Friday, August 26, 2016

For a Grand Bargain with China

Amitai Etzioni, For a Grand Bargain with China,

uncaptioned image from article

A new book lays out a comprehensive and detailed Asian foreign policy for the United States.

Few people who are in Asia or who are interested in Asia can afford not to study Kurt Campbell’s new book The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia. The main reason is the book lays out a comprehensive and detailed Asian foreign policy for the United States. It combines the scholarship of a Harvard professor (which Campbell was) and the talents of a consummate diplomat (which he is). The book is very systematic and clearly written: the plan for the U.S. has ten points. These points are spelled out with various sub-points, and many nations in the region each get their own section. Another reason this book will be on the must-read list is that Campbell is considered a leading candidate for the position of Secretary of State in President Hillary Clinton’s administration. ...
There are two rather different ways to read the book. One as an effective, encompassing and detailed agenda for a U.S. foreign policy for dealing with Asia. By this reading, the book provides much substance and guidelines for implementations of what are often referred to as the liberal principles of a U.S. foreign policy: building international institutions that seek to serve one and all, while also protecting U.S. interests; protecting small weak nations from a potential regional hegemon; and encouraging free trade and human rights.
Another way to read the book is to study it as a highly successful text of public diplomacy. It provides a liberal framing for U.S. moves in the region which, in effect, amount to calling on various Asian nations to align themselves with the U.S. to contain China (a term that Campbell explicitly disavows), and not granting China an area of increased influence, even in countries that constitute its “near abroad,” namely those on its borders. And if such a policy requires using economic sanctions and military means, these are to be viewed as part of the strategy that makes diplomacy work. Critics argue that this kind of policy will lead, in the longer run, to a major war. (For instance Hugh White. See also, Campbell’s response.) ...

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