A Global Approach to National Policy

A Global Approach to National Policy

A Global Approach to National Policy

A Global Approach to National Policy

Excerpt

There is a need for nations to reconsider the basis of their participation in world politics. This need to reconsider seems particularly acute for the United States, because of its size, the global spread of its involvements, its reformist tradition in foreign policy, and its recently-felt sense of failure and dependence, which has shaken the confidence of its older people and withered the hopes of many of its young. One dimension of such a reconsideration, though admittedly only one, lies in reexamining issues of national policy from a global perspective, that is, a perspective as liberated as possible from the interests, biases, and habitual attitudes of any particular place or nation in the world. To be globalist in outlook these days also means to be futurist: it is virtually impossible to appraise what is already happening without at the same time making judgments about what is likely to happen decades hence and disclosing preferences about what ought to happen.

Thus, a globalist outlook requires a series of intellectual developments at odds with the mainstream approaches to international relations and foreign policy. This kind of reorientation of perspective is beginning to gain wider support under the rubric of "world order" or its academic designation, "world order studies." With increasing frequency we hear statesmen from many countries invoke the rhetoric and imagery of world order to express their growing conviction that ways must be devised for organizing the political life of the planet as a whole--both for the sake of their individual societies and for the benefit of mankind in general. This conviction is often presented as the necessary foundation for a new approach to international relations, but it is usually accompanied by the sober appreciation that failure to bring about a new, more integrated world order will lead to decay and chaos, possibly even to catastrophe. But while leaders of powerful nations talk in these terms, partly expressing their own awareness and partly sensing the concerns of their citizens, it is not yet evident that their talk corresponds to any real disposition or capacity to match their words with deeds. Nor is it clear that such spokesmen are purposefully redirecting their energies toward the awesome preliminary task of en-

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