Friday, November 30, 2007

Neoconservative Foreign Policy, and US Relations with Europe and Japan

It is widely believed that neoconservative foreign policy will lead to inevitable clashes with key US allies, notably Europe and Japan. But regardless of party politics, American foreign policy will be more or less neoconservative, due to its ideological base of national foundation and the role of hegemonic state to maintain a liberal world order. Does this mean the United States always take go-it alone policy?

Actually, Europe has begun to explore more involvement in global security, since the Iraq rift. NATO and the EU will be upgraded to expand their worldwide influence. Therefore, I would like to talk about neoconservatism in America after the Bush administration, and burden sharing with Europe and Japan to tackle global challenges.

To begin with I will talk of the future of neoconservatism. Joshua Muravchik, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, points out that neither liberals nor realists have not coherent foreign policy approaches for the post 9-11 world, despite some troubles in Iraq. This is why neoconservatism captures the heart of President George W. Bush in the War on Terror. At the end of his essay, Muravchik concludes as the following.

One can always wish that policies were executed better, but for a strategy in the war that has been imposed upon us, neoconservatism remains the only game in town. (“The Past, Present, and Future of Neoconservatism”; Commentary; October 2007)

There are three key points in neoconservative foreign policy. First, it is moralistic and strongly recognizes that America be the foremost leader of liberal values. Second, it is internationalist like many liberals, and assumes that any threat to American security must be curbed at an early stage, even though that is far away from US homeland. Third, it trusts efficacy of military force like most conservatives, and doubts economic sanctions and UN resolutions.

As widely mentioned among opinion leaders, Muravchik attributes some difficulties in Iraq to policy errors by Ex Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He did not send enough troops, but since the surge based on policy recommendations by Frederick Kagan at the AEI and Ex-General Jack Kean, operations in Iraq is turning successful.

Even though some opinion leaders insist that the war in Iraq is in the wrong place against wrong enemy, they are not necessarily dovish. They believe in America’s special role that the United States must be willing to use military power for moralistic leadership. Democrat Senator Barack Obama insists on bombing terrorist camps in Pakistan, instead of Iraq. Also, Michael A. Ledeen, Freedom Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, argues that the United States should focus on the threat of Iran, not Iraq. Regardless of position in the Iraq debate, any administration is likely to take more or less neoconservative approaches.

Does this lead to inevitable clash between the United States and Europe? Actually, some Europeans are advocates of world order led by the American Empire.

British historian Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor at Harvard University, is too well known. In his books, “Empire” and “Colossus”, Ferguson insists that the United States be more interventionist to maintain a liberal world order as Britain was.

Another European advocate of American hegemony is Josef Joffe, Editor of German weekly Die Zeit and Visiting Professor at Stanford University. In his book, “Überpower”, Joffe discusses how to maintain the American world order. Moreover, he defends the special relationship between the United States and Israel in the article “A World without Israel” in Foreign Policy, January 2005.

In France, Jacques Chirac has gone, and Nicholas Sarkozy has taken power.

Not only do some European opinion leaders support American hegemony, but also European nations explore more active involvement. According to Robert Kagan, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Europeans are stepping toward expansionist policy, in view of disturbances in Ukraine, the Balkans, Turkey, and North Africa (“Embraceable EU”; Washington Post; December 5, 2004). In the support for democracy in Ukraine, Europeans played no less important role than Americans.

Robert Cooper, Ex-British Diplomat and Member of European Council on Foreign Relations, insists on attracting new members from East Europe and Turkey, in order to pursue a liberal imperialist policy. Through this way, Europeans promote democracy for global and their own security. Also, NATO expansion could strengthen transatlantic endeavor to bolster a liberal world order. Robert Kagan concludes his article, “That could prove a far more important strategic boon to the United States than a few thousand European troops in Iraq.”

This October, the British government has released a new report, entitled “Global Europe”. This report, published by the Cabinet Office and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, recommends joint EU efforts to deepen liberal and democratic societies in Eastern and Southern neighbors; and also, joint sanctions against repressive regimes in Burma, Iran, and North Korea.

While Europe is stepping up towards active global commitment, Japan is wasting too much energy on trivial legal debate regarding further operations in the Indian Ocean. It is utterly stupid to spend much time on such a petty parliamentary talk in the era of global war on terror. This sort of excessive adherence to the notorious pacifist constitution would make Japan an under achiever. Remember, Japan has succeeded in joining top achievers club, through “getting out of backward Asia, and becoming the West.” Japanese leaders should bear this in mind, if seriously exploring NATO membership.

Neoconservative foreign policy does not necessarily lead to unilateralism of the United States. It presents much clearer vision to manage the world than other ideological sects. Neoconservative agendas are vital to European and Japanese interests as well. Ultimately, whoever the President of the United States is, his or her foreign policy is more or less neoconservative