Skip to content

Class Supplement (早稲田国際AO入試 Extra Material, America’s Real Security Needs)


Read the following material and answer the following question.
Question: What do you think America should have done to avoid losing its soft power over the past decade? Write the answer at the bottom of the answer sheet.

Excerpt from Common Wealth Economics for a Crowded Planet, pp. 281-283, Jeffrey D. Sachs

The United States is not threatened by an armed invasion of a foreign standing army. The age of industrial war has passed, at least for now. Our threats are more complex and less amenable to military solutions. First, we face a continuing dire threat of nuclear proliferation, both by governments and by rogue groups seeking such weapons from wayward states. Second, we face dire threats to the global environment that put the United States and the rest of the world at risk. Third, we face the risks of failed states―Somalia, Afghanistan, and many more―which can foment cross-border war and the spread of disease and refugees, and which can provide a harbor for terror.

None of these issues can be solved unilaterally. All require a highly sophisticated network of cooperation on a daily basis over years and decades. Security is a daily challenge to be achieved through cooperative efforts, not a prize to be won by a decisive military battle or change of regime. Yet cooperation requires trust, and trust requires that parties to an effort understand one another’s needs and support them. The United States rejected this approach in recent years, abandoning UN treaties (such as the Kyoto Protocol), launching the Iraq War over the objections of the UN Security Council, forsaking basic principles such as the Geneva Conventions against torture, and rejecting the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

The results are plain to see, and startling. Rather than achieve cooperation on crucial issues of common concern, America has squandered its reputation. In many parts of the world, the United States is seen as the greatest threat to the planet, not its hope. Few parts of the world see the United States as a reliable partner. A recent BBC-PIPA GlobeScan survey tells the grim story, summarized in Figure 12.5.

Figure 12.5

More than half of the eighteen thousand respondents in eighteen countries held a “mainly negative” view of the United States, up from 46 percent in 2005. Even more dramatically, the proportion with a “mainly positive” view plummeted from 40 percent in 2005 to just 29 percent in 2007. An overwhelming but not surprising 73 percent opposed the U.S. war in Iraq. The collapse of support is found among traditional allies of the Unite States. In Germany, for example, only 16 percent said that they held a mostly positive view of the United States, down from 21 percent the year before! In Britain, 57 percent see the U.S. role as mostly negative. In Poland, a traditional mainstay of support for the United States, approval plummeted for 62 percent in 2006 to 38 percent in 2007. In Egypt, positive views declined from 21 percent to 11 percent. Under these circumstances, there is little chance for creating long-term strategies of mutual cooperation. Governments abroad come under tremendous domestic political pressure when they overtly support U.S. foreign policy initiatives, such as an expansion of U.S. military base of flyover rights, or, especially, when they participate in a military effort led by the United States.

The most basic norm of cooperation is reciprocity: I will assist you if you will assist me. But the U.S. attitude has been different: “You are either with us or against us,” as President Bush declared, with no recognition of the interest of the other country. The United States has demanded allegiance in the war on terror, without reciprocal support for the war in poverty, disease or climate change. The UN has been attacked relentlessly by the American right wing as a threat to American sovereignty, as if American objectives could be accomplished unilaterally. This whole approach has by now imploded.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: