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Rudolph Giuliani: World's Mayor?

Giuliani

Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani would like to globalize NATO and apply his domestic reformist approach to international politics.

Our long-time reader and commentator Prof. Stephen L. Clark explains that "a distinguishing characteristic of Giuliani's approach is the belief that local reforms engender global reforms." Stephen was so kind to write the following guest blog post:

A person's life experience informs their view of the world. Rudolph Giuliani became the Mayor of New York City at a troubled time in the city's history. His policies and administration as mayor have been widely credited with addressing the problems he found and his rise to national prominence as mayor of the city through the period of the 9/11 attacks is a story well known.


In the concluding paragraphs of his essay "Toward a Realistic Peace", recently published in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs, is found his personal view that presumably would inform the development and direction of foreign policy in a future Giuliani administration:

I know from personal experience that when security is reliably established in a troubled part of a city, normal life rapidly reestablishes itself: shops open, people move back in, children start playing ball on the sidewalks again, and soon a decent and law-abiding community returns to life. The same is true in world affairs. Disorder in the world's bad neighborhoods tends to spread. Tolerating bad behavior breeds more bad behavior. But concerted action to uphold international standards will help peoples, economies, and states to thrive. Civil society can triumph over chaos if it is backed by determined action.

And so it is that earlier in the essay one finds the following prescription:

A primary goal for our diplomacy -- whether directed toward great powers, developing states, or international institutions -- must be to strengthen the international system, which most of the world has a direct interest in seeing function well. After all, the system helps keep the peace and provide prosperity. Some theorists say that it is outmoded and display either too much faith in globalization or assume that the age of the sovereign state is coming to a close. These views are naive. There is no realistic alternative to the sovereign state system.

In other words, the Westphalian system of nation states, far from withering, is the world's best hope. Thus, the ongoing development of the EU is greeted politely, and a skeptic's eye is cast on the current role played by such long standing institutions as the UN and, relevant to past discussions on this site, NATO:

NATO's role and character should be reexamined. For almost 60 years, it has been a vital bond connecting the United States and Europe. But its founding rationale dissolved with the end of the Cold War, and the alliance should be transformed to meet the challenges of this new century. NATO has already expanded to include former adversaries, taken on roles for which it was not originally conceived, and acted beyond its original theater. We should build on these successes and think more boldly and more globally. We should open the organization's membership to any state that meets basic standards of good governance, military readiness, and global responsibility, regardless of its location. The new NATO should dedicate itself to confronting significant threats to the international system, from territorial aggression to terrorism. I hope that NATO members will see the wisdom in such changes. NATO must change with the times, and its members must always match their rhetorical commitment with action and investment.

NATO is dead; long live NATO. But in this passage one finds the themes of good governance, global responsibility, and their promotion, that lie at the core of this attempt to synthesize the idealism and realism characteristic of longstanding trends in US foreign policy - hence, the essay's title - and themes one might expect from a former mayor of a large city. It is the view of a reformist.

One should remember though that a committed reformist can be as deeply unsettling to the status quo as the revolutionary. A former Republican governor of the state of New York, and later 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt presided over one of the most tumultuous periods in US history in the early years of the twentieth century, and was in the vanguard of what would become known as the Progressive movement.

As idealism and realism can be used to describe longstanding currents in US foreign policy, reformism represents a current of equal longstanding in domestic US politics. Much of the world has rejected the aggressive role that America has taken upon itself in recent years, but is the world prepared to accept the leadership of an America whose foreign policy is informed by its domestic reformist impulses?

Prof. Stephen L. Clark is a teacher of mathematics since 1987 at the University of Missouri-Rolla – soon to be renamed the Missouri University of Science and Technology, who claims no expertise in foreign policy matters; yet, has an abiding interest in America and its relations with the rest of the world.

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Sue on :

The idea of a new global organization of "any state that meets basic standards of good governance, military readiness, and global responsibility, regardless of its location" is fine. Just don't call it NATO, which is a creature born of a very specific geographical threat which no longer exists. There are probably countries currently in NATO which would not meet that definition (unless subsumed under the umbrella of the EU). The UN, like NATO, is obsolete (the security council, for example, should include countries like Brazil or India). It also clings to a polite fiction that all executive branches of all nations are equal in legitimacy, a fatal hypocrisy.

SC on :

Sue, did you notice Giuliani's recent public roll out of his NATO enlargement proposal? Clearly he's serious about it. A name change certainly would be in order as the presumed responsibilities would be global. But it is interesting that he has articulated a view, expressed by several on this site, that NATO has accomplished is mission and is in need of a redefinition to remain relevant. Look in the article and note too his comments about the UN. It struck me as rather "world-weary": This from a former mayor of the UN's hometown. There have been various proposals floated for the formation of an organization of "democracies", or say, "like minded nations". I wonder if this proposed NATO enlargement is a reformulation of this in Giuliani's mind.

Fuchur on :

[i]when security is reliably established in a troubled part of a city, normal life rapidly reestablishes itself[/i] There's a lot of truth in that - in fact, I think that's the main thing that went wrong in Iraq. However, I'm curious what "securitiy first" would mean in practice. Does this mean you can arrange yourself with the bad guys, for the sake of stability? Or does it mean "zero tolerance"? I guess that's where world politics are quite different from governing a metropolis. Among states, there are some bad guys you have no choice but to arrange yourself with - like China or Russia who are simply to powerful. And few will disagree that there are even some petty dictators (think Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan) that should be "appeased" instead of confronted all out.

SC on :

Fuchur, Yours is an excellent question. First he is quite serious, I'm sure, in the belief that the establishment of a responsible local authority is a necessary precursor to any hope of democratic development. Of course this is obvious in the gross sense that chaos, in general is not conducive to democracy. But, he goes further in emphasising "good governence" and the developmemt of associated civic institutions. Here he's speaking as a mayor and proponent of the "broken windows" philosophy of law enforcement. This perhaps is why he advanced the idea of NATO enlargement as well, you should note his proposal to enlarge greatly the civilian/military reconstruction role played by both State Department and the Defense Department.

Don S on :

"a committed reformist can be as deeply unsettling to the status quo as the revolutionary" A new TR. That's a thought. Seems to me there are two potential TR's in the current field: Giuliani and Obama. Like Teddy Roosevelt Giuliani has a solid track record as a reformer. Obama's potential is just that: potential. He obviously has the kind of mind which can concieve of reform - it remains to be seen whether he possesses the political skills necessary to carry them out. Giuliani wishes to fundamentally reform NATO rather than just bin it. Ok, I can go for that. My fundamental critique of NATO is the obvious fact that it's not working for any of the parties any more. The Germans, French, Spanish et al are bummed out at cack-handed efforts to make ity relevant to the present; the US is bummed at the lack of help it provides. Much the same could be asserted about the UN and the G8 - but perhaps those discussions belong elsewhere?

SC on :

Don, TR is a good example of an activist president both domestically and, in the context of the time for the US, internationally. I wonder what a Giuliani adminstration would do with respect to international institutions. A large part of what he and his administration did in NY involved working with, many times combatively, elements of the city government and local organizations. He was quite willing to upend the status quo to achieve his ends. I wonder though if a reformers zeal in the interanational arena would undermine the goals of his or any other adminstration.

Don S on :

"He was quite willing to upend the status quo to achieve his ends. I wonder though if a reformers zeal in the interanational arena would undermine the goals of his or any other adminstration." Some of both I think, SC. I think Guiliani would have some successes and some failures. It may be that NATO and the UN will decline to be reformed - in that case Guiliani would very likely go outside or perhaps create a 'core' group of nations much as the EU has done vis the euro. TR was far from a complete success of course - just look at the succession crisis with Taft to see that. One does not have to win every battle to win one's objectives, does one? Sometimes one wins by upsetting the applecart and forcing everyone to rethink things. I think we may be in that situation today. Many seem to be pining for the 'good old days' of the 50's and 60's and striving to go back. I wonder if the Hungarians and Czechs agree?....

Anonymous on :

"It may be that NATO and the UN will decline to be reformed - in that case Guiliani would very likely go outside or perhaps create a 'core' group of nations much as the EU has done vis the euro." Of course, that is likely the subtext in the proposal to enlarge NATO. It's consistent with his proposal to enlarge the civilian/military reconstruction side of State and Pentagon. Did you also note his rather "undiplomatic" take on the State Department? That's the true Rudy showing through. Attempting a reform of that department would be an example of an incomplete victory at best. But as you suggest with your point about TR, you don't have to win 'em all to be successful. No matter who the future President is, the ability and willingness to use military power in the ways that it has been used in the last six years is likely to be circumscribed greatly by domestic politics. I expect to see more interest taken in local governments and institutions, and in global institutions found useful for pursuing specific policy goals and I think you see this being articulated in Giuliani's essay.

SC on :

3.1.1.1 (Anonymous) = SC

Mr. Bingley on :

Obama so far on any level is vaporware. I really don't think the Presidency is the place where someone should be placed on the hope that they will start showing what they can actually do; one would hope they would have done [i]something[/i] to elevate themselves into reasoned consideration for the job. Obama has done nothing in his very short time as a Senator, and only became a Senator after a few years as a partisan hack in Illinois by charismatically riding the coattails of a very juicy sex scandal.

Don S on :

I agree. The last Democratic nominee did virtually nothing in 18 years as Senator - a vastly more impressive record! ;) Obama's not the worst of them, Bingley.

Mr. Bingley on :

Oh not at all, Don. In fact any politician who campaigns that he/she will do nothing in office will instantly get my vote.

Mr. Bingley on :

And my [i]thanks[/i], I should add.

Don S on :

Oh, Kerrey didn't exactly do nothing. He contributed to a lot of somethings with his vote & shot off his mouth a lot, But (get this) the 2004 Democratic candidate for Leader of the US had no experience of leading - anything. That's not reassuring. Obama has the luxury of time. If he becoems governor of Illinois or Veep we may be hearing from him again.

David on :

Barack Obama had the courage and integrity to speak out against the Iraq War in 2002 while his opponents were voting in favor of it as part of a political calculation. "Experience" in Washington can sometimes be a dangerous thing. Watch for Obama's fund raising numbers for this quarter; they will surprise many. This thing ain't over yet, Hillary.

Pamela on :

There is no realistic alternative to the sovereign state system. hehe. shhhh. Don't anybody tell Brussels.

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