Is the United States a Rogue Nation? Doubts of a U.S. Conservative
Will the United States be able to find its place in the process of economic and political globalization?
July 13, 2003
“What we need is a return to real conservatism. The imperial project of the so-called neoconservatives is not conservatism at all — but radicalism, egotism and adventurism articulated in the stirring rhetoric of traditional patriotism.”
“Because fundamentally the US is ill-suited to be an imperial power. The Declaration of Independence was about liberty and the pursuit of happiness — not the pursuit of power. Our nation began life in rebellion against an empire. As a result, we never became really comfortable with the habit of empire — and simply are not good imperialists.
And today our country is not ready to endure the sacrifices necessary to running an empire. For example, there is to be no draft and no sacrifice — and President Bush's only nod to civic duty came when he urged everyone to go shopping to help the economy.
Also, unlike imperial nations, the American people do not regard body bags as symbols of their glorious valor — nor do they hanker to send their second sons and daughters into the colonial services.”
“Domestically, we have dramatically increased federal spending while beefing up our already overwhelming military machine. And we decided to make the Department of Homeland Security the biggest domestic bureaucracy we have ever had. This is not conservatism. It is Big Government.
And internationally National Missile Defense has already been shown not to prevent rogue states like North Korea from causing trouble. At the same time, it does incite China to increase its military capacity — something not at all in our interest.
Finally, our immense defense spending – we will soon spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined.”
“It would be desirable for the United States to be the call of last resort — rather than the call of first resort.
For example, why not let NATO patrol the oil routes and the Gulf? We would be part of it — but not the only part. We could even lease a few carrier task forces to the Europeans.”
“Quite a few of the arrangements of the war against terror are alliances of inconvenience; the questionable and ruthless actions we take in this context only complicate our lives in the long run — even as they corrupt our own character and institutions.”
“Much as the rest of the world may like and admire Americans, it has its own traditions, ways and values for which it wants respect. Often, either we do not show respect, or at least the rest of the world doesn't feel it.
And in the age of globalization, we need to recognize that others’ problems are our problems too — and that we do not have all the answers: we need to preach less and listen more. We need to act with, rather than against or over the will of our friends.”
“A strategy of making our power safe for others, even of diminishing our relative power, of granting others the dignity of being treated like adults and of cooperating and sharing responsibility, will pay off in many ways.
An America that stressed its tolerance rather than its might —and that asked for God’s blessing on all the world’s people and not just its own — would be the America the world desperately wants.”
“While globalization may not automatically lead to development, it does let everybody see how others are living, thus sometimes fueling envy and resentment of our wealth.
And economic globalization and American profligacy have undermined our economic sovereignty and made us more dependent than we know on those we would dominate: we cannot be both imperial and dependent.”
“Simply opening markets and waiting for free trade to solve problems frequently does not work. We need to acknowledge and seriously address the medium-term social and political problems created by trade globalization.”
Founder and President of the Economic Strategy Institute Clyde Prestowitz is founder and President of the Economic Strategy Institute, a Washington think-tank on international trade policy. His latest book, Rogue Nation addresses the disconnect between how the United States perceives itself and the international order and how the rest of the world perceives America and […]