm for the promotion of democracy and human rights and for humanitarian interventions led by the United States. On the other hand, they combine this ideological outlook with a more muscular strategic view – wanting a powerful military, for example, and being more comfortable about using it – and with an unapologetic advocacy of a benign American hegemony.91 The liberals feel guilty about American power; the neocons are enthusiastic about it.
Chapter IV: Strategy for a Superpower
For better or worse, however, neither Congress nor the country exhibits a great eagerness right now for indiscriminate humanitarianism. This is an important feature of the current American mood. The Administration’s early stumbling in Somalia, Bosnia, and Haiti in 1993 forfeited credibility, and it has been on the defensive on these issues of intervention ever since. The more expansive definition of America’s moral mission in the world has not taken root. The Clinton interventions have led Americans to ask: What is our national interest in this? Sam Donaldson of ABC News, whom I take as vox populi on these issues, insisted: “That’s the main [argument] – self-interest,” during a 1995 discussion of the arguments for and against U.S. intervention in Bosnia.92 And during the 1999 Kosovo crisis, Donaldson said: The United States national interest ought to be involved. The President has asserted this by talking about a wider war and the need to contain it. But he should make that the number-one reason for being there. Otherwise, why weren’t we in Rwanda? Why weren’t we in all the other places?…. So if our idea is that we will go and stop killing where we find it, I’m for that, but at what price? And where’s the national interest?93 In none of these Clinton-era humanitarian interventions – Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor – was the military action backed by a Congressional resolution of support. Congress did not thwart them, but did not endorse them (or purport to “authorize” them under the terms of the 1973 War Powers Resolution) as it had done for the 1991 Gulf War. This is an important measure of the thinness of the domestic support for these kinds of intervention. In the conflict over Kosovo in 1999, moreover, President Clinton’s fear of permitting even one American casualty was the clearest possible indicator of how thin even he judged the public support to be. Whether the American people will tolerate the risk of casualties in a conflict is impossible to answer in the abstract. It is worth recalling, however, that before the Gulf War there was an exaggerated expectation of how costly that war would be, and yet the public was clearly persuaded that the stakes were high enough for the United States to warrant the risk. One ingredient missing in the later cases, it would seem, was a persuasive showing of the American national interest. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, in an important national security speech in January, outlined an internationalist position on a
variety of issues, including free trade, maintaining U.S. military and intelligence capabilities, and combating terrorism and drugs. But the use of U.S. military power, he stressed, needed to be guided by the standard of the national interest: When we, as Republicans, ask the President to explain to us why intervention is in our national interest – why such intervention is necessary to protect our freedom and our way of life – those are not the questions of isolationists. Rather they are the voices of commonsense Americans. It is a legitimate question that is fully consistent with traditional American thinking.94 More recently, a bipartisan commission established by Congress to examine American long-term strategy declared the following: Strategy and policy must be grounded in the national interest. The national interest has many strands – political, economic, security, and humanitarian. National interests are nevertheless the most durable basis for assuring policy consistency. Gaining and sustaining public support for U.S. policy is best achieved, too, when American principles are coupled with clearly visible national interests.95 The commission was chaired by former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman and included such diverse figures as Newt Gingrich, Lee Hamilton, James Schlesinger, Leslie Gelb, and Andrew Young. Additional evidence of the new mood can be found in the Congress’s treatment of foreign aid. In the 1970s, during the anguish over Vietnam, a liberal Congress began insisting that U.S. economic and especially military assistance be given only to countries with a good record in human rights, and humanitarian purposes were preferred over geopolitical ones.∗ Today, the priorities are reversed. U.S. foreign assistance has been sharply reduced, but Congress clearly prefers to give it to countries in which we have a more concrete stake – Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Ukraine, Colombia, Peru, and the like.
That is when the annual State Department reports on human rights began: They began as report cards on the moral worthiness of recipients of U.S. aid. This had a certain tendentious impact – our ally South Korea was lambasted without any reference to North Korea – so this was later “cured” by including everyone else.
Chapter IV: Strategy for a Superpower
Realism, in other words, is making a comeback. There is some irony here. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger attempted to educate the country in a more classical and less moralistic approach to international affairs; in a period buffeted by Vietnam and Watergate passions, this attempt failed (indeed spawning the resurgence of Wilsonianism that was reflected, in different ways, in both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan). But now Bill Clinton’s misadventures have triggered a reaction to Wilsonianism. The pendulum is swinging back. For our purposes here, the point is not to dwell on the historical irony but to note one of the possible implications of the renewed emphasis on national interest. The idea of the national interest may, in the common perception, have a connotation of national egoism and strategic selfaggrandizement. But in this context, and properly conceived, it is paradoxically a principle of restraint. Wilsonianism is an ideology, a set of moral principles assumed to be universal, whose application is thought to be universal and therefore constitutes the agenda for a global American mission. Like any ideology, it makes absolute claims; in theory, at least, it recognizes no limits. In practice, of course, we have ended up making distinctions between the Kosovos and the Rwandas and the Chechnyas, but only inviting accusations of hypocrisy and “double standard” in the process. The result is an exuberant unpredictability. A policy grounded in a sense of the national interest, properly understood, deals in finite criteria and thereby allows for acknowledgement of the national interests of others. A little more honesty is possible about distinctions that have to be made. Business can be conducted among states if no one is making absolute claims. Compromises become more possible if less weighed down by imputations of moral betrayal. Steadiness and reliability are enhanced. This principle of classical diplomacy was stated by Hans Morgenthau: For minds not beclouded by the crusading zeal of a political religion and capable of viewing the national interests of both sides with objectivity, the delimitation of these vital interests should not prove too difficult….A nation can only take a rational view of its national interests after it has parted company with the crusading spirit of a political creed. A nation is able to consider the national interests of the other side with objectivity only after it has become secure in what it considers its own national interests.96 This may be part of the answer to the paradox mentioned in the Introduction to this essay: that other countries’ resentment of American
power is so high during an Administration that desperately insists on its virtuous intentions, even to the point of apologizing for much of postwar U.S. foreign policy. Its Wilsonian idealism not only leaves it naked to charges of hypocrisy on the margin; its motivation comes across as selfrighteousness rather than humility, as an assertion of an unlimited mandate for forcing global improvement. Given the fact of America’s overwhelming power, the reaction of others to this assertiveness is bound to include an element of trepidation, at the very least, whatever the purported selflessness of the American motivation. A more strategic-minded approach, which unapologetically defined U.S. geopolitical interests, would inevitably embrace such principles as the need to maintain alliances and to manage, vigilantly but coolly, relations with potential rivals. And the need to lead. But paradoxically such an approach would imply more modest American claims, even if it also included a more muscular and unrepentant defense of them. Other nations, themselves schooled in the classical tradition of international politics, would understand better what they were dealing with. Wilsonian Presidents drive them crazy – and have done ever since Woodrow Wilson.
A GRAND STRATEGY
When absolutely forced by events, Americans have not done badly at grand strategy, as when we adopted “containment” as a strategy for waging the Cold War. Today, however, there is no similarly obvious and compelling circumstance, and this seeming ultra-permissiveness of the international environment is one of the factors that conspire, in Josef Joffe’s view, to discourage systematic strategic thinking in the United States.97 Nevertheless, as we saw in Chapter III, we are hardly free of dangers. Policy disasters could render American power much less formidable and produce, rather quickly, a deterioration in American global influence and in the health of the international environment more generally. A more positive way of saying this is that the United States has a vital interest in the health of the international system, and in those aspects of it that underlie both global well-being and our own.98 Systematic thinking about all this is certainly called for. History offers two models for an American grand strategy, Joffe suggests. One is the model of 18th_ and 19th_century Britain, which played a “balancing” role in Europe. Britain could stay aloof from European alignments for much of the time, but intervened to redress the balance of
Chapter IV: Strategy for a Superpower
power on the Continent whenever some would-be hegemonial power threatened to upset it. Whether against Philip II of Spain, or Louis XIV of France, or Napoleon, or Kaiser Wilhelm, or Hitler, Britain’s tradition was to join in a coalition with the weaker powers to defeat the stronger. Over the centuries, the adversaries would change; Britain’s definition of its strategic interest would not.99 This is often cited as the model for the United States. In World Wars I and II, and in the Cold War, it is a good explanation of what we, in fact, did. And perhaps it is an apt model to follow today in the particular matter of military intervention. Given the unadventurous public mood, and the reasonable desire not to exhaust ourselves by indiscriminate humanitarian interventions, some principle of selectivity is essential. What the British example provides is a criterion of fundamental strategic interest, a principle that U.S. intervention is truly called for when the basic condition of the international structure is at issue, such as if a hegemonic threat should arise in some vital region (Europe, East Asia, the Gulf). Other interventions are electives; these are the compulsories. Joffe argues, however, that there is a more relevant model for American policy overall, namely Bismarck’s Germany. Because of Germany’s vulnerable central location in Europe, it did not have the option, as Britain had, of only intermittent engagement in the European balance of power. Bismarck’s response was to engage all the other powers in a complex network of political-military alliances – often mutually contradictory, but serving the purpose of keeping European alignments continuously confused and avoiding what he called the “nightmare of coalitions.” The United States, says Joffe, is more like Germany than like Britain – doomed to permanent engagement with all the other powers and therefore obliged to have a strategy for managing those relations: Briefly, the key issue for the United States is not balancing against rivals real or latent but bandwagoning with them in favor of the status quo. There is no clear and present danger; there are only ambiguous and potential challenges to America’s exalted position. And these are best tackled by forestalling them now, rather than combating them later, by undercutting ex ante both the motives and opportunities for confrontation. The point is insurance rather than intrusion.100
Joffe’s metaphor for such an international structure is the hub of a wheel and the spokes: The United States is in the central position; the spokes are its links with the other powers. Obviously there are historical differences between Bismarck’s Germany and the present-day United States, especially the degree to which Bismarck’s unification of Germany unbalanced Europe and created the problem that Bismarck was struggling to solve. But the analogy with Bismarck’s diplomacy is instructive. Operationally, it means that the United States enjoys (or is in a position to achieve) better relations with all the other powers than they have with each other. Each of them needs us for something (protection; economic ties), or is afraid of us, or is afraid of leaving us in bed with one of the other powers that it fears as an immediate rival. (Recall William Wohlforth’s point in Chapter II that before any new potential hegemon achieved a position from which it could threaten us, a regional balance of power would kick in in the form of its regional rivals organizing to stop it.) In Asia, China and Japan fear each other. Each one looks to us for some reassurance that the other will not threaten it. Similarly, to some degree, China and India. Russia and China currently flaunt their alignment against us, but many Russians worry about China’s growing power and don’t want to lose their Western option. The Russians are also dependent on Western economic aid, and China, while nominally Communist, is much more dependent on its integration into the global economy (and on the U.S. market) than the Soviet Union ever was. In Europe, for all Europe’s vaunted new independence, the U.S. military presence provides a necessary hedge against the possible resurgence of a Russia that still disposes of over 20,000 nuclear weapons. The U.S. presence continues to provide a certain reassurance within Western Europe as well, as a disproportionately strong Germany begins to assert its own national interest more forcefully. (European integration is one part of the solution to the German problem, but the peace of mind provided by the U.S. security presence has always been another.) Nor is Europe yet able by itself to handle serious military conflicts in turbulent regions of the Continent like the Balkans. In other pivotal regions (the Gulf; Northeast Asia) where other major powers have a major stake and where conflict could easily break out, the only country in a position to assure stability or organize a response to crisis is the United States. To use the current jargon of international relations theory, our maintenance of the balance in these places is one of the “public goods” we provide, on which the international system depends.
Chapter IV: Strategy for a Superpower
This central position we occupy in the international system of security and prosperity, moreover, embodies our extraordinary political leverage over all the other major powers. It is an important reason why the persistent efforts of others to build counterweights to U.S. predominance (which we saw in Chapter I) have not made much headway. “[T]he game does not work,” Joffe concludes.101 As Anwar Sadat said, America holds most of the cards. To take another example: A few years ago, there was talk of Russia’s organizing a bloc with China and India as another counterweight to the United States. It never amounted to anything, in large part because of depth of the Sino-Indian rivalry.102 But the Indians were also reluctant to lose their links to the United States. The Hindu newspaper had explained the Indian perspective: The quest for a “multipolar world” has a great appeal in India. But the particular consequences of a deepening alliance between China and Russia may not turn out in its favor….India, Russia and China are…all looking for greater freedom of action in dealing with the sole superpower, the U.S. …. Even as India deepens its political engagement with Russia and China, [however,] it must recognize the importance of a continuous strategic dialogue with the U.S. and Japan on the Asian strategic scenario.103 Bismarck’s entangling alignments are the order of the day. And we are the pivot of most of them. This is a brilliant position to be in. But its benefits don’t come automatically. On the contrary, it imposes certain requirements. It is, first of all, a classical “realist” kind of strategy: It aims at maintaining a certain geopolitical balance, not at ideological uniformity or moral improvement. It also means that the United States needs to maintain its political, economic, and other links with the other powers so that they have something to lose. Pure deterrence of hegemonial ambition is necessary but not sufficient under this strategy; it is a more subtle mix of deterrence with maintenance of positive links as well. In other words, it will work better as a conscious strategy than if left to the reactive improvisation that usually characterizes American policy. The hard case at the moment is China, which some Americans see as a looming danger. But the premise of the strategy is that China’s foreign policy is no longer that of a revolutionary state driven by ideology to overthrow the existing order, but of a classical new power emerging on
the global stage driven by old-fashioned nationalism. In this light, it is a manageable problem. This is an accurate description of the case. If there is ideology in the present U.S.-China rivalry, it comes from an American discomfort at sharing the planet with the last great Communist autocracy. In any case, the “hub-and-spokes” strategy is a rationale for maintaining normal U.S. diplomatic and economic relations with China, such as granting it WTO membership and Permanent Normal Trade Relations status in the United States. In a major crisis precipitated by China, of course, all bets would be off. But, short of that, our real (and growing) security concerns can be dealt with by classical means – by maintaining our own military primacy in the Western Pacific, the vigor of our alliances, and the credibility of our commitments in the region; we can present China with both incentives for a constructive evolution and disincentives for attempting to upset the regional status quo by force (including in Taiwan). Whatever its ambitions, it is China that already confronts a number of counterweights to its power in the region – Japan, India, Russia, an expanding ASEAN, as well as the U.S. presence. The United States and its Asia/Pacific friends and allies are in an advantageous position to shape the regional environment into which China is emerging and to which it will have to adapt.104 A similar analysis is offered by the Australian scholar Coral Bell. She sees the world as essentially unipolar, but she takes note of the persistent efforts of other powers to resist U.S. dominance. In her view, the smart American response is to preserve and strengthen our existing alliances with Europe and Japan, to seek to draw Russia into the Western community, and to manage the China problem in the classical manner roughly as I have suggested. In other words, her recommendation for U.S. strategy is that “the unipolar world should be run as if it were a concert of powers.”105 We should do what we can to preserve valuable institutions of Western solidarity like the North Atlantic Alliance and the G-7; she sees merit also in multilateral institutions like the United Nations, the WTO, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. These mechanisms, in new conditions, suit our purposes in networks that link others to us and help defuse opposition to U.S. leadership. This is, Bell concludes, the formula for extending the present unipolarity for many, many decades into the future.
THE PROBLEM OF AMERICAN UNILATERALISM
Such a strategy, as noted earlier, implies American restraint, discipline, and subtlety; it eschews hectoring or ideological crusading. It assumes a degree of American acceptance of the fact that other powers
Chapter IV: Strategy for a Superpower
will not follow American dictation – the Europeans and Japanese aspiring to more autonomy, Russia and China in a more nationalistic phase as they go through their difficult transitions. While we will seek to preserve our alliances, they are bound to be a little looser. The United States is to preserve its position less by imposing its will and more by managing a concert of nations. These are all virtuous principles, which I endorse. There is one particular problem, however, that will not so easily be wished away – the problem of American unilateralism. For many in the world these days, including our allies, this is one of America’s principal sins. Karsten Voigt describes it as follows: Primarily the USA itself is to decide when, with what means and with the help of which institutions it will further the global breakthrough of its self-defined values and interests of universal application.…[T]here has been growing acceptance for the idea that America can also legitimately use its power without the support of its partners or even without their agreement, should national interests require it. The awareness of unique moral and military superiority reinforces this reflex.106 Sometimes the complaint is about Executive Branch action: Europeans remember the Carter Administration’s boycott of the Moscow Olympics or the Reagan Administration’s attempt to block a Soviet gas pipeline to Europe. More often recently, the complaint is about U.S. policies imposed by Congress, like the 1996 attempts to impose sanctions on European companies for doing business with Iran, Libya, or Cuba; or the refusal to pay arrearages in dues owed to the United Nations. The Senate’s rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and the U.S. refusal to join the International Criminal Court or the convention banning anti-personnel land mines, are other examples cited of the United States being out of step with the world. The prospect of U.S. deployment of defenses against ballistic missiles and possible withdrawal from the ABM Treaty is seen by some as a case of American high-handedness in ignoring the concerns of others. To prove that it is capable of being a true partner, says Hubert Védrine, the United States will have to “give up unilateralism for multilateralism.”107 The danger for the United States, some say, is the risk of isolation. As the United States heads toward deployment of ballistic missile defenses, a recent UN conference supposedly devoted to reviewing the status of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty turned into a forum
for mass denunciations of the United States.108 William Hartung of the liberal World Policy Institute declared: “I have never seen a moment where the U.S. seemed so isolated from the mainstream of international opinion on the nuclear weapons issue.”109 There is, alas, a major dilemma here for the United States, and if I had to guess I would say that this problem will get worse. For one thing, a more precise vocabulary is called for. It is not so easy to “isolate” the United States; that may not be the most accurate word. If we are the 800-pound gorilla, as everyone says, we can perhaps be outvoted in some forums, widely criticized, diplomatically lonely, etc., but we cannot be deprived of our freedom of action. Our leadership role may pay some price, as has been suggested. But the United States remains essentially free to decide whether and when it is worth the price. And – especially on security issues – the purported preferences of the world community are not always intellectually compelling. The most egregious recent example was the international convention banning antipersonnel land mines. The United States still relies on land mines as a means of defense in certain circumstances, especially along the deadly Korean DMZ. During the negotiation the United States therefore asked for certain exemptions, or for a seven-year delay before the ban went into effect. These requests were simply dismissed out of hand. It happens that the United States uses only land mines that selfdestruct after a limited period; it scrupulously follows the rules of war that require mapping of mine fields so they can be cleared after a conflict is over. The United States is in the forefront of developing better technology for mine-detection and mine-clearing. (We even cleared the mines we laid in North Vietnam, as part of the 1973 Paris Agreement.) The land mines ripping the limbs off the world’s children are therefore not American mines. At the same time, it is our country’s armed forces to which everyone turns, and on which everyone relies, when there is serious trouble. Whenever a major threat or emergency arises, we are asked to do the heavy military lifting. And yet our judgment of what we needed to fulfill these responsibilities was given short shrift in an international forum driven by unaccountable advocacy groups and celebrities like the Princess of Wales. This cannot be taken seriously. More recently, as noted earlier, a UN conference devoted to reviewing the status of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty turned into a forum for denouncing the United States – for its failure (along with Russia) to disarm itself and for its plans to deploy missile defenses. “Have the nuclear-weapons States party to the Treaty indeed fulfilled their
Chapter IV: Strategy for a Superpower
commitments to eliminate nuclear weapons, prevented their proliferation or helped non-nuclear States harness nuclear power to peaceful purposes?” asked the Syrian delegate in a complaining tone.110 These arguments, too, must be taken with a grain of salt. It cannot be seriously believed that India, Pakistan, Israel, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, and any other new seekers after nuclear weapons are affected one iota by the state of U.S.-Russian strategic arms control. India’s nuclear program is driven by fear of China, Pakistan’s by fear of India, Israel’s by the existential threats it still faces in its region, Iran’s and Iraq’s by fear of each other and aspirations for regional dominance, and North Korea’s by paranoia about regime survival. The last decade in U.S.-Russian relations has seen the most drastic reductions in central strategic arsenals in all of human history. Yet the same period saw the India-Pakistan nuclear blasts and the serious weakening of restraints on the rogue states mentioned. The argument that an inadequate big-power commitment to arms control is a cause of or justification for Third World proliferation is specious, and always was. It is trotted out in international forums (like the NPT Review Conference) to play on the guilt of gullible Westerners, particularly Americans. Lately, as noted, the fashionable villain is U.S. missile defense. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan charged that this “is jeopardizing the ABM Treaty – which has been called the ‘cornerstone of strategic stability’ – and could well lead to a new arms race, setbacks for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and create new incentives for missile proliferation.”111 While there are legitimate questions that arise for strategic relations, especially among the major powers, the relevance of this to the Non-Proliferation Treaty review is remote – except to the extent that proliferating ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Third World states are the main reason we need missile defense! Iraq is another example: The United States is said to be increasingly isolated with respect to the policy of containing Iraq or seeking to change its regime. The British have been with us in various air strikes that attempted to salvage the UN inspection system or otherwise prevent Iraq from breaking out of its post-Gulf War constraints. But others (including allies) are critical of this U.S. policy and unwilling to go along with it. Some of them point out, with some justice, that the Clinton Administration’s military actions have not been of the kind that promises any decisive impact. On the other hand (and there is a long history of this going back to the problem of Libyan terrorism), the allies more often make this argument as an excuse for blocking action than as a proposal for something more decisive.
The point here is that the pressures on the United States to abandon its “unilateralism” over Iraq are, in effect, pressures on us to relax pressures on Saddam. How this will make the Middle East more secure is not obvious. In fact, these pressures on us flow from weariness rather than strategic analysis. Domestic politics in the Arab world are also a factor. For us to yield to these importunings would be irresponsibility of the highest order. Furthermore, while we are speaking of Iraq, it is worth recalling that in 1990-1991, the evident American readiness to proceed unilaterally had a galvanizing effect on the international consensus. It gave courage to waverers and led some doubters to join us if only to be in a position to influence us. The search for consensus should not be allowed to become a substitute for action or an excuse for paralysis.112 In the last chapter, we saw how vulnerable the international system is to deadly new security threats – how precarious is the margin of safety that we all take for granted. In this environment, if the pleas for American “multilateralism” are simply a cover for strategic escapism (as in Iraq), or if life-and-death issues of U.S. national security policy are being dictated by the likes of the Princess of Wales, then it should not be surprising if serious Americans say no.
CONCLUSION: A NEW GRAND BARGAIN?
These are the contradictory desiderata of American policy. The world is reacting badly to American predominance, but we are still asked to provide a benevolent internationalist leadership. The United States is advised to show more restraint and to work in concert with others, yet unilateralism cannot be excluded. It is urged to pay more attention to nurturing the international system, yet it faces many hard-ball dangers that the international system cannot effectively avert. How do we sort this out? These contradictions and dilemmas of American policy are inherent. Any plausible blueprint for long-term policy, therefore, won’t be neat, and it probably will not satisfy either our complaining allies or our exuberant Wilsonians at home. But it is possible to sketch out the principles of a strategy that offers our allies and friends some considerable reassurance of an internationalist American leadership, one that they should find largely compatible with their own interests and well-being. At the same time, the strategy will include some basic principles (particularly on security) that the United States would be well advised not to compromise. The first point – prediction as much as prescription – is that the United States is fully prepared to remain permanently engaged in key regions such as Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to bolster international security. Despite the surface resentments, this fundamental strategic assurance is still desired by other friendly countries, and the American people show every sign of accepting the responsibility. The overwhelming Senate vote in 1998 on NATO enlargement (80-19) was not the expression of an isolationist Congress, and it was accompanied by a ringing endorsement of the U.S. commitment to Europe.113 A similar bipartisan consensus underpins the commitment to allies and friends in the East Asia/Pacific region and in the Middle East. This contribution to global stability is one of the “public goods” we provide. It is in our own geopolitical interest, not simply a favor we do for others. Thus we must continue to provide it, even if we find some of its other beneficiaries ungrateful or even annoying. A second principle, we have seen, is that a policy grounded in the American national interest would reduce some of this country’s exposure to resentment and resistance on the part of others. This may
be where the country is heading. Paradoxical as it may seem to us, our Wilsonian enthusiasm and passion to improve the world sometimes come across as overbearing. Our values do have universal meaning, but in the real world they will be better advanced by an evolving international consensus than by a perceived American imposition. Some American restraint in future humanitarian interventions would be relevant here. Last year’s intervention in East Timor was not diplomatically contentious, for a number of reasons, including China’s interest in a stable Indonesia and the consensus on a Security Council mandate. But another reason, I suspect, was that the United States took a background role. Third, the United States has a crucial responsibility – and a powerful self-interest – in ensuring the health of the international economic system. The United States must continue to be internationalist on trade, for example. And indeed it has been. The much-maligned Republican Congress has just come through again on two trade issues – trade preferences for Africa and the Caribbean, as well as Permanent Normal Trade Relations for China – bailing out an Administration unable to deliver many members of its own party in thrall to the reactionary Left. As on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the original World Trade Organization (WTO) treaty, the Congress has shown its enduring commitment to trade liberalization. This improves the prospects down the road for “fast-track” legislation that will make future negotiations on trade liberalization possible, with the rest of the Western Hemisphere and with the European Union and Japan. The Administration deserves credit for its leadership in the Asian financial crisis. At the same time, the United States has a stake in key institutions of cooperation with the other leading economic powers – most importantly the G-7, which was created, indeed, as a kind of political and economic directorate of the industrial democracies.114 This brings us to the next point – the value of working in concert with others. In the economic realm, we have partners whose economic clout is as great as ours, and the formula for managing the international economic system is collaboration with them. This has been a bipartisan policy and it, too, will undoubtedly continue. Concretely, doing it right probably means refraining from actions like punitive economic sanctions directed extraterritorially at third countries (especially our allies) even if we feel strongly on the merits. In my view, the policy of maintaining pressures on Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Libya, etc., is the right one; the Europeans are wrong. Yet, we pay a big price for attempting to bully them, and, alas, experience shows it is not sustainable.
Conclusion: A New Grand Bargain?
Another dimension of this principle is to be more willing to share responsibility for economic leadership. Early in the Asian financial crisis, Japan offered an initiative for multilateral assistance to Southeast Asia – the so-called Miyazawa Plan, the brainchild of one of Japan’s most respected leaders, including a promise of $30 billion in aid. The Clinton Administration dismissed it abruptly, which seems a political blunder whatever the technical details. In the security dimension, as well, it makes sense for the United States to cut its allies some slack and encourage them to take on greater, even if more autonomous, responsibility. The EU’s new experiment in defense policy could enable Europe to deal with a greater range of problems (like Balkan problems) on its own – provided it spends the money on building real military capabilities. The United States should encourage it – provided it remains closely linked to NATO. A corollary is that, when our allies do take on a difficult assignment, we refrain from publicly sniping at them from afar. In Bosnia in 1993-1994, our European allies were taking casualties on the ground, and the United States, with none of its people at risk, was taking potshots at the alleged moral inadequacy of the European efforts at diplomacy. The Europeans’ military and diplomatic efforts at that time won no particular prizes for genius, but the American sniping provoked a bitterness in Europe that had not been seen in decades. They had a point. The need for consultation with allies deserves a plug here. It should be real two-way consultation in advance, not just an ex post facto request for ratification of an American decision. In 1998, for example, the United States negotiated with North Korea after North Korea’s firing of a medium-range missile over Japan; Washington then declared itself satisfied and decided that funding for North Korea’s civilian nuclear reactors should resume. The Japanese were not included in the negotiations, despite their obvious security stake and the fact that more than 80 percent of the funding for the reactors came from them. “They were absolutely furious,” recounted scholar Michael Green.115 Many U.S. administrations have been guilty of violating this principle. (Remember the “Nixon shocks.”) Sometimes, diplomatic sensitivity leads us to hold a matter close to our chest. Other times, our own bureaucratic and Congressional processes are so cumbersome, painful, and exhausting that, once they yield a result, the natural psychological impulse here is to yearn for an end to the matter. But if we truly want other capable and like-minded countries to share
responsibilities in a new era, we need to take this principle seriously. The issue of missile defense would be a good candidate. More broadly, in a variety of areas, including humanitarian interventions, if the United States is not willing to bear every burden, then it has a responsibility to help build and support international systems to handle the problems.116 It would be in the American interest, for example, to establish better procedures to facilitate the UN’s ability to organize peacekeeping operations, or its capacity to exercise “conservatorships” over failed states.117 Americans also have a growing stake in international cooperation in public health, law enforcement (especially against drug trafficking and corruption), and environmental protection. International law has been an American cause for a century, and, within proper limits discussed in Chapter III, it can continue to serve common purposes that serve American interests. Also in the security field – constraining arms proliferation, protecting freedom of the seas – there are realistic and useful multilateral measures that command U.S. support. It is also time to put the UN dues controversy behind us. Congress has written a check for $926 million, payable on the implementation of previously agreed reforms including a fairer calculation of the U.S. share.118 The political stalemate on this in Washington is close to being broken.∗ In any event, the strategy of withholding dues as leverage for reform was succumbing to diminishing returns. The United States, in any administration, will want the UN to be more effective than it is, and will want to have influence in its forums; at this point, non-payment has become more an obstacle than a help to those objectives. All the foregoing are prescriptions for American good behavior, as it is defined by many who now criticize American “hegemonism” and “unilateralism.” They are prescriptions I endorse. At the same time, we are left with a series of security matters on which it would be a grave mistake for the United States to relinquish its freedom of action. Whether we will be indulged on this score by our allies, in exchange for our more dutiful internationalism on the other issues – as part of a new “grand bargain” – remains to be seen.
It is not generally realized, but for the last two years the Congressional leadership was ready to compromise on the abortion issue with which the UN dues payment was entangled; it offered waiver provisions and diluted the language. The President’s priorities were elsewhere, however. Probably due to the Lewinsky scandal, he refused any compromise on the abortion language until early this year.
Conclusion: A New Grand Bargain?
If others are conscious of our immense power, we are obliged to be conscious of our vulnerabilities. In an era of asymmetric security challenges, as we saw in Chapter III, American military dominance is not as invincible as many imagine. (In fact, some who complain loudest of our “hegemonism” are looking the most eagerly for our vulnerabilities.) Our allies and friends, especially, have a stake in this. Contrary to the experience of the land mines convention or the International Criminal Court, it would behoove countries that still rely on U.S. military strength as the mainstay of international security to give occasional consideration to American concerns. And the standard of seriousness about various regional dangers – from Iraq and North Korea, for example – needs to be higher in international discussions. If not, then the future will see a lot more American unilateralism. This is not the place for a complete discussion of the debate over U.S. missile defenses. There are legitimate concerns on both sides of the Atlantic, and in Russia. But the emotionalism of the current debate is uncalled-for, and the self-serving quality of many of the criticisms (including from China, which is expanding its ballistic-missile arsenal at a rapid rate)119 deserves more notice. Similar hysteria greeted U.S. missiledefense programs initiated by both President Nixon and President Reagan, and both Presidents managed to translate these programs into useful bargaining leverage. World War III did not result, and the risks are even smaller now. Meanwhile, the dangers of the global proliferation of ballistic missiles are clear and present, as documented definitively by the bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission.120 Our allies and friends in the Asia/Pacific region, feeling directly threatened, have been conspicuously absent from the chorus of critics. To say that someone is “wedded to Cold War thinking” is one of the fashionable put-downs in intellectual circles these days; yet nothing is more anachronistic than to cling to strategic models of mutual vulnerability left over from the era of bipolarity (like the 1972 ABM Treaty). Missile defense is another area in which strategic escapism among the critics will not be persuasive to serious Americans. In sum, there are no easy formulas for a superpower that yearns to be loved as well as respected. Henry Kissinger has written that the test of history will be whether the United States can turn its predominant power into international consensus and its own principles into widely accepted norms. This was the greatness achieved by the Roman and British empires in their time.121 But the spread of our moral and political values cannot be by fiat, nor can it achieve instant results. To an extraordinary degree it is already happening. The idea of freedom has more power today
than ever before, as it sweeps through the extraordinary global marketplace of ideas now opened up by mass media and the Internet. There are no barriers of authoritarianism that the Information Age will leave intact. If mass culture and the idea of liberty have the universal appeal that we assume (and some fear), then we know the outcome. Americans should have more confidence in this process, as well as greater sensitivity to the historical and cultural circumstances of some societies that will not evolve overnight simply because we insist. Meanwhile, there is an immediate agenda of safeguarding security and prosperity that the world faces, and on which American leadership is still genuinely valued. Organizing international consensus and sometimes new institutions is a skill of which we have shown great mastery since the 1940s; it was never a matter of imposition. That is our opportunity now. Others’ resentment can partly be cured by a less domineering style. But much of it comes with the territory. That, too, will require a certain self-confidence on our part: There will be times we feel compelled to buck the international consensus. If we know what we are doing, and know how to accomplish our objective, then we will find vindication in the outcome. That, too, is our opportunity. Being the sole superpower is not a job for the timid.
Karsten D. Voigt, “The Discussion of a European Security and Defense Policy: Labor Pains of a New Atlanticism,” speech at a seminar of the Washington Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, March 8, 2000, p.1. Ibid.
Arnold Toynbee quoted in Walter A. McDougall, Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997), p. 6.
This is the thesis of Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 (New York: Random House, 1987). But see the critique of Kennedy’s historical analysis in W.W. Rostow, “Beware of Historians Bearing False Analogies,” Foreign Affairs, Spring 1988, and the discussion in Chapter II below. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, response to a question at the Secretary’s Open Forum, Department of State, reported in Center for Security Policy, Decision Brief No. 94-D27, March 11, 1994, p. 4. Samuel R. Berger quoted in R. W. Apple. Jr., “A Domestic Sort with Global Worries,” New York Times, August 25, 1999.
Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 70, No. 1 (America and the World 1990/91), p. 23-33. See, more recently, Charles Krauthammer, "A Second American Century?" TIME, December 27, 1999, p.186.
CHAPTER I: HOW OTHERS ARE REACTING
James Walsh et al., “America the Brazen,” TIME (Atlantic ed.), August 4, 1997, p. 22. Ibid.
Der Spiegel quoted in William Drozdiak, “Even Allies Resent U.S. Dominance; America Accused of Bullying World,” Washington Post, November 4, 1997, p. A1.
E.g., President Bill Clinton, “Strategic Alliance with Russian Reform,” address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Annapolis, MD, April 1, 1993.
E.g., President Bill Clinton, A National Security Strategy for a New Century (Washington: The White House, October 1998), p. 43. Yevgenii Primakov, statement to the 51st Session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 24, 1996, Embassy of the Russian Federation Press Release #27 (September 25, 1996), p. 4.
Boris Yeltsin, address to the collegium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moscow, May 12, 1998, reported by ITAR-TASS and Interfax, in FBISSOV-98-132, 12 May 1998. Remarks by new Acting President Vladimir Putin to an extended session of the Russian Security Council, December 31, 1999, as reported by Interfax, in FBIS-SOV-1999-1231, 31 December 1999. Liu Huaqiu, “China Will Always Pursue a Peaceful Foreign Policy of Independence and Self-Determination,” Qiushi (Beijing), No. 23, 1 December 1997, in FBIS-CHI-98-078, 19 March 1998. Joint Russian-Chinese communiqué, Beijing, April 25, 1996, in FBISCHI-96-081, 25 April 1996, p. 15. Yeltsin quoted by M. Dmitriyev, “China’s ‘Western Impromptu’?” Zavtra, May 1996, in FBIS-SOV-96-125-S, 27 June 1996, p. 5. Joint Russian-Chinese communiqué, Moscow, December 28, 1996, in FBIS-SOV-96-251, 28 December 1996. Joint Russian-Chinese communiqué, Beijing, December 10, 1999, in FBIS-CHI-1999-1210. Primakov quoted by Xinhua, November 18, 1996, in FBIS-CHI-96-224, 18 November 1996. Hubert Védrine, remarks to a conference of French Ambassadors, Paris, August 28, 1997. Jacques Amalric and Pierre Haski, “Védrine: ‘The Era of Symbolism is Over,’” interview in Liberation, November 24, 1998, pp. 8-9, in FBIS-WEU-98328, 24 November 1998. Joint Sino-French Declaration, Beijing, May 16, 1997, in FBIS-CHI-97095, 16 May 1997.
Helmut Kohl, address at Catholic University, Louvain, Belgium, February 2, 1996, excerpted in Internationale Politik, vol. 51, no. 8 (August 1996), p. 82. Joschka Fischer, speech in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, January 12, 1999. Wim Kok, “Euro is Crowning Glory of Long Process,” lecture at University of Leiden, March 9, 1998, excerpted in NRC Handelsblad (Rotterdam), March 9, 1998, in FBIS-WEU-98-070, 11 March 1998. Wim Kok quoted in Der Standard (Vienna), October 27, 1998, p.2.
Tony Blair, address to the North Atlantic Assembly, Edinburgh, November 13, 1998. Fischer and Scharping quoted at the Bremen meeting of the WEU, May 10, 1999, cited in Bundespresseamt bulletin, May 11, 1999. Heinrich Boell Foundation, “A New Foreign and Security Policy for Europe?” conference brochure, 1-2 December 1999, Berlin. I am grateful to Jeffrey Gedmin for calling this to my attention.
Masaharu Honda, “Japan’s Autonomy Questioned on the 40th Anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Alliance,” Asahi Shimbun, January 19, 2000. For this and other source material on Japan, I am indebted to Michael J. Green and the manuscript of his forthcoming book on Japan’s search for strategy and identity. Kyofuku Fukushima, Corporate Governance: An Aspect of Asia’s Currency Crisis and Its Implications, Nomura Research Institute, June 1999, p. 11, also cited by Green. Asahi quoted in Hong Kong AFP dispatch, December 5, 1999, in FBISEAS-1999-1205, 5 December 1999.
35 34 33
Amre Moussa, “A Nationalist Vision for Egypt,” interview in Middle East Quarterly, September 1996, p. 62.
Ocho Columnas, April 14, 1997, quoted in U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, “U.S. Image in a ‘Unipolar’ World: Foreign Media Perspectives,” Issue Focus, May 1, 1997, p. 13. Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, address to the 54th session of the UN General Assembly, September 29, 1999.
Remarks by President Clinton and President Narayanan of India in an Exchange of Toasts, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi, India, March 21, 2000 (White House Press Release). For a fuller discussion, see Peter W. Rodman, Drifting Apart: Trends in U.S.-European Relations (Washington: The Nixon Center, June 1999).
This point is well made by Victoria Nuland in a recent paper, “Fear and Loathing in the Unipolar World,” written for the Council on Foreign Relations, draft of February 18, 2000, p. 9.
CHAPTER II: THE HISTORICAL TREND
Remarks by Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan at the annual dinner and Francis Boyer Lecture of The American Enterprise Institute, Washington, December 5, 1996. Chairman Alan Greenspan, testimony on the Federal Reserve’s semiannual report on the economy and monetary policy, before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives, February 17, 2000.
Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 (New York: Random House, 1987). Ibid., p.xvi. Ibid., esp. pp.532-533.
W.W. Rostow, “Beware of Historians Bearing False Analogies,” Foreign Affairs, Spring 1988, pp. 863-868.
Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power (New York: Basic Books, 1990). See also Henry R. Nau, The Myth of America’s Decline: Leading the World Economy into the 1990s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990)
See Budget of the United States Government: Fiscal Year 2001, Historical Tables, Table 3.1 – Outlays by Superfunction and Function: 19402005, pp. 42-49. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Annual Report to the President and the Congress: 2000 (Washington: Department of Defense, 2000), Appendix B, Budget Table B-1 (comparing FY2001 with FY1985). Christopher Layne, “What’s Built Up Must Come Down,” Washington Post, November 14, 1999, p.31.
“Survey of China,” The Economist, April 8, 2000, p. 14.
Summers quoted in “How poor is China?” The Economist, October 12, 1996, p. 35. Ibid., pp. 35-36.
Paul Bracken, “Will China Be Number 1?” TIME, May 22, 2000, pp. 104-105.
Lee Kuan Yew, remarks at a news conference in Beijing, May 18, 1993, quoted in Han Fook Kwang, “SM calls for a new security arrangement,” The Straits Times (Singapore), May 19, 1993, p. 1. This proverb was quoted to me with a smile by a Chinese strategist at a Beijing think-tank associated with the defense establishment, on a visit of mine to Beijing in August 1997.
See Michael Pillsbury, China Debates the Future Security Environment (Washington: National Defense University Press, 2000), Chapter 2. Coral Bell, “American Ascendancy and the Pretense of Concert,” The National Interest, Fall 1999, pp. 58-59.
Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), pp. 809-810. Samuel P. Huntington, Bradley Lecture, American Enterprise Institute, May 11, 1998, excerpted in AEI Newsletter, July 1998 (emphasis in original). See also Samuel P. Huntington, “The Lonely Superpower,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 1999, pp. 35-36. Bell, loc. cit., pp. 55-63.
William C. Wohlforth, “The Stability of a Unipolar World,” International Security, Summer 1999, pp. 5-41. Ibid., p.17. Ibid., p.36.
U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, Seeking a National Strategy: A Concert for Preserving Security and Promoting Freedom (Washington: U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, April 15, 2000), pp. 6, 10-13.
CHAPTER III: OUR REAL VULNERABILITIES
Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., “Preliminary Observations: Asymmetrical Warfare and the Western Mindset,” in Lloyd J. Matthews, ed., Challenging the United States Symmetrically and Asymmetrically: Can America Be Defeated? (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, July 1998), p. 1.
National Defense Panel, Transforming Defense: National Security in the 21st Century (Arlington, VA: National Defense Panel, December 1997), pp. 1112. Lt. Gen. Li Jijun, “Notes on Military Theory and Military Strategy,” excerpted from his book Military Theory and Conflict (Beijing: Academy of Military Science Press, 1994), translated in Michael Pillsbury, ed., Chinese Views of Future Warfare (Washington: National Defense University Press, 1997), p. 227. See additional sources collected in Michael Pillsbury, China Debates the Future Security Environment (Washington: National Defense University Press, 2000), pp. 76-83. Pillsbury, Chinese Views of Future Warfare, Part Four; Maj. Mark A. Stokes, “China’s Military Modernization: Implications for U.S. National Security,” paper for the Project for the New American Century (Washington: Project for the New American Century, n.d. ).
U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, Seeking a National Security Strategy: A Concert for Preserving Security and Promoting Freedom (Washington: U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, April 15, 2000), pp. 8-9, 14-15. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Annual Report to the President and the Congress: 2000 (Washington: Department of Defense, 2000), pp. 19-21.
Edward N. Luttwak, “Where Are the Great Powers?” Foreign Affairs, July/August 1994, pp. 23-28.
See Saddam’s conversation with American Ambassador April Glaspie, July 25, 1990, as printed in the New York Times, September 23, 1990, p. 10; Saddam’s speech to the Arab Cooperation Council summit, Amman, February 24, 1990, in FBIS-NES-90-039, 27 February 1990, p.5; Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict 1990-1991: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 276-285; Barry Rubin, “The United States and Iraq: From Appeasement to War,” in Amatzia Baram and Barry Rubin, eds., Iraq’s Road to War (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993), p. 264; H.D. S. Greenway, “How the War Was Won, Mostly,” New York Times Book Review, January 24, 1993, p. 2.
Robert J. Samuelson, “What Greenspan Doesn’t Know…” Newsweek, May 1, 2000, p. 78. Francis Fukuyama, “Will Socialism Make a Comeback?” TIME, May 22, 2000, pp. 110-112. Henry A. Kissinger, “Making a Go of Globalization,” Washington Post, December 20, 1999.
For an elaboration of this analysis, see Peter W. Rodman, Drifting Apart? Trends in U.S.-European Relations (Washington: The Nixon Center, June 1999). Ibid., pp. 35-36. For the Congressional reaction, see H. Res. 59 (by Reps. Bereuter, Bliley, Boehlert, and Lantos), passed by 278-133 on November 2, 1999, and S. Res. 208 (by Senators Roth, Lugar, Biden, Kyl, Hagel, Smith, Lieberman, and Helms), passed by unanimous consent on November 8, 1999. When the Clinton Administration took office in January 1993, the number of UN Security Council resolutions stood at 801. At this writing, the number is up to 1301. Associated Press dispatch, “U.N. Tribunal Investigating NATO’s War In Yugoslavia,” New York Times, December 29, 1999. See also the report of Del Ponte’s retreat, in Barbara Crossette, “U.N. War Crimes Prosecutor Declines to Investigate NATO,” New York Times, June 3, 2000, p. A4. Joint Russian-Chinese communiqué, Beijing, December 10, 1999, in FBIS-CHI-1999-210, 10 December 1999.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer, address to the 54th session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 22, 1999.
Remarks by President Clinton and President Narayanan of India in an Exchange of Toasts, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi, India, March 21, 2000 (White House Press Release).
CHAPTER IV – STRATEGY FOR A SUPERPOWER
Fritz Ermarth brought these observations to my attention.
E.g., comments by Secretary of State Madeline Albright on ABC News, “Nightline,” from Columbus, Ohio, February 18, 1998 (State Department Press Release).
Measure for Measure, Act II, Scene 2. For this reference, I am grateful to the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, Seeking a National Strategy: A Concert for Preserving Security and Promoting Freedom (Washington: U.S. Commission on National Security/ 21st Century, April 15, 2000), p. 15.
Walter A. McDougall, Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997), Chapters Six, Eight.
E.g., President Bill Clinton, A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement (Washington: The White House, July 1994), pp. 1, 18-20.
This stress on “New Age” functional issues is evident, for example, in President Clinton’s remarks at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s 119th commencement, New London, CT, May 17, 2000.
Jim Hoagland, “Russia Into the Vacuum,” Washington Post, November 21, 1997, p. A27. E.g., Robert Kagan, “The Benevolent Empire,” Foreign Policy, Summer
ABC News, “This Week,” November 5, 1995, Federal News Service transcript, p. 18. ABC News, "This Week,” March 28, 1999, ABC News transcript #909, pp. 10, 12. Speaker Dennis J. Hastert, “Securing America’s Future,” address before the Mid-America Committee, Chicago, January 10, 2000, p. 2. U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, op. cit., p. 6.
Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 3d ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962), pp. 563-564. Josef Joffe, “ ‘Bismarck’ or ‘Britain’? Toward an American Grand Strategy after Bipolarity,” International Security, Spring 1995, pp. 98-101. Joseph S. Nye, “Redefining the National Interest,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 1999, pp. 28-30. Joffe, loc. cit., pp. 102-105. Ibid., p. 110.
Josef Joffe, “How America Does It,” Foreign Affairs, September/October 1997, p. 22.
There is also doubt whether Moscow ever intended it as a serious initiative. The idea originated in a casual response by Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov to a news conference question in New Delhi. See ITAR-TASS World Service reportage, December 21, 1998, in FBIS-SOV-98-355, 21 December 1998, and K.K Katyal, “The concept of a ‘strategic triangle,’” The Hindu, December 29, 1998. The Hindu, May 1, 1997, quoted in U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, “U.S. Image in a ‘Unipolar’ World: Foreign Media Perspectives,” Issue Focus, May 1, 1997, p. 10.
See Peter W. Rodman, Between Friendship and Rivalry: China and America in the 21st Century (Washington: The Nixon Center, June 1998).
Coral Bell, “American Ascendancy and the Pretense of Concert,” The National Interest, Fall 1999, p. 60 (emphasis in original). Karsten D. Voigt, “The Discussion of a European Security and Defense Policy: Labor Pains of a New Atlanticism,” speech at a seminar of the Washington Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, March 8, 2000, p. 10. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Védrine, address at the opening of the conference “Into the 21st” of the Institut Français des Relations Internationales, Paris, November 3, 1999. Colum Lynch, “U.S. Arms Policy Is Criticized at U.N.,” Washington Post, April 25, 2000, p. A18. William Hartung quoted in Jonathan Alter, “Swords vs. Shields,” Newsweek, May 8, 2000, p. 44. Statement of Mikhail Wehbe (Syria) to the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, New York, April 26, 2000 (United Nations Press Release DC/2698, 26 April 2000), p. 3. Statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, New York, April 24, 2000 (United Nations Press Release SG/SM/7367, 24 April 2000, p. 2. See Victoria Nuland, “Fear and Loathing in the Unipolar World,” paper written for the Council on Foreign Relations, draft of February 18, 2000, p. 11.
112 111 110 109 108 107 106
CONCLUSION: A NEW GRAND BARGAIN?
See the Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 on the Accession of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, May 4, 1998, in Cong. Rec., May 4, 1998, pp. S4217-4220, esp. Sec. 3(A).
Henry Kissinger, Years of Renewal (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), Chapter 22, esp. pp. 692-697.
Green quoted in Tyler Marshall and Jim Mann, “Goodwill Toward U.S. Is Dwindling Globally,” Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2000. U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, Seeking a National Strategy: A Concert for Preserving Security and Promoting Freedom (Washington: U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, April 15, 2000), pp. 6, 13; Joseph S. Nye, Jr. “Redefining the National Interest,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 1999, pp. 28-30.
Gerald B. Helman and Steven R. Ratner, “Saving Failed States,” Foreign Policy, Winter 1992.
Sen. Jesse Helms, address before the UN Security Council, New York, January 20, 2000. China may build as many as 1,000 new ballistic missiles in the coming decade, mostly of short and medium ranges. See Mark A. Stokes, “Weapons of Precise Destruction: PLA Space and Theater Missile Development,” in Central Intelligence Agency/National Intelligence Council and Library of Congress/Federal Research Division, China and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Implications for the United States, Conference Report CR-99-05, November 5, 1999 (Washington: National Intelligence Council, April 2000), p. 194. Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, Report pursuant to Public Law 201, 104th Congress, Executive Summary (Washington: July 15, 1998).
121 120 119
Henry Kissinger, “Our Nearsighted World Vision,” Washington Post, January 10, 2000.
I want to thank the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the Lockheed Martin Corporation for their generous support of The Nixon Center’s national security programs, including this monograph. Meghan Bradley, as usual, provided expert, patient, and invaluable editorial and production assistance. Daniel Davenport and Ashley Neese were exceptionally able research assistants. A number of colleagues and friends contributed wise advice and ideas during the course of this project. I am particularly grateful to Dimitri K. Simes, Robert Ellsworth, Henry Kissinger, Josef Joffe, and Charles Krauthammer for their comments on the manuscript. I also benefited from a discussion of these issues at a Nixon Center workshop on March 17, 2000, whose participants included Josef Joffe, François Heisbourg, Charles Krauthammer, Singapore Ambassador to the United States Heng-Chee Chan, Robert Ellsworth, Dimitri K. Simes, Bruce Jackson, and Geoffrey Kemp. None of these individuals can be held responsible for, or be assumed to agree with, the final content, which is my own and my own responsibility. I must also thank The National Interest, and its editor Owen Harries and executive editor Lawrence Kaplan, for printing an adaptation of Chapter I in the journal’s Summer 2000 issue. Peter W. Rodman Washington, DC June 2000
NIXON CENTER MONOGRAPHS
STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT SERIES
Peter W. Rodman, America Adrift: A Strategic Assessment, foreword by Henry A. Kissinger, 1996. Peter W. Rodman, Broken Triangle: China, Russia, and America after 25 Years, foreword by Senator John McCain, 1997 Peter W. Rodman, Between Friendship and Rivalry: China and America in the 21st Century, foreword by Dimitri K. Simes, June 1998. Peter W. Rodman, Drifting Apart? Trends in U.S.-European Relations, foreword by Robert F. Ellsworth, June 1999.
Geoffrey Kemp, Energy Superbowl: Strategic Politics in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Basin, foreword by Lionel H. Olmer, 1997. Geoffrey Kemp, America and Iran: Road Maps and Realism, 1998. David M. Lampton and Gregory C. May, Managing U.S.-China Relations In The Twenty-First Century, September 1999. Dmitriy Ryurikov, Russia Survives, foreword by Robert F. Ellsworth, December 1999. Dov S. Zakheim, Congress and National Security in the post-Cold War Era, October 1998. The Paris Agreement on Vietnam: Twenty-five Years Later: Conference Transcript, April 1998.
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