A Splintered Mirror: The World Reflects on the United States. (Editor's Note)

Article excerpt

Concerns over the future role of the United States dominate international discourse and policy. This issue's symposium critically assesses the nature and impact of these rival perspectives on the United States. Joseph Nye, the dean of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and former US cabinet member, opens our symposium by discussing the pragmatic benefits of soft power, which engenders goodwill and cooperation, allowing for the greater success of US policies. Professor Makram Haluani, chairman of the Department of Political Science at Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela, builds on Nye's discussion of soft power to explain Latin America's simultaneous admiration for US society and suspicion of US leadership.

But even as this unease over US foreign policy creates sources of conflict or tension, it presents an opportunity for a dramatic redefinition of the US role in the world. Professor Hall Gardner, chair of the International Affairs Department at the American University of Paris, writes that the source of international ambivalence toward US policy may provide the impetus for the formation of a new model of international peace and security based on multilateralism. EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy and former NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana is optimistic about this possibility, viewing such multilateralism as consistent with the ideals embedded in US foreign policy and shared by Europe. …