The note also highlighted the importance and indispensability of American global leadership. It was heartfelt advice from the outgoing president. That should not be a surprise. Trump campaigned on the argument that U. Since taking office, he has been good to his word. Diplomacy and International Institutions. Foreign Affairs posted the article online today.
The World Order Is Starting to Crack
If current and future generations of American leaders do not rethink foreign policy in terms of national interest, these past ideologies will become even more fully absorbed into the American soul than they are at present. America will not realize its potential, and may well become a nation quite unlike that envisioned by the Founders of American constitutional government—an instrumentality seeking a New World Order and a source of disorder in world politics. The practical consequences of this theoretical essay in understanding contemporary American foreign policy are apparent.
In that sense, the New World Order is not a symbol of order, but symptomatic of spiritual disease and disorder of the American soul. And the aspiration to implement a New World Order by American presidents threatens civil society at home, and promises chaos anywhere in the world in which it is deployed.
Understanding the basic concepts of the New World Order, and its appeal to American presidents from Woodrow Wilson to William Jefferson Clinton, is the subject of this essay and is offered as a meditative exercise for the recovery of the American soul and the shaping of a realistic foreign policy for the twenty-first century. The mythos of America as a nation justified to act upon the world because of its historic, even divine, mission, has taken root in popular imagination and culture.
So deep is this millennial current in American culture that liberals and conservatives are attracted by its resonance. As such, Wilson, Marx, and Lenin must be given credit for being the most important revolutionaries of the seventy-year period from to By coming to know the similar pathologies of their ideologies, we come to understand how totally opposed are the modern religion of a New World Order and the reality-oriented politics and policies that formerly defined American politics and foreign policy.
The New World Order is a religiously motivated lust or, to use St.
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Marx and Lenin sought such a resolution in proletarian revolution led by the Communist Party , Wilson sought it in revolutionary democracy led by Woodrow Wilson. This displacement of Christian faith in a transcendent resolution of the conflicts of existence beyond life on earth by an immanent expectation of resolution in time is the most significant sea change in popular culture in recent American history. Its presence in intellectual culture coincides with the decline of Christianity in the everyday lives of American citizens.
The modern universalist internationalism of the New World Order, therefore, must be taken seriously, comprehended for what it is, and its consequences scrutinized, for when a nation is guided by leaders for whom a future international order in time is a possible reality, we become, literally, a revolutionary nation. The growing popularity of belief in a New World Order could occur only when traditional religion in American culture—Christianity—was in decline. That spirit of rejection lies at the heart of this new religion of a New World Order that defined American foreign policy in the twentieth century.
During that century, Americans completed the construction of a full-blown administrative state. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the private sector dominated. At its end, the public sector in full panoply dominates every aspect of American life and threatens to spread the viruses of nineteenth and twentieth century political religion by asserting the prerogatives of the nation state.
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Key passages in Scripture have been used in the past to shape American political religion. With the growing social and political dominance of the Progressive movement came a reworking of old-time religion into a powerful rhetoric for national self-realization. For better or worse, democracy cannot be disentangled from an aspiration toward human perfectibility and hence from adoption of measures looking in the direction of realizing such an aspiration.
There is approaching upon our modern times a sort of expectation of still greater days to come, when every man may lift his eyes with hope to the horizon, when there has come a day of peace and right- eousness—when the nations shall be glad in the presence of God. Yet, Wilson was not addressing the aspirations of Christian believers who expected a resolution of the conflicts of existence beyond the world, at the end of history.
Like his ideological soul mates, Marx and Lenin, Wilson was prepared to achieve a New World Order by revolutionary action. The revolution is the continuum, the ongoing reality, that makes a concept of history possible. In each of the successive phases [of revolution], a peculiar strategic situation confronts the revolutionary forces, so that to every phase corresponds a temporary revolutionary program.
That, essentially, is what Woodrow Wilson aspired to in his address to the United States Senate, July 10, , presenting the treaty of peace with Germany:. Every true heart in the world, and every enlightened judgment demanded that, at whatever cost of independent action, every government that took thought for its people or for justice or for ordered freedom would lend itself to a new purpose and utterly destroy the old order of international politics. Redeemer-Nations, inspired by redemptive ideologies, lead to redemptive foreign policies; an America encumbered with that legacy enters the twenty-first century in pursuit of a New World Order.
Indeed, through creative lawyering. Democratic elections are not by themselves sufficient unless accompanied with constitutional government and the rule of law. Though Norman Graebner, Richard Gamble, James Stoner, Jeremy Rabkin, Michael Ledeen, Robert Nisbet, and other scholars representing a scholarly tradition rooted in reality have tried to chart a course avoiding the treacherous revolutionary utopian waters of the internationalist New World Order, their effort is made difficult by the absorption of Wilsonian idealism into the American soul.
As a result, the American people are easily attracted to appeals to American idealism. Americans easily run to support foreign wars, but just as easily run the other way when a price is paid in American treasure and blood for imposing a hypostatized liberty and equality upon an unsuspecting world.
If we choose the latter we may reap greater chaos than that which was replaced by American arms. The decision America must now make is whether to recognize that nations have interests, or whether the national interest of the United States is served by denying the United Nations anything more than a role in providing humanitarian aid to Iraq, or anywhere else. The Bush Administration has shown that it has decided to dominate politics in the region.
What it has not yet confirmed is that it knows how to do that. In deciding which of these choices to make, I offer some basic truths that intelligent Americans should reflect upon when deciding whether to follow a foreign policy based on national interest or one that seeks to impose a New World Order. The political religion of the New World Order is a nineteenth-century ideology. Though this political religion still resonates with environmental activists, and appears in the language of ill-educated elected leaders, and the detritus of Euro-trash culture, Wilsonian internationalism runs aground on reality.
Wars are costly, and the American people pay for war with high taxes and spilled blood. After awhile, they vote out of office internationalists and policies not driven by national interest. The League of Nations, the United Nations, and all the other international organizations that the New World Order has fostered, ultimately conflict with an American foreign policy grounded in the pursuit of national interest.
Though internationalist rhetorical cant clutters our intellectual journals, academic fora, and media discourse with ideological concepts at conflict with national interest, the practice of statecraft and the pursuit of national interest ultimately prevail. Still, the process takes time. So deeply rooted are the internationalist aspirations of our intellectual classes, that the hypostatized ideas of democracy —absent the rule of law; equality —absent a consciousness of justice; and liberty —absent a sense of responsibility, have become the common language of politically correct elites.
In light of those hypostatized ideas, historical communities must be judged to be defective, including our own nation that spawned and allows Political Correctness police to educate our young. A critical reading of this passage from John F. To be sure, these beautiful, idealistic, words were much celebrated by a generation who thought working for the state was a noble calling, but, they, too ran aground on the rock of reality.
First, it is not the liberty of the American political community that is to be defended, but liberty in general. Second, other nations, even those friendly to American interests, are put on notice that they will be judged by the standards of an ideal liberty evoked by an arrogant American president. Third, this Presidential rhetoric overestimated the capacity of American citizens to pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, particularly as the toll of death of young Americans in Vietnam was tallied. A good deal of the rejection and loathing of politics, and of our international prominence, by our educated classes is due to an underlying sense that the entire enterprise is corrupt, false, and incompatible with aspirations for a New World Order.
The secular religion of the New World Order has become the American political tradition, and American constitutionalism and an interest-oriented foreign policy rejected. Conflicted by idealism posing as statecraft, the American people have become skeptical. The ideology of revolution in permanence breeds skepticism because it leads to failure, revolution, and destruction of order. In turn, skepticism leads to a vicious realism that lacks virtue. In reaction to the acid of that skepticism, the American electorate coughs up personages such as John F.
Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and William Jefferson Clinton whose foreign policies constitute a vicious idealism absent of prudence. As a result, American foreign policy exists in tension between two poles: realism without virtue and idealism without prudence. The first and foremost imprudent idealist was Woodrow Wilson. It is true that the terms "North" and "South" simplify the world's problems, but they also allow us to underline the dominant contradictions. Under these conditions, the current model of society in the North—its style of development and lifestyle—cannot be reproduced throughout the world because it has definite ecological and population limits and carries within it many structural contradictions.
One such contradiction is between the model's requirement for progressive accumulation—with its growing concentration of capital, technology and power in the North—and the excluded majorities in the South who demand not only survival but also a standard of living conducive to peace and democracy.
It is revealing that precisely when "the end of history" and the triumph of capitalism are being touted, the World Bank published its Report on World Development Poverty, in which it emphasized poverty as "the most pressing question of the decade. The crisis is not only one of distribution and equity; it is a crisis of values and the direction humanity is taking.
For this reason we can call it a crisis of civilization. Society worldwide is neither sustainable nor stable under these conditions. Democracy is not possible for the majority of the world's population, and this fact is making many nations of the world increasingly ungovernable. To lend legitimacy to this situation, an attempt is underway to ideologize the North-South confrontation, presenting the South as the new enemy in the wake of the "evil empire's" demise. The South is portrayed as a den of evil goings-on, a dangerous place for citizens from the North.
In this vision, the threats of drugs, immigration and political instability, along with regional conflicts, all come from the South. The objective structural gap between North and South is widened with this subjective ideologizing, which has deep racist roots. Instead of confronting the causes of the crisis, this ideological view looks at the consequences, and seeks to lay blame there.
Latin America: Harvest of the s The so-called "lost decade" was complex and dialectical. Latin America's competitive capacity in the s is substantially lower than in the s. Losses in foreign trade and foreign investment, thoroughgoing decapitalization and disinvestment—both productive and social—as well as other well-known indices from this "lost decade" demonstrate profound and structural economic deterioration throughout Latin America.
Most of the continent, with the possible exception of Mexico, Chile and, in a certain sense, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, is simply not attractive to capital. The appearance of cholera in "the times of adjustment" symbolizes Latin America's growing "Africanization" and economic marginalization. Political marginalization is also evident as a result of the Middle East conflict and the strategic interests involved there, as well as the growing disintegration of the Soviet Union. The "lost decade," however, is much more complex. Latin American society is qualitatively different than it was at the beginning of the s.
The "lost decade" coincides with and is in part a cause of the "explosion of Latin American democracy" in the s. Electoral democratization is nothing more than a reflection of a radical and profound democracy that has touched different areas of civil society. Decades of struggle against oligarchies, dictatorships and militarism have gelled in this revolution of civil society. As representatives of Latin American political parties made clear in an April meeting in Vienna, "Incipient electoral democracy in many countries is expressed by representative democracy, which tends to transform itself, through the democratic and constitutional pressure of the majorities, into authentic participatory democracy.
The democratic participation of the organized and mobilized majorities in their own civic institutions has created new historical subjects that demand participation in the economy, politics, religion and culture. This dynamic of civil society has obvious exceptions, including Guatemala, Argentina, Panama and Peru. The culture of terror imposed by military repression in the first two cases, the US military occupation of Panama and the economic collapse of Peru explain the disintegration of civil society in these nations.
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This contradictory dynamic leads to a state of ungovernability, in which the demands that arise as part of the advance of democracy find no material base to sustain them. This is expressed in the rapid loss of prestige of the neoliberal political leadership that has controlled the majority of electoral democracies since the mids. In neither of those countries has the US-backed neoliberal project brought political stability or economic recovery. In fact, there are deep divisions within both governments. To their apparent surprise, the United States has been unable to financially assist these governments, which could have become showcases for "the marvels of US foreign policy.
This unorganized mass is an important challenge for alternative projects in Latin America. It is a group easily co-opted by escapist religions, drugs and growing migration out of Latin America, as well as by violent ultra-leftism unconnected to alternative and viable proposals. Between hope and disaster: that is how this dialectic of sentiments could be characterized. In another historical moment, Pablo Neruda eloquently declared a similar feeling: They can cut all the flowers, but they will never stop the spring.
Debt, neoliberal adjustment and the Bush initiative The continuing debt crisis, the structural adjustment processes underway and Bush's new proposal for the Latin American continent allow us to visualize a project to restructure Latin American capitalism and reinsert the continent into the world capitalist market.
Latin America will take its place in the "new world order" proclaimed by Bush and Baker in the heat of the Persian Gulf war. In announcing this "new" order, Bush declared to Congress that "there are no substitutes for American [sic] leadership in the world. We are the only nation that has the political will and the military and economic tools at our disposal to control the illegality dominating certain areas of the world. The world has become a dangerous place and we need global reach.
We are the only remaining superpower.
It puts the state and even private enterprise into a submissive position with its denationalizing effect. Latin American attempts to renegotiate the debt individually could not achieve equitable terms despite various attempts to declare a moratorium on payments. The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, USAID and, more recently, the Inter-American Development Bank have imposed overlapping conditions on national governments and enterprises, such that the adjustment policies linked to these conditions have severely weakened Latin America's negotiating capacity.
It is in this context that President Bush's Enterprise for the Americas Initiative must be understood. SELA's cogent April analysis of the Bush plan states, "The Bush Initiative for the Americas does not propose a strategy for development of the region, but rather constitutes a mechanism to accelerate the economic reforms underway, whose principal elements have been promoted by multilateral financial institutions, with the support of the US government.
It responds to the economic needs and concrete strategies of the United States. This requires defining the rules of the game and criteria for an understanding with the United States. We hold that the Bush plan is a product of the need for a macroeconomic readjustment of the US economy in light of its profound recession and lack of international competitiveness. The United States needs the creation of a hemispheric "mega-market" from which to confront both a united Europe and its new zone of economic and political influence in Eastern Europe, and the mega-market of Japan and the Pacific nations.
The extension of a free market from Alaska to Patagonia would permit the US to share the costs of its own adjustment with Canada and Latin America. At the same time, it would increase US negotiating power in the debates on the new global trade agreements now taking place in the Uruguay Round the current round of GATT talks. Given the possible failure to reach new agreements, the US needs to broaden its competitive capacity to take on trade agreements—both bilateral and multilateral—with Europe and Japan. Debt, trade and investment—the three pillars of the Bush plan—bring with them strict conditions that President Bush has repeatedly underscored.
The SELA document declares, "In all matters relative to the debt, the conditions derived from the linkage to economic reforms constitutes an essential requisite. It is already evident with respect to market mechanisms that have not been used for debt reduction; in official negotiations, financial organizations refuse to accept the real, substantially reduced, market price of the debt as set by the secondary market. By the same logic, conditions for the incorporation of US investment in Latin America will be linked to the acceptance of conditions regarding the debt and the non-reciprocal and asymmetrical use of the market, which will never extend to a free flow of the work force between the US and Latin America, even in the case of Mexico.
We take as our starting point that the Bush plan should be analyzed first from the perspective of the recession and need for a macroeconomic adjustment in the United States. It will permit the United States to face its structural indebtedness and loss of international competitiveness in better conditions, and expand its market towards a zone of privileged influence to increase its strategic security and continental supply of natural resources, particularly petroleum. This will allow the US to maintain its geo-strategic hegemony based on a geo-economic competitiveness that it currently lacks.
In one short decade, the United States went from being the world's largest international creditor to being its greatest debtor, almost doubling its budget for debt servicing and reducing the country's savings by nearly half. That has created an eminently unstable situation. It cannot continue to maintain gasoline taxes six times less than those of Japan, Germany, Italy and France. This squandering of energy explains the decision to get involved militarily in the Persian Gulf. Despite this energy subsidy, US productivity, measured by per-capita GDP, was fourth among the world's 22 most industrialized nations by If this trend continues, the US will drop to 13th in world productivity by The fundamental reason for this decline in US productivity is that the rate of savings in the US is half that of its industrial competitors and a quarter that of Japan.
The reduction in US savings, moreover, contradicts a basic tenet of neoliberal policy, which holds that a concentration of income allows for an increase in savings and investment. The US loss of international competitiveness is also notable. In , the United States held a technological lead in only a few areas, primarily biotechnology and industrial design.
This loss of competitiveness corresponds to a reduction in the investment rate, funds dedicated to research, productivity and infrastructure, and even in the loss of its own internal market, which shows a growing propensity for imports. At the same time, the prolonged US recession has caused a dramatic increase in the number of poor in the US, now some 30 million. Maintaining such a high military budget and dedicating two-thirds of all funds to high-level military technology increases the competitive gap in terms of civil technology, particularly with Japan and Germany, which do not have such high spending levels for military technology.
This analysis could be expanded with other data illustrating the irrevocable need for a structural adjustment in the US economy. The topic has touched off sharp debates in Congress, and even President Bush had to break his key campaign promise to not raise taxes. The fact is that the US needs an adjustment even stricter than those imposed in Latin America. Furthermore, the distortions in the US economy have multiplier effects on world financial markets, interest rates and stock market fluctuations and speculation.
The international institutions established to guarantee world financial stability, however, are unable to deal with one of the most fundamental distortions of the modern economy. For Latin America, having a neighbor and key market in a structural recession and with imbalances as great as those outlined above means having a permanently destabilizing factor in its own economies. Those Latin Americans who believe that the Bush plan could serve as an element of growth and stability, much like the motor force of growth that the US economy was in the s, when the United States was the world leader in technology, investment and productivity, need to rethink their relation with the US in this new context.
The US military monopoly, coupled with the multi-polar economic situation, does not lead to stability. As Professor Paul Kennedy maintains, empires in decline tend to be more militarily aggressive to compensate for their economic weakness. Three alternatives can be posed to the Bush Plan: 1 Negotiate better terms with the United Statds to overcome the lack of reciprocity and the asymmetry that the SELA analysis so clearly shows.
This position assumes as a given that the Bush Initiative is the only way out of Latin America's economic crisis.
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This integration would permit the complementarity necessary to deal with the US and Canadian markets. This second alternative hopes to obtain more positive results for Latin America from the Initiative by diversifying its linkage to the United States through it own integration and by opening new relations with Europe and the Pacific nations. The thrust of this proposal would be to resolve the causes of the economic crisis and respond to the accumulated demands of emerging civil society. It would seek to create the material base for maintaining and deepening participatory democracy.
This alternative springs from a vision of society that has been called "the logic of the majority" and aims to overcome the historic exploitation of work, nature and sovereignty. The crisis of civilization dehumanizes both victors and vanquished in the market and thus calls for a reconstitution of equity and symmetry, both necessary to an authentically free market.
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This alternative offers a medium to long-term solution that reinforces the Latin American vision of the second proposal. For the s, the most viable route is to advance and deepen Latin American integration and diversification in a context of reciprocity and symmetry. Bold pragmatism, however, requires having a vision of a society that goes beyond strict market mechanisms. The Latin American agenda must not reduce itself to the Bush Plan agenda.
This third alternative implies some strategic priorities: 1 Develop a strategy of survival and appropriate technology based on the accumulated experience of the grassroots Latin American economies in which the majority of the population is barely surviving. In classical terms, this would be what Adam Smith called the wealth of the nation. This is important until conditions of greater symmetry and competitiveness can be achieved. Without incorporating the informal sectors, national industry will be elitist and totally dependent on its transnational counterpart.
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This requires regionalizing this proposal throughout Latin America. State power should be decentralized to civil institutions. Use the state to create the social framework that would strengthen the growth of grassroots organizations and increase their negotiating capacity at both the regional and international levels. The internationalization of these experiences is aimed at democratizing the market at a national, Latin American and international level. The grassroots alternative starts from the premise that a monopolistic market produces an asymmetrical "economic Darwinism" in which state equilibrium disappears, given that the market progressively replaces the state and the weakest are absorbed by capital concentration.
This democratization is key to establishing equity in international relations. Like the United Nations, these institutions emerged during the Cold War, and respond to the interests of the North.