If I were President


The If I were President article at Foreign Policy magazine is interesting. Not so much for stark differences in content to Bush's "foreign policy" but stark contrasts in tone.

European integration and demilitarisation has only been achieved with the support of a powerful US military. The realisation of the EU has seen a bitterly divided arena at the time of World War II reach a point where a conflict between European powers is pretty much unimaginable. Equally, the substantial demilitarisation of European countries to the point where we do peace keeping but little else, with exceptions, has deliberately bolstered the power of the US.

The UK & France have nukes but I, having experienced Tony Blair as our Prime Minister as our leader for 6 years, doubt very much whether they would ever be used even in the event of a nuclear attack on the UK.

The US has crafted for itself a role, with the cooperation of others, as "bad cop" versus the EU's "good cop" of mutual understanding, multi-lateralism and faith in international institutions. The authority to exercise that role comes from a perceived "moral authority" as promoter of all things good.

In the face then of worldwide anti-americanism, the correct position for the US is to live up to the role of benign benefactor and that has to start with human rights for its own citizens; restore tolerance of opposing views, return liberty removed in hasty legislation, abolish the death penalty which is inhumane. Continue by working towards a better environment, not being pissy in paying a fair share of international institutions funding, living up to treaty commitments and respecting, yet engaging, differing viewpoints throughout the world.

It is undoubtedly in the interest of the US to be the lone superpower, but with this role comes resentment from states who aspire to great military power and individuals or organisations who detest the misapplication of "super" powers. Black and white rhetoric of "victory" in Iraq, winners and losers, good and evil, "with us" or "against us" may serve short term domestic purposes but foments long term international resentment. In my view there is no way to "win" in foreign policy but there is certainly a route to a happy global equilibrium through sensitive dealings and understanding. The US will never "win" if the act of winning involves others being seen to lose.

Posted by Paul at April 29, 2003 06:17 AM |
Visitor Feedback