Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Does the world really need a strong USA?

A STRONG UNITED STATES: IS IT GOOD FOR THE WORLD?

By Kevin Anthony Stoda, Short-Speech at the German Academy for Foreign Service (AKADEMIE des AUSWAERTIGENAMTS), Berlin on 4 May 2010,
i.e. on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII



In order to answer this question—„Is a Strong United States Good for the World?—,one nees to define clearly what one means by the word „strong“.

If strength is defined only in terms of military strength, the answer is obvious—„Military strengt his insufficient in itself to qualify as a social or political good in our globalized human societies in 2010.“ Just look at the costly and debilitating debacles in Vietnam, Lebanon, Israel, Afghanistan, and Iraq over the past half-century!!! Military strenght does not mean that a Nation is healthy or strong.

Even in the wake of a USA-led victory over Japan and Germany at the end of WWII, the USA military and ist American-based military industrial and economic capabilities were not sufficient for the establishment of any post-WWII world order, i.e. a world in which global security for even half the planet was offered.

In addition to its military power and ist military technologies, at that time the USA required great acts of diplomacy and an honest concern for the development of other nations and societes around the world over the subsequent years and decades. Moreover, a guiding vision of transnational cooperation and develolpment was essential.

Most importantly, at an international level, the USA required throughout the subsequent decades many international partnerships in order to even assist in creating a successful New Europe, for example. Where would Europeans and NATO be—without first the developmental efforts of the Marshall Plan and the national development committees who carried out the industrial and energy reforms in that New Europe in the late 1940s and early 1950s? In short, convergance of diverse national-, social-, business-, social-, educational-, and developmental interests worked together with USA loans and investment to redevelop parts of Europe after the destruction of WWII.

Similarly, international coordination was needed to create the World Bank, the GATT Rounds, other global international organizations, such as the United Nations and eventually regional and World Trade Organizations. However, these developments in political economy are and were insufficient in themselves in helping make the United States a strong and important power during the past century. That is—a truly „strong nation“ is not only to be feared by other states and peoples--but is to be respected by such states and peoples for what it represents to the world of humanity.

In order for the United States to be seen in the 21st Century as a truly strong state actor, it has to once again offer other nations and their peoples important visions of development and education, e.g. democratic developments, egalitarian elments in economic development, improvements in Civil Rights, support for human rights, and true-universal-access to good and great educational establishments. From the 19th Century onwards, these powerful sets of images and realities related to self- and national development have made American Dreams appealing to non-Americans for generations. It is why many millions of peoples today study English and choose to study and do research in America.

From the 1940s through the early part of the 1970s, Americans witnessed improvements and developments in all those areas mentioned above—including increasing political and economic access for women and minorities. At the same time, millions of immigrants were integrated into the American Dream over the last two centuries. However, over the past 30 to 40 years, America—like its former Cold War adversary, the Soviet Union—has found itself weakened and weakening on many fronts. This weakening has not just been a comparative weakening but an actual economic and developmental weakening—in contrast to newcomers, such as Japan and China. While those East Asian states—along with many European states—have seen their standard of living and their access to education increase over the last century, America´s dream of building an ever-more egalitarian society has all-but-disappeared. (This is why California, which once led the country in terms of good and inexpensive educational opportunities is now at the back of the pack in terms of such access in this decade.)

In short, the monetary lack of access and the lack of egalitarian-oriented policies, practices, and leadership have weakened America in real terms. Now, real social, economic, and political instability are quite evident in a land, based on ist human and natural resources, that should be observing its citizens having access to the best possible schools, jobs, and lifestyles.

In terms of human rights, respect for habeas corpus, and the appreciation of the country’s multicultural communities, America is now observed as a land of militias, the land of Guantanamo, the land of racial-profiling (Arizona style)—and the land where bad banks and bankers get away with looting a nation, its poorest peoples and its economy. Finally, America is increasingly marginalizing many of ist individuals and families--while promoting bad development in terms of clean energy and the promotion of our national wildernesses and coastlines. (Think oil spills versuse wind and a solar powered energy future, AMERICA!)

Most importantly, Americans and American leadership have lost direction. These leaders allow a corporation like Blackwaters to run amok and represent American foreign policy and ist image around the world—while disowning the Geneva convention and sticking its middle finger at Europe and at the World Courts of Justice—just as our own court system is overrun by neo-liberal and neo-conservative kooks who do not have an egaliatarian bone in their bodies.

In summary, with only military power and with a weakened economic and social order to raise an American community of peoples today, democracy as an American export has all but disappeared. Only by growing democracy and a human-rights-oriented governing leadership at home can America be stopped from failing and weakening itself and its lobal supporters, too, …while ignoring its real historical global strengths in motivating other states and peoples to do better.

America is currently thus not only failing itself by its weakened democratic and egalitarian commitments, America is failing the entire world. This world needs an America that will use ist leadership to fight for peace—not endless wars. This world needs leadership on climate control and climate change controling and supporting developments. Finally, starting at home, America needs to promote more egalitarian ideals. This fight at home must stop the-bugger-thy-neighbor-banks and other out-of-control asocial financial institutions while increasing access to great education and to great standards in human rights, i.e. not in leading the way to stereotyping and profiling ist own citizens.

Such is the sort of strong USA that the World Needs Now and Always.

Thank you.

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