p Introduction If there is one word that must come to define American foreign policy in the future , it is multilateralism . What we need , however , is not a regression to prior forms of multilateralism as embodied by the United Nations or even NATO , but one which more closely reflects the fact that the intertwined nature of foreign affairs is becoming exponentially more so with globalization , as well as , and this is the most fundamental point , the unique legitimacy of democracies in the shaping of geopolitics Any broad assessment of American foreign
If there is one word that must come to define American foreign policy in the future , it is multilateralism . What we need , however , is not a regression to prior forms of multilateralism as embodied by the United Nations or even NATO , but one which more closely reflects the fact that the intertwined nature of foreign affairs is becoming exponentially more so with globalization , as well as , and this is the most fundamental point , the unique legitimacy of democracies in the shaping of geopolitics
Any broad assessment of American foreign
policy must , of course acknowledge the specific challenges that our country presently faces rather than simply offer broad generalizations of an ideal future stance . When we look at our current predicaments , however , the rationale behind these broader orientations will manifest itself . At present , of course , the primary foreign policy issue for the United States is the war in Iraq
The way in which the war in Iraq was commenced should , by now , serve as a study of how the United States must not go to war . Despite the nominal contributions of the coalition of the willing , this was , and is , an essentially unilateral effort by the United States . Compare this with the 1991 Gulf War , in which Saudi Arabia and Japan footed most of the bill . http /cnn .com /SPECIALS /2001 /gulf .war /facts /gulfwar This time , the horrible toll in blood and treasure is being paid almost entirely by the United States , despite the fact that nearly every nation on Earth stands to benefit from a stable Iraq . Because of its arrogance before the invasion , the United States is now stuck with unilateral responsibility for a multilateral problem The Curse of Sovereignty
Keeping this critique in mind , one thing must be made clear : the type of multilateralism which would have been obtained with UN support for the invasion of Iraq is no more viable a model for our future conduct than American unilateralism . While the war in Iraq may have been cheaper in American dollars and lives had there been UN approval , we should not delude ourselves into thinking that the UN 's endorsement would have made the war any more legitimate
Among the many nations who refused to endorse the American invasion of Iraq , including some of those who were on the Security Council at the time , were governments that the United States , and other democracies can no longer afford to treat as legitimate and equal members of the international community . In other words , if a state such as Syria or Zimbabwe were to bless an American initiative , would that somehow make the proposed action more legitimate ? My vision for the future emphatically says , No
While I reject and regret the way in which America went to war in Iraq the underlying premise of its right to do so is something I endorse albeit somewhat qualitatively . That premise is this : Saddam Hussein and many like him , are not legitimate and equal members of the international community they are...
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