A New Era--Definitely

The Perils of Wishful Thinking - Robert Kagan - The American Interest Magazine: "The President and his advisers presumably do not harbor such illusions, yet neither do they acknowledge the problems posed by the fact that the great powers are, in reality, divided between democracy and autocracy. Their statements and their policies seem to ignore the possibility that China’s and Russia’s autocratic governments may see the world differently, and calculate their interests differently, precisely because they are autocracies."

Robert Kagan was the person who's philosophy started me up in political science and I definitely agree with the above citation. In an article in American Interest Kagan reviews the situation the United States are in at the moment. There is however one opinion where I disagree, Kagan states that there is in reality not a new era at all.

During the election campaign of President Obama I thought the foreign policy would remain the same if he won. The strange thing is, as Kagan points out, it seems like this with the stalled progress in the Middle East and Obama's unfortunate war in AfPak. The serious problem is that things look like they move on in the same way despite the fact that the situation is that of the beginning of a new era as referred to by Kagan in a speech by Hillary Clinton from July 15, 2009 as directed by G. John Ikenberry.

The reason for the entry of a new era is that the relative clout of the US internationally have diminished and also that people around the world have organized themselves differently. There is no historic precedent for this. People now feel their way forward in the dark. Clinton, for example points out that the State Department not only engages governments but also individuals. Clinton points out that the US now is organized for engaging the multipolar world in a multi partnership fashion that can turn into coalitions of the willing when need be.

Clinton says: "It does not make sense to adopt a 19th century concert of powers, or a 20th century balance of power strategy. We cannot go back to Cold War containment or unilateralism". Instead we have Anne-Marie Slaughter's center-of-gravity-enlightened nation, multi partnership, that according to Nicolas Sarkozy from his conversation with Condoleezza Rice once, needs to become more popular, something which is inherently difficult with an escalated war scenario.

But I have not lost faith all together because I agree with Clinton when she says: "America will always be a world leader as long as we remain true to our ideals and embrace strategies that match the times".

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