This Week’s Mtg on Diplomacy in the 21st Century

This one is coming at a great time.  President Obama released his new National Security Strategy last week, and we are about to see the limits of diplomacy in stark relief as we and everyone else involved try to deal with the really, really serious Israeli attack on a Turkish ship trying to run its blockade of Gaza.

I will present.  I’ll start with a few basic ideas about diplomacy, starting with why we do it and why it’s probably more important in the new century than at any time since the end of WWII (hint: all big problems are global now and beyond our ability to handle alone).  Then I’ll outline why diplomacy is so complicated now (hint: Power, except military power where the U.S. dominates,  is more diffuse among nations now than maybe ever before in world history.)

Finally, I will list the ways that Obama is changing how we deal with the rest of the world through diplomacy–including by defining what power is more broadly than Bush did–to keep U.S. power intact in a more multi-polar world.  Tons of fun.

Here are some links that explain that the President’s new NSS: 

  1. “Recognizes the world as it is and ends an era of illusion in which Washington confused projecting power with achieving results.”
  2. Is about maintaining the sources of American power in a changed world. 
  3. Promotes a new, rule-based strategy for a new era that stops seeing power as a zero sum game  and tries to isolate bad actors.

Also, here is a summary of Obama’s new doctrine on U.S. nuclear weapons and nuke proliferation policy, that was released last month.

Update:  Obama’s new strategy has been criticized, too.  Jim Z. in a comment, below, noted that it de-emphasizes democracy promotion.  Others say it’s like other Obama policies: baby steps in a new direction that amounts to little real change (“Bush Lite“).


One response

  1. I thought this Wash. post article might be of interest, regarding the lack
    of a human rights component in Obama’s strategy:

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