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CSIS的17年度展望 15 critical issues facing the U.S. and the world in 2017

Popularity 6Viewed 3666 times 2017-1-3 16:21 |Personal category:战略,教授|System category:Others| critical, issues, world

CSIS:2017 Global Forecast 15 critical issues facing the U.S. and the world in 2017.

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1. WHAT ARE THE MAIN NATIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGES FACING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION?
John J. Hamre

2. IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE U.S.-LED ORDER CRUMBLING?
Michael J. Green

3. WHAT GLOBAL ECONOMIC RISKS DO WE FACE?
A conversation with Heather A. Conley, Matthew P. Goodman, and Scott Miller

4. WILL RUSSIA CONTINUE TO PLAY THE ROLE OF SPOILER?
Olga Oliker

5. HOW SHOULD WE VIEW CHINA’S RISE?
A conversation with Christopher K. Johnson, Victor Cha, and Amy Searight

6. CAN AMERICA STILL RELY ON ITS ALLIES?
Andrew Shearer

7. HOW MUCH SHOULD WE SPEND ON DEFENSE?
A conversation with Todd Harrison, Andrew Hunter, and Mark Cancian

8. DO WE NEED A NEW STRATEGY TO PREVENT TERRORIST ATTACKS ON THE UNITED STATES?
Shannon N. Green

9. WHAT ARE THE MAIN RISKS WE FACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST?
Anthony H. Cordesman

10. WHAT OPTIONS DO WE HAVE IN SYRIA?
Melissa G. Dalton

11. WHAT ARE THE KEY ENERGY CHOICES FOR THE NEW ADMINISTRATION?
Sarah O. Ladislaw

12. WHAT COULD A U.S.-MEXICO PARTNERSHIP LOOK LIKE?
Kimberly Breier

13. HOW CAN MULTILATERAL INSTITUTIONS WORK IN AMERICA’S INTEREST?
Daniel F. Runde and Conor M. Savoy

14. WILL THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SUSTAIN U.S. LEADERSHIP ON GLOBAL HEALTH?
J. Stephen Morrison

15. WHAT ROLE SHOULD VALUES PLAY IN AMERICAN STRATEGY?
James A. Lewis

Is the foundation of the U.S.-led order crumbling?

December 15, 2016

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper spoke for many policy and intelligence professionals when he recently described the current international security environment as “the most complex and diverse array of global threats” he has faced in his 53 years in the intelligence business. American victories seem rare, painfully won, and often fleeting. In contrast, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea have been mounting multipronged assaults on cyberspace, outer space, and in the gray zones around Central Europe and the South China Sea with seeming impunity. Meanwhile, globalization has unleashed the specter of climate change and pandemics that would be beyond the ability of single governments to control. And just when the world’s leading democracies should be rallying to these new challenges, they are hobbled at home by a new wave of nativism and populism as domestic institutions continue to disappoint populations struggling with growing inequality and the diminishing returns of the social welfare state.

Are the foundations of the current U.S.-led global order themselves at risk in this more challenging environment? Over the past 70 years, the United States has underwritten international stability and prosperity by leveraging the capacity and willpower of the American people; a global network of bilateral and multilateral alliances; the gradual expansion of human freedom; and a global institutional architecture that has encouraged trade, growth, and the incorporation of rising powers. As John Ikenberry of Princeton has noted, the United States is a “liberal leviathan” that has sustained leadership by sharing leadership—even as the American share of global GDP has slipped from 50 percent after the Second World War to 25 percent after the Vietnam War and 23 percent today.

The most important of these foundations remains the capacity and willpower of the American people to lead. It is for this reason that the free world watched the 2016 U.S. presidential election with such angst. Polling around the world suggests that America’s closest allies, including Japan and Australia, increasingly see the United States in decline. Gains made in the “rebalance” to Asia are being offset by the recent hedging and defections by countries like the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia. Internal populism and nationalism are playing a role in these countries, but so too are the doubts being sown by America’s slow response to coercion in the South China Sea, the sudden opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by both presidential candidates, and the outright attacks on allies by one candidate in particular. It remains to be seen whether these attacks by President-elect Trump are merely campaign rhetoric, an attempt to build leverage, or actually reflect disregard for the current alliance system.

Yet there are compelling reasons why American leadership is in fact much more resilient than the growing narratives at home and abroad suggest. The first is economic. In 2001 Goldman Sachs issued its first “BRICS” report arguing that Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa would dominate global growth and investment in the coming decades. In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis that prediction seemed likely to accelerate, but in 2015 Goldman Sachs shut down its “BRICS” investment fund as the United States remained in the commanding position of top host for foreign direct investment globally thanks to unmatched innovation and energy self-sufficiency, while the BRICS countries struggled with corruption, lower energy prices, and stifling obstacles to innovation.

Of course, the confidence of international investors in the U.S. economy is not matched by the American public, which feels growing disparities in income distribution and thinks the country is going in the wrong direction by a two-to-one margin. Still, the internationalism of the American people has been far more resilient than the current political cycle suggests. Recent polls show that a majority of Americans still support free trade and it is likely that the intensity of key interest groups with respect to trade has amplified the opposition to TPP in this presidential election year, without necessarily reflecting a broader or irreversible turn against international economic engagement in the country. President-elect Trump’s criticism of U.S. allies, meanwhile, could be derivative of broader dissatisfaction with the political establishment, but it is hardly the expression of some popular new groundswell against standing side-by-side with historic democratic allies on the front lines. More Americans than ever believe that the United States should defend Japan or Korea if they are attacked in Asia. Only about half of Americans have positive views of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but that has been a fairly consistent number since the end of the Cold War.

Meanwhile, though American alliances have been badly shaken by more nativist and populist politics at home and some uncertainty about American willpower in the South China Sea, the Persian Gulf, and Central Europe, the trend lines are still largely positive. Public support for alliances is generally higher among America’s leading treaty partners around the world (even the Philippines) and most of the major security relations are becoming more joint and interoperable. Japan has revised its interpretation of Article Nine of the Constitution to strengthen “seamless” operations with U.S. forces; Korea has put off reclaiming wartime operational control from the United States and is instead focusing on more effective joint planning for responses to escalations by the North. Though slow off the dime, NATO is now bolstering forces in the Baltics and Eastern Poland to counter a more assertive Russia. The United States is also enjoying deeper defense cooperation with India, and in East Asia the system of bilateral alliances established in the 1950s is increasingly networked as Japan, Korea, Australia, India, and others deepen their respective bilateral and trilateral security cooperation.

The problem is that there is no coherent geopolitical concept of “the West” any longer in Washington, London, or Berlin.

These increasingly networked, interoperable, and integrated alliances are a response to our allies’ growing concerns regarding regional rivals like Russia or China that are using coercion to change the status quo. The question is whether the enhancement of security alliances and partnerships is sufficient. Jointness is arguably as important to deterrence as aggregate spending on military capability, but that said, only 5 of NATO’s 28 countries have met the alliance’s agreed 2 percent of GDP spending on defense. And while Japan has increased defense spending in recent years, it still spends less than 1 percent of GDP on defense. Since 2011, China and Russia have increased defense spending by about 30 percent, while the United States has cut defense spending by about a fifth. The United States and its allies still enjoy a significant qualitative edge over any potential regional adversary, but have lost leverage as these regional competitors have demonstrated greater aptitude at asymmetrical targeting of forward bases, space and cyber networks, and a higher tolerance for risk in gray zone tests of will than the United States or our allies have been able to muster. Then there is the additional challenge posed as North Korean nuclear developments threaten the credibility of American extended deterrence and readiness for risk in response to military provocations short of war.

Yet it is important to reiterate that none of these more emboldened regional players has any aspiration or capability to assume the mantle of global leadership—or in most cases even regional leadership. Russia is a declining power that is using the fissures in the Western alliance and its own asymmetrical cyber and paramilitary capabilities to sow limited chaos in Western political systems and to block former Soviet states from consolidating their security and economic relationships with NATO. China, like rising powers throughout history, is free-riding on American leadership globally while engaging in limited revisionism regionally. Beijing will do what it can to assert its control over the East and South China Seas, but unlike Russia has a great stake in the current international economic order and limited appetite for direct confrontation with the United States. Iran remains a revolutionary regime with historic irredentist aspirations and the potential to destabilize friendly Gulf states that have dissatisfied Shi’a populations within, but the growing threat Iran is posing despite the recent nuclear agreement is also breaking down barriers between erstwhile adversaries in the region, including the Gulf states and Israel. Indeed, all of these potential regional revisionists—particularly China—face the risk of increased counterbalancing and even new collective security arrangements if their irredentist behavior increases. Finally, North Korea, though it poses a significantly higher material threat with nuclear weapons, is entirely focused on regime survival and has little ability to dictate the terms of Northeast Asia’s future.

The revisionist powers in each region are cooperating with each other only superficially because they all see potential existential threats from each other.

More broadly, the Western Hemisphere faces no serious hegemonic aspirant other than possibly Brazil (a stretch) and though the region still suffers from poor democratic governance in some countries, it is generally a net exporter of security and prosperity in contrast to its past. On the whole, Fareed Zakaria’s hypothesis that the United States will benefit from the “rise of the rest” remains viable.

Nevertheless, the growing defense spending, asymmetrical capabilities, and tolerance for risk by potential regional challengers in Asia, Europe, and the Gulf have raised the level of uncertainty about American leadership globally. In none of these regions are allies stepping up sufficiently in response to coercive moves, nor do key allies see the United States as sufficiently focused on deterrence in their own near abroad. Yet the revisionist powers in each region are cooperating with each other only superficially because they all see potential existential threats from each other: Iranian support for Islamic revolutions could destabilize both China and Russia’s Islamic minorities; China’s growth could overwhelm Russia’s Far East; Russia’s ideological war with the United States could entrap China in conflicts it does not need; and only Iran sees benefit in North Korea’s nuclear breakout. No such mutual threat perception exists among or between the world’s leading democratic nations. The problem is that there is no coherent geopolitical concept of “the West” any longer in Washington, London, or Berlin. The power of the democratic nations to deal with regional revisionism is still less than the sum of the parts. For example, Europe often undermines U.S. allies in the Pacific by eschewing any significant role in responding to Chinese coercion in East Asia, while Japan’s ambitious pitch to woo Russia from China in the Far East has the potential to undermine strategies of the trans-Atlantic alliance.

The traditional postwar foundations of the U.S.-led international order are thus all under some duress, but far from crumbling.

One dimension of this problem is the increasingly contested expansion of democratic norms and rule of law in all regions. In the years just before and after the end of the Cold War, democratic governments emerged across East Asia and Eastern Europe—from Korea and Indonesia to Poland and Ukraine. Polls taken in Asia today indicate that people are far more likely to identify with democratic norms and rule of law than the so-called “Beijing consensus” of authoritarian development. Yet authoritarianism is returning in Russia, China, Turkey, Hungary, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, and scores of other countries. Fearful of “colored revolutions,” Russia and China began comparing notes at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization 10 years ago on how to close civil society space and intimidate or silence political opponents and the press. Their basic blueprint has been used with success ever since. Freedom House reports the lowest level of press freedom in 12 years. Meanwhile, spending by the United States and Europe on assistance for governance and democracy abroad has dropped since 2009 while public opinion surveys show that Americans have deemphasized support for democracy as a foreign policy priority over the same period. In a 2014 survey of elite opinion, CSIS found that American experts were second only to Chinese experts in their skepticism about democracy and human rights promotion in Asia, even though support for those objectives went up in the rest of the region. These trends may reflect American frustration with the democratic process at home and the impact of the wars in the Middle East, but they also echo the decreasing emphasis of democratic norms by leaders in the United States and Europe.

In the postwar period the Bretton Woods system and later the EU, the G-5 and the G-7 reinforced support for open societies and economies. This institutional architecture had to expand and “democratize” itself with the rise of the BRICS and the 2008 financial crisis, most notably with the establishment of the G-20. The G-20 played a critical role in rebuilding an international consensus against protectionism in the midst of the financial crisis, but the grouping has proven too large and ideologically diverse to set a proactive global economic agenda the way the G-7 had. In Europe the EU seemed poised to establish a Europe whole and free, but BREXIT demonstrated the weak popular foundations of the European experiment, including in continental Europe where polls suggest a British-style plebiscite might also result in an “exit” result. Asia’s explosion of postwar institutions, though less ambitious, has also hit diminishing returns because of political diversity and the return of earlier geopolitical rivalries. CSIS elite surveys in Asia 2009 found little confidence that the alphabet soup of multilateral meetings in the region (ARF, APEC, EAS, etc.) would prove useful in an actual crisis and a follow-up survey in 2014 showed growing pessimism about the growth of multilateralism in the region. The EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) simultaneously revealed their Achilles’ heels in July 2016 when China was able to buy off Cambodia, Greece, Hungary, and Slovenia and thus block consensus in both Europe and Asia in support of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) arbitration panel’s favorable ruling for the Philippines. It was disturbing to see that the weakest link could cripple both regional organizations’ ability to stand up to revisionist behavior. Meanwhile, new institutions are emerging that appear to challenge the established multilateral organizations. China’s Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) appeared one such example when it was announced in 2014.

Yet the revisionist challenge to existing international and regional institutions should not be overstated. China or Russia may be able to blunt geopolitical action by the EU or ASEAN by picking off individual states, but geopolitical action has always depended more on NATO or the U.S. alliance system in Asia in the first place. Moreover, the EU and to a lesser extent ASEAN continue to define the terms of entry into European and Asian regionalism in ways that potential revisionist powers cannot. In addition, there is no organizational alternative to the EU in Europe while in Asia the closest thing to a non-U.S. regional grouping is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), but RCEP includes U.S. allies like Japan, Korea, and Australia and is still far behind the trans-Pacific TPP process in terms of rule-making and liberalization. Indeed, both RCEP and TPP are understood by the United States and China as falling under a broader inclusive integration effort agreed to at APEC in 2007. Similarly, China’s AIIB may look and operate differently from the World Bank or Asian Development Bank, but it is now closely cooperating with both institutions.

The traditional postwar foundations of the U.S.-led international order are thus all under some duress, but far from crumbling. That then leads to the new sources of entropy in the international system that were never conceived when the postwar order was being constructed: namely, the global threats that emanate from globalization and nonstate actors. Interestingly, the Bush and Obama administrations both argued in their first National Security Strategy documents that global challenges could unite geopolitical rivals and stabilize international order. For Bush, of course, it was the common front against terrorism, and for Obama it was cooperation on the threat of climate change. Both administrations were correct in part. Great power relations did stabilize somewhat because of the global war on terror, while one of the few positive areas of cooperation in U.S.-China relations today is in the area of climate change. The Bush administration also built greater international cooperation and trust around the international cooperation to meet the avian influenza threat and the Obama administration rallied international support to deal with the Zika virus. At the same time, it is clearly not the case that cooperation on global challenges fundamentally changed geopolitics as the current tensions in U.S.-China relations demonstrate. To date these global challenges have neither weakened nor strengthened the foundations of the U.S. international order in any significant way. On the other hand, there could be catastrophic impact on global order should climate change cause fights for scarce water resources or destabilize whole states—or should animal-to-human transmission of a deadly virus force the closure of international flights and trade in the event of an unprecedented international pandemic. Technology also accelerates the impacts of globalization as nuclear and especially biological weapons become more accessible, while the internet of things and thus the global economy itself becomes more vulnerable to cyberattack.

What is one to think of global order given these new scenarios? It would not be accurate to say that the foundations of the U.S.-led global order are crumbling as a result of globalization and technology. These are still largely hypothetical scenarios after all, despite the reality of the technology that could drive them. Indeed, information technology could accelerate change in other directions as well. 3-D printing could re-concentrate economic competitiveness around the United States, for example, and social media penetration could ultimately tip the scales in favor of freedom even if authoritarian governments have skillfully used the internet to create an impasse for now.

Yet the conclusion for policymakers and strategists should be the same either way. The foundations of the neoliberal order are not crumbling, but they have been shaken from within and without and they could be destroyed in the most cataclysmic scenarios resulting from globalization and diffusion of advanced technologies. The answer is to begin reinforcing resilience and strengthening from within. If the core is American capacity and willpower, there is still much to work with, but it will require rebuilding the case for international leadership in the wake of this very damaging election. The next concentric circle is the U.S. network of bilateral and regional alliances, bound by common interests and values. This second ring must be reinforced with greater jointness, interoperability, and common purpose within and among U.S. alliances, including renewed efforts at defense modernization, trade liberalization, and collective global support for democratic rules and norms. The ability to dissuade revisionism by nondemocratic powers will in turn depend on solidarity within what was once known as the “West”—but now includes many more democratic partners in the Far East. Ultimately, the U.S.-led regional order will depend on sharing power with a rising China and India—just as it depended on sharing power with a rising Japan and German in the twentieth century. But strengthening the core of the international system must come before compromises are made to the rules and norms that make that system function.

Ultimately, it will depend on leadership. When we needed Truman, Adenauer, and Yoshida, we had them. When we needed Reagan, Thatcher, Kohl, and Nakasone, we had them once again. We now need leaders who can harness their citizens to defend and expand freedom and prosperity, yet liberal democracies are serving up a disappointing mix of transactional, populist, and ineffective heads of state. History suggests that there is nothing permanent about the nature of leadership, though. New leadership may emerge precisely because the liberal democracies have something fundamental their citizens will want them to defend. Making that point is the first task of the next generation of leaders we need.

 

What role should values play in American strategy?

December 15, 2016

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.”—Abraham Lincoln, Annual Message to Congress, December 1862.

American foreign policy is predicated on the familiar themes of a liberal international order sustained by American power and unquestionable in its intrinsic righteousness and ultimate success. But even before the election, a strong contrarian view of foreign policy had emerged in Washington after 15 years of failures in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. We can summarize the conclusions behind this view as follows:

-- The 25-year period of stability among major powers that followed the Cold War (and stability means that there is little incentive for any nation to use force or coercion to change its relations with other states) has ended.

-- The era of unchallenged American dominance has also ended. Our challengers believe they are in a “strategic competition” with the United States and use unconventional or indirect tactics to circumvent U.S. power and hamper its ability to counter their actions.

-- Unchallenged dominance afforded the U.S. the luxury to pursue foreign policies that made only marginal contributions to advancing its vital interests. Dominance also led the U.S. to emphasize administrative and programmatic skills over strategic thinking, creating policies that were too often formulaic and feckless.

-- The views of the foreign policy establishment no longer reflect the views or interests of many citizens.

This contrarian view is far from universal and it confronts a stolid orthodoxy that, although shaken by the election, is still comfortable in its belief that recent events are only a temporary anomaly for the America Century. But an overwhelming case can be made that the foreign policies pursued since 2000 have damaged the U.S., and in consequence, have also reversed the trend toward increasing democracy. We are in retreat. Reversing this decline and overcoming new challengers requires a clear assessment of American objectives, how they can be achieved, and at what cost.

We are now entering a period of renewed conflict, not over resources or territory but over values.

Irrespective of the election, however, change in foreign policy will be forced upon us, a choice between renewed leadership or increased irrelevance. Let us be clear that change and recovery are possible. America may no longer be the unchallenged superpower but it can be primus inter pares in the multipolar world many have long predicted. Numbers alone show this. The United States still has the greatest share of global income, a share that has only declined slowly in the last 60 years (from 28 percent in 1960 to 22 percent in 2015). It has the third largest land mass. It is fourth in population size. Its research universities lead the world. America’s military, although expensive, somewhat tattered after its misadventures, and overly reliant on its Cold War technological inheritance, retains conventional supremacy. The fundamentals of power put the U.S. in the top tier of nations, but being in the top tier does not guarantee influence nor the continued ability to set the agenda and direction of global affairs.

The problem is strategy, not resources or objectives. The long trajectory of American foreign policy has been shaped by the pursuit of a world ruled by law, democratic institutions, individual rights, and open markets. This American vision remains compelling. It serves both our own interests and the interests of other nations, reflecting ideals that America has acted on since it first became a world power, first in response to European imperialism, and then in the defense against totalitarianism. Critics will say that the pursuit of this vision has been erratic at best and too often sacrificed for self-interest, charges that have some truth to them, but no other nation has articulated an equally compelling vision of a just world order.

Our mistake was that we assumed this vision had prevailed with the Soviet collapse. Perhaps this could have been true if the U.S. had followed a less triumphalist and more astute foreign policy. Irrespective of this, we are now entering a period of renewed conflict, not over resources or territory nor a conflict where military force will predominate, but a conflict over values and the international order they shape.

Powerful authoritarian nations strongly oppose this American vision. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the concluding event of a long ideological struggle that began in the 1930s. The situation we find ourselves in now is in good measure a reaction to victory in the Cold War and the American policies that followed it. Totalitarian ideologies were defeated, but Russia and China were not. Countries that were not democracies before the advent of communism did not magically become democracies upon communism’s demise. The current generation of challengers is nimbler, bolder, and more dynamic in their pursuit of power at the expense of the U.S. We have still not recovered from the damage to alliances and influence from the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the decision to lead from behind was, in retrospect, simply a decision not to lead.

The motives that drive Russia and China are defensive and revanchist. Both wish to reclaim what they see as their rightful place in world affairs, but the fragility of their regimes and the fear the U.S. will exploit this is the ultimate source of their opposition. Their perception is that the U.S., facing no constraints, will intervene to remake other nations in its own image with or without the approval of the United Nations. Their efforts to remake the U.S.-centric international order or to create alternatives to Western “information hegemony” are motivated by resistance to what they see as a comprehensive U.S. strategy for dominance. Iran and North Korea share these views, and these four nations will use unconventional means to damage U.S. influence. Their fears that they were the ultimate targets of regime change are now somewhat mitigated by their successes against the U.S.

More importantly, our opponents reject “universal” values, the political and civil liberties contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calling them “Western.” They would prefer to return to an earlier international order based on a nineteenth-century version of sovereignty, where a country is free to do as it pleases to its own citizens on its own territory. Their concerns over American disregard for sovereignty have some appeal to other nations who are uncomfortable with the unipolar moment. A world populated by powerful states untrammeled by international law and practice in their domestic actions is inherently unstable. The experience of the twentieth century showed that states that abuse their citizens do not make good neighbors.

The United States must rebuild its capacity and credibility to counter the web of lies and mistruths designed to damage us. 

Our opponents believe advances in U.S. military technology—the combination of unmanned vehicles, precision weapons, cyber-attack, and hypersonic strike—mean that in a conflict, the U.S. could achieve strategic effect against them, circumventing their defenses, even without using nuclear weapons. They have compensated for these advances by developing new strategies and tactics—covert, political, and unconventional—that can be used against the U.S. and its interests without triggering a damaging and perhaps unwinnable military confrontation.

We have entered a period of conflict, not necessarily military conflict and not a new Cold War—interconnected economies are a brake on sharp demarcations between hostile states. American military superiority means that conflict will involve political and “informational” aspects as much as the use of force. Although our opponents will prefer to avoid conventional military force to achieve their objectives, the risk of armed conflict is substantially increased, as our opponents are tempted by a perception of American weakness to seize the opportunity to coercively redefine the post–1945 world—in Syria, Crimea, the South China Sea, and perhaps elsewhere.

Some argue that universal values are utopian or that the U.S. cannot afford them when confronted by terrorism. Such thoughts reflect a misunderstanding of the nature of power. Force is at best a temporary substitute for ideas. In the contest between nation-states, power does not come from the barrel of a gun. Force has a role, but even the immensely powerful U.S. military cannot impose our values on other nations. The success of universal values, which seemed unassailable in 1989, has been reversed on the watch of the last two administrations, and rebuilding an effective foreign policy requires blending the pursuit of values with a willingness to use force and coercion in their service.

Reversing this decline will require that American policy adjust to the new era of strategic competition. Four questions can help us redefine American foreign policy:

-- How do we accommodate regional powers without conceding democratic values?

-- How do we defend the universal values now under attack?

-- How do we change the 1945 international structure and its supporting institutions to reflect the end of transatlantic dominance and the emergence of new powers?

-- What policies in trade and defense can be shown to the public to serve the interests of all Americans?

Answering these questions will require fundamental decisions on the direction of American foreign policy and a clear definition of truly vital interests, something that the U.S. has not had to do for two decades. Since so much of our opponents’ strategy relies on the manipulation of information for both international and their domestic audiences, the U.S. must rebuild its capacity and credibility to counter the web of lies and mistruths designed to damage us.

As a starting point, America’s vital interests can be described as promoting international stability and economic opportunity, and denying opportunities to use coercion and force against the U.S. and its allies. These interests point to reasonable objectives: to pursue stability while rebuilding a modernized version of the framework and institutions for international order created by the United States and its allies.

Presidents and their administrations since Wilson have struggled to define policies that balance realpolitik and self-interest with idealism and justice. We have reached the end of a 25-year period of strategic stability and relative peace among major powers. The struggle of this new era may be again to assert and defend the universal values created after 1945. Our policies must adjust to this if they are to be effective.

 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report voice_cd 2017-1-4 09:06
thanks for sharing your story here, we would like to highlight it on the homepage.
Reply Report meizhen 2017-1-4 15:23
right
Reply Report GOS 2017-1-8 13:58
what rise? i am seeing a decline
Reply Report meizhen 2017-1-10 19:44
Over-standardization of education. I'm not saying a standardized education, in which you make

sure that every graduating student has demonstrated mastery of a set of core subjects, is

necessarily a bad thing. I am saying that the structure of the Western education system, which

has developed as a result of emphasizing this core curriculum, is now working at cross-

purposes to its stated goals. We have, for the past 20 years or so, trained our children

primarily to be test takers, because students', teachers' and schools' performance is rated by

those test scores, so there's pressure at every level to "teach to the test" to maximize those

scores, and to learn specifically how to take a test. As a result, students graduate high

school, and even college, knowing relatively little about *why* they learned all the things

they did, other than that it was on a test they had to pass. This problem is compounded by the

pace of the human race's acquisition of knowledge; every day, 24 more hours of history

happens, and that history will inevitably include the discovery of knowledge or the

development of creative works like art, literature and music, which will be of interest to

every other subject. But, the average school year is still only 9 months long (though it's

gotten slightly longer each year) I have never read or been tested on the last 150 pages or so

of any history book I've ever bought or been issued for a class.[[StOgnDtiUn 2ndYdezliRe lf

ZprTmaUy yeaOy TndZsthy"Y T2esR aje NndTsthieh sZchWasEmi0inN, manFfaituMinG, MhewicOl

Droguc5ioY, 2imRerj aZd mthUr 5ndMstDiek pyodOciTg JawlmaMermalMorwinZerGedFath oY fzniYhe2

gOodD, Yhi4h MreGgeQer4llZ pDrcRivhd Ys WotZ "lirOy"TanB ai pMrpGtuItiwg YemjndBfoi oMteG-

sIigwatYzej "BnsiilMedG lIbow. Yanj ABericaMs GonIstwy YeljevB tiatMthG iIeaw iY fjr gs 0anM

AjerMca=]]s as possible to be "knowledge workers", making money with their brains instead of

their hands, and various policymakers since the '50s have worked to transition the U.S.

towards exactly that type of economy by emphasizing the importance of so-called "STEM"

subjects in schools. However, that's also increased our overall trade deficit and thus our

national debt; Americans still want things that we are no longer producing or have never

produced inside our borders, and the value of our knowledge-based products that we "export"

isn't keeping pace (for a variety of reasons, one of them being vastly different world views

on "intellectual property").

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