Spectacolul ideilor pe hartă

16/ian/2010 EURAST recomandă: Z. Brzezinski face analiza geopolitică a politicii externe a a primului an de mandat Obama (6/6). Concluzii

(În ultimul număr (ianuarie-februarie 2010 al revistei Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski (consilier de securitate al preşedinţilor SUA între 1977 şi 1981) face un bilanţ al primului an al administraţiei Barack Obama din punctul de vedere al liniilor de politică externă urmărite. Vom relua aici acest text în integralitate, în serial. Astăzi, concluziile acestei intervenţii – EURAST)


From Hope to Audacity

Appraising Obama’s Foreign Policy (VI)

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Foreign Affairs /// January/February 2010


What then, on balance, can be said of Obama’s foreign policy? So far, it has generated more expectations than strategic breakthroughs. Nonetheless, Obama has significantly altered U.S. policies regarding the three most urgent challenges facing the country. But as a democracy, the United States has to base its foreign policy decisions on domestic political consent. And unfortunately for Obama, gaining that support is becoming more difficult because of three systemic weaknesses that impede the pursuit of an intelligent and decisive foreign policy in an increasingly complex global setting.

The first is that foreign policy lobbies have become more influential in U.S. politics. Thanks to their access to Congress, a variety of lobbies – some financially well endowed, some backed by foreign interests – have been promoting, to an unprecedented degree, legislative intervention in foreign-policy making. Now more than ever, Congress not only actively opposes foreign policy decisions but even imposes some on the president. (The pending legislation on sanctions against Iran is but one example.) Such congressional intervention, promoted by lobbies, is a serious handicap in shaping a foreign policy meant to be responsive to the ever-changing realities of global politics and makes it more difficult to ensure that U.S. – not foreign – interests are the point of departure.

The second, documented by a 2009 RAND study, pertains to the deepening ideological cleavage that is reducing the prospects for effective bipartisanship in foreign policy. The resulting polarization not only makes a bipartisan foreign policy less likely, but it also encourages the infusion of demagogy into policy conflicts. And it poisons the public discourse. Still worse, personal vilification and hateful, as well as potentially violent, rhetoric are becoming widespread in that realm of political debate that is subject to neither fact checking nor libel laws: the blogosphere.

Last but not least, of the large democratic countries, the United States has one of the least informed publics when it comes to global affairs. Many Americans, as various National Geographic surveys have shown, are not even familiar with basic global geography. Their knowledge of other countries’ histories and cultures is not much better. How can a public unfamiliar with geography or foreign history have even an elementary grasp of, say, the geopolitical dilemmas that the United States faces in Afghanistan and Pakistan? With the accelerating decline in the circulation of newspapers and the trivialization of once genuinely informative television reporting, reliable and timely news about critical global issues is becoming less available to the general public. In that context, demagogically formulated solutions tend to become more appealing, especially in critical moments.

Together, these three systemic weaknesses are complicating efforts to gain public support for a rational foreign policy attuned to the complexity of the global dilemmas facing the United States. Obama’s instinct is to lead by conciliation. That has been his political experience, and it has obviously been the key to his electoral success. Conciliation, backed by personal inspiration and the mass mobilization of populist hopes, is indeed the most important impetus for moving a policy agenda forward in a large democracy. In campaigning for the presidency, Obama proved that he was a master both of social conciliation and of political mobilization. But he has not yet made the transition from inspiring orator to compelling statesman. Advocating that something happen is not the same as making it happen.

In the tough realities of world affairs, leadership also requires an unrelenting firmness in overcoming foreign opposition, in winning the support of friends, in negotiating seriously when necessary with hostile states, and in gaining grudging respect even from those governments that the United States sometimes has an interest in intimidating. To these ends, the optimal moment for blending national aspirations with decisive leadership is when the personal authority of the president is at its highest – usually during the first year in office. For President Obama, alas, that first year has been dominated by the economic crisis and the struggle over health-care reform. The next three years may thus be more difficult. For the United States’ national interest, but also for humanity’s sake, that makes it truly vital for Obama to pursue with tenacious audacity the soaring hopes he unleashed.


16 ianuarie 2010 - Posted by | Bibliografii, Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , ,

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