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Critiques of Recent American Foreign Policy. January 5, 2012. Assignment. Classify each writer in accordance with one of the several understandings we have covered (IR theory, domestic understandings, Mead, etc). Anonymous: Imperial Hubris.

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Classify each writer in accordance with one of the several understandings we have covered (IR theory, domestic understandings, Mead, etc)

anonymous imperial hubris
Anonymous: Imperial Hubris
  • Actually written by Michael Scheuer, a former high-ranking officer in the CIA
  • A textbook example of a Jacksonian position in Mead’s analysis
    • Don’t get entangled internationally
    • If attacked, fight with everything
    • Focus on developing and preserving republican institutions at home
diagnoses of problems
Diagnoses of Problems
  • Institutional:
    • Culture of selectively presenting data and analysis due to lack of interest on part of officials, fear that data may anger officials, or fear that officials may demand action that the Intelligence Community may bungle.
    • Promotion of people in IC and military who are socially adept and generalists rather than dedicated and less charismatic specialists
    • Revolving door in which retirees can obtain lucrative positions in the defense and intelligence industries, leading to less forthright advise when active and cronyism when retired.
  • Strategic and Tactical:
    • Treating recent events as a new kind of occurrance, leading to lots of useless and even harmful activity and refusal to learn from the past
    • Obsession with 9/11– “unmans” US
    • Treating terrorism with law enforcement tools rather than as a military matter
    • Unwillingness to incur and inflict casualties in an all out fight against enemies
    • Belief that terrorist hate US for its beliefs and culture, rather than correctly seeing they hate US for its policies
  • Defensive mindedness rather than offensive-mindedness
  • Attempting to have others do dirty work, resulting in alliances and partnership that hinder rather than help in necessary work.
  • Attempting to:
    • Endlessly promote democracy abroad in every situation
    • Impose democracy by force
    • Intervene in situations, including humanitarian crises, that have no bearing on core US interests
  • Deal with Al Qaeda as an enemy at war with US.
  • Decide whether or not to support Israel; if do, then be prepared to pay the price.
  • Attain energy independence and stop propping up authoritarian Muslim regimes who stock resentment among Muslims and who promote that resentment by spreading radicalized versions of Islam. It is these regimes who hate US culture and freedoms.
  • Reform IC and military
  • Pull out of alliances, dismantle overseas bases, do not intervene in international affairs unless strategic interests are at stake, and focus on democracy and freedom at home.
fukuyama america at the crossroads
Fukuyama: America at the Crossroads
  • Fukuyama was formerly associated with the neo-conservatives (was at Johns Hopkins with Wolfowitz) but now has become more involved in less muscular forms of democracy promotion and is associated more with the Journal of Democracy group.
problems with neo conservative approach that led to afghan and iraq problems
Problems with Neo-conservative approach that led to Afghan and Iraq problems
  • Incoherence: want to spread democracy reaching inside countries to build it, but a core part of neo-conservativism is that attempts at social engineering are always mistaken; a good society grows up organically and attempts at artificially fostering such a society always creates unintended and undesirable consequences and results.
  • Wrongly assumed that every country wants a Western style democracy
  • Ignored the wealth of literature available on the problems and success stories of democracy promotion.

Neo-conservative efforts can be seen as another in a long line of American foreign policy efforts regarding democratization that rely upon a silver bullet approach:

  • Harrod-Doman Model: promote economic development through large projects– little growth, entrenched authoritarian rulers
  • Sustainable Growth Model
  • Washington Consensus Model (neo-liberalism)– only works if strong institutions are already present
  • Focus on building institutions

Necessary but not sufficient. Also do not know how to build or create institutions and whether it is a matter of technique, knowledge or political will.

    • Modernization theory: development and democracy do not always coincide; development can lead to disorder and anarchy if political development does not keep pace.
    • Transition theory: good description of what happens but few insights into how to promote the initiation of such a process
  • US has had little success outside the special situations of Germany and Japan of developing democracy through direct intervention
  • Better when operating at arms length, but this gives it little leverage in terms of countries that do not want democracy
  • Best when using soft power and NGO’s, USAID, public diplomacy when origins of change are present and come from inside a state. But even this strategy is not always successful, as it depends on whether outside help is wanted (Rose, Orange Revolutions) or seen as outside interference and intrusion (Russia, Egypt[?]).
  • Don’t set high expectations regarding what the US can do to promote democracy and other goods throughout the world
  • Put as much emphasis on promoting good governance in general as in development of democracy
  • Promote economic development as an end in itself
  • Reform and consolidate soft power institutions