As we head toward the 21st century, America will be the greatest influence to the rest of the world as being the only true superpower in the post-cold war era. It is the only country with the military, diplomatic, political and economic might to handle any type of conflict or misfortune that may arise. The misconception that because the cold war is over, America should relinquish some of its military forces around the world and let country’s deal with their own conflicts and economic adversities. However, there are many problems around the world in which it would affect the U.S. directly or indirectly. These four articles depicts the military, diplomatic, political and probably the most important economic situation of the world in the post-cold war era. The main theme of these articles is about America and its role in the global arena in the 21st century.
What is the role of our nation is the argument of the four articles? The realist would argue to continue its dominance of the world and only be involved in world affairs when it deals directly with national interest. However, idealist would say it is in our best interest to be involved, to help others in need and to keep the world secure.
Krauthammer’s view In “Unipolar Moment” seems to come from a realist point of view, he states we are in abnormal times, with conflicts with Iraq and other states trying to obtain nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, it is the greatest threat to the world security today. Also, the enemy could be anyone, Iraq today, North Korea or Libya tomorrow. Further, Krauthammer states with an unstable period ahead of us, the best hope for peace is the American strength and will, making the rules for the world and enforcing them when broken.
The U.S. is by far the only major power leading in toward the 21st century, rather we want that burden is another question. By living in an unipolar world, other nations will look to us to deal with all conflicts or look to us for economic support. The main argument in the article is rather the U.S. can support its unipolar status and from all indications it may very well can if by getting domestic support. America in general have to change their attitudes towards foreign policy, it is just as important if not more important then domestic policy. Another argument I agree with is that by withdrawing troops from certain parts of the world or not to give economic aid to other nations it will not translate to eradicating America’s economic problems. In fact, our involvement abroad is essential to our economy, we need a stable world environment especially now with global trading and multi-national corporations doing business in other nation’s.
There are many disadvantages by being the only big kid in the block. Although the cold war is now over, I feel there is far greater danger ahead in the 21st century. There are numerous nations trying to gather weapons of mass destruction and there has been an increase in nations with biological, chemical and even nuclear weapons. The U.S. has seemed to have alienated some of these nations and the people have blamed the west, especially the U.S., for there misfortunes and that alone puts us in an awkward position. An example would be Iraq, we have bombed them, imposed sanctions to try to destroy there weapons of mass destruction but in the course of acting we have fueled the fire of extremist in that part of the world to act against us. For now we have to embrace our unipolar status, act when our interests are threatened and get support from allies when conflicts arise.
In “Preparing for the 21st Century”, Paul Kennedy discusses how the economically developed countries hold all the cards, and will prosper in a more technologic era. Latin America, Middle East, countries in Asia, and especially Africa are in social, political and economical disarray. Kennedy looks to the Far East as an illustration on how to improve economic performance, culture attitudes, education, political stability and to set long term goals.
Since the argument in the “Unipolar Moment” was to impose our will on other nations, that will can be positive as well as negative. We should aid these nations in there pursuit of prosperity. Although, realist would argue that unless there is specific interest in a certain part of the world, it should be up to them to resurrect their misfortune.
The gap between EDC’S and LDC’S is even more prevalent now in the age of better communication and technology; consequently the findings are not encouraging. The LDC’S has major problems some worse in certain nations then others. In order to tackle the problem one of the arguments was look to East Asia as an illustration to a successful transformation. Even though the countries are differently structure the way they approach success, they have many similar characteristics.
Although I agree that East Asia has turned it around from past economic instability and they would be a great road map to lead other nations to success, however, I feel the U.S. is the best example to emulate for LDC’S. The U.S. are a superpower for a reason, obviously nation’s won’t be able too immense the same power and success as the U.S. but it can follow the same structure. I feel there are 3 areas that these nations must tackle to reverse their situation.
First, education is crucial to success, especially higher education, if you look at nation’s that are consider EDC’S, have high literacy rates, more students in higher education and a more educated society will have the better capability to deal with the nation dilemmas. Second, the health of your nation is very important, probably the most important. Health care for your people is vital for a nation’s stability. You cannot lead your nation to success with a rapid spread of disease or people who are malnutrition. Third, is to have a strong and stable political system, to collect taxes, to invest and to be more involved in trade. These 3 areas are intertwined, to have more people in higher education you have more doctors to deal with health issues and more educated people to deal with the nation’s economic situation.
In “Has Democracy a Future”, Arthur Schlesinger says that democracy has barely survived the twentieth century but will enjoy a more promising future in the 21st century. However, he states democracy will have to manage the strain of race tension, especially in the U.S., technology and capitalism.
There are more democracy’s today then there have ever been, rather or not it will remain that will is another question. In America I feel it will survive, but not with major bumps in road. One argument in article I agree with is that technology and computers with destroy more jobs then it creates. As a result, people will blame others different from themselves for their misfortunes and will create even more racial tension. However, as we lead toward the 21st century, I feel race tensions will diminish greatly, partly because of intermarriage between people with different races and cultures. It also seems that the younger generation is more open to people and cultures that is different. I disagree with the author however on the point that globalization will lead people to retreat to their own familiar settings. I feel that globalization is good for the world to be introduced to new cultures and societies and will break taboos and stereotypes.
In “Why America Thinks It Has to Run The World”, Benjamin Schwarz discusses the importance of a continued U.S. world leadership to maintain a global economy. One of the arguments was we must continue to dominate the international system and to discourage other nations to challenge our leadership role in the international system. For instance, America must do exactly as they did in the past, by addressing conflicts that threaten our interests, our allies interests and those that will interrupt the international system.
In a time of globalization, multinational corporations, IGO’S, NGO’S and more of a shift toward a free trade market it is essential to have a stable international system. In order to have a stable system you must have a safe global arena to do business and to have a safe arena you must have someone to keep it safe. Since, we are the major superpower of the world we have to maintain the peace and ensure the stability of the global markets. We have to protect our allies, even though some of them have no immediate threat of danger. I feel it is important to spend billions of dollars on our forces around the globe to retain our dominance and to ensure nobody try’s to challenge our leadership in the global arena. Also, by keep ensuring the safety of our allies it keep them from forming there own military forces if they had to protect themselves.
In conclusion, the United States is in the best and worst situation leading in the 21st century. The future looks very promising for our economy in more ways of more trade, less protectionism and better technology and communications. However, the world will look to the U.S. as the saver or as the virtue enemy. To our allies we must keep them as our friends, to our enemies we must keep them down and impose our will on them. We must limit weapons of mass destruction, which seems to be the number one threat to our global stability. Finally, we must assistance other nation’s to achieve political, social and economical success.