Jan 26, 2008

the new new world order

What is America's role in the world? LDers coming across--or using--hegemony or political realism cases for the current resolution might want to check out two recent essays.

The first, by Parag Khanna, declares that American hegemony is in its last throes.
At best, America’s unipolar moment lasted through the 1990s, but that was also a decade adrift. The post-cold-war “peace dividend” was never converted into a global liberal order under American leadership. So now, rather than bestriding the globe, we are competing — and losing — in a geopolitical marketplace alongside the world’s other superpowers: the European Union and China. This is geopolitics in the 21st century: the new Big Three. Not Russia, an increasingly depopulated expanse run by Gazprom.gov; not an incoherent Islam embroiled in internal wars; and not India, lagging decades behind China in both development and strategic appetite. The Big Three make the rules — their own rules — without any one of them dominating. And the others are left to choose their suitors in this post-American world.
Khanna, after analyzing the present situation, calls for a modest pragmatism as a stabilizing strategy for the future--no American exceptionalism, and no dreams of empire. The entire essay is well worth digesting.

Derek Chollet and Tod Lindberg, however, take a slightly different view. Though they also realize that unipolarity is not an option, they still want to preserve the "moral core" of American foreign policy.
Moving beyond the slogans, would a truly values-free foreign policy really secure U.S. interests, strengthen U.S. power, and draw the sustained support of the American people? We think not. American values are an indispensable component of the U.S. role in the world — they are a key part of what unites the United States to allies in Europe and elsewhere and distinguishes the United States from countries like China. Instead of dividing conservatives and liberals, American values in foreign policy can in fact translate into a moral core that both sides can rally around. In the current political environment, as we approach the first post -9/11, post-Bush election, building such a policy bridge will be difficult. But given the stakes, it is imperative.
How this plays out in practice is outlined in the rest of the essay. Again, worth reading for insight, ideas, and blocks.


LD n00b said...

Could one turn such an analysis by saying that yes, the world is no longer unipolar, but a unipolar world led by 1 democracy is more desirable [support, maybe say it functions as a "government"]and that affirming this resolution is neccasary to give the US a chance to again become hegemon?

Jim Anderson said...

You can argue that, but I don't know how effective it would be. Why the U.S., and not the E.U., if the world really wants one stable democracy leading the way? And doesn't the rest of the world put more stock in the legitimacy of the U.N. over that of the U.S. anyway?

LD n00b said...

True, but the EU doesn't seem well structured to serve as a hegemon- they are the european union, after all, and they have less expirience meddling in other people's affairs, which the US has become used to. The UN is an easier one to put down because the 5 way veto, which is not held all by democratic states, ties its hands, and it has its own scandals. (Oil for food, failure to do anything in darfur [because of the china veto, china gets its oil from thier], failure to do anything in burma [also china veto], failure to do anything in rwanda [general laziness] etcetera.)

it's proubably not strong enough to build an offence on, but if a neg bases thier arguments on the hegemony thing, I hope it'll work as a defence, attaking the assumption that they didn't defend.

A thought just occured to me: how would one apply sun tzu's art of war too debating? There might be some interesting advice there-- would make an interesting post.

Jim Anderson said...

I'm still looking for a really good reason to believe that the world wants/needs unipolarity, never mind US-centric unipolarity. It's one thing to practically depend on the U.S.; it's another to want to.