TPMCafe Book Club Fareed Zakaria

There is a really interesting discussion for foreign policy big-strategy nerds (like myself) going on at TPMCafe on Fareed Zakaria’s new book: PostAmerican World.

I just want to highlight a very interesting argument made by (the always interesting) Michael Lind. Link here (read the whole thing). He argues contra the Concert of Democracies crew (McCain and Krauthammer from the right, Anne Marie Slaughter/John Ikenberry and the Princeton Project from the left) that the liberal international order after WWII consisted of two moments:

I stand by my observation that what Anne-Marie and John Ikenberry call the postwar liberal international order was in fact two distinct orders. Plan A–the UN, Bretton Woods, the Four (or Five) Policemen–was reluctantly set aside in favor of a hastily improvised but ultimately successful Plan B–NATO, the Marshall Plan, what became the EU–when the Soviet Union chose to act as a revisionist power instead of a status quo power after 1945.

The upshot of which is that by the standards of Plan A, Russia and China today would qualify as upholding the terms of the non-aggressive powers standard. Whereas since Kosovo and now Iraq, many in the US, some in Europe (e.g. Tony Blair) have moved to want to force the world into Plan B. By that standard Russia and China (and other powers presumably) fail, and therefore a Concert of Democracies are created to push towards this reality and/or circumvent the UN (Plan A writ large) when it fails to uphold the standards of Plan B.

Very interesting argument. What is needed then I would say is something that splits the difference–I’ve never bought into this Concert of Democracies stuff. I would rather expand the G8 and use that as the primary multi-lateral institution (betraying my Plan A preferences/roots). Thomas Barnett is writing the Third Volume of his books. That post details how he thinks his book might fill that slot: namely on the one hand agreeing basically with Zakaria and Lind about the international order (contra neoconservatives) and yet finds a role for the US practically to influence and operate within that order.

I do however stand on record to being more open to The League of Democracies if they create a Hall of Justice.

France is Aquaman?


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