Can the United States Think Strategically About Iran, China, and the Deepening Ties Between the Persian Gulf and Rising Asia?
One of the many satisfying aspects of Flynt’s appointment as a professor of international affairs and law at Penn State is his service on the faculty editorial board for the new Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs, published jointly by Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law (DSL) and School of International Affairs (SIA). As its name suggests, the Journal focuses on subjects that lie at the intersection of law (international or national) and international relations. In keeping with the traditional law review model, Flynt’s wonderful colleague, Executive Editor (and assistant dean at DSL and SIA) Amy Gaudion oversees a talented batch of student editors from both schools who produce each issue.
The newest (second) issue of the Journal (vol. 1, no. 2) is out, see here. It includes our most recent article, “The Balance of Power, Public Goods, and the Lost Art of Grand Strategy: American Policy Toward the Persian Gulf and Rising Asia in the 21st Century”; for a pdf version, click here. It also includes pieces by (among others) Harold James, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Ronald Deibert, and P.J. Crowley. The issue grew out of a series of presentations that the Journal sponsored over the course of the last academic year around the theme of America’s emerging national security narrative.
Our article seeks to explore the roots of the worsening crisis in American foreign policy, of which America’s dysfunctional policy toward Iran is an especially salient manifestation. As we write,
“While no single factor explains the relative decline of American standing and influence in world affairs, one of the most important is the failure of American political and policy elites to define clear, reality-based goals and to relate the diplomatic, economic, and military means at Washington’s disposal to realizing them soberly and efficaciously. Defining such ends and relating the full range of foreign policy tools to their achievement is the essence of what is known among students of international relations and national security practitioners as ‘grand strategy.’ Questions of grand strategy are becoming an increasingly important element in America’s emerging national security narrative—because of accumulating policy failures, relative economic decline, and the rise of new power centers in various regional and international arenas.”
To explore what is wrong with contemporary American grand strategy and what it would take to put that strategy on a sounder course, our article evaluates “Washington’s posture toward two regions where the effectiveness of American policy will largely determine the United States’ standing as a great power in the 21st century: the Middle East (with a focus on the Persian Gulf) and rising Asia (with a focus on China).” As we explain,
“Fundamental flaws in America’s stance vis-à-vis these critical areas have contributed much to the erosion of the United States’ strategic standing. Over time, deficiencies in policy toward each of them have become synergistic with deficiencies in policy toward the other. Recovering a capacity for sound grand strategy will require a thoroughgoing recasting of American policy toward both—and a more nuanced appreciation of the interrelationship between these vital parts of the world for U.S. interests.”
We have come more and more to appreciate that recasting American policy in this way must necessarily be preceded by a kind of “cultural revolution” in the United States. Since the end of the Cold War, American foreign policy has been increasingly driven by a grand strategic model—we call it the “transformation model” in our article—in which “the United States seeks not to manage distributions of power but to transcend them by becoming a hegemon, in key regions of the world and globally.” Such a commitment to hegemony—an assertion of military, economic, and ideological dominance that aims to micromanage political outcomes in far-flung parts of the world and to remake, or at least to subordinate, vital regions in accordance with American preferences—is deeply problematic, strategically as well as morally.
Strategically, the transformation model rejects a lesson that balance of power theorists, foreign policy realists, and astute students of international history all know:
“While hegemony seems nice in theory, in the real world it is unattainable; not even a state as powerful as the United States coming out of the Cold War can achieve it. Pursuing hegemony is not just quixotic; it is counter-productive for a great power’s strategic position, dissipating resources…and sparking resistance from others. Pursuing hegemony ends up making you weaker. This is the critical factor that has undermined the effectiveness of American foreign policy over the last 20 years or so.”
Notwithstanding such a dismal record, the commitment to hegemony remains deeply rooted in American strategic and political culture. It is grounded in venerated notions of American exceptionalism and of the United States as “the indispensable nation.” It is driven by a teleological view of history reflecting a culturally-conditioned belief in “progress”—the inevitable triumph of liberal, secular modernism over other ways of looking at human and social existence—and a conviction that, ultimately, everyone wants to be “just like us.”
Of course, one can argue that there are resources available in American political culture to push back against the embrace of hegemonic foreign policy. For all that the United States has come, over the course of its history, to embody an ideology of liberal universalism, many of its founders (e.g., James Madison) and early leaders could well be described as hard-core “republican (small ‘r’) realists,” who understood that imperial ambitions are bound to undermine liberty at home and national strength abroad. But, for a long time, the relative balance of cultural resources has been tilted ever more in favor of liberal hegemony as the reigning paradigm for American foreign policy.
Today, this is most urgently felt with regard to U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Pushing back against that is our primary task for the coming year—first and foremost, through our forthcoming book, Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which will be published just eight days into 2013.
Best wishes to all for a Happy New Year.
- Wired’s Weird Propaganda and the Most Dangerous Man in the World (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Obama signs law countering Iranian sway in Latin America (rt.com)
No comments yet.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
or go to
From the Archives
By James Petras – September 1, 2010
Any serious effort to understand the extraordinary influence of the Zionist power configuration over US foreign policy must examine the presence of key operatives in strategic positions in the government and local Zionist organizations affiliated with mainstream Jewish organizations and religious orders. There are at least 52 major American Jewish organizations actively engaged in promoting Israel’s foreign policy, economic and technological agenda in the US (see the appendix).
The grassroots membership ranges from several hundred thousand militants in the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) to one hundred thousand wealthy contributors, activists and power brokers in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In addition scores of propaganda mills, dubbed think tanks, have been established by million dollar grants from billionaire Zionists including the Brookings Institute (Haim Saban) and the Hudson Institute among others. Scores of Zionist funded political action committees (PAC) have intervened in all national and regional elections, controlling nominations and influencing election outcomes. Publishing houses, including university presses have been literally taken over by Zionist zealots, the most egregious example being Yale University, which publishes the most unbalanced tracts parroting Zionist parodies of Jewish history (Financial Times book review section August 28/29 2010). New heavily funded Zionist projects designed to capture young Jews and turn them into instruments of Israeli foreign policy includes “Taglit-Birthright” which has spent over $250 million dollars over the past decade sending over a quarter-million Jews (between 18-26) to Israel for 10 days of intense brainwashing (Boston Globe August 26, 2010). Jewish billionaires and the Israeli state foot the bill. The students are subject to a heavy dose of Israeli style militarism as they are accompanied by Israeli soldiers as part of their indoctrination; at no point do they visit the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem (Boston Globe August 26, 2010). They are urged to become dual citizens and even encouraged to serve in the Israeli armed forces. In summary the 52 member organizations of the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations which we discuss are only the tip of the iceberg of the Zionist Power Configuration: taken together with the PACs, the propaganda mills, the commercial and University presses and mass media we have a matrix of power for understanding the tremendous influence they have on US foreign and domestic policy as it affects Israel and US Zionism.
While all their activity is dedicated first and foremost in ensuring that US Middle East policy serves Israel’s colonial expansion in Palestine and war aims in the Middle East, what B’nai B’rth euphemistically calls a “focus on Israel and its place in the world”, many groups ‘specialize’ in different spheres of activity. For example, the “Friends of the Israel Defense Force” is primarily concerned in their own words “to look after the IDF”, in other words provide financial resources and promote US volunteers for a foreign army (an illegal activity except when it involves Israel). Hillel is the student arm of the Zionist power configuration claiming a presence in 500 colleges and universities, all affiliates defending each and every human rights abuse of the Israeli state and organizing all expenses paid junkets for Jewish student recruits to travel to Israel where they are heavily propagandized and encouraged to ‘migrate’ or become ‘dual citizens’. … continue
Aletho News Exclusive Content
This article will examine some of the connections between the US and UK National Security apparatus and the appearance of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory beginning after the accident at Three Mile Island. … continue
Also by Aletho News:
November 13, 2011
September 19, 2011
March 8, 2011
January 2, 2011
October 10, 2010
July 5, 2010
February 25, 2010
February 7, 2010
January 5, 2010
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 4, 2009
May 9, 2009
- Fake WMD “intelligence” and Orwellian double-speak June 18, 2013
- 100s protest Yemenis detention at Gitmo June 18, 2013
- Palestine: ‘Statehood idea at ‘dead-end’, unrepentant former Israeli commander razed entire villages, demolition orders & arrests June 18, 2013
- Turkey: Erdogan says conspiracy foiled & Turks hold ‘standing man’ protest June 18, 2013
- “Yes, we are funding the occupation,” Swedish minister glibly tells Gaza youth June 17, 2013
- President of International War Crimes Tribunal may have worked to shield Israelis from prosecution June 17, 2013
- The Most Contaminated Land in the Middle East June 17, 2013
- Jewish Humanist Charles Saatchi In Action June 16, 2013
- David Ray Griffin, Gilad Atzmon take the United Nations! June 16, 2013
- The Deeper Meaning of Mass Spying in America June 14, 2013
- Setting a dangerous precedent: 16-year-old Ali Shamlawi faces 25 counts of attempted murder for alleged stone throwing June 18, 2013
- The latest episode of endless settler violence in Qusra June 17, 2013
- Video: Ten-year-old boy arrested in Hebron June 17, 2013
- Illegal settler colonisers attack workers in Asira June 17, 2013
Categories"Hope and Change" Aletho News Civil Liberties Corruption Deception Economics Environmentalism Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism False Flag Terrorism Full Spectrum Dominance Illegal Occupation Islamophobia Mainstream Media, Warmongering Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity Militarism Nuclear Power Science and Pseudo-Science Solidarity and Activism Subjugation - Torture Supremacism, Social Darwinism Timeless or most popular Video War Crimes Wars for Israel
Looking for something?
This site is provided as a research and reference tool. Although we make every reasonable effort to ensure that the information and data provided at this site are useful, accurate, and current, we cannot guarantee that the information and data provided here will be error-free. By using this site, you assume all responsibility for and risk arising from your use of and reliance upon the contents of this site.
This site and the information available through it do not, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Should you require legal advice, you should consult your own attorney. Materials accessible from or added to this site by third parties, such as comments posted, are strictly the responsibility of the third party who added such materials or made them accessible and we neither endorse nor undertake to control, monitor, edit or assume responsibility for any such third-party material.
The posting of stories, commentaries, reports, documents and links (embedded or otherwise) on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such posted material or parts therein.
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Visits Since December 2009
- 1,481,388 hits
Contact:atheonews (at) gmail.com
- Erdogan at Home: Yes to Oppression, No to Rights June 18, 2013
- Iran ready to halt 20% uranium enrichment, West must reciprocate – Lavrov June 18, 2013
- What Should be Expected From President Rowhani? June 18, 2013
- UN statement on Israeli plan to relocate Palestinians to build houses for settlers June 18, 2013
- US deploys 1,500 Marines to Yemen: Yemeni official June 18, 2013
- Canada pledges $100m in aid to Jordan June 18, 2013
- Gaza Government: “We Never Prevented Muslim Students From Attending Christian Schools” June 18, 2013
- Police Arrest over 100, Raid Media Offices in Turkey June 18, 2013
- Brazil sees largest protests in decades as unrest hits second week June 18, 2013
- Constitutionally Illiterate Michael Bloomberg Doesn’t Want the DOJ Monitoring His Stop-and-Frisk “Military” June 17, 2013
- When Israel Is Mighty June 17, 2013
TagsAfghanistan Africa Al-Manar American Civil Liberties Union Benjamin Netanyahu Canada Central Intelligence Agency CIA Egypt European Union France Gaza Hamas Hebron Hezbollah Hugo Chávez Human rights International Atomic Energy Agency International Middle East Media Center International Solidarity Movement Iran Iraq Israel Israeli settlement Jerusalem Latin America Lebanon Middle East NATO New York Times Obama Pakistan Palestine Palestinian prisoners in Israel Press TV Russia Sanctions against Iran Saudi Arabia Syria Turkey United Nations United States Venezuela West Bank Zionism
B.Benhamid on Iran ready to halt 20% uranium… Paul Balles on Iran ready to halt 20% uranium… Bruce on Climate Science Goes Mega… B.Benhamid on Iran ready to halt 20% uranium… traducteur on What Should be Expected From P… skulzstudios on What Should be Expected From P… carinaragno on Brazil sees largest protests i… B.Benhamid on Canada pledges $100m in aid to… B.Benhamid on US deploys 1,500 Marines to Ye… aletho on An Insight Into Palestinian Re… Jack Splatt on An Insight Into Palestinian Re… Dublinsmick on Constitutionally Illiterate Mi… Goliath on The advantages of knowing… Goliath on Netanyahu urges continued boyc… Goliath on AMAZEBALLS: Rachel Maddow…