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:
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.