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It is currently fashionable to predict a decline in the United States' power. But the United States is not in absolute decline, and in relative terms, there is a reasonable probability that it will remain more powerful than any other state in the coming decades.
Leslie Gelb's skepticism of "smart power" is misguided; it is only by combining the strategies of both hard and soft power that the United States can achieve its ends.
George W. Bush wants to be remembered as a president who left a lasting mark on U.S. foreign policy. His emphasis on spreading democracy and reshaping the Middle East is a manifestation of this drive. But the results of his management style and policy choices -- especially the invasion of Iraq -- may have already denied him that legacy.
The Bush administration may dismiss the relevance of soft power, but it does so at great peril. Success in the war on terrorism depends on Washington's capacity to persuade others without force, and that capacity is in dangerous decline.
The Bush administration's new national security strategy gets much right but may turn out to be myopic. The world has changed in ways that make it impossible for the most dominant power since Rome to go it alone. U.S. policymakers must realize that power today lies not only in the might of one's sword but in the appeal of one's ideas.
From Seattle to Quebec City, antiglobalization protesters have complained that international institutions are illegitimate because they are undemocratic. To fight this perception, global organizations need to increase transparency, improve accountability, and think harder about norms for global governance.
NATO's poorly planned adventure in Kosovo has brought a critical question to the fore: just how should Americans define their national interest in the information age? The Soviet Union is gone, and an information revolution has transformed the nature of power. Few "A list" threats to American security loom large today. Global telecommunications have made humanitarian crises in far-flung places impossible to ignore. But before the United States embarks on another costly human rights crusade, Americans should recognize that moral values are only part of a foreign policy. Other essential priorities remain. If Washington neglects to handle the "A list," the consequences for global peace and prosperity will be dire.
Throughout this century, modernists have been proclaiming that technology would transform world politics. These days futurists argue that the information revolution is leading to a new electronic feudalism, with overlapping communities laying claim to citizens' loyalties. But the state is very resilient. Geographically based states will continue to structure politics in an information age, but they will rely less on traditional resources and more on their ability to remain credible to a public with increasingly diverse sources of information.
The American century, far from being over, is on the way. The information revolution, which capsized the Soviet Union and propelled Japan to eminence, has altered the equation of national power. America leads the world in the new technologies. Its emerging military systems can thwart any threat. On the "soft-power" side, it projects its ideals and other countries follow. To prevent an information race, America must share its lead; to preserve its reputation, it must keep its house in order.
Security is like oxygen: you tend not to notice it until you lose it. A continued U.S. presence in East Asia provides the oxygen that is so crucial for the region's stability and economic prosperity. Critics who call the Clinton administration's strategy myopic misunderstand the firm U.S. alliance with Japan and the importance of East Asia to U.S. national interests. The United States must maintain its troops, develop regional institutions, bolster its allies, and remain deeply engaged in Asia.
Policymakers need estimative intelligence to help them understand the more diffuse and ambiguous threats and opportunities of the post-Cold War world. Ideological divisions are less likely to obstruct analysis, but greater uncertainties make analysis more difficult. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the scope of and need for estimative intelligence. Rather than trying to predict the future, analysts should deal with heightened uncertainty by presenting alternative scenarios.
US foreign policy has had to resile from the heady optimism of the Bush administration, which "thought and acted like Nixon, but borrowed the rhetoric of Wilson and Carter". An examination of how the phrase 'new world order' has been interpreted in different quarters of the US policy-making establishment.
Freed from fixation on the struggle against the USSR, the USA "will need to think more broadly about the role of arms control in world politics", and will find itself sharing the same concerns as the USSR in respect of weapons and technology proliferation. Offers guidelines for US foreign policy (1) set realistic goals (2) co-operate with a reforming USSR while taking steps to reduce the risk of deteriorating relations should a counter-reformation occur.
There is disagreement on the relevance of the Cuban missile crisis to today's world. Either there are many lessons, emphasizing the need for flexibility, precision and caution, or there are none, because the nuclear danger in 1962 was imaginary and represented only a failure to comprehend US military superiority. One can conclude that the crisis should not be dismissed as irrelevant; certain crucial factors have not changed. But there is a need for caution in attempting to read from it simple lessons in crisis management. See also Cohen in 1986:03556
Failure on the part of the superpowers to negotiate on strategic nuclear weapons could bring about the end of arms control as a tool of international politics. Various technical and political problems with 'deep cuts' are outlined, and cuts of between 25% and 30% are advocated as sufficient to allay public concern, but not so great as to put deterrence in jeopardy. Internal debate on SDI should not hinder this process.
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