Flying flags from countries contributing to the fight against
terrorism, President George W. Bush approaches the podium on the six-month
anniversary of the September 11th Attacks on the South Lawn of the White House,
in this file photo. (White House photo)...
The United States may be the world's greatest conventional
military power but the lessons of Vietnam, where determined communists sent
Americans packing, is about to be played out again on a global stage with
suicidal terrorists playing
There is no question but that the United States is unsurpassed in the military
arena. There is no question but that America can send any society back to
the stone age by use of its military. But military power is not the only
political weapon in a world of suicidal terrorists.
We can use our atomic weapons and wipe out entire civilizations if we so
desire. We can lay siege to entire nations. We can steal oil from
Iraq. We can wipe Yemen off the map.
But with all that power, we cannot stop a determined terrorist from high jacking
another airliner and crashing it into another building in any city in the United
States. We cannot stop the release of nerve gas or anthrax or small pox or
any number of other lethal agents into a crowded theatre or a pro-football event
anywhere in America. We cannot stop determined snipers deployed throughout
America from randomly killing whoever they please.
As Mr. Nye states in the article below, to a child with a hammer everything
looks like a nail.
The reality is that everything is not a nail and hammers are useless on
computers and AIDS and famine.
The internet is leading the world to a form of democracy that could never
have been imagined even ten years ago. Through the internet transnational
and humanists issues can assert themselves on a global scale. A relatively
small group of people can keep in touch regardless of where they physically
reside on the planet. A whole new set of global players are emerging and
beginning to influence the global agenda.
The war in Iraq may be the last real war. The United States' stature is
deteriorating with every day that the retarded Bushman remains president.
Bush is a Neanderthal with a socio-pathetic mentality and the world's most
advanced military at his disposal. Unfortunately, he does not realize that
using military force against Iraq cannot and will not stop terrorist from
retaliating in the United States.
Maybe the war in Iraq will be a good thing. Maybe the world will exit
that war of imperialist unilateralist insanity with an understanding that we are
now one world society like it or not and our best choice for the future is a
world federalist government where we are all on the same page with regards to
providing truth, justice and equal opportunity for the entire human society.
Maybe we are headed for a crash course in understanding that killing for oil
is less productive than stopping the rapid advancement of AIDS. Maybe we
are coming to an understanding that war is bad for business both locally and
Unilateralist morons belong in the 19th century not in the 21st. A
great change is coming to the world society and I just hope that the Bush war
for Iraqi oil is the last display of bullets over sanity.
In the end, WorldPeace.
December 31, 2002
A whole new ball game
By Joseph S Nye
Published: December 28 2002 4:00 | Last Updated:
December 28 2002 4:00 ft.com
When the Bush administration issued its National Security
Strategy last September, it revealed a great deal about how the
world and the administration had changed over the past year.
George W. Bush entered office committed to a realist foreign
policy that would focus on great powers like China and Russia,
eschewing nation-building in failed states of the less developed
world. China was "a strategic competitor", not the
"strategic partner" of Clinton's foreign policy, and the
US would take a tougher stance with Russia. During his first eight
months, Bush replaced Clinton's "assertive
multilateralism" with a unilateralism that worried friend and
foe alike, and which I criticised in my recent book.
Now the new strategy declares that we are menaced less by
fleets and armies than by catastrophic technologies falling into
the hands of the embittered few. Instead of strategic rivalry,
"today, the world's great powers find ourselves on the same
side united by common dangers of terrorist violence and
Not only was President Jiang Zemin welcomed to Bush's ranch in
Crawford, Texas, but the strategy welcomes the emergence of a
strong, peaceful, and prosperous China. And the US will increase
its development assistance and its efforts to combat Aids because
weak states, like Afghanistan, can pose as great a danger to our
national interest as strong states. Moreover, these policies will
be "guided by the conviction that no nation can build a
safer, better world alone". How the world turns in a year!
The new threat
Of course, much of the traditional agenda of world politics
carries on below the rhetorical surface of strategy documents. And
as I know from my experience in two prior administrations, such
documents are not always an accurate prediction of policy. In
addition, some of the rhetoric has attracted widespread criticism.
The document's trumpeting of American primacy violated Teddy
Roosevelt's advice about speaking softly when you carry a big
stick. America will remain number one, but there was no need to
rub others noses in it. The neo-conservative promises to promote
democracy and freedom struck some realists as dangerously
unbounded. The statements about co-operation and coalitions were
not followed by equal discussion of institutions. And the much
criticised assertion of a right of preemption could turn out to be
routine selfdefence or a dangerous precedent depending on how it
The critics notwithstanding, the Bush administration is on to
The distinguished historian John Lewis Gaddis has compared the
new strategy to the seminal days that redefined American foreign
policy in the 1940s. While that comparison may be exaggerated, the
new strategy responds to deep trends in world politics that were
illuminated by the events of September 11, 2001. For example,
globalisation is more than just an economic phenomenon, and it had
been shrinking the natural buffers that distance and two oceans
provided to the United States.
September 11 dramatised how dreadful conditions in poor weak
countries halfway round the world can have terrible consequences
for the United States.
The information revolution and technological change have
elevated the importance of transnational issues, and empowered
nonstate actors to play a larger role in world politics. A few
decades ago, instantaneous global communications were out of the
financial reach of all but governments or large organisations like
transnational corporations or the Catholic Church. At the same
time, the US and the USSR were secretly spending billions of
dollars on overhead space photography.
Now commercial one-metre resolution photos are cheaply
available to anyone, and the internet enabled 1500 NGOs to
inexpensively coordinate the "battle of Seattle" that
disrupted the World Trade Organization.
Most worrying are the effects of these deep trends on
terrorism. Many Europeans properly point out that terrorism is
nothing new, and they have successfully coped with it for decades
without significant disruption of their democracies. But
technology has been increasing the lethality and agility of
terrorists over the past decades, and the trend is likely to
continue, In the 20th century, a malevolent individual like Hitler
or Stalin needed the power of a government to be able to kill
millions of people. if 21st century terrorists get hold of weapons
of mass destruction, that power of destruction will for the first
time be available to deviant groups and individuals.
This "privatisation of war" is not only a major
change in world politics, but the potential impact on our cities
could drastically alter the nature of our civilisation. The new
terrorism is not like the IRA or ETA. This is what the new Bush
strategy gets right.
Implementing the new strategy
What the administration has not yet sorted out is how to go
about implementing its new approach. It is deeply divided between
neeconservative and assertively imperial unilateralists on the one
hand and more multilateral and cautious traditional realists ori
The tug of war between them is visible both in the strategy
document, and in the implementation of policies on terrorism and
the Middle East. The administration has not fully realised that
most transnational issues are inherently multilateral, and that
unilateral military power is only part of the solution,. Indeed,
if used inappropriately, it can cause larger problems.
North Korea and Iraq two-thirds of Bush's "axis of
evil" are turning out to toe the first big tests of the
implementation of the new strategy. This autumn, North Korea
admitted that it had violated the spirit of the 1994 Agreed
Framework that stopped its reprocessing of plutonium and was
seeking to build a nuclear weapon with enriched uranium. The Bush
administration responded cautiously and in close consultation with
Deterrence seemed to work, though in this case it was the
capacity of North Korea to deter American military action through
its conventional capacity to wreak havoc on Seoul in the event of
war. The dilemma remains unresolved.
Iraq also reveals the tug of war between different strands of
opinion in the administration. Last summer, Vice-President Cheney
and Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld made statements disparaging the
role of the United Nations and warning that the return of UN
inspectors to Iraq would give "false comfort."
Traditional realist Republicans like Brent Scowcroft and James
Baker weighed in publicly in support of a multilateral approach,
and Bush's September 12 speech to the UN represented a victory for
the coalition of Cohn Powell and Tony Blair.
Whether the multilateral approach will hold if diplomacy bogs
down and hot weather approaches in the Gulf remains to be seen.
But the Iraq case is a dramatic instance of a much deeper problem
for the administration and for the United States' understanding of
its role as the world's only superpower.
The mistakes of the new unilateralists
In his 2000 election campaign, George W. Bush said, "If we
are an arrogant nation, they'll view us that way, but if we're a
humble nation, they'll respect us." He was right, but
unfortunately many regarded the first eight months of his
administration as arrogantly concerned with narrow American
interests, focused on military power, and turning its back on
treaties, norms and international negotiations.
September 11 initially led to a change of course toward more
Congress finally paid America's UN dues, and the president
turned his efforts to building a coalition against terrorism. But
the rapid progress of the military campaign in Afghanistan led
some in the administration and some commentators to conclude that
unilateralism works. The columnist Charles Krauthammer, for
example, argued that the success against the Taliban government
marked a victory for what he called the "new
unilateralism" where the US refuses to play the role of
"docile international citizen" and unashamedly pursues
its own ends.
These new unilateralists make a serious mistake in focusing too
heavily on military power alone. There the United States is
unequalled, with a military budget equivalent to the next dozen or
so countries combined.
And it is true that America's military power is essential to
global stability, and an essential part of the response to
terrorism. But the metaphor of war should not blind Americans to
the fact that suppressing terrorism will take years of patient
unspectacular civilian co-operation with other countries in areas
such as intelligence sharing, police work, tracing financial
flows, and co-operation among customs officials. The military
success in Afghanistan dealt with the easiest part of the problem,
the toppling of the weak Taliban government in a poor country. But
all the precision bombing destroyed only a small fraction of the
al-Qaeda network which retains cells in some 60 countries. And
bombing is no answer to the existence of cells in Kuala Lumpur,
Hamburg or Detroit. Rather than proving the unilateralists' point,
the partial nature of the success in Afghanistan illustrates the
continuing need for co-operation. The best response to
transnational terrorist networks is networks of cooperating
The paradox of American power
The problem for Americans in the 21st century is that there are
more and more things outside the control of even the most powerful
state. Although the United States does well on the traditional
measures of power, there is A whole new ball game increasingly
more going on in the world that those measures fail to capture.
The paradox of American power is that world politics is changing
in a way that means the strongest power since Rome cannot achieve
some of its most crucial international goals acting alone. The US
lacks both the international and domestic prerequisites to resolve
conflicts that are internal to other societies, and to monitor and
control transnational transactions that threaten Americans at
home. On many of the key issues today, such as international
financial stability, drug smuggling, the spread of diseases or
global climate change, military power simply cannot produce
success, and its use can sometimes be counterproductive Instead as
the largest country, the United States must mobilise international
coalitions to address these shared threats and challenges.
The agenda of world politics has become like a
three-dimensional chess game in which one can win only by playing
vertically as well as horizontally, On the top board of classic
interstate military issues, the United States is likely to remain
the only superpower for years to come, and it makes sense to speak
in traditional terms of unipolarity or hegemony. However, on the
middle board of interstate economic issues, the distribution of
power is already multipolar The United Stares cannot obtain the
outcomes it wants on trade, anti-trust or financial regulation
issues without the co-operation of the European Union, Japan and
others. It makes little sense to call this American hegemony. And
on the bottom board of transnational issues, power is widely
distributed and chaotically organised among state and non-state
actors. It makes no sense at all to call this a unipolar world or
an American empire. And this is the set of issues that is now
intruding into the World of grand strategy as illustrated by
Bush's new doctrine. Yet the new unilateralist part of his
administration still focuses solely on the top board of classic
military solutions. Like children with a hammer, all problems look
like nails to them.
The willingness of other countries to co-operate on the
solution of transnational issues depends in part on their own self
interest, but also on the attractiveness of American positions.
That power to attract and persuade is what call soft power. It
means that others want what you want, and there is less need to
use carrots and sticks to make others do what you want. Hard power
grows out of a country's military and economic might. Soft power
arises from the attractiveness of a country's culture, ideals, and
policies. Hard power will always remain important in a world of
nation states guarding their independence, but soft power will
become increasingly important in dealing with the transnational
issues that require multilateral cooperation for their solution.
Yet a recent Pew Charitable Trust poll finds that American
policies have led to lowered favourability ratings for the US over
the past two years in 19 of 27 countries, including particularly
the Islamic countries so important to the war on terrorism. The
new unilateralist wing of the administration is urging policies
that squander our soft power.
No large country can afford to be purely multilateralist, and
sometimes the United States must take the lead by itself as it did
in Mghanistan. And the credible threat of a unilateral option was
probably essential to get the UN Security Council to pass
resolution 1441 that brought the inspectors back to Iraq. But the
US should incline toward multilateralism whenever possible as a
way to legitimise its power and to gain broad acceptance of its
new strategy. Pre-emption that is legitimised by multilateral
sanction is far less costly and a far less dangerous precedent
than when we assert that we alone can act as judge, jury and
excecutioner. Granted, multilateralism can be used by smaller
states to restrict American freedom of action, but this does not
mean that it is not generally in American interests. Learning to
listen to others and to define the national interests broadly to
include global interests will be crucial to the success of the new
strategy and whether others see the American preponderance it
proclaims as benign or not.
The challenge for the United States will be to learn how to
work with other countries to better control the non-state actors
that will increasingly share the stage, with nation-states.
President Bush is correct that America will continue to be the
only military superpower, and its military strength remains
essential for global stability and as part of the response to
terrorism. But to successfully implement his new strategy, he will
need to pay more attention to soft power and multilateral
co-operation than was true of the early stages of his
Joseph S. Nye Jr. is dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of
Government and author of The Paradox of American Power. Why the
World's Only Superpower Can't Go it Alone (Oxford University
How can we manifest peace on
earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both
sexes) in our vision of Peace?
The WorldPeace Banner
The WorldPeace Sign
To the John WorldPeace Galleries Page
To the WorldPeace Peace Page