Are the days of 20th-century hegemonic power truly over? Has America stretched her military thinner and thinner much beyond what her economy and public sentiment can bear? Is prudence the best guide and are we groping towards a new foreign policy model with more balanced powers? Can our politics respond?
How and whom do we lead, according to what ideas, and how do we get others to follow?
A few interesting points mentioned:
1. Even with a good strategy, we can still get bogged down in responding to event after event tactically. Without a good strategy or model, it’s much more likely. We may need to think about a major realignment of our resources.
2. Brzezinski points out that either through Iraq and Afghanistan-like military occupation or through the Libya model, America is still betting on horses in the Middle-East by supplying guns, supporting rebels with special-ops on the ground, and I’d argue even through advocacy for human rights through NGOs which could eventually involve us more deeply. Such activities involve us morally, and could involve us in future unforeseen ways even if our primary focus is no longer the Cold War. We need to take a step back and recognize this. Brzezinski’s “oughts” for America lean toward the the more liberal internationalist framework which would require checking our power and inducing say, China and Russia who don’t share many of our interests and values, into greater involvement.
***Despite his depth (he’s usually a few steps ahead), I think this leads Brzezinski to say that the American on the street, self-interested, mostly ignorant and focused on his own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, will be insufficently broad-minded to support the kind of policy Brzezinski might ultimately like to see. This involves a vision of who does have legitimate moral authority over the rest of us.
I’d add that all participants in the video have their own ideas, professional obligations and responsibilities (defending their own records or promoting their careers and positions) in trying to define tough problems, gather facts, and figure out the best way forward.
Interesting discussion. Any thoughts and comments are welcome.
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