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The Myth of the Liberal Order

American engagement versus Isolationism

  • How can you go to war to defend the non-existent?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Forces folk shouldnt trouble their tiny minds with this crap - Embrace the suck asshole.

    Votes: 1 10.0%
  • Get it right from the outset - and everything falls into place.

    Votes: 4 40.0%
  • Prior planning prevents p1sspoor performance.

    Votes: 3 30.0%
  • The Trump administration has got it aboot right so far - nothing to see here.

    Votes: 3 30.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Book Reviewer
Saw this in the Afghan thread - thought it might be of interest if only to the odd Foggy Bottom spotter?


Retweeted Jun 14

My article on "The Myth of the Liberal Order" is out in the new issue of @ForeignAffairs. I hope you'll give it a read. Look forward to what I'm sure will be a lively debate!

Anyway the original source is here The Myth of the Liberal Order

By Graham Allison

( some old Hahvahd hand )

--------------------- begins ----------------------------------------

Among the debates that have swept the U.S. foreign policy community since the beginning of the Trump administration, alarm about the fate of the liberal international rules-based order has emerged as one of the few fixed points.
From the international relations scholar G. John Ikenberry’s claim that “for seven decades the world has been dominated by a western liberal order” to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s call in the final days of the Obama administration to “act urgently to defend the liberal international order,” this banner waves atop most discussions of the United States’ role in the world.
About this order, the reigning consensus makes three core claims. First, that the liberal order has been the principal cause of the so-called long peace among great powers for the past seven decades. Second, that constructing this order has been the main driver of U.S. engagement in the world over that period. And third, that U.S. President Donald Trump is the primary threat to the liberal order—and thus to world peace. The political scientist Joseph Nye, for example, has written, “The demonstrable success of the order in helping secure and stabilize the world over the past seven decades has led to a strong consensus that defending, deepening, and extending this system has been and continues to be the central task of U.S. foreign policy.” Nye has gone so far as to assert: “I am not worried by the rise of China. I am more worried by the rise of Trump.”

----------------------- snip ------------------------
While I was on a recent trip to Beijing, a high-level Chinese official posed an uncomfortable question to me.

Imagine, he said, that as much of the American elite believes, Trump’s character and experience make him unfit to serve as the leader of a great nation. Who would be to blame for his being president? Trump, for his opportunism in seizing victory, or the political system that allowed him to do so?

No one denies that in its current form, the U.S. government is failing. Long before Trump, the political class that brought unending, unsuccessful wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, as well as the financial crisis and Great Recession, had discredited itself. These disasters have done more to diminish confidence in liberal self-government than Trump could do in his critics’ wildest imaginings, short of a mistake that leads to a catastrophic war. The overriding challenge for American believers in democratic governance is thus nothing less than to reconstruct a working democracy at home.

Fortunately, that does not require converting the Chinese, the Russians, or anyone else to American beliefs about liberty. Nor does it necessitate changing foreign regimes into democracies.

Instead, as Kennedy put it in his American University commencement speech, in 1963, it will be enough to sustain a world order “safe for diversity”—liberal and illiberal alike.

That will mean adapting U.S. efforts abroad to the reality that other countries have contrary views about governance and seek to establish their own international orders governed by their own rules.

Achieving even a minimal order that can accommodate that diversity will take a surge of strategic imagination as far beyond the current conventional wisdom as the Cold War strategy that emerged over the four years after [George] Kennan’s Long Telegram was from the Washington consensus in 1946.

----------------------------------- endit --------------------------------

For those who may not be aware the Long Telegram referred to is here: George Kennan's "Long Telegram"

It formed the underlying philosophy for the U.S policy of ' Containment' of the Soviet Union for forty years.

This think-piece seems to advocate not so much Isolationism as a more thoughtful, nuanced approach to 'foreign entanglements' ?
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On any given world issue:

If the US sticks its oar in, it gets accused of interference and bullying.
If the US does nothing it gets accused of abrogating its responsibilities.

You can't please all of the people all of the time. It's not like President Trump isn't doing what he said he would, and as a nation, we voted for that. So on the whole, more people with votes on the matter should be happy than those not happy.


Book Reviewer

1. Don't shoot the messenger. If you want to shoot someone, shoot the 78 year old Hahvahd policy wonk. This is not an anti-American thread.
2. Vote in the poll.
3. The first prat to mention 'Special Relationship' gets the beers in - and I don't give a dang if it's Paulaner, London Pride or Coors.

I think this is the first time I've actually read Kennan's dit.....surprisingly relevant to Putin's current gyrations and anti-Western fixation:

It was no coincidence that Marxism, which had smoldered ineffectively for half a century in Western Europe, caught hold and blazed for first time in Russia. Only in this land which had never known a friendly neighbor or indeed any tolerant equilibrium of separate powers, either internal or international, could a doctrine thrive which viewed economic conflicts of society as insoluble by peaceful means. After establishment of Bolshevist regime, Marxist dogma, rendered even more truculent and intolerant by Lenin's interpretation, became a perfect vehicle for sense of insecurity with which Bolsheviks, even more than previous Russian rulers, were afflicted. In this dogma, with its basic altruism of purpose, they found justification for their instinctive fear of outside world, for the dictatorship without which they did not know how to rule, for cruelties they did not dare not to inflict, for sacrifice they felt bound to demand. In the name of Marxism they sacrificed every single ethical value in their methods and tactics. Today they cannot dispense with it. It is fig leaf of their moral and intellectual respectability. Without it they would stand before history, at best, as only the last of that long succession of cruel and wasteful Russian rulers who have relentlessly forced country on to ever new heights of military power in order to guarantee external security of their internally weak regimes. This is why Soviet purposes most always be solemnly clothed in trappings of Marxism, and why no one should underrate importance of dogma in Soviet affairs. Thus Soviet leaders are driven [by?] necessities of their own past and present position to put forward which [apparent omission] outside world as evil, hostile and menacing, but as bearing within itself germs of creeping disease and destined to be wracked with growing internal convulsions until it is given final Coup de grace by rising power of socialism and yields to new and better world.
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If the US sticks its oar in, it gets accused of interference and bullying.
If the US does nothing it gets accused of abrogating its responsibilities
Part of that problem is that the justifications for intervention are so blatantly self-interested and so inadequately justified by 'principle'.

The cynic could wonder why democracy and freedom are so vitally important to countries with resources to sell or markets to open but not to others.


Book Reviewer
Part of that problem is that the justifications for intervention are so blatantly self-interested and so inadequately justified by 'principle'.

The cynic could wonder why democracy and freedom are so vitally important to countries with resources to sell or markets to open but not to others.

Harks back to General Smedley Butler's much-quoted aphorism on his forty year career in the USMC:

"I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of the racket all the time. Now I am sure of it...'
Who really gives a feck about it all?

Everything, everywhere is a crock of shite , just dressed up in different costumes and with different slimy words that you'd have to be an utter cock to believe - so just join up to satisfy your own desires of playing 'War', and for the free guns and bullets. Some times they even let you play with big bangy things too.

What's not to like?

Too many pseudo intellectuals who are really good at speaking out once they are no longer part of the machine, the very machine that they willingly embraced when it suited them.

Ex Bankers slagging off 'Obscene salaries', etc., are part of the same hypocrisy.

Cnut's, the lot of 'em


Book Reviewer
Hazarding a guess you voted for Option 2 in the Poll ? :) - and it's not even Friday.

(where do I sign for the free guns and bullets?)

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