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Thread: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

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    Master of the Horse Senior Member Pindar's Avatar
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    Default U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Below is a piece by Daniel Drezner. It is from a Dec. 17 Washington Post article. The article looks at some of the views sparing to be the new grand strategy of the U.S. in the new century. I have bolded the various works cited for those who may want to look further into the issues put forward.

    Daniel W. Drezner teaches international politics at Tufts University and is author of the forthcoming "All Politics Is Global" (Princeton University Press).

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    "Two major public statements, coming less than a week apart, nicely capture the confusion besetting U.S. foreign policy these days.
    The first is the report of the Iraq Study Group, released on Dec. 6. In good old-fashioned "realist" style, the report offers nothing about how to promote democracy and human rights in the Middle East, focusing instead on the single-minded, amoral pursuit of the U.S. national interest.

    Just five days later, outgoing U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan delivered his valedictory address, imploring Americans to uphold human rights and the rule of law in prosecuting the war on terrorism -- idealism at its purest.
    Meanwhile, the public seems to want one thing: change. A Washington Post-ABC News survey last week found that eight in 10 Americans favor a new direction for the U.S. mission in Iraq.
    In this climate, policy heavyweights from Washington to New York to Boston are grasping for the Next Big Idea, the grand strategy that will guide U.S. foreign policy in a post-Iraq world and earn its creator fame and, if not fortune, perhaps a spot on the next administration's foreign-policy team. So who will be the next George Kennan? The current strategies on offer in various books and articles include new buzzwords, promising ideas -- and miles to go before a consensus emerges.
    Mere dissatisfaction with today's foreign policy doesn't guarantee that a new vision will take its place. As Jeffrey Legro, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, recently pointed out in his book "Rethinking the World: Great Power Strategies and International Order," a lot is required for a real shift in worldviews. A new strategy must be more than visionary; it must provide attractive and practical solutions to current challenges. During the Cold War, containment's appeal was that it offered a coherent vision for how to deal with the Soviet Union, as well as concrete policy steps that flowed from that vision.
    The main force behind the containment strategy was George Kennan, also known as "X," the author of the classic 1947 Foreign Affairs article "The Sources of Soviet Conduct." Kennan proposed countering any Soviet encroachment into the non-communist world with a mix of military deterrence and soft power, while trying to exploit divisions within the communist bloc. He cautioned against "threats or blustering or superfluous gestures of outward 'toughness.' " Kennan achieved something all too rare in the world of politics: At a crucial moment, he came up with a big idea that was both influential and correct. His doctrine seems measured, prudent and -- most important -- successful. In other words, containment was everything that neoconservatism isn't.
    One candidate for a new grand strategy is found in "The Case for Goliath: How America Acts as the World's Government in the 21st Century" by political scientist Michael Mandelbaum. He argues that the United States is the foundation for any peaceful global order, because only Washington can provide the security assurances, protection of vital sea lanes and large, open consumer markets that the world needs. To remain strong, he writes, the country must ease its dependence on foreign oil and control its entitlement spending.
    Points in favor: Mandelbaum offers both a vision of the world and specific policies flowing from that worldview. Strikes against: This approach too closely resembles the Bush administration's current strategy, and people are looking for change. Sorry, Mandelbaum -- the nays have it.
    Beltway wonks Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman offer a different perspective in "Ethical Realism: A Vision for America's Role in the World." They want U.S. foreign policy to return to the realist tenets of past luminaries such as Hans Morgenthau, Reinhold Niebuhr and (of course) George Kennan. Ethical realists do not disdain democracy or human rights, but think that Americans should promote these goals by building a stronger democracy at home and thus leading by example, not by hectoring others to be more like us.
    Ethical realism is not isolationist; Lieven and Hulsman think Washington must deepen global markets together with nations such as China, India and Russia. This would require a conscious retrenchment of U.S. power in places where it could irritate other major players, such as Ukraine or the Korean peninsula. In return, Lieven and Hulsman argue, economic interdependence will help spread peace.
    Points in favor: Ethical realism proposes a set of specific and prudent policies, and retrenchment is consistent with the current U.S. mood. Strikes against: Lieven and Hulsman may place too much faith in the power of markets. They think that growing middle classes will drain the swamp of terrorists when, in fact, terrorists do some of their best recruiting within these groups.
    Francis Fukuyama, already immortalized for his "End of History" thesis, serves up a new buzz term in his book "America at the Crossroads : Democracy, Power and the Neoconservative Legacy ," proposing a policy of "realistic Wilsonianism." The Wilsonian in Fukuyama argues that to build a stable world order, what happens within nations matters as much as what happens between them. The United States should therefore continue to support democracy, human rights and free markets worldwide. The realist in Fukuyama, however, recognizes that outsiders have little ability to affect societies' internal affairs. The best channel for U.S. power, Fukuyama advises, "is not through the exercise of military power but through the ability of the United States to shape international institutions" such as the United Nations and NATO, thus offering Washington the velvet glove of multilateral legitimacy.

    Points in favor: By proposing a "multi-multilateralism" of overlapping institutions, Fukuyama bridges realist and Wilsonian principles. Strikes against: Fukuyama seems to focus more on process than outcome, and lacks the scope and detail necessary for a grand strategy. "Realistic Wilsonianism" will be a useful adjunct to the next grand strategy, but cannot claim the mantle alone.
    In "Forging a World of Liberty Under Law," G. John Ikenberry and Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University go further in stressing the rule of law as a way to advance U.S. national interest. The document was the final report of the Princeton Project on National Security, a multi-year effort involving hundreds of foreign-policy analysts (myself included), led by Ikenberry and Slaughter to write, as they put it, a "collective X article."
    To their credit, the two make explicit a point that others have not: Kennan had it easy. In his time, the United States faced only one obvious threat, the Soviet Union. In contrast, Ikenberry and Slaughter argue that "ours is a world lacking a single organizing principle for foreign policy," with "many present dangers, several long-term challenges and countless opportunities." Multiple threats call for multiple responses. This includes using international law and institutions to channel and augment U.S. power and influence; creating a "concert of democracies"; and advocating the peaceful promotion of popular, accountable and "rights-regarding" governments.
    Points in favor: They recognize that it's a complex world out there. Plus, Democrats listen to Ikenberry and Slaughter, so don't be surprised if the Princeton Project gains traction in 2008. Strikes against: The point of having a grand strategy is to prioritize, and this strategy doesn't. This problem may have been inevitable; Kennan alone will always trump Kennan by committee.
    On at least one key dimension, all the contenders for Kennan's throne agree. They all stress the importance of fostering open markets to advance economic development and U.S. power. Just one problem: As Benjamin Page and Marshall Bouton point out in "The Foreign Policy Disconnect: What Americans Want From Our Leaders but Don't Get ," the greatest gap between U.S. policy elites and the American public revolves precisely around international economic policy. As the recent midterm elections demonstrated, economic populism plays far better with Americans today than does free trade.
    The grand strategy that wins out in the end may be the one that -- regardless of specific positions on Iraq or terrorism -- convinces Americans that it is possible to have free and fair trade at the same time. By a hair, then, the front-runner is Lieven and Hulsman's ethical realism. By economizing on other forms of power projection, ethical realism potentially frees up resources to cushion the domestic costs of globalization.
    At present, however, there is little consensus on a Kennan-like grand strategy. But remember, Kennan's strategy looks a lot better now than it did during the Cold War. The precise definition of containment "was at best ambiguous and lent itself to misinterpretation," Kennan acknowledged in his memoirs. Certainly, Jimmy Carter interpreted containment differently than did Ronald Reagan, who interpreted it differently than did Henry Kissinger.
    The foreign-policy establishment may be stumbling around right now, searching for the one strategy to rule them all. It is possible, however, that what looks like disarray today may appear smarter, better -- grander? -- in the future."
    Last edited by Pindar; 01-01-2007 at 04:14.

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    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    So, do you think America is going to continue with this?

    Neocon 101

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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Ah, nice article.

    Completely contrary to the author, I would place Lieven and Hulsman's ethical realism last on my list of preferred Grand Strategies.

    They want U.S. foreign policy to return to the realist tenets of past luminaries such as Hans Morgenthau, Reinhold Niebuhr and (of course) George Kennan. Ethical realists do not disdain democracy or human rights, but think that Americans should promote these goals by building a stronger democracy at home and thus leading by example, not by hectoring others to be more like us.


    My runner-up is Fukuyama, he makes sense and I always trust his political intuition.

    Francis Fukuyama proposes a policy of "realistic Wilsonianism." The Wilsonian in Fukuyama argues that to build a stable world order, what happens within nations matters as much as what happens between them. The United States should therefore continue to support democracy, human rights and free markets worldwide. The realist in Fukuyama, however, recognizes that outsiders have little ability to affect societies' internal affairs. The best channel for U.S. power, Fukuyama advises, "is not through the exercise of military power but through the ability of the United States to shape international institutions" such as the United Nations and NATO, thus offering Washington the velvet glove of multilateral legitimacy.


    My clear winners though are G. John Ikenberry and Anne-Marie Slaughter.

    They go further in stressing the rule of law as a way to advance U.S. national interest. Ikenberry and Slaughter argue that "ours is a world lacking a single organizing principle for foreign policy," with "many present dangers, several long-term challenges and countless opportunities." Multiple threats call for multiple responses. This includes using international law and institutions to channel and augment U.S. power and influence; creating a "concert of democracies"; and advocating the peaceful promotion of popular, accountable and "rights-regarding" governments.
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    Come to daddy Member Geoffrey S's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Article
    The best channel for U.S. power, Fukuyama advises, "is not through the exercise of military power but through the ability of the United States to shape international institutions" such as the United Nations and NATO, thus offering Washington the velvet glove of multilateral legitimacy.
    A point I agree with, and one which has been sorely missed by the current administration.
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    L'Etranger Senior Member Banquo's Ghost's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Very interesting article, Pindar - thank you.

    The references bear following up, but my initial reaction would be to agree with Louis' order of priority. Perhaps that shows up a euro-centric viewpoint, so it will be interesting to see how our American posters see things.

    I agree with the author that the American people appear increasingly distrustful towards globalised "free" trade, just as the European peoples are. This has the potential to be far more destructive of international relations than terrorism.
    "If there is a sin against life, it consists not so much in despairing as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this one."
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    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Banquo's Ghost
    ... American people appear increasingly distrustful towards globalised "free" trade, just as the European peoples are. This has the potential to be far more destructive of international relations than terrorism.
    Now, there is a concept that bears additional study/watching. For many here (US non-business owners) globalization = job loss, at least in terms of perception.

    Pannonian wrote: So, do you think America is going to continue with this?

    Neocon 101
    I think Neoconservatism, as defined by that CS Monitor article, was predicated on the use of surgically-applied force being sufficient to quell trouble-spots/areas of US interest world-wide, without much concern for the variety and depth of likely resistance. I don't think Mr. Bush was/is so much a neocon himself; rather I think he pulled that policy "off the shelf" so to speak, to fill the gap created by his lack of any foreign policy at the beginning of his administration. 'Shock and Awe' will win the first round, but it's insufficient to go all 12 rounds.

    I think he'll ditch it, in favor of some blending of the approaches in Pindar's cited article, with a healthy dose of whatever advice he gets from 2nd-tier military leaders (Division & Corps Commanders). In short, with 2 years remaining, Iraq will drive foreign policy, IMO.

    The next guy (or woman) will get the job of clean-up, mending fences, tweaking trade, etc.
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

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    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by KukriKhan
    I think Neoconservatism, as defined by that CS Monitor article, was predicated on the use of surgically-applied force being sufficient to quell trouble-spots/areas of US interest world-wide, without much concern for the variety and depth of likely resistance. I don't think Mr. Bush was/is so much a neocon himself; rather I think he pulled that policy "off the shelf" so to speak, to fill the gap created by his lack of any foreign policy at the beginning of his administration. 'Shock and Awe' will win the first round, but it's insufficient to go all 12 rounds.
    There's an adjunct to that essay, neocon think tanks, which describes neocon grand strategy in more detail. AEI and PNAC are particularly notorious, but there's also a 1992 Defense strategy document penned by Wolfowitz and co which GHW Bush binned as lunatic.

    Defense Planning Guidance

    The number one objective of U.S. post-Cold War political and military strategy should be preventing the emergence of a rival superpower.

    "Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.


    Since the USSR was dead and disintegrated by that time, it's hard to interpret the above passage as anything but a willingness to threaten the EU (and other regions) with force if it should ever get lippy.

    There are other documents to be found on the PNAC site that basically proclaim America uber Alles, sod any hint of multilateralism and threaten others into submission. By America uber Alles, that means the US gets to dictate the course of the rest of the world since it is the only superpower in the world, and no-one else is allowed to approach that status on pain of war with America. All justified with arguments about freedom and democracy (since America is the undisputed symbol of such), but which pretty much amounts to world domination.

    Quote Originally Posted by KukriKhan
    I think he'll ditch it, in favor of some blending of the approaches in Pindar's cited article, with a healthy dose of whatever advice he gets from 2nd-tier military leaders (Division & Corps Commanders). In short, with 2 years remaining, Iraq will drive foreign policy, IMO.
    He's still dragging his feet over the wrongness of the current course of action. Blair has (yet again) offered some good advice, but Bush has (yet again) rejected it. Whatever subsequent policy, whoever next wins their country's respective elections, I think Britain will be looking to distance itself from Washington as a matter of doctrine.

    Quote Originally Posted by KukriKhan
    The next guy (or woman) will get the job of clean-up, mending fences, tweaking trade, etc.
    The main problem subsequent administrations will face is that no-one will listen to the Americans any more. Perhaps a 3rd B Clinton or a 2nd GHW Bush term might be able to draw on old sentiments, but the damage to American influence wreaked by Dubya has been jaw-droppingly extreme.

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    L'Etranger Senior Member Banquo's Ghost's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Pannonian, I think your concerns about the neo-con agenda in its more extreme form are unfounded. Many of those documents and thinkers were and are considered way off on the fringe. Whilst of course there will be a desire that the USA remains "Top Nation", the lengths the American people would allow their politicians to go to are limited - as we have recently seen. If history tells us anything, it is that even superpowers cannot turn the tide of history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian
    The main problem subsequent administrations will face is that no-one will listen to the Americans any more. Perhaps a 3rd B Clinton or a 2nd GHW Bush term might be able to draw on old sentiments, but the damage to American influence wreaked by Dubya has been jaw-droppingly extreme.
    Again, I think this much too pessimistic. The USA is still the crucial lynch-pin of Western civilisation and no-one can afford to ignore them or treat them as pariahs. Quite the reverse, we should go all out to welcome any moves towards a return to multi-lateralism, whilst accepting the US' natural leadership. We should want to listen to them, because we hope they will returned to talking to us rather that at us.

    American influence is not diminished by the decisions of the Bush era. The pendulum swung to the nadir of influence through force of power, rather than the influence of persuasion through example. Like all pendula, it is likely to swing back soon enough.
    "If there is a sin against life, it consists not so much in despairing as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this one."
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    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Banquo's Ghost
    Pannonian, I think your concerns about the neo-con agenda in its more extreme form are unfounded. Many of those documents and thinkers were and are considered way off on the fringe. Whilst of course there will be a desire that the USA remains "Top Nation", the lengths the American people would allow their politicians to go to are limited - as we have recently seen. If history tells us anything, it is that even superpowers cannot turn the tide of history.
    What was worrying was how much US policy seemed to be influenced by these loony fringes. What is worrying is how much US policy continues to be influenced by these loony fringes. Remember the media rush that prepared the public for war with Iraq? Recognise the same preparing us for war with Iran? Same ingredients, same writers, and AFAICS the same reactions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Banquo's Ghost
    Again, I think this much too pessimistic. The USA is still the crucial lynch-pin of Western civilisation and no-one can afford to ignore them or treat them as pariahs. Quite the reverse, we should go all out to welcome any moves towards a return to multi-lateralism, whilst accepting the US' natural leadership. We should want to listen to them, because we hope they will returned to talking to us rather that at us.

    American influence is not diminished by the decisions of the Bush era. The pendulum swung to the nadir of influence through force of power, rather than the influence of persuasion through example. Like all pendula, it is likely to swing back soon enough.
    But why would anyone want to listen to Washington in the future? The example of Britain has shown that there's nothing to be gained by following them every step of the way, or trying to influence policies from inside the tent. Other countries, Poland among them, have complained about broken promises for which they entered the Iraq venture. Sensible governments, learning from these examples, will in the future only lend their support as mercenaries, extracting as high a price as possible, paid in advance. Once trust is gone, only force or money remain.

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    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Once trust is gone, only force or money remain.
    I had an ex-wife aim those words at me once (just before she became 'ex') (BTW, it was all in her mind, I'd done nothing untrustworthy - but being deployed 10 out of 12 months for years made her suspicious).

    Way back in 2001, in this very forum, senior member Idaho asked a question or made a comment that set me back on my heels. I actually forget his words, but they forced me to re-think my worldview, including the assumption that American-style representative capitalist democracy was a one-size-fits-all best solution to any nation's or group's ills. I think neocon-ism makes that same mistaken assumption, and therefore should be discarded as a not well-enough thought-through concept, and ultimately "so 70's".
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

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    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by KukriKhan
    I had an ex-wife aim those words at me once (just before she became 'ex') (BTW, it was all in her mind, I'd done nothing untrustworthy - but being deployed 10 out of 12 months for years made her suspicious).
    To clarify my point, by force, I mean how previous hegemonic powers coerced their "allies" into supplying their share of the effort - Athens being a good example. By money, I mean how the US buys support from smaller countries when it needs a vote in the UN.

    Quote Originally Posted by KukriKhan
    Way back in 2001, in this very forum, senior member Idaho asked a question or made a comment that set me back on my heels. I actually forget his words, but they forced me to re-think my worldview, including the assumption that American-style representative capitalist democracy was a one-size-fits-all best solution to any nation's or group's ills. I think neocon-ism makes that same mistaken assumption, and therefore should be discarded as a not well-enough thought-through concept, and ultimately "so 70's".
    I have no doubt that Americanism is still a desirable concept - I've explained before the old American ideals that many of us still believe in. The difference is that many people no longer think America is the best purveyor of these American/liberal ideals (the US is a fundamentally liberal country). And after the Bush administration, many people think that US administrations can no longer be trusted to act in good faith, destroying a reputation built by 60 years of previous governments. Let's face it, after the way Britain has been treated in the Iraq war, would any electorate want their government to be exploited in the same way? Wouldn't it be more prudent to demand and be paid as high a price as you can extort before committing yourself to action?

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    L'Etranger Senior Member Banquo's Ghost's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian
    What was worrying was how much US policy seemed to be influenced by these loony fringes. What is worrying is how much US policy continues to be influenced by these loony fringes. Remember the media rush that prepared the public for war with Iraq? Recognise the same preparing us for war with Iran? Same ingredients, same writers, and AFAICS the same reactions.
    Time will tell, but aside from the oft-reported minority of strident voices, I can't see any appetite in the US electorate for a war with Iran. Certainly not before Iraq is sorted out, and that task will outlast Bush's tenure. The sabre-rattling may be there, but that's because that's almost all they have left.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian
    But why would anyone want to listen to Washington in the future? The example of Britain has shown that there's nothing to be gained by following them every step of the way, or trying to influence policies from inside the tent. Other countries, Poland among them, have complained about broken promises for which they entered the Iraq venture. Sensible governments, learning from these examples, will in the future only lend their support as mercenaries, extracting as high a price as possible, paid in advance. Once trust is gone, only force or money remain.
    Countries will listen to Washington because they have to and want to. Nothing has changed. I can't see much in the way of schadenfreude over the calamity in Iraq, more a profound sense of despair. It's not spoken of much in European capitals, but there was a certain perverse hope that the Pax Americana idea would work. No-one sane wants to be the world's policeman, so if they wanted the job, it meant we could save lots of money and grief.

    Trust? You never struck me as an idealist, Pannonian. Politicians should never trust another nation. Respect, work with, even be friends with - but trust in international politics gets you into Mr Blair's paradox. Force and money make the world go round, for sure.

    Maybe the abilities to listen and hear go a long way too.
    "If there is a sin against life, it consists not so much in despairing as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this one."
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Banquo's Ghost
    The references bear following up, but my initial reaction would be to agree with Louis' order of priority. Perhaps that shows up a euro-centric viewpoint, so it will be interesting to see how our American posters see things.
    That same thought occured to me too: that our preference is perhaps more telling of our Euro-centric view than anything else. Oh well, when presented with a list of conservative American foreign policy strategies we, inhabitants of weakling states, would pick the one that emphasises the rule of law and strives towards a 'concert of democracies', wouldn't we?

    Judging by the notable absense of the Americans in this thread - except for Kukrikhan - they seem to have lost their appetite for foreign policy at the moment. Can't blame too them after the havoc the neo-cons wreaked in recent years.
    Is that brothers Grimm fairly tale of 'the Pied Piper of Hamelin' known across the Atlantic? For it would appear as if America, just like Hamelin, hadn't been paying attention and allowed piper Bush to lead their sons and daughters away to their doom. And all of that just for their desire for less taxes and prayers at school. Typed for no other reason than to use a new English phrase I've recently learned: they're now paying the piper.

    However: I do not take any delight in America's loss of foreign prestige and influence. Indeed, and it's what Banquo hinted at to, I'd sign up immediately for a Pax Americana that would last until my and my eventual childrens final days.
    There is no american empire and no appetite for it in America either. And even insofar as it resembles one, it is so benign in character it is completely unrelated to any other historical empires. What I dread rather is an isolationist America. Peace and stability are not a natural given for Europe, and I think many Europeans would be in for a nasty surprise if the free ride under Americas wings they've enjoyed for the past sixty years were to dissapear.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian
    But why would anyone want to listen to Washington in the future?
    That's too much drama. America is down right now, but it will be so only for a brief time. Everything I know about America tells me they will be back on their feet before their critics are done laughing.
    The capacity to reinvent itself and start anew is one of America's outstanding virtues. That goes for both the country and its citizens.
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    Master of the Horse Senior Member Pindar's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    I'm glad several have liked the topic and the various ideas shared in the article.

    Neo-conservatism was the early contender for a new grand strategy. I don't think Bush personally is a neo-conservative. I do think his inner circle was or became so. The Bush Doctrine is clearly neo-conservative in its thrust. The perceived failures of or backlash to neo-conservatism relate to the Administration's failure to properly match an attending and sustained rhetoric to their actions. Iraq is the prime example.

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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Pindar
    The Bush Doctrine is clearly neo-conservative in its thrust. The perceived failures of or backlash to neo-conservatism relate to the Administration's failure to properly match an attending and sustained rhetoric to their actions.
    Maybe someone should've explained to them the difference between preventive and pre-emptive.
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    I think the current search for a new grand strategy is an example of America's greatest weakness, its inability to pursue a course.

    The current plan in both Iraq and Afganistan is the same and in both cases it's a good plan. The problem is that the actions of the Americans have not matched their objectives. America wants to be top dog, in order to maintain the position they have to be respected, predictably fair (which is not the same as being predictable) and they have to be militarily potent.

    Currently they have a reputation for screwing over their allies, have lost a great deal of respect and are no longer seen as either militarily or ecenomically potent. The only reason they remain on top is because no one is in a position to knock them off yet.

    America is on the way out now.

    God help us all, because we're going to need it.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."

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    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Wigferth Ironwall
    I think the current search for a new grand strategy is an example of America's greatest weakness, its inability to pursue a course.
    America's greatest weakness is its idealistic foundations, and its wish to impose its idealism on the real world. This leads to polarised views of the world, which we all know is a bad thing. Instead of being able to adapt to different perspectives of the world according to the region they are operating in, they impose a "one size fits all" solution (to quote Kukrikhan), and agonise when it doesn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wigferth Ironwall
    Currently they have a reputation for screwing over their allies, have lost a great deal of respect and are no longer seen as either militarily or ecenomically potent. The only reason they remain on top is because no one is in a position to knock them off yet.

    America is on the way out now.

    God help us all, because we're going to need it.
    Their best option might have been to rely more on the British and French, who are allied with the US and share an extremely similar worldview while having oodles of colonial experience in being all things to all people. However, they've alienated both with Iraq, and Britain's part in the war has left it unwilling and unable to join any more American enterprises for the forseeable future. If the US is smart, it should demand that Israel repay US investments by divvying up troops to free up the British in less sensitive areas, and try to make nice with the British again. Otherwise it should expect to go it alone - what the neocons should have noted is that unilateralism in policy leads to unilateralism in effort.
    Last edited by Pannonian; 01-02-2007 at 22:38.

  18. #18
    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    That is an excellant point, four of our six Combat Brigades are deployed and the other two must remain in reserve. We have other Battalions but we lack the ability to actually deploy cohesive, properly supported units. This problem has only been worsened by the defence reform, which has hamstrung our Navy and Airforce, leaving us unable to opperate effectively on our own. I've read some of the White Paper and is explicitely says the UK should be prepared to support US led ventures.

    That lost the Army an Officer Candidate.
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    Master of the Horse Senior Member Pindar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re : Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis VI the Fat
    Maybe someone should've explained to them the difference between preventive and pre-emptive.
    Maybe, but the perceived failings of the Bush Doctrine are tied to the occupation/rebuilding of Iraq, not the forced removal of the Hussein regime.

    "We are lovers of beauty without extravagance and of learning without loss of vigor." -Thucydides

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    Master of the Horse Senior Member Pindar's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian
    America's greatest weakness is its idealistic foundations, and its wish to impose its idealism on the real world. This leads to polarised views of the world, which we all know is a bad thing. Instead of being able to adapt to different perspectives of the world according to the region they are operating in, they impose a "one size fits all" solution (to quote Kukrikhan), and agonise when it doesn't work.
    This is interesting. Does this mean you reject the basic notion of popular sovereignty or constitutional rights claims in general?

    "We are lovers of beauty without extravagance and of learning without loss of vigor." -Thucydides

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  21. #21
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Pindar
    This is interesting. Does this mean you reject the basic notion of popular sovereignty or constitutional rights claims in general?
    It means I reject the imposition of the liberal model and liberal rules on every situation.

  22. #22
    probably bored Member BDC's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Well I think rule number 1 would be "no more silly invasions"...

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    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by BDC
    Well I think rule number 1 would be "no more silly invasions"...
    Rule 2: any military adventures (that might become silly invasions) must be withdrawn within 30 days, unless sanctioned by a congressional declaration of war.

    This is good. Let's craft our own.
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

  24. #24
    Feeding the Peanut Gallery Senior Member Redleg's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by KukriKhan
    Rule 2: any military adventures (that might become silly invasions) must be withdrawn within 30 days, unless sanctioned by a congressional declaration of war.

    This is good. Let's craft our own.
    Rule 3.

    No more authorizations for the use of force by congress.
    O well, seems like 'some' people decide to ruin a perfectly valid threat. Nice going guys... doc bean

  25. #25
    probably bored Member BDC's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by Redleg
    Rule 3.

    No more authorizations for the use of force by congress.
    Cunning plan. Invade, win, take the credit, let allies spend the next deade getting blown up because they didn't have the balls to say no (although might happen less with Blair gone)...

  26. #26
    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Yesdachi’s proposed U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century: Pillage.
    Peace in Europe will never stay, because I play Medieval II Total War every day. ~YesDachi

  27. #27
    Feeding the Peanut Gallery Senior Member Redleg's Avatar
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    Default Re: U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century

    Quote Originally Posted by BDC
    Cunning plan. Invade, win, take the credit, let allies spend the next deade getting blown up because they didn't have the balls to say no (although might happen less with Blair gone)...
    Then you shouldn't be to upset with the current adminstration .

    If congress would get away from the authorization for the use of force legislation and back to declarations of war - certain actions will have to be better reviewed before attempting. The United States Congress must first take back its authority that it has allowed the other two branches to usurp.
    O well, seems like 'some' people decide to ruin a perfectly valid threat. Nice going guys... doc bean

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