Saturday, March 30, 2019

America and Multilateralism: A History

the States and Multilateralism A accountPerhaps it is safe to surmise from the rattling beginning t don in that location does non start to be a rustic in the manhood that is non affected or has non been affected in virtuoso fashion or the early(a)(a) by the linked States of the States. Short of this, in that location nigh certainly does not remain in existence a country, mickle or society which has no k straight offledge, however limited, of the United States of the States. No wizard day passes without the the Statesn forcefulness being addressed or diagnosed in integrity capacity or the new(prenominal) by the orbicular media. oer time, provided in rangeicular, in more than(prenominal) recent times, no other countrys governmental, domestic, stinting defence or capabilities and abilities substantiate been more studied or discussed than the extent at which the States has been. In factual fact, it is safe to surmise that actu e precise last(predicate)y few political breaks today go down up very much(prenominal) strong and diverse responses as the role of the United States of the States in its attempt to re-shape globe affairs.1 The recent terrorist attack on the States of grave consequences, its reaction to it and the wars in Afghanistan as s puff up(p) up as Iraq have intensified the debate about the nature and prospects of the Statesn super military force. there remains a schoolhouse of thought that slip aways to celebrate the United States achievements in proclaiming as puff up as bringing liberty, democracy and succeedity to all(prenominal) corner of the instauration. Others are more inclined towards condem people of the Statess pursuit of hegemonic view and its attempt to impose a single frugal system and a narrow set of moral belief on other nations around the world. Whichever school of thought one belongs to re the Statess performance on the world(prenominal) podium, al almost have arrived at the conclus ion that the storey of the twenty-first century result be mulish to a large extent by the mood the Statesn business leader is used, and by the way in which other major political players on the worldwide front react to it. The nation has often been referred to as an imperial, an empire or hegemony. Most people exempt continue to perceive the States as that democratic land of roses where eachthing bay window happen. Some s work believe in, especi wholey those outside the shores of the country and s education to one day be admitted into the great country, what they call the the Statesn Dream. It is sup reachly a country where anything is possible. Often times however, the States is no overnight beheld with rose tinted spectacles. Given its recent history world over, this is hardly a surprise of any signifi domiciliatece. The word which billper obtains to mind when the States, that great nation is on a lower floor discussion as it constantly is for diverse reasons, is heg emony. What, it might be useful to enquire at this juncture, is hegemony? In lay mans terms, hegemony, succinctly put, is leadership by predominance ( about might even sound out aggression) of smaller and weaker states or nations by natur associate bigger nations in an labour to achieve world domination. Does the States therefore stand rightly accuse of attempting to dominate the world through its c erstwhileptualisation of global politics, foreign policies and fortify forces, or at least(prenominal) to dominate those nations which are considered smaller and weaker? It is customary knowledge that while some countries practice communism or neighborlyism, the States was and remains a capitalist country where the motto right aft(prenominal)ward In God We Trust is a universally accepted but unspoken survival of the fittest. In the introductory words of G. throne Ikenberry in his rule book the States Unrivalled, The pr-eminence of the Statesn forcefulness today is rare in mod ern history. No other great cater has enjoyed much(prenominal) formidable advantages in military, economic, technological, cultural or political capabilities. We live in a one-super force out world, and there is no serious competition in sight2These words fastly bring to mind perchance the most polemical wars of all times and the Statess gargantuan persona or one might even dare say vociferous single minded orchestration of the very(prenominal), the Iraqi invasion (and on-going war bank date) in 2003. It is cost reminiscing at this juncture how the world watched and waited with bated breathing spell while the United Nations deliberated on whether or not the United States should be given the authorisation to invade Iraq based on its reports about the so-called axis of evil and the weapons of mass destruction they supposedly had in the making which it further claimed posed un-foretold threats to the foreign world. It is yet another capitulum in favour of the melodic phrase that America is fast becoming or therefore has all but attained the status of an hegemonic state that President George W. pubic hair announced to the world that opineless(prenominal) of the UNs decision and that of its Member States, America result forge ahead in war against Iraq and Afghanistan, alone if they had to. In his exact words, when it stupefys to our pledge, we really do not need anyones allowance3 It was later argued that it would appear that even the United Nations, a so-called world moderator and outside(a) emblem of peace, is nothing but yet another motherfucker in Americas already brimming tool box. Although at the time, this announcement from the Bush Administration sounded as arrogant and above the rectitude as it really was, there were many a(prenominal) who felt America would be justified in its decision in the wake of the September 11 attack. September 11 2001 (here afterward referred to as 9/11) brought about the tour point in history, inte rnational law and the use of force against terrorism. The words of an American man considered very patriotic so comes to mind at this polemic stance of George W. Bush re brushing off the worlds opinion and/approval to its use of force in the name of battle terrorism. The man, none other than Richard Holbrooke, former United States ambassador to the United Nations, who erstwhile stated after careful observation, one should imagine, that the Bush administration threatens to sack up a radical break with 55 years of a nonpartizan tradition that sought international agreements and regimes of benefit to us4 Many years, issue of lives both civilian and military, reports of horrible treatments meted out to prisoners of war (PWO) by the American soldiers against every rule of Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention, Americas refusal to withdraw its troops even after the fall of Saddam ibn Talal Hussein (its greatest enemy) the question on everyones lips is whether the war was inde ed for all the altruistic reasons quoted by America in its rather fabricated reports or for more reasons dummy upr to home. The question can even be posed all the way bet on to Operation Desert Storm in the same Iraq in 1993. Did America invade Iraq on both occasion for economic gain and ultimately to place itself as the worlds super power. Although it appears now to the world that the Bush administration is the one obligated for dramatically drawing America away from multilateralism, a look back into the Clinton administration go out confirm that this is not remotely true. Under the Clinton administration, America n each waited for the United Nations approval/authorisation onwards deploying the North Atlantic Treaty Operation (NATO) to Serbia in 1999 nor prior to its turkey attack on Iraq in 1998. There were withal other Conventions, Acts and Treaties America rather conspicuously refrained from signing or ratifying much(prenominal)(prenominal) as the forbiddance of furthe r use of Land Mines (the Ottawa Convention of 1997). The difference whitethornhap would be where the Clinton administration adopted diplomacy in its delivery of much(prenominal) unilateral decisions the Bush administration simply forges ahead with no regard for the worlds opinion, approval or in most cases disapproval.In the era immediately after the World war (II), Americas strength was not yet viewed during the war with the deployment of its arm forces, which later make an alliance with the United Kingdom amongst others (the allied forces) but also after the war in its attempt to build Germany as advantageously as other war torn countries in the war aftermath. In this, America had strategised and was apparently successful in ensuring that the world did not revert to its close regional dealings of the 1930s prior to the war. The founding of the United Nations on 24 October 1945 also saw to it that the beginning of what is now cognise as globalisation was established. A p ost war era of multilateral sheath and significance was thus built around economic and certification agreements such as the Bretton Woods Agreement on monetary as salutary as mickle relations among nations. The American-led NATO security pact followed much later. This international erect which came into existence after the war (World War II) was effectively one which was multilateral in character. A more open system of trade and investments began to emerge, largely encouraged by America. Economic and security matters as intumesce as political relations became indistinguishable and indivisible among nations in what is best described as an open world market or globalisation. This is explicit in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) as well as the Bretton Woods agreement earlier mentioned. An alliance tie emerged surrounded by the United States and the Great Britain in particular and the European continent in usual in a scenario one could simply put in lay mans ter ms rub my back and I will rub yours. Americas economic as well as security assistance to the Asian region is also worth mentioning. America ensured and continues so to do, that weaker and smaller states are afforded security assistance, protection and granted access to its markets, technology and country in general. In the wake of Americas Green Card Lottery scheme, the support and admiration of other smaller states for which the scheme was intended and who continues to benefit from the same was firmly secured. In a similar vein after the world war, citizens of many nations flocked in their thousands to America from world over and started life over again after the war. In what is not unlike the stone age trade by barter arrangement, the participating states in turn continue to ensure that political stability is maintained in their relationship with the United States, making operational to America their diplomatic, economic and logistical support in return. For instance, America has breeding causa in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, perhaps as a pertinacious result of Operation Desert Storm.Going back in history however, it remains indelible that there were 5 world super powers including America itself. How then can Ikenberry infer that America has no competition in sight in its steady climb to the top in the international hemisphere? Who were the other four super powers and what became of them? The five major contenders when the United Nations was founded in 1945 were Russia, Great Britain, China, and France. It is accurate to say that the cold war put paid to Russias contention with America. The Great Britain, as exhibited more deep under the Tony Blair administration is more or less a lap-dog to Americans policies and remains a rather very friendly ally than a potential contender. Yet it will be nothing un sensitives of fallacious argument to say that America has no contender or is without competition in one form or the other. Worth recall as well is Germany and Frances initial reluctance as well as refusal to throw their weight behind the Iraqi invasion in 2003. Americas hegemonic state is therefore not without move out exceptions as well as take exceptionrs, it is however the multifaceted character of Americas power that makes the country so far reaching, daunting, provocative and formidable to less weaponed and smaller countries. The collapse of the Soviet trade union in the Cold War saw an acute decline in rival ideologies and even tighter alliances organize between the United States and other regions. Following the Cold War, America keep to grow from strength to strength. In the 1990s its economy was commendably and successfully restructured. excessively growing in meaningful progression alongside its economy is its fortify forces and global recognition as a state to reckon with. By the turn of the millennium, Americas economic and military fruit had deposit a seemingly insurmountable gulf between itself and other major players in world politics. While the late 90s saw Japans economy grow by 9 per cent, the European Union solely by 15 per cent, American economy grew by a significant 27 per cent, nearly doubling and tripling that of the other regions.5 This did not go unnoticed by the rest of the world. In fact literally doffing his hat to the United States in a speech in Paris (1999), the French Foreign Minister, Hubert Vedrine, observed that the growth witnessed by the world in America is not comparable in terms of power and influence to anything known in modern history6Americas devotion to its armed forces can by no means be ignored. America boasts an forces that is better equipped and out numbers the armed troops of well over 14 countries put together. There are training grounds for the United States army in well over 40 locations world wide. This automatically means that when another weaker or slightly less advantageous state envisages itself in trouble, the first point of call for protectio n and assistance, when and if infallible is the United States of America. In its usual confidential, bordering on arrogant manner Americas theme Security Strategy declared to the world that their forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries/ ambitious challengers from act a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or even remotely equalling, the power of the United States.7 It is not impossible or even unthinkable for America to utilise its military capacity to impose its policies on other states in unalike regions of the world. It has been observed already that America spends on its armed forces more than the next fourteen countries feature and that the U.S. military expenditures will shortly be equal to the rest of the world combined.8 Another scholar of repute, Paul Kennedy, also surmised that it is already the case that all the other navies in the world combined could not dent American maritime supremacy.9 Still on the issue of security, expressing his own opinion and an opinion apparently shared by many others world over, Barry Possen has suggested that the United States command of the sea, space, and air forces is the key military enabler of the U.S. global power position.10 Assuming its economic growth remains as healthy as it has been since the 90s, the c erstntration of world military power may continue for several decades yet. Even at the current level of U.S. capabilities, it is the general view that the United States can shoulder the burden of maintaining global security without much help from Europe or the rest of the world for that matter.11It begins to appear obvious that perhaps Americas initial support for multilateralism in international trade and globalisation was borne of a grander strategic move to bring home the bacon and retain more power while legitimately promoting international corporate trust of one state on the other, one region on others for support, growth and assistance. A quick glimpse at major historic al turning points such as 1919, the end of World War II in 1945 and the period immediately after the Cold War all but confirms this logic. It would appear that America promoted multilateralism in such a strategic way so as to signal restraint and commitment from other states.12 This precipitated the encyclopedism of support, if not actual trust, acquiescence and cooperation of other weaker states. But surely when one country is placed so much higher than others in the case of all animals are equal but some more than others, there naturally arises the problem of balance of power or even equality before the law. What the majority of member states may attempt with the United Nations and come out facing adverse repercussions for is the same thing the United States will not notwithstanding attempt but carry out and come out smelling of roses. For the sake of this discussion, should one be given to a flight of run into however fleetingly and imagine or a import that a member state su ch as Ghana or Nigeria threatens the use of force against Cameroon and declares to the world that the same will be established whether or not the United Nations and indeed the world approves of its actions. At the very least, economic sanctions will immediately be placed on such a country. However in the name and under the umbrella of 9/11 it would appear that America is permitted to do and undo whatever catches its fancy and of course promotes its economic as well as military growth. How else can one begin to explain the issue of thousands held prisoner at the US military operated prison and indeed a recreation of Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, for years with neither charges nor trial in the name of fighting terrorism? America claims not to have jurisdiction in Cuba to try these prisoners yet it has the power and the authority to imprison them in Guantanamo Bay. What, one is right to ask, happened to the universal (at least in democratic states) writ of habeas corpus? Another example of Americas marked shift from multilateralism to unilateralism and establishing itself as a super power above the rest of the world is again glimpsed shortly after the controversial invasion of Iraq in 2003, when America was quick to submit allegations against North Korea as well as Iran for also becoming threats to the international community as they were manufacturing nuclear weapons. In an ironical twist however, in 1998, Japan, perhaps once one of Americas closest allies, was reportly furious with America when its officials unilaterally decided that funding for North Korean Nuclear reactors was to continue despite Japans complaints that North Korea was firing missile over its territory.13What then can possibly put an end to Americas domination of the international stage and its rise towards a super power of hegemonic characteristics? It has been established that the two most important factors in the growth of any nation its economy and defence, remain the two areas where Americ a continues to excel and prosper construeing it even more of a force to reckon with by other nations of the world. Is it then any wonder that many are of the school of thought that it is only a matter of time before America seeks to completely dominate the world and by so doing, simply mob out weaker states of the world. It is enough to alert the world that more than any other administration before it, the Bush administration is significantly departing from materialism curiously on agreements dealing with arms control and proliferation. Multilateralism, as Ikenberrys book posed the debate, does indeed seem to be on the decline in Americas policy and political stance. It has become to America a selective game where multilateralism is embraced when it adds to the muscles in its already bulky biceps and unilateralism at every other turn. As America continues to systematically depart from multilateralism and promote more unilateralism in its foreign policies and decisions on security affairs affecting not only its boundaries (assuming such a word as boundary exists in the American dictionary) but also spread ashore to other nations of the world, the world may very well be moving rather apace towards the final unravelling of America as a hegemonic nation. What and who in the world can then possibly challenge Americas hegemony? Surely it would clear a large scale war or a significant global economic crisis to challenge or even come close to threatening Americas hegemony. While this might be very well put and even precise in theory, surely either option will definitely have grave repercussions on the international community.However, Ikenberry argues in his book, America Unrivalled, that there are limits to the United States hegemony such as it stands at the moment. He is of the opinion that a complete hegemonic order would require not just preponderant capabilities but also some significant degree of acquiescence on the part of other states, particularly the o ther major players in world politics for the maintenance of such order. Following the Cold war, America acquired the support and cooperation of one of the major players in that region, Japan. Japan was once Americas closest ally as a result of this, however even Japan is becoming resentful, as presumably are the rest of the world, at Americas increase unilateralism (as in the North Korean case mentioned above) and the selective choice of multilateralism only when it favours the nation in one form of economic or security purpose or the other. It is therefore not impossible that other major players in the world, on examining their alternatives on how to best rid America of its hegemonic status and by so doing release the unsuspecting world from American domination, may very well challenge its hegemonic position. Capitalising on the regional and international relationships once promoted by America, the other major super powers in the Asian role and the European Union could orchestrate an over throw of Americas position as an hegemonic state or at the very least challenge the same. Not ignoring the power and importance of smaller or weaker states however, they would preferably naturally also have to be involved. This however would be an all scale war, the magnitude, repercussion and significance of which will tremble the world perhaps more than every previous wars put together Any would-be(prenominal) hegemonic challenger would most naturally have already arrived at the very same conclusion. Apart from the fact that every single one of these would-be challengers rely on the United States for one aspect of its sustenance or the other, it would take a lot of consideration, meetings, strategising and concrete persuasion to convince every member state of the necessity of such a global war. With its present and ever growing resources both at home and abroad, it is therefore only a matter of time before America, at whom the war is intended, becomes aware of the plans and builds up enough or adequate defence against the same. While it is not impossible that several nations of the world may come together and challenge Americas build up to hegemony, to say that the world may never recover from such a large scale war may perhaps be the understatement of the existence of mankind. In a brief state of fantasy, were one to assume that this large scale war does take place and does remove America from the pinnacle of power it currently occupies, there is no telling how many decades or even centuries it would take to rebuild a world of international trade and globalisation. Another danger in that is another country seizing the opportunity and rising very promptly to the throne of hegemony, in this instance however, a country not so democratically inclined as America, for instance, China. The world as we know it now may cease to exist as a result of such a war. It is now 2008 yet traces of the Second World War assuage remain evident in some areas in the Eastern part of Germany as one imagines it does in other affected parts of the world. If the argument here is then that a full blown war against Americas hegemony may do the world greater harm than good, what then can possibly stop Americas climb to the top of the world?As mentioned earlier, the strength of any nation lies in its economic as well as military growth. One, quite naturally, is not gratis(p) of the other however as training camps, gears and facilities will be touchy to procure without a booming economy. Should the world then experience a global economic crisis, the like of which it is yet to ever experience, perhaps this will in a way also bring America to the same level as other countries or at least less dominant? In this present day, at least the European Union and America are experiencing an economic crisis that has been likened to the worst in many decades till date. The Great Britains Royal Bank of Scotland recently announced that the country is indeed in reces sion. China and Japan have also reported major decline in sales and poor performances on their breakwater Street equivalent. Japan has actually announced to the world, like Great Britain, that it is indeed in the middle of a torrid recession. While this economic crisis may very well be unpleasant and indeed wrecking a lot of harm on the economy of the countries involved, it will take much more than this to cripple America or to reduce its hegemonic status. Even at this point in time, the US Dollar continues to rise against the British bewilder and the Euro. Should the world experience an economic crisis of such negative significance that all the major states as well as even the ones considered smaller and weaker are effectively affected, Americas hegemony, in my humble opinion, will most certainly be thoroughly challenged. This will be brought about by the fact that the international community in a bid to give out and revert to some semblance of normality will be force to depend one on the other for that means to survival, America included. such a scenario will almost take the world back in history to the early days when the advantages of globalisation and inter dependence of nations on one another was first discovered. Such an economic crisis will render it almost impossible for states to continue to concentrate on military training and equipments. One should imagine that nations will be more concerned with the immediate welfare of their people such as housing, medical care and social services as undoubtedly unemployment will rise astronomically in the face of an economic crisis of any significant magnitude.From everything hereinabove appearing and the examination of different (learned) opinions as well as scenarios, it is therefore perhaps appropriate to terminate by agreeing with the debate that should a full blown war orchestrate by would-be challengers of Americas hegemonic state fail, surely an economic crisis of significant global scale will not o nly challenge but also probably, however temporarily, bring an end to Americas hegemony. America will be forced to revert to the multilateralism way of international politics and to abandon unilateralism in a bid to promote globalisation and a closer knit international community.BibliographyJohn, G. Ikenberry, America Unrivalled The proximo of the Balance of Power (Cornell University Press, 2002)John, Ikenberry, Is American Multilateralism in Decline? Perspectives on political relation 13 (2003)Hegemony or Empire The Redefinition of US Power under George W. Bush, Edited by Charles-Philippe David and David Grondin (2006)Richard Little, Michael Smith, Perspectives on World PoliticsIkenberry, G. John, Liberalism and Empire Logics of distinguish In The American Unipolar Age, Review of planetary Studies (2004)Stephen M. Walt, care the World Off-Balance Self-Restraint and U.S. Foreign Policy, in Ikenberry, America Unrivalled, pp. 121-154.Charles A. Kupchan, hollo Hegemony or Stable M ultipolarity?, in G. John Ikenberry (ed.), America Unrivalled The prospective of the Balance of Power (Ithaca, NY Cornell University Press, 2002), p. 72. According to Kupchan, the European Union is emerging as the main competitor of the United States in a future multipolar international system.Whither American Power? David Held and Mathias Koenig-Archibugi Published in American Power in the Twentieth-First Century, edited by David Held and Mathias Koenig-Archibugi, Cambridge Polity Press, 2004.Kennedy, Paul, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers 1987Footnotes1 David Held and Mathias Koenig-Archibugi, Whither American Power? In American Power in the Twentieth-First Century2 G. John, Ikenberry America Unrivalled Pp 13 Quoted in Balz 2003, A14 Purdum 2002., 15 Ikenberry6 Quoted in Craig R. Whitney, NATO at 50 With Nations at Odds, Is It A Misalliance? New York Times 2, 19997 President of the United States, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Washington D.C. White House, September 2002), p. 30.8 G. John Ikenberry9 Paul Kennedy, The Greatest Superpower Ever, New Perspectives Quarterly, 19 (2002).10 Barry R. Posen, ascendancy of the Commons The Military Foundation of U.S. Hegemony, International Security, 28 (2003), pp. 5-46, p. 8.11 On the metier of U.S. supremacy see William C. Wohlforth, The Stability of a Unipolar World, International Security, 24 (1999), pp. 541.12 Argument was developed by Ikenberry 200113 Marshall and Mann, free grace Towards the United States is Dwindling Globally

No comments:

Post a Comment