There Is No Plan

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The Rise of Neo-Liberalism

with 3 comments

it all starts right here

it all starts right here

The Neo-Cons are dead. Long live the Neo-Libs.

It’s not just conservatives who believe that the continued hegemony of the United States is critical to the wellbeing of human-kind.  But the Neo-Lib prescription veers from the Neo-Cons very substantially after that. We neo-libs do not feel that military power is the key to our continued dominance. Instead Neo-Liberalism calls for a Wilsonesque revival of America’s power through goodwill and largesse, backed by  a Rooseveltian (and I mean Teddy) “big stick”. For too long, under the Neo-Cons, we talked loudly and carried a stick that frankly got smaller and smaller the deeper we fell into the morass of Iraq and Afghanistan.

It may seem like an odd time to be talking about American hegemony.  Our nation is in an economic crisis unlike any it has experienced in decades. The threat to our continued power is probably at its highest point since the Second World War, which would seem a perfect time to reassert it. Fortunately, our adversaries around the globe aren’t in any better shape than we are, and in many respects have further to fall. Even more fortuitous is the presence of a new President who could be the beacon for Neo-Liberalism. While Obama may have shown some early weakness on the domestic policy front, particularly with his reluctance to detach himself from tried-and-failed centrism, but on the foreign stage, he has an opportunity to rebuild and reinvigorate US power.

So let us begin to forge a plan for the rebuilding of American power. Here’s how.

China: Our main adversary is China. Indeed there may be a developing zero-sum relationship developing in Sino-US relations. America must stop its policy of appeasement towards Beijing and use the threat of internal dissent in the Chinese hinterland to drive a rebalancing of our trading and military relationships with China – to our advantage. We must regain the political and financial initiative in our dealings with Beijing, and expose their charlatnism and double standards for our own ends, and those of our allies. Finally, we must seek to compete with China in Africa, and not cede ground there.

The Middle East: Instead of segmenting the various theatres, from East to West, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis, we should see them as part of an ongoing war (whether cold, diplomatic, economic, or hot) for stability in the region. The interconnectedness of every part of the Mid East to virtually every other, requires a more supple diplomatic and economic approach, sharpened by the use of economic warfare for pursuit of our political ends. Our priorities in the region should be a) a rapid two-state solution to the Palestinian issue, forcing Israel’s hand if necessary. b) normalization of trading and diplomatic relations with Iran regardless of their nuclear ambitions c) The weakening of the Taliban by choking their opium funding. d) achieving stability and strength in Pakistan by developing close ties with the Pakistani Army and undermining the ISI.

Europe: We must actively seek to reforge our partnership with Europe in trading terms, while recognizing the political differences we have with the EU, particularly on diplomatic and military strategy. Europe is not a viable military partner, and must not be seen as such. However, the US must commit itself to preserving European stability in the face of rising internal terrorist threats, and current and future economic instability. Our main conduit to influence in Europe will continue to be the UK. Our relationship with London should be strengthened.

The World Environment: In the face of global warming, America must take the lead on the Environment, forcing China and India to follow suit, or face international consequences. We must make massive investment in a post-fossil fuel economy, and aggressively export and control world innovation in the green economy. It will also strengthen our domestic economy.

International Bodies: America should begin to withdraw its support for the UN and over time should seek to replace it with a new international body with less of an accent on peacekeeping and cooperation, and more on effective military and political action. The various UN agencies need to reconstituted and folded into a new international structure. The IMF and World Bank need to be repackaged, with greater authority, under US auspices, to preserve financial and economic stability.

International Communications: America must maintain its control of the Internet, and be responsible for its regeneration and development. It remains the bedrock of America’s innovation advantage, which the US must leverage to the maximum degree by being highly competitive in the world marketplace.

Foreign Aid: We have just committed nearly a trillion dollars to a “stimulus package”. Half of that money carefully invested in our more strategic allies, such as Pakistan, Afghan farmers, and Iran, over a presidential term will help to drive America’s campaign to rebuild its goodwill, and give us a powerful foothold in what could otherwise be troublesome nations.

Foreign Debt: Over time the US should seek to reduce and restructure its debts away from adversarial creditor nations, such as China, and Middle Eastern Sovereign Funds and towards friendlier debtor nations such as the UK, Taiwan, and Japan.

Domestic Policy: Strengthening US infrastructure, developing a viable universal health care system, boosting effective education, rebuilding the middle class, and reforming the US regulatory framework are a keystone to projecting US power abroad. The new President should use his virtual lock on Congress to push through required reforms.

The broad framework of neo-liberalism is simple. We believe that the goal of US hegemony is worthwhile, achievable, and necessary for the stability of the globe. Achieving our ends will be through rebuilding and projecting US economic power, the extension of US economic, diplomatic and technological influence, and the development of a more supple, lethal military to back-up our ambitions.

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3 Responses

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  1. first of all, am really enjoying this debate.

    looks like the neo-liberal trademark is gone as you suggest. it’s a shame, because it’s such a neat counterpoint to neo-con, but new name for the concept is needed.

    on israel, the two state solution is the only solution. and the clock is ticking very loudly. israelis won’t accept anything like a single state. they’d fight to the end first, so regardless of who’s in charge they have to be forced to accept a side by side palestinian state now. remember sharon was the biggest hawk ever and if hadn’t suffered that terrible stroke, he might have led Israel to peace on good terms.

    on afghanistan, i suggest a massive verifiable bribery campaign to stop opium. if the farmers are getting good money not planting the stuff, the taliban will resort to strong arm tactics that will eventually fail. eradicating the crops by force as you say is a waste fo time.

    on pakistan, i believe we have to support and westernize the PK army so they loosen ties to the ISI. we also need to support PK ‘new economy’ and bulid a cadre to strengthen civilian government. it’s all about patriotism in PK

    on china, i just think we need to redress the imbalances with china by using beijing’s fear of social unrest as a weapon. i agree that the zero sum may be a ways off – but it’s coming. we’ve been giving it up to china for far too long.

    on debt – you’re right. we should just try and lose the debt entirely and use our renewable energy leadership to do it.

    on the UN, the easier way to go would be to restructure the UN through a US prism as you suggest. I wonder if that’s possible, or if the place and its various agencies is just too far gone. perhaps the best way to find out is for the US to attempt its full-scale reform. as a side note; perhaps one avenue for a new international forum would be for international humanitarian/military intervention – led by the US – in darfur for example.

    i’ll start thinking about a new name for the neo-lib concept. if you have any thoughts add them to the list!

    coolrebel

    February 28, 2009 at 12:22 am

  2. A lot to respond to here…and this is purely my opinion so don’t take it with offense! It’s a great post to read and very constructive.

    1) Neo-liberalism is a term that evokes liberalizing economic policies and markets. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-liberalism So that’s what I thought of first, not a geopolitical ideology… What’s confusing is that neo-cons actually support neo-liberal economic policies for the most part.

    2) Two-state solution seems to be dead politically with the recent Israeli elections and the infeasibility of figuring out how that would work.

    3) Agreed on Iran, but working with Pakistani military and attacking Afghani opium is current policy and is badly failing. It won’t work to beef up efforts there.

    4) I don’t think China will be in a zero-sum superpower war against us. At least not until maybe the latter half of this century. The US enjoys pretty strong advantages over the rest of the world still (the economic devastation is creaming China’s workforce right now and they have to deal with the potential instability of such a divide between rich and poor).

    5) Instead of restructuring debt with new countries, why not reduce the debt altogether? That implies seeking solar solutions for energy (to free us of large oil liabilities) and to create new banks along with a strengthened financial regulation system. It wasn’t that long ago that the US was a creditor.

    6) I think the US should take the lead in the UN again…it is a pretty good institution given its limitations. But it misses US leadership. The problem with giving it a stronger military mandate is a) military intervention is questionable in its results and b) that would undermine sovereign state theory about international affairs. Who would enforce military action on the international coalition level, knowing it could be used against them too?

    7) Your last point is key. Universal health care and support systems to defray the effects of market failures. Pour investment into education, R&D, innovation, the internet, university research on energy and internet. That investment will be needed to build a new economy with new market leaders that can free us from our foreign dependencies. It will also attract talent from abroad and keep the US doing what it does best…being innovative.

    Ben

    February 27, 2009 at 10:54 pm

  3. […] a comment » Badd Bob of Planned Obsolescence has built on my discussion about Neo-Liberalism with a thought-provoking post that asks some fascinating long term questions about where US […]


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