Unraveling Ties

Annie

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When the world 'changes' breaks occur. It happened after the American Revolution, again with the 1860-1900 imperialism period, which set off the Meiji Revolution, opened the door for Marx, and rising nationalism in Europe and Asia.

It's happening againg:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/03/the_new_new_world_order.html

The New New World Order
By Daniel Drezner

RISING AND FALLING

Throughout the twentieth century, the list of the world's great powers was predictably short: the United States, the Soviet Union, Japan, and northwestern Europe. The twenty-first century will be different. China and India are emerging as economic and political heavyweights: China holds over a trillion dollars in hard currency reserves, India's high-tech sector is growing by leaps and bounds, and both countries, already recognized nuclear powers, are developing blue-water navies. The National Intelligence Council, a U.S. government think tank, projects that by 2025, China and India will have the world's second- and fourth-largest economies, respectively. Such growth is opening the way for a multipolar era in world politics.

This tectonic shift will pose a challenge to the U.S.-dominated global institutions that have been in place since the 1940s. At the behest of Washington, these multilateral regimes have promoted trade liberalization, open capital markets, and nuclear nonproliferation, ensuring relative peace and prosperity for six decades -- and untold benefits for the United States. But unless rising powers such as China and India are incorporated into this framework, the future of these international regimes will be uncomfortably uncertain.

Given its performance over the last six years, one would not expect the Bush administration to handle this challenge terribly well. After all, its unilateralist impulses, on vivid display in the Iraq war, have become a lightning rod for criticism of U.S. foreign policy. But the Iraq controversy has overshadowed a more pragmatic and multilateral component of the Bush administration's grand strategy: Washington's attempt to reconfigure U.S. foreign policy and international institutions in order to account for shifts in the global distribution of power. The Bush administration has been reallocating the resources of the executive branch to focus on emerging powers. In an attempt to ensure that these countries buy into the core tenets of the U.S.-created world order, Washington has tried to bolster their profiles in forums ranging from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the World Health Organization, on issues as diverse as nuclear proliferation, monetary relations, and the environment. Because these efforts have focused more on so-called low politics than on the global war on terrorism, they have flown under the radar of many observers. But in fact, George W. Bush has revived George H. W. Bush's call for a "new world order" -- by creating, in effect, a new new world order.

This unheralded effort is well intentioned and well advised. It is, however, running into two major roadblocks. The first is that empowering countries on the rise means disempowering countries on the wane. Accordingly, some members of the European Union have been less than enthusiastic about aspects of the United States' strategy. To be sure, the EU has made its own bilateral accommodations and has been happy to cooperate with emerging countries in response to American unilateralism. But European states have been less willing to reduce their overrepresentation in multilateral institutions. The second problem, which is of the Bush administration's own making, stems from Washington's reputation for unilateralism. Because the U.S. government is viewed as having undercut many global governance structures in recent years, any effort by this administration to rewrite the rules of the global game is naturally seen as yet another attempt by Washington to escape the constraints of international law. A coalition of the skeptical, which includes states such as Argentina, Nigeria, and Pakistan, will make it difficult for the United States to engineer the orderly inclusion of India and China in the concert of great powers.



...
But the price may not be clear, yet:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2007/03/saving_europe_from_itself.cfm

Saving Europe from itself

Posted by:
Economist.com | NEW YORK

Categories:
Europe

A CHILLING view of transatlantic strains, and the potential impact for central and eastern Europe, from our colleagues on Economist.com. Here's the conclusion:

f the Atlantic bonds do weaken, the ex-captive nations will suffer the most. It was America that got them into NATO, and it is America that looks out for them now, much more so than nearer but less friendly countries such as Germany. Any suggestion that the east Europeans can rely on the European Union to stick up for them against Russian bullying is, on current form, laughable.

New radar gear and rocket interceptors planned for the Czech Republic and (probably) Poland will probably not do much to change this, You do not strengthen an alliance by pressing on your allies weapons that their public does not want. Helmut Schmidt, Germany's chancellor 20 years ago, thought that having cruise and Pershing missiles in western Europe would make America’s nuclear guarantee more credible. Instead, it cast America as the warmonger in the minds of the muddle-headed, and stoked peacenikery throughout Europe.

Barring an unlikely success in Afghanistan or Iraq, the strains on the Atlantic alliance will grow in the years ahead. The rivets have long been popping. Now great girders, such as Italy, are twisting and buckling. It was public anti-Americanism that brought down Romano Prodi’s government last week. Old Kremlin hands who remember how hard they once tried to destroy NATO must have trouble believing that the job is being done so well for them now by the alliance’s own leaders.


It's very difficult to argue that America should bust a gut for Europe ever again. But it's also difficult to watch central and eastern Europe failing to make the safe docking with western Europe that was hoped for ten years ago, and slipping back into the orbit of an exploitative and illiberal Russia. If there is to be hope here, it has to lie with some sort of resurgent American soft power which offers some moral leadership to central and eastern Europe and some political example to Russia. But heck, whoever thought we'd be talking about another cold war only twenty years after we finished the last one.
 

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