US and the New Allies?

As in update to my previous posting “Barnett’s Path to a U.S. Grand Strategy in Three Paragraphs“, Curzon at “Coming Anarchy” has an excellent post (”The New Allies”):

Coming Anarchy

The United Kingdom is our main ally inside the EU. Althouh a part of the union, Britain does not use the Euro and emphasizes the “one market” aspect of the union, not a unanimous foreign policy. There is no better way to limit EU meddling than by allying with a powerful country inside the union that wish to limit the scope of its power.

Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Baltic Three fear Russia and yet are wary of Franco-German dominance in the EU. The US has brought all these countries into NATO, Poland has the fourth largest number of troops in Iraq, and Bulgaria and Romania are in the final stages of negotiating the installation of US “lilypad” bases.

Ukraine and Georgia look to the EU and the United States as their possible protectors in the face of Russian aggression.

Strong relations with Vietnam, Mongolia, and Japan can be attributed to the fear of China flexing its muscle in the region.

All of these countries save Vietnam have troops in Iraq.

Though its a great overview, I think Curzon could have gone in greater depth in analysis. Most suprisingly for me is his omission of India from the map. Here’s my initial response to his posting, which attempts to inject further analysis on this topic:

The majors players working with the US are the major players of the Angolosphere (India, UK and Australia) and US former quasi-colonies in the East (Japan and possibly Philippines). Israel is also a strategic partner.

The other states are to all some degree buffer states with Poland the exception. In Europe, the Baltic states are too small to matter, while Romanian and Bulgaria don’t count so much other than possible military bases. With its internal political issues, Ukraine is a toss up at this point. Poland is still out to make a name for itself within a New Europe, but I dont know if it’ll ever have even comparable clout to Germany, France and the UK. Not until Poland can pull its GDP up.

The mentioning of Mongolia etc as part of the “Coalition of the Willing” is a joke. Only the UK, Poland, formerly the Ukraine and 1-2 other countries contributed substantial troops. Mongolia sent a token force of less than 300 troops. And the Ukrainian troops were famous for retreating under fire from the Insurgents.

Overall, the map looks pretty lonely. What about Turkey, South Korea, Latin America (lots of lng and oil) or Canada (possible large source of future oil)?

Heck, what about China as a limited partner? We have common interests in the security of the sealanes (where oil is transported); stability in the Korean Peinusula and also in the overall world; our mutual economic relationship direct and indirect; and stability in energy supplies.

Also, the question of where Russia fits into the “New World Order” is still in question. Russia has historically needed to expend its sphere of influence to feel secure. Indeed, the U.S. needs a stronger Russia to keep Central Asia and the Caucasus in line, while also holding a check against China.

Iraq maybe a future partner, but only fools would consider this so early in the game. Overall, we are pretty isolated in the Middle East, Israel excepted. With Iraq, Iran is a major puzzle to U.S. foreign policy there.

In the future, China may or may not be the next superpower, but no doubt it will be an even bigger player in the world. We need a major player in every region, especially those growing in power, e.g. China and Brazil. We can either ride the wave to the future or try to stubbornly stop it like fools.

Overall, the US is in a diplomatic low point, but it also presents the real partners we can depend on, mainly the UK and Austrialia. I would hope that soon we can add India (a new raising power) into this category.



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6 responses to “US and the New Allies?”

  1. IJ

    National politics in the past were largely driven by global trade, investment and borrowing. Political alliances are relatively unimportant against this background of diffuse economics.

    However the developed world is now saying that the rules of the global economy have gone far enough. Their countries are becoming poorer, albeit developing countries are becoming richer. Economic patriotism is more of a factor. The IIE have responded to the trend by calling for holistic problem solving; they comment on the ongoing talks at the WTO aimed at the further loosening of global trade:

    “The Doha Round could become the first major multilateral trade talks to fail since the 1930s. To prevent a collapse, policymakers in the G-8 and key developing countries must resolve global monetary and current account imbalances, counter the backlash against globalization, and find a way to jolt the talks back to life.”

  2. StrategyUnit

    “However the developed world is now saying that the rules of the global economy have gone far enough.”

    Not to sound like Tom Friedman, but I think that in some cases free trade has not gone enough, especially with the tariffs imposed by the developed nations over the poor. Also, I think to a certain degree globalization has also become the scapegoat for not-so-successful countries, as well.

    In other cases, there also needs to be an understood limit. The privatization of water, even if it would have improved the water supply, was too much for many people and even against my belief of limited autarchy.

    There is also a lack of serious input for developing nations. This is why I think nations like Brazil and India should be embraced by the G-8. Even if they are more advanced then most third-world nations, they can act as a bridge between the mostly Western developed nations and the developing nations.

    Having the G-8 seemingly dictate the terms is the wrong approach.

  3. IJ

    Could globalization collapse? was published earlier this year in ‘Foreign Affairs’.

    The article by Niall Ferguson draws parallels between economics today and before World War 1, when globalisation sank.

    “International trade, investment, and migration all collapsed. Moreover, the attempt to resuscitate the world economy after the war’s end failed. The global economy effectively disintegrated with the onset of the Great Depression and, after that, with an even bigger world war, in which astonishingly high proportions of production went toward perpetrating destruction. . .Global markets were disrupted and disconnected, first by economic warfare, then by postwar protectionism.”

    Such is the destination of economic patriotism in an unregulated global economy. Unfortunately there’s little appetite to prevent a repeat.

  4. StrategyUnit

    Its true that globalization, as I see it as mostly economic in nature, is not definite or irreversible.

    Globalization is a shaky thing – currency collapse, loan defaulting, stock market crash, oil supply disruption, and more obvious things like wars can throw it off balance, disrupt it or reverse it.

    I think just about anyone would agree to this. But, keeping with my first response, I think the main issue of globalization currently is that it is currently driven by the “old rich” so to speak, things will change as other countries began to demand place their input into the system.

    Another issue, is that globalization is supposed to lead to growing economies that in turn would lead to increased consumption of goods, which can only be unsustainable for the environment in the long run. What is missing is a mechanism for a true and total cost of production to be accounted for.

  5. IJ

    It seems our concerns would be mostly met if big developing countries were invited to input to the rules-sets, and the enforcement, of global economics. But this may not be possible – hence the collapse of globalisation referred to above.

    In response to the posting on the TransAsia Energy Grid, I suggested an important security alliance of developing countries was BRICS – including Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, with observers Iran and Venezuela; BRICS is reported to have 75% of the world’s population and 80% of the natural resources.

    But cultural differences are significant. For example, some in the US Senate and the Congress want Russia ousted from the G8 because it is too different, culturally, from the other members. And BRICS contains the economic giants of tomorrow.

  6. IJ

    Apologies. BRICS includes China too.

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