Post-9/11 US Foreign Policy Paul Bacon Waseda University
America’s Imperial Ambition? • This lecture summarizes the arguments put forward by G. John Ikenberry in an article titled ‘America’s Imperial Ambition’, which appeared in Foreign Affairs in September 2002. • This article is widely regarded as one of the most important considerations of post-9/11 US foreign policy. • You can read the full article by following the link below: • http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~rgibson/Ikenberry.pdf
America’s Imperial Ambition? • The United States is the most powerful country in the world. • The foreign policy choices which it makes shape international politics to a significant extent. • This lecture surveys the objectives of three “grand strategies” which the US has pursued since the end of WWII. • The lecture also examines the international diplomacy which the US has conducted in its attempts to implement these strategies. • This lecture will also re-introduce the concept of hegemony, or leadership. • According to the theory of hegemonic stability, it is necessary to have a hegemon which is willing both to conceive and implement strategies of world order, and create and enforce rules.
Cold War US Grand Strategy • From the 1940s until recently, the American political scientist John Ikenberry has argued, American foreign policy has been built on two complementary grand strategies. • The first is a ‘realist’ strategy of containment, which created a number of enduring international institutions and partnerships. • The second is a ‘liberal’ grand strategy which entailed an advocacy of open trade, democracy and multilateral international relations.
US Cold War Foreign Policy – A Success • Ikenberry claims that these strategies worked remarkably well together. • The realist grand strategy created major security commitments around the world. • The liberal strategy created a positive agenda for American leadership. • The United States exercised its power to achieve its own national interests, but it did so in a way that helped build and sustain international community. • By the end of the 1990s the result was an international political order of unprecedented size and success; a global coalition of democratic states tied together through markets, institutions and security partnerships.
America’s ‘nascent neoimperial grand strategy’? • However, Ikenberry and many other writers warn that America’s ‘nascent neoimperial grand strategy’ threatens to damage the existing international sense of community and political partnership. • Ikenberry believes that this neoimperial grand strategy is diplomatically harmful, dangerous and likely to fail. • The neoimperial grand strategy means that America ceases to see itself as bound to its partners, to global rules, or to institutions. • Instead, the US will develop a more unilateral and preemptive role in attacking terrorists and confronting rogue states.
Post 9/11 US Foreign Policy • This lecture is divided into three sections: • 1. US Foreign Policy from the 1940s until 2000. • 2. The Elements of Contemporary American Foreign Policy. • 3. The Problems and Dangers of Contemporary American Foreign Policy.
US Foreign Policy from the 1940s until 2000 • 1. ‘Realist Grand Strategy’ • Containment. • Mutually Assured Destruction. • Global System of Military Alliances (NATO, ANZUS, Japan-US Security Treaty). • Truman Doctrine.
US Foreign Policy from the 1940s until 2000 • 2. ‘Liberal’ Grand Strategy • Democracy Promotion. • Free markets. Marshall Plan (ERP) • The ‘Bretton Woods’ institutions. • Peace. Democratic peace thesis. • Liberal Democratic Security Community.
The Elements of Contemporary American Foreign Policy • There are eight elements to the new grand strategy: • 1. The Cold War concept of deterrence is outdated. (MAD, secure second-strike, rationality, symmetrical conflict between states – these have all been undermined by recent developments). • 2. Terrorist groups, and possibly outlaw states must be ‘ended’ (Wolfowitz). (Outlaw or rogue states are trying to develop WMD. There is a danger that these states could use WMD themselves, and/or pass technology to terrorist groups).
The Elements of Contemporary American Foreign Policy • 3. Sovereignty must be recast, with the result that the US must be prepared to intervene anywhere, anytime to address terrorist threats. • (The old ‘Westphalian’ rules of sovereign equality, non-violence and non-intervention are no longer relevant in a post 9-11 world. ‘Failed’ states and ‘rogue’ states are a threat to national security, and must be dealt with accordingly). • 4. As a result of this the use of force can be preemptive, and possibly preventative.
The Elements of Contemporary American Foreign Policy • 5. International rules, treaties and security partnerships are less valuable. (Kyoto Protocol, International Criminal Court, Ottawa Conference). • 6. The US is committed to maintaining unipolarity. (Substantial increases in military expenditure).
The Elements of Contemporary American Foreign Policy • 7. The US will need to play a direct and unconstrained role in responding to threats. • 8. The new grand strategy attaches little value to international stability. (Withdrawal from the ABM Treaty of 1972).
Problems and Dangers of Contemporary US Foreign Policy • 1. The new doctrine runs the risk that the behaviour of rogue states will become less predictable and more dangerous. • 2. The new doctrine aims win the war against terrorism. But it could also be argued that American foreign policy will be perceived as aggressive, and create more terrorists, and more terrorism.
Problems and Dangers of Contemporary US Foreign Policy • 3. The new doctrine endangers the nuclear non-proliferation regime. US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty makes horizontal nuclear proliferation much more likely. • 4. Risk of ‘imperial overstretch’ - the Paul Kennedy thesis on the rise and fall of the great powers. • 5. Risk that other major regional (BRICs – Brazil/Russia/India/China - and civilizational (Huntington) powers have been alienated by US foreign policy and will form substantial long-term coalitions against it.
Problems and Dangers of Contemporary US Foreign Policy • 6. The future of the liberal democratic security community is endangered. Key allies such as Britain and Japan have been forced to make tough choices which have had significant ramifications in domestic politics for Blair and Koizumi. Other members, such as France and Germany have been completely alienated. • 7. The new doctrine is unilateral, but success in the war on terror can only come through multilateral diplomacy and co-operation. (UNSCRs, intelligence-sharing, law-enforcement, logistics). This argument has been offered by many, but is most closely associated with Nye (multi-level chessboard) and Ikenberry.
Problems and Dangers of Contemporary US Foreign Policy • 8. Intervention has a “long tail”. The successful prosecution of a military intervention is only the start. After this, there are substantial periods where peace-keeping, aid, reconciliation must all be engaged in. • 9. It is dangerous if all states are given carte blanche to engage in preventative intervention in cases of terrorism within or beyond their own areas of jurisdiction (Pakistan, China, Russia, Israel).