Power in the Global Information Age: From Realism to Globalization

Power in the Global Information Age: From Realism to Globalization

Power in the Global Information Age: From Realism to Globalization

Power in the Global Information Age: From Realism to Globalization

Synopsis

One of the most brilliant and influential international relations scholars of his generation, Joseph S. Nye Jr. is one of the few academics to have served at the very highest levels of US government.nbsp;This volumenbsp;collects together many of his key writings for the first time as well as new material, and an important concluding essay which examines the relevance of international relations in practical policymaking. This book addresses: * America's post-Cold War role in international affairs * the ethics of foreign policy * the information revolution * terrorism.

Excerpt

International politics has long been described in terms of states seeking power and security in an anarchic world. States form alliances and balance the power of others in order to preserve their independence. Traditionally, we spoke of states as unitary rational actors. "France allied with Britain because it feared Germany." There was little room for morality or idealism - or for actors other than states. When I first studied the subject, towering figures like E. H. Carr and Hans Morgenthau were warning against the misguided idealism that had helped produce the catastrophes of the first half of the twentieth century.

As a first approximation in most situations, the simple propositions of realism are still the best models we have to guide our thinking. That is why I start this collection of essays with three essays on the power and limits of realism. Realist models are parsimonious, intuitive, sometimes historically grounded, and often provide useful rules of thumb for policy makers. For example, when I was responsible for East Asian policy in the Clinton Administration Defense Department, I relied partly on realism to help redesign a floundering policy. At that time, many people considered the US-Japan security treaty to be an obsolete relic of the Cold War. Unlike Europe, where a web of institutions had knit previous enemies together, East Asian states had never come fully to terms with the politics of the 1930s, and mistrust was strong. Some Americans feared Japan as an economic rival; others feared the rise of Chinese power, and felt that the United States should play the two against each other. Still others urged the containment of China before it became too strong.

As I looked at the three-country East Asian balance of power, it seemed likely that it would eventually evolve into two against one. By reinforcing rather than discarding the US-Japan security alliance, the United States could ensure that it was part of the pair rather than be isolated. From that position of strength, the Americans could afford to engage China economically and socially and see whether such forces would eventually transform China. Rather than turning to military containment, which would confirm China as an enemy, the US pursued engagement while it consolidated its alliance with Japan in the triangular balance, secure in the knowledge that if engagement failed to work, there was a strong fallback position. This strategy involved elements of liberal theory about the

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