Globalist Review

A New Order for this Century and the Next

-America's role in the 21st century-
-Balancing social and economic growth-
-The next stage of our economy; sustainable capitalism-
-Engaging our enemies and allies-
-Recovering and maintaining moral leadership-
-The role of soft and hard power-
-Unilateralism or Multilateralism-
-Empire or Hegemony-

Questions or Comments:

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fareed Zakaria on Charlie Rose

Globalization and the development of the rest.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Finally, Transatlantic Communication

Bush and Brown in push to deal with crisis

By James Blitz and George Parker in London

Published: March 30 2008 22:01 | Last updated: March 30 2008 22:01

George W. Bush, US president, and Gordon Brown, UK prime minister, have agreed to step up co-operation over the crisis in financial markets. They are setting up a joint working group which will develop plans to monitor and regulate the banking system.

At the heart of the proposals, agreed on Wednesday by Hank Paulson, US Treasury secretary, and Alistair Darling, UK chancellor, is the creation of a body made up of senior Treasury and regulatory figures from London and Washington.

Mr Brown and Mr Bush will discuss greater UK-US co-operation in tackling the financial crisis when they meet at a Nato summit in Bucharest this week and a Washington summit next month.

Whitehall officials say the new UK-US working group, whose membership and terms of reference are being finalised, will seek to establish a common approach on how to respond to the crisis before next month’s meetings of the Group of Seven, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

However, officials say that, given the huge role that London and New York play in financial markets, the significance of the new body will go beyond that.

“We have both been seised of the fact that we need to do something to respond to the financial market turbulence, that we need to generate a shared agenda in the run-up to the spring meetings,” said a senior UK Treasury official.

According to UK Treasury officials, the new body will examine the role of the credit ratings agencies in evaluating risk, amid concerns that they did not fully appreciate the exposure of mortgage-based products to a fall in the housing market.

It will also look at what banks and other institutions need to do to improve transparency in the valuation of complex financial products. Above all, the body will also seek to improve day-to-day co-operation between financial regulators in the US and the UK.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Presidential Leadership

International leadership for the next American President begins with domestic leadership, a reasonable vision for world order and a clear understanding for the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Waging an effective foreign policy abroad relies on sound domestic programs and consistency in messaging. Too often a president is held unaccountable for a lack of synergy between the homeland and his or her dealings abroad. To empower the president overseas, he or she must implement an aggressive program at home. In the first hundred days, the president must lay down a clear and substantive program to ensure progress towards achieving increased social and economic rights for all Americans, empower the citizenry to take on global challenges- through their work, family, expectations of the state and community commitments-, increase government efficiency by setting fiscal precedents and cutting costs, and use policy tools to promote innovative developments in the economy. More specifically the domestic agenda should focus on creating a streamlined national healthcare system with universal healthcare targeting preventative care and fundamental health needs. Americans must feel confident in their access to basic needs. Health, financial security, education, and affordable clean transportation are the fundamentals. With specific regard to education, the national curriculum should be revised with added emphasis to current events, debate and rhetoric, world history, and language. Building on the individual, the executive must push for a national system of carbon cap and trade accompanied by a substantial package of tax incentives to green businesses, alternative energy utilities, energy efficient building upgrades, job training programs, and bio fuel infrastructure projects.

As the president begins his or her international outreach, a message of efficiency, consistency and innovation are vital. A new president does not wipe the record clean from the last administration. The next administration must have a fresh, deliberate and consistent message to deliver to international leaders backed by universal priorities to be accentuated in the most vital regions. On the President’s short list must be the value of the dollar. A strong dollar is a vital component to international financial security and translates into crucial and significant need for growth in exports on the domestic front matched with fiscal prudence.

Using an effectively implemented domestic plan, the executive should deliver him or herself with the necessary foundation to talk about tough issues abroad. A broad coalition of new and historical partners should be forged around the most pressing priorities, those being energy, the environment, development, and global security. As the world economy faces higher energy prices, the next president must provide a clear path to solutions. Global warming and energy needs are no domestic issue but one of universal interest. The U.S. should be on the cutting edge of providing solutions in the form of a multi pronged package of new products, treaties, and a powerful coalition of the willing to pressure non-conformers. Global priorities that consistently bring a broad coalition of partners together should be emphasized in an attempt to forge a more united and international consciousness. Indeed, those issues that bring regions and the international community together, even if a substantial burden for tangible progress falls on the shoulders of developed countries, should be a focus.

In this century the United States could provide independent electrical generation capabilities to Africans across the continent through wind and solar technologies, become a net exporter of alternative energy goods and services, and significantly curb its use of fossil fuels to be replaced by bio-fuels. Taking responsibility for our shortcomings in the past, the United States has the potential, with strong leadership, to push for a global system of carbon trading, investment in rain forest and vital habitat rehabilitation projects and protection of global bio-diversity. Initial confidence can be garnered in this endeavor by joining the Kyoto treaty, leading the development of a Kyoto 2 treaty, and further rallying signers to take part in innovative Global Green Infrastructure Projects. These projects could be enhanced by providing indebted American college graduates with dept relief in exchange for public service and in particular young engineers and scientists for government research and development of alternative energy products and infrastructure construction.

As global polarization increases over perceived world inequities and western incursions on sovereignty, a populist program of development involving the global community would be a positive step to break down barriers and bring citizens from around the world together. True leadership is a president that can step onto the world stage with a message of global unity and environmental protection, providing the tools to make the planet greener with American products.

While this is an idealistic vision of executive leadership, core priorities also require sincere attention. America’s relationship with partners in the War on Terror must be rekindled and enhanced with special regard for Russia and progress in Afghanistan. Furthermore, a steady redeployment of U.S troops in Iraq should be coupled with a renewed international diplomatic offensive to energize post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan and pressure Iraqi political progress with the added threat of troop reductions. Additionally, an engaged Iran would be a more constructive actor than a combative Iran. Iran should be pushed to cease funding Shia militias in Iraq and Lebanon in exchange for a U.S. supported public and cooperative role in Iraqi reconstruction.

Also, see February post and comments- "Integrating the Rising Powers"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The New Republic, "George Milhous Bush,"

The New Republic, by -
Last week the Bush administration reached its Nixonian climax, as CIA director Michael Hayden confirmed that the government had nearly drowned some people on purpose using techniques that American military men have long known as torture. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said the Department of Justice could not investigate these alleged crimes. White House spokesman Tony Fratto explained why the President may authorize them again. Vice President Dick Cheney declared them a good thing. The administration is saying in effect, We do as we please, and care nothing for the laws; now, show us, Congress and loyal subject, er, citizens, what are you going to do about it? And Americans, frankly, face a strong temptation not to do anything: We will have a new president soon, and the race is exciting. But hard choice though it is, we need to recognize the constitutional crisis to which this administration has brought us, and as its officers now openly refuse to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, Congress must do all it can to expose, with the patience of the prosecutor the administration will not appoint, the wrongs done in our name. Otherwise we will forfeit what we painfully won from the Nixon era: our right to a government bound by law...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Response to "Integrating the Rising Powers"

Dear Tiberius,

You are absolutely correct, rising powers, such as China and India, will adapt to fit into the Western-led international order. However, they will do so not out of deference, or out of true acknowledgment of Western superiority in the international sphere, but rather out of immediate necessity. The rising powers have economic growth rates that far exceed those of the West, even in this time of global economic downturn, and it promises, with patience, a new, rearranged global playing field. What we are witnessing, is a holding pattern.

In terms of China, where this author has some knowledge, there is a general feeling that China is waiting patiently for its time to rise and achieve hegemonic status. In this author's opinion it is a day not so far off, or so unfathomable --- however it is also likely not today, not tomorrow, and maybe even not 10,15 years from now. However, the state driven, low-labor cost reinforced, technologically savvy economy of China will rise, and it will pressure the US and Europe for global hegemony. This can already be seen in the pressure China and India have placed on the oil market and the subsequent price rises. Is it so unfathomable to think that one day OPEC might value barrels of sweet crude in terms of Yuan? I think its possible.

The growth of China economically has been paralleled by an exponential effort by China to grow militarily. While their defense budget is still dwarfed by the US and EU, their growth rates are enormous and new fleets of well built nuclear submarines and fighter jets are emerging. If China decided tomorrow to invade Taiwan to prevent an independence movement --- are you confident our nation could or would be willing to butt in? I believe whole-heartedly in the preeminence of US military power, but China isn't a lowly neighbor, its a military peer.

This does not sound like a country that is ceding its security concerns to any international institution or community. Nor does it sound like a country that is acknowledging the West's ideological or material superiority. (Even Francis Fukayama has backed away from the notion that we have reached the End of History, of the triumph of liberal, progressive democracies.) Rather China is a country holding and waiting, carefully and prudently managing its tremendous economic strength --- much of which has yet to be tapped --- to ensure 10% growth a year and the financial strength to continue building and eventually challenging the world it works within for now.


***There may also be a point to be made about the concept of a Western-driven World. While the West may be joined together by NATO and loosely by the UN, do not confuse this with a world allied together in global harmony. The last 10 years have witnessed a souring of relationships between many of the EU countries and the US. Furthermore, these countries have shown complete willingness to check U.S. hegemony in the security council by vetoing sanctions on Iran, Iraq, etc. I think it would be unwise to believe that the ties that have held the 'West' together would be unbreakable, or that a wealthy, influential China couldn't step in and offer better aid packages, or security guarantees, so as to fundamentally alter the world order.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Integrating the Rising Powers

Political life in a global system is nuanced and fundamental to the growth of nations in today’s world order. Clearly rising powers will both integrate and further adapt the international system to their needs or there will be a more confrontational assimilation into the world order. As the historian Paul Kennedy notes in his book, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, a great power can only be properly measured relative to other powers. Today, the rise of new powers, with specific respect to those in the East, is a benefit to the world system but also a threat to western hegemony. Even more, the increase in regional trade agreements and security compacts is a menace to global order and must be countered by a renewed emphasis on the benefits and stability of existing institutions.

It is essential to prove that there is more to gain in what exists. World growth ultimately translates into new capital and consumer markets but also new economic and political cultures and coalitions. In this process of integration and growth, economic and social developments are still defined on western terms, through western institutions and universal values continue to be defined primarily through western political traditions. It is at this time in history that the west has the critical opportunity to reinforce the stability of the world system and the founders of that system.

In G. John Ikenberry’s January/February Foreign Affairs piece, “The Rise of China and the Future of the West,” Ikenberry notes that “China faces an international order that is fundamentally different from those that past rising states confronted. China does not just face the United States; it faces a Western-centered system that is open, integrated, and rule-based, with wide and deep political foundations.” New world powers cannot contend with a western coalition and the system it dominates but they can be further welcomed in.

History is in the West’s favor. The progressive values, alliances and the linear development of the global order can and should be sustained. Continued integration goes hand in hand with the significant precautions that must be taken to reaffirm global economic stability- expansion of regulatory control over global finance is a central concern, along with energy independence/alternatives. The past illustrates all too well the crushing market cycles of a growing and volatile world economic system but also that the system can be repaired and grow stronger. This strength can only be found through leadership. Now the world needs its leader to rise to the challenge.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Moral Leadership--Torture

America's legacy of moral leadership has aided its authority to serve as a promotional beacon of freedom and justice in the international order. It was, we must remember, the American creed that initiated the idea of basic, state-protected individual rights. It was an American administration that first conceptualized what would eventually become the United Nations. It was an American first lady who was instrumental in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was a decision by the American Supreme Court that first established the idea of customary international law and that all nations are bound by it. From USAID to the World Bank to the Peace Corps, the precedent of humanitarianism has strongly remained an American one.

Today, the country once lauded for its moral accomplishments has effectively disregarded the Geneva Conventions, rewritten laws against torture, and enshrined both preemptive and preventative war into concrete doctrine.

The shift of the torture paradigm is the most disconcerting. We know about rendition. We know about Guantanamo. We know about waterboarding. "The United States does not engage in torture" has become shrouded in the same humorous and hypocritical hue as "I did not have sex with that woman."

Revealing their affinity for trashy television, those who staunchly advocate the use of torture tend to discharge the "Jack Bauer" excuse. In their minds, America is the target for an imminent attack every day, and the tough heroism of Bauer-esque government agents willing to use all means necessary to extract information continue to save us from impending doom. Just like on television.

We know that this is a fallacy. And we know that substantive evidence exists that renders torture ineffective. Unfortunately, we also know that this evidence has been hijacked and manipulated by many groups intending to construct an absolutist, bullet-proof case against the practice.

Yet there have been documented cases where torture helped extract important information from foreign detainees. Although lacking the dramatic climax of an episode of "24", the use of torture has worked. Sometimes at least.

But should it matter?

Sanctioning the use of an internationally-banned practice reeks of Machivellianism: that the ends justify the means. It is quite striking how torture proponents' rhetoric of today resembles the work of the former Florentine.

Yet, for a moral nation, the ends never justify the means, because the means are what makes us moral. What separates us from our enemies--or so we are told--is that we are on the right side of the ethical coin. If we engage in their flavor of activities (the very ones that we have so ferociously condemned) then instead of the good and the evil, it's the vanquished and the victor.

Of course, it's easy to play the "but it saves American lives" riff. It's difficult for a "moral" and "free" nation to allow demonstrations of freedom and morality to potentially compromise the security of its citizens. But there are many activities that the government could undertake to potentially save lives that, because they violate our laws and our principles, are distinctively prohibited. We are unwavering in our refusal to negotiate with terrorists. There is little doubt that conceding to bin Laden (who has three main demands of the United States, and two of them--withdrawing bases from the Middle East and pulling troops from Saudi Arabia--are pragmatic options) could easily save American lives. Yet we remain steadfast.

Bans against torture, like many of America's creeds, must remain uncompromising. Otherwise this country is unfit to retain its moral authority in the shifting world order.

Energy Security with Ethanol

It is clear that today, more than ever, our country and the world need realistic energy alternatives. More specifically, when we speak of transportation, the solution to our dependence on foreign oil will most likely be found in a number of options. Ethanol is of course the most talked-about substitute for our addiction to petroleum. But is it a practical solution? E-10 is already mandated in some states and E-85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) is considered the next step. More and more, it is becoming apparent that ethanol derived from corn is energy inefficient and a burden on food prices. Many speak of ethanol from fiber or cellulose as the future of ethanol production. But can we really become energy independent, or with an ethanol future will we have to depend on new countries and alliances to completely supply our energy needs?

The idea of a new energy partnership is not a bad one. Countries like Brazil, whom we have long sought to woo into a Latin American power bloc, produce and export ethanol from sugar cane. Indeed, a U.S.-Brazil ethanol trade agreement could help spur a whole new era of energy alliances throughout Latin America.

Ultimately, a long term direction is needed. But does ethanol provide a viable solution? Can we look to our own backyard for remedies to our energy needs and greater regional interests?

Friday, January 25, 2008

America's Path

What is the vision of the 2008 presidential candidates for America's role in the 21st century world? Continued engagement in Iraq or not, multilateralism or unilateralism, how is the United States to be presented to the world in the coming decade and how will it engage our enemies and allies? Do we perceive ourselves as leaders in an uncivilized world or leaders among equals. These are important questions to be asked on a macro level. A clear vision of America's path both in the minds of its leaders and the minds of its citizens will be imperative as we as a nation confront difficult questions and choices of energy alternatives and our national security. What should this path be and how should it be articulated and implemented...?

What is the number one priority in Iraq today?

Which presidential candidate presents the clearest path for America's foreign affairs?