The Next Cold War? American Alternatives for the Twenty-First Century

The Next Cold War? American Alternatives for the Twenty-First Century

The Next Cold War? American Alternatives for the Twenty-First Century

The Next Cold War? American Alternatives for the Twenty-First Century

Synopsis

Sounding a warning that the United States could be leading the world into a new economic cold war if it continues to pursue narrow national and regional economic power strategies and policies.

Excerpt

Americans live in a problematic time. We no longer can act according to our cold-war past and assumptions about the world, but neither do we know how to act in a post-cold-war future. Should we contain Russia and China as coldwar adversaries of the past, or should we embrace them as partners in a new era of international cooperation? Should we intercede in Bosnia, Cambodia, and other troubled areas as we did when leading the free world, or should we defer to the United Nations? Should we subsidize developing nations with trade and aid, or should we compete to acquire their assets and win their markets? Should we withdraw from world commitments and pay more money and attention to our domestic problems?

Few Americans want to return to a cold-war era of superpower confrontation and geopolitical power plays. We would rather befriend the Russians and Chinese to the point of providing billions of dollars of aid and overlooking their totalitarian tendencies. We would rather turn over the role of global cop to the United Nations. We would prefer to abide by international law and agreements such as the World Trade Organization (WTO, formerly known as the General Agreement on Thriffs and Trade [GATT]). We would like to forget about most world problems and concentrate our attention and resources on the domestic problems related to economy, health, environment, and crime.

Yet the cold-war impulse remains in the recesses of our political and economic policies. A faint but reverberating national consciousness calls us to continue our geopolitical power strategies -- to expand alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to provide armaments to dozens of countries, and to maintain the world's most expensive military force. Almost by habit, we pursue similar geoeconomic power strategies-to build competitive regions such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAMA), to nego-

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