'-------------------------------------------------- Cascoly Books: Rogue Nation

Cascoly Books - Rogue Nation


American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions

Clyde Prestowitz's book describes how far the neocons have distorted the basic conservative message. His conservative credentials are assured, having served under various conservative administrations in trade negotiations. But he sees dangers in the Bush policies that solidify tendencies towards unilateralism ans 'soft' imperialism. Not just a screed against the Bush administration, he shows how many of these tendencies have developed over the years. One of the biggest problems is the American failure to see themselves as others do:

  • “America is like a ‘rogue wave’, a large swell that, running contrary to the general direction of the eaves, takes sailors by surprise and causes unexpected destruction. America is a big and unpredictable nation and has a long history of an alternately generous and uncaring approach to the rest of world. While we think of ourselves as the ‘good guys’, we are blinded tour own sometimes irritating behavior by the strength of our mythology and the dominance of our culture…. Right now we are attributing criticism of American policies to envy of our success and power and to chronic anti-Americanism. That is certainly some of the trouble, but not all of it. Perhaps we should also look at how we deal with some key issues and how our behavior is perceived and comports with our values.”

While Americans deride globalization as the sucking away of jobs, much of the world sees globalization as Americanization and debates whether it is to be embraced or resisted. Energy use and global warming are intrinsically linked issues; particularly when viewed with America’s growing dependence on foreign oil. This dependence also affects basic issues of war and peace. Connected still further are our varying attitudes towards Israel, Palestine, Taiwan and Korea. With Cold War relationships over, tensions are building as we sort out what our new relationships will be.

  • “This dramatic new doctrine of supremacy and preemptive attack not only reversed years of American national security policy, it also struck at the heart of the Treaty of Westphalia, which has underpinned the modern international system of nation states… Signed in 1648 to end the Thirty Years War, this agreement acknowledged, as a fundamental principle of interrnational relations, the sanctity of national sovereignty and noninterference by one state in the internal affairs of another. Bush’s doctrine also seemed both to contravene the Charter of the United Nations, which outlaws the ‘threat or use of force a against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state’, and to contradict the conclusions of the Nuremberg trials that treated ‘preemptive war’ as a war crime.”

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