Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A New U.S. Grand Strategy: Why walkable communities, sustainable economics, and multilateral diplomacy are the future of American power.

Mr. Doherty takes his shot at being the 2013 "Mr. X."  
Throughout U.S. history, grand strategy has navigated between two unacceptable extremes: Empire America and Fortress America. Being an empire -- governing other lands and peoples outside the U.S. Constitution -- is an affront to America's core principles of democracy and self-government. Isolationism, in turn, risks the certain rise of unacceptable threats to commerce, security, and basic American values.

Here I think is the essence of his concept:

In the face of the present danger and in the best tradition of the republic, America's response must be to lead. The country must put its own house in order and, with willing partners, author a prosperous, secure, and sustainable future. The task is clear: The United States must lead the global transition to sustainability. 
While some great powers and world capitals have been warning of these dangers for some time, it is clear that the effort ultimately requires an upgrade to the current international system. This will require the kind of principled, consistent leadership and hard-nosed geopolitics that only America, at its best, is able to deliver. 
America must once again start at home. For a limited time, it will be able to transition its economy to generate sustainable prosperity from deep pools of demand and underutilized capital. Once America commits, with its credibility on the mend and its economy as a wind at its back, it must then lead a new global partnership of major economies to adapt the international order. The halting logic of unwieldy climate negotiations will be supplanted by harnessing the greater force of economic self-interest: The United States will have to work with its partners to forge, implement, and verify a durable transition framework among the world's major economies.

Why walkable communities, sustainable economics, and multilateral diplomacy are the future of American power.

The strategic landscape of the 21st century has finally come into focus. The great global project is no longer to stop communism, counter terrorists, or promote a superficial notion of freedom. Rather, the world must accommodate 3 billion additional middle-class aspirants in two short decades -- without provoking resource wars, insurgencies, and the devastation of our planet's ecosystem. For this we need a strategy.

The status quo is untenable. In the United States, the country's economic engine is misaligned to the threats and opportunities of the 21st century. Designed explicitly to exploit postwar demand for suburban housing, consumer goods, and reconstruction materials for Europe and Japan, the conditions that allowed it to succeed expired by the early 1970s. Its shelf life has since been extended by accommodative monetary policy and the accumulation of household, corporate, and federal debt. But with Federal Reserve interest rates effectively zero, Americans' debt exceeding their income, and storms lashing U.S. cities, the country is at the end of the road.

Abroad, Washington's post-Cold War pattern of episodic adventurism and incremental crisis management only creates further uncertainty, and rising powers will not lead. Other major economies have little appetite for altering the global order and hence are doubling down on the old system, exacerbating trade imbalances and driving record resource extraction. As commodity prices rise, global powers are hedging ever more aggressively -- stockpiling resources and increasingly becoming entangled in conflicts in resource-rich areas. As the global economy falters, unrest rises and the great unresolved conflicts of the 20th century -- the Middle East, South Asia, North Korea, Taiwan -- grow increasingly enmeshed in the power dynamics of this new era.

Simply put, the current U.S. and international order is unsustainable, and myriad disruptions signal that it is now in a process of collapse. Until the United States implements a new grand strategy, the country will face even more rapid degradation of domestic and global conditions.

This is not an over-the-horizon danger. The interplay of four strategic antagonists is causing Americans daily harm.
(Continued at the link below)

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