1. Anonymous says:

    “One area, in particular, where local production will probably become much more competitive is food. Already, if you account for the soil depletion and water waste and chemical toxins and fecal pollution associated with industrial agriculture, local organic production becomes competitive for a lot of food goods.â€
    This may sound subversive, but we could take a page from Cuba’s book on urban farming: We could create in our tax system incentives for turning large green (waste) lawns into kitchen gardens. Gardening is already a popular urban form of recreation. Make it pay.
    Before I sold my house I kept a kitchen garden, and sometimes went out to the street to see if I could give away lettuce or squash or green beans. If some of my neighbors also kept a garden, we could have set up a small neighborhood veggie market with excess production. Nearby apartment dwellers would have benefited from low cost locally produced greens.
    This, along with nearby farm production would cut way down on the shipment of food from farm to market which is too costly and polluting, and stale on arrival anyway.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Geez. I thought I sounded like such a hippie when I wrote this. But if we don’t get off our ass on these issues, then the GOP is going to end up taking the lead on them.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Excellent, emptywheel. I’m in agreement with you across the board.

    Let me add some meat to two areas you just touched on:

    6. What will we do to revive global nuclear non-proliferation?

    The NPT needs to be rewritten with Article VI – the one that promises signatories will seek complete nuclear disarmament turned into Article I.

    The current approach to the NPT is utterly hypocritical, as proved by the U.S. deal with non-signing India and its pressuring and threatening of signatory Iran. I’m not saying that America is the only hypocrite. We’ve got eight nuclear powers on the planet who have managed so far not to actually use such weapons directly on an enemy for the 60 years (though their indirect use as leverage has been extensive). The way non-proliferation is being handled right now, you can just about be assured that 20 or mroe nations will have nukes by the time we come around to the 75th anniversary of the Trinity test.

    1. Should the US Military Be Enlarged?

    What does this mean? More service people? Maybe. Different hardware? Maybe. But right now, with two hot wars going on, the U.S. already spends more than the next 34 countries combined on â€defense,†possibly more than ALL the countries on the planet combined. Do we really need to spend more? Certainly, there’s good reason to do – as Gary Hart has been arguing since 1980 – some rearranging, some preparation for the next war instead of some bizarre version of the last one.

    But a more long-lasting solution here is, oh, gawd, hateful word: multilaterialism. Instead of playing bully-boy, how about America as role model for cooperation? Instead of being the world’s biggest arms dealer, and enabler of arms purchases through discount foreign aid deals (if your country buys American arms), how about urging others to operate on smaller military budgets – and start by doing the same ourselves?

    And you thought you sounded like a hippie, emptywheel.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ah, glad you contributed to it MB. You’re much better at the nukes than me. And I was just too pooped to take on the military.

    Hippie that I (we) am, I really do think that if we were negotiating with countries from a position of respect it would do wonders. It won’t solve all problems, no way. The problems are just too vast. But it would make it easier to come up with joint solutions.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yuck. I find the assumptions behind those questions to be both reprehensible and repulsive. Number 2 is so bad, I thought it was parody. It’s just like something Stephen Colbert would ask his guests. I can answer each question with the same three words, but the meaning is different each time. Here goes:

    1. Should the US Military Be Enlarged? – Don’t be stupid. We don’t need a larger military, we need to avoid stupid conflicts.

    2. Is the Fight Against Terror the #1 priority or simply a top priority? – Don’t be stupid. You can’t be in a fight against a tactic.

    3. What is our position on free trade? Don’t be stupid. Enter into trade agreements that are mutually beneficial.

    4. What are the primary lessons of Iraq for American foreign policy? Don’t be stupid.

    5. How should the US promote democracy around the world? Don’t be stupid. Let’s promote it here at home first.

    6. What will we do to revive global nuclear non-proliferation? Don’t be stupid. Stop threatening to use nuclear weapons.

    7. How will we deal with global development and poverty? Don’t be stupid. We know how to do this. What we lack is the will.

    8. What are our big new ideas? Don’t be stupid. Let’s get the old ones right first.

    9. What More Needs to Be Done to Straighten Out the Gathering and Use of Intelligence? Don’t be stupid. Let’s shape our worldview around the facts, instead of vice versa.

    10. What needs to be done to shore up American superpowerdom? Don’t be stupid. That’s the last thing in the world we want to do. Monopolar systems invite asymmetric warfare. If we shore up American superpowerdom, we will guarantee a continuing stream of terroristic violence.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Monopolar systems invite asymmetric warfare. If we shore up American superpowerdom, we will guarantee a continuing stream of terroristic violence.

    Very astute, William.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pretty good, William. But, as much as they may resonate as slogans, three-word answers are a one-size-fits-all that leaves out important nuance. I certainly agree the U.S. should stop threatening to use nuclear weapons – should, in fact, stop building new ones that make the likelihood they will be used more likely. (In fact, amazingly, that is the intent of building news ones.)

    U.S. proliferation policy – and I leave out the â€non†on purpose – is stupid. But it’s not the only problem. We’ve got at least five, probably six nuclear powers selling or bartering technology around the globe (and at one time, maybe seven depending on how much Israel and South Africa were intertwined on making Pretoria’s Bomb). And we have a lot of nations who would like to have nukes, not because the U.S. is threatening them, but because their neighbors have nukes or their neighbors don’t have nukes and may be therefore intimidated.

  8. Anonymous says:

    actually, we are only a nominal â€superpowerâ€.

    we can certainly use a nuclear weapon or two to blow another nation, and maybe ourselves, well into the astronomical future.

    but economically we are growing weaker by the day in terms of controlling our own economic destiny.

    as with any security, food, population, environmental, or need-for-knowledge problem,

    we (humans that is – not just americans) need to build cooperative social structures.

    one historical analogy that comes to my mind is with the times after the two world wars, circa, 1946.

    american political leadership

    (and probably european too, for the little i know of these matters)

    established both the united nations and nato.

    (and seato, and european economic co-opp and development (something like that), and world bank, etc).

    feel free to correct my ignorance and add depth.

    but having to take a we’re-all-in-this-together-so-we’ve-got-to-work-together approach is nothing new in human affairs.

    humans have always had to work together for security, food and shelter, and new knowledge.

    if you want a safe neighborhood, neighbors have to work with each other and the police.

    if you want good public schools, parents and teachers and administrators have to work together.

    if you are a scientist or bureaucrat who wants to save the gorillas or the elephants in an african preserve, you have to work with the villagers from whence come the poachers.

    if you want to preserve lobster catches in new england waters, scientists, bureaucrats and fishermen have to cooperate,

    the terrorism security problem the u.s. has chatted about ad nauseum for the last 4 1/2 years been vastly overstated. it is essentially a police and intelligence problem.

    as a nominal superpower what we first have to do is:

    1)do no harm to the trust, respect, and confidence in our judgment that other nations hold of the u.s.

    and doing harm to our relations with other nations is precisely what we have been doing for the last six years.

    there is nothing more damaging to our security, economic prosperity, or acquisition of new knowledge than our becoming a pariah among other nations –

    analogous to rude, unpredictable lunatic of a neighbor who lives one street over, shots his pistol off late at night, let’s his garbage pile up, walks his pit bulls without a leash, and lets his kids practice their olympic archery in his back yard.

    and what we have to do second is

    2) forget about being a superpower and become a super co-coordinator and a super facilitator.

    the two problems i see in the future of the u.s. and the world are :

    1- the inability to control multinational corporations where much of production and income will preside well into the future.

    one of the great practical uses of the american federal government in the past has been that it makes it hard for american corporations to find a state to â€hide†in.

    we (citizens and consumers of many nations)face the same problem

    now but on a global scale.

    2) there is no gainsaying that in the future military, economic, and political power will shift to east asia, south asia, and southeast asia.

    it would be a really smart thing for american leadership to do, to set up a stable , fair, widely-respected set of world wide organizations to deal with

    population shift and growth problems, with environmental problems,

    with trade problems

    with border conflicts, nuclear armamentation, and nation-to-nation aggression

    before we all have to face a new century of interstate rivalry leading to war that makes any threat al quaeda presents to us now look like facing a four-year-old with a plastic pistol (or should i have said plastique?).

  9. Anonymous says:

    and i would add:

    world-wide organizations to deal with raw materials resource allocations, which i suspect will be an enormous issue in the immediate future

    and with new science and technology that defuses the conflict inherent in industrialized nations worrying about raw materials ownership and availability.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Meteor Blades,

    You are right, of course. I regret that I let my frustration with this exercise come through like that. There are some very serious issues wrapped up in those questions. I just see failure and defeat if we accept the underlying assumptions of the neoconservative nitwits currently in power. The neoconservatives have managed to move the goalposts in foreign policy so far into insanity that even progressives can’t see how far we are from a realistic view of the world around us.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The problem, William, is that those are not just the assumptions of the Neocons in power. They’re the assumptions, too, of most of the foreign policy wonks on the left side of the aisle (which Democracy Arsenal has a great collection of). That was one of my primary problems with Kerry–that he just couldn’t get his head out of the limited framework Joe Biden spouts at him all day on the SFRC. Not even with his energy independence stance.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Exactly, ew. For instance, even though I’m not quite as irked by Senator Clinton’s views on most issues as many of my progressive brethren (and sistren?), every time I read that Bush-compatible line from her Princeton speech about all options being on the table regarding Iran, I get a very big knot in my stomach. Democrats have got to stop worrying that they’ll be outflanked on the national security front – we have the ability to outflank the right if we wise up and view security in its broadest possible way without adopting the … er, uh … hippie kumbaya notion that the world wouldn’t be so dangerous if we just laid down our guns.

    I’m no pacifist. I believe in self-defense. If I’m attacked I will shoot back, and I want my country to do likewise.

    But what America is, and has been, engaged in for quite some time goes way beyond self-defense, and our country has been promoting the militarization of the planet for quite some time. I’m not saying it has been alone in this, or started it or, for crying out loud, that it’s no better than Nazi Germany. But we – and by this I mean Democrats – have got to start promoting peace and freedom in a fresh way that relies on cooperation, not pre-emption, on common global interests, not America’s special interests, on something other than bully-boyism.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m with everyone else in my despair at the assumptions behind the questions, and with you in most of the answers. I’d add that I would love to see the US really get behind alternative energy technologies both for our sake and the developing economies. We could really add expertise and value, and export our technology to help counteract the trade imbalance as well as reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. I weep when I think of the opportunity Bush squandered after 9/11 in this as in the security area generally.

    Reducing our agricultural subsidies would be the best thing we could do for third world farmers. I wholeheartedly and financially support locally and organically (where possible) grown food. I grow about a third to half of our vegetables, depending on the time of year, but it doesn’t save money. Just tastes better.

    Just seeing the US as part of a world would help tremendously; just replacing Bush with someone who respects and plays well with others and understands diplomacy would not only reduce the threat of war, it would probably drop the price of oil by $10-20 a barrel.

    Then we could concentrate on poverty and the nuclear threat. If we weren’t encircling and threatening so many nations, the desire for nukes would probably abate some.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I agree with folks here that they are any number of things we could do, but I think there are just a whole lot of things that we need to stop doing first. Where I live we have a saying, when you realize you’re in a hole, the first order of busines is to stop digging. There’s no point in arguing about how to get out of the hole as along as you keep digging.

    Here’s my list of things we can stop doing. Every single one of them saves us money, makes us safer, and wins us friends around the world:

    1. Stop threatening, planning, and contemplating the use of nuclear weapons.

    2. Stop torturing people.

    3. Stop invading countries that are no threat to us.

    4. Stop extrajudicial imprisonments.

    5. Stop pretending there is a War on Terror.

    6. Stop abusing international institutions.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I have a few books I wrote, the days I decided to save the upload as a book instead of adding text to a long thread here.
    I subscribe to the population theory that says personkind is going to have to limit birthrate. Soon.
    I think nuclear technology as tracer substances should be replaced by nanotech as soon as possible, so the only things nuclear remaining to dismantle are power generators and armaments.
    In the short term, the bunker buster going to explode in the NV desert June 2 is going to change the face of conventional war; but not the vanity of armed people.
    The crisis of excess leisure time is going to strain societies which harbor careless, unprincipled, and otherwise dingy people in large numbers; though vision and knowledge are still as difficult to define as they have been throughout recorded human history.
    We need to end population explosion; that will end poverty.
    We need to employ only honest executives, not venal charlatans, to operate businesses.
    We need quality of education and openness of information sharing to be parts of trade agreement guarantees and international banking lending criteria.

    We need for the UN to regulate arms and replacement parts for arms; and to post all the data on a realtime website.

    We need the WHO to present fairly what the effects of genetically modified plants are.

    The US needs to acquiesce to global environmental restraints on a scale as authoritative as the World Court, in a manner which avoids the correlative implications of how to harmonize international legal systems’ inequalities; i.e., keeping US laws separate from WC paradigms, but recognizing there may be convergence and that every convergence is always a worthwhile goal.

    We need to stop Hilary Clinton from building a wall from the Gulf of MX to San Diego.

    We need to get Kerry to speak up about the environment instead of bragging about battlefield readiness of every redblooded American youth..

    We need Dean to lead the Internet packs, but recede into the background on policy, as much of his input is regressive.

    We need Obama to quit being so gentlemanly and acquiescent toward conservative goals; and, instead, if he believes in it, to enunciate his own inspirational views.

    We need people like Russ Feingold to speak the truth to power, regardless of the guffaws of the compromised lackeys.

    We need elective representatives who compromise more than my list of needs seems to indicate I would.

    There was a song about some of this in the dustbowl days, though I have no permission to opine about that; as I always planned to be a ’boy on the frontlines’. Boy, indeed.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I like following the idea touched on by EW, and something else by William. Says EW:

    â€As I pointed out almost a year ago, the question harkens back to a time when our own hegemony might be construed as a power for good.â€

    When talking about the potential foreign policy of choice, I’m of the mind that this should be the beginning and endpoint. Scholars and academics can debate all they like, but this simple observation sums up the disastrous direction we are currently headed better than anything I’ve read yet. Though there was a not insignificant amount of anti-americanism abroad prior to, and independent of, the Bush Administration (our trade practices, cultural exceptionalism/imperialism, whathaveyou), the US’s dominant post cold war position was mainly viewed as a net good, if grudgingly in cases.

    That, as we know, has been shot to hell every which way from Sunday, by Kyoto, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, the hypocrisy of propping up the good dictators, abandonment of the rule of law (habeas corpus et al) when it suits the war on terra…on and on. Actions sanctioned by the US government do not occur in a vacuum, and do not go unnoticed throughout the world. People abroad see this, even if people here choose not to.

    What it comes down to is that the charge of the US operating in bad faith with the rest of the world is less easy to dismiss as absurd or alarmist nowadays. A new foreign policy seeks to change that, and pronto, so that there may come a day when America can become the benificient superpower that is accepted and emulated. What it has become is almost too loathesome for words, and staffing professional agencies who face the world in one capacity or another (State, CIA, etc) with political hacks will only cement the decline.

    I was going to comment on William’s notion about polarity, but I’ve already rambled pretty long already…I guess that it’s just interesting to note some recent historical examples of hegemonic overreach (see Gary Jack Snyder’s Myths of Empire for a palatable and brilliant treatment of the subject) what factors played into the fall of great powers. Great Britain in a multipolar world, the USSR in a bipolar world, and now perhaps the US in a unipolar world…is there anything structural that makes correction of our failed foreign policy more/less difficult in this post 911 environment? Btw, I suck at theory and all that so will leave it to more able minds to determine if this makes any difference in the long run, but the question seems appropriate.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Off-topic, I’ve been a lurker here for a long time and was surprised you guys didn’t get a nod for best community during the Koufax awards…some of the best commentary and teamwork I see on the internets.

  18. Anonymous says:

    it’s ok to talk about a â€superpower†nation in the present time, but

    the era of the nation-state is nearing an end.

    there just is not enough necessary influence one nation, even a very wealthy and militarily powerful one like the u.s., can influence or achieve without the willing co-operation (enlightened self-interest) of other peoples and nations.

    at the very least, i would expect individual nations to coalesce into regional blocks for the economic and security benefits confederation would bring, e.g., a north american or a western hemisphere block.

    of course the opposite could occur and there could be increased fragmentation of nations such as russia, the u.s., and china.

    but it seems to me that the arrow of aggregation/disaggregation in human history tends in the direction of consolidation.

    if so, we will want to have a competent united Nations, or similar structure.

    it seems to me a wise u.s. leadership would recognize the inescapable need for coalescing and the rise of nation-blocks,

    and begin to prepare for and lead that process in a way that generates trust, respect, and sense of fairness, rather than watchfulness, suspicion, and loathing.

    the specific problems that need to be addressed, e.g., resource allocation minus war, while urgent, do not seems to me as important as to have a sound guess about what a successful governing framework
    would look like fifty or one hundred years from now.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Probably have seen it, but I think this discussion might be amplifed by a recent British article which builds on the universal U.S. acceptance of the false premises in that set of questions: a piece of future history in which President Hilary C. nukes Iran in 2009.

    Do want to chime in that TNH has by far the most interesting discussions I read in the blogosphere.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I agree with those who think this site has the most intelligent posts from EW and responders.

    What I notice is lacking in most discussions about all our problems is some of the more, to me, simple solutions to energy needs coming out of the expense of shipping foods across oceans and across countries, an activity which I feel must stop. Why do I need to eat grapes all year around? Why can’t the Chileans eat their own grapes? Why do I, as a Floridian, have to eat tomatoes from Mexico or Israel, when they grow them in my state? Why do I see lemons and oranges from California in my grocery store, when we grow them, here (mine in my own backyard?) And so on and so forth.

    Why can’t we grow things in greenhouses in cooler climates of this country, using solar power for heat? Why do we have to drive to the grocery store so frequently, when we can grow vegetables in our own back yard? And, why can’t we have a couple of chickens in that same backyard as my grandfather did during the war?

    Just some simple questions from someone who has drastically changed her way of life to conserve energy, while eating more healthful food, locally grown. Let’s also be content to eat what is in season.

  21. Anonymous says:

    There’s a great sidebar in the print edition of this equally great Michael Pollan article talking about how much California and Mexico exchange. Lettuce, tomatoes, a whole laundry list of produce, California exports in roughly the same number that it imports frmo Mexico.

  22. Anonymous says:

    As I posted over at DemocracyArsenal:

    Here’s my answers:

    1. We already spend more money on the American military than the rest of the world combined spends on their militaries. What we need to do is end the imperial wars and the policy of unilateralism put forward by the morons of the far right, which have been demonstratedto be completely counterproductive to any set of political goals designed to actually advance American Vital Interests.

    2. The War on Terra is a crock of propaganda designed to promote a political justification for the presidential coup d’ etat against the Constitution promoted by the Bush-Cheney-Gonzales-Addington-Yoo-theorists of â€l’ etat c’est moi†– were it otherwise, there would have been no war on Iraq where we create 5 â€terrorists†for every one we kill, and Osama Bin Forgotten would have been captured. It really is police work, not military work.

    3. â€Free trade†is imperial mercantilism dressed up with standard-issue fifth-rate B-school bullshit buzzwords. If you want to know why all those Mexican farmers are here willing to mow your lawn and all the other jobs they take, look at how NAFTA destroyed small-time Mexican community agriculture, to the point these people can’t live on their farms anymore, at the same time destroying the American â€family farm†in favor of agribusiness and their frankenstein â€foodâ€. There isn’t an issue under the topic â€free trade†that isn’t ultimately all about maximizing profits for the corporate pimps while pauperizing everyone else so all we can afford to buy are the cheap clothes made by prison labor in China after our jobs were exported in the name of corporate profit margins.

    4. The primary lesson from the Invasion of Pandora’s Box – aka the war *on* Iraq – is to stop listening to the morons who celebrate the idea of American Empire, and not commit such an incredibly stupid act again.

    5. We should promote democracy around the world by the radical act of actually practicing it both domestically and internationally. The best way to do it internationally is to look at everything we’re doing now and do the opposite, since nothing we’re doing now â€promotes democracy.†Of course, this would also include understanding and accepting that the rest of the world might democratically vote to tell us to â€go fuck yourself†in Dick Cheney’s immortal words.

    6. How do we stop the global nuclear arms race? Rewarding the Pakistans and the Indias isn’t the way to go about it, and building bunker-buster bombs ourselves doesn’t cut it either.

    7. How do we deal with global development and poverty? Well, we start by deciding that what’s good for Wall Street is generally not good for anyone else. We get rid of the WTO and â€globalism†and start promoting policies that aren’t written in the corporate boardrooms. That will also go far in ending world poverty.

    8. What are the â€big new ideasâ€? See above.

    9. What needs to be done to straighten out intelligence? How about putting Larry Johnson and that guy who was on 60 Minutes last night, telling the truth about Bush’s bullshit, in charge of the CIA, and taking Porter Goss out and hanging him from the first available lamp post? Getting rid of Dick Cheney will also go far in accomplishing the needed reforms.

    10. Stop talking about the â€American exceptionalism†– which has never ever existed outside the fevered minds of morons like Woodrow Wilson and George Bush – and stop worrying about being a â€super power,†since all we have now is the â€power†Rome and Britain had, i.e., a big military to scare people with, and a hollowed-out economy incapable of providing support for doing anything worthwhile.

    Of course, doing any of this would mean that the otherwise-unemployables from Versailles-on-the-Potomac (as my old friend the late David Hackworth used to call that swamp) like the people who run this site, would find themselves actually unemployed. So I am not holding my breath that any of it would happen.

    But all the other bullshit being spouted here is nothing but, as they say, â€rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic†and about as useful.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t decisions about processes and policies be dictated by the end-point objectives which are decided for the society. I see no elaboration of what America’s role should be in the 21st century in the discussion. Some of that discussion is implied in the statements and questions to the ten questions initially posed but it is not transparently thrashed out. How do we decide on means and policies if that end-point is not established?

    Personally, I would be more comfortable with the US acting as an older brother helping to keep the international peace hold together and helping other rising powers to choose more democratic alternatives for their own citizens without the threat of force. Once this end-point picture is accepted, or some other alternative, the means and policies necessary to achieve them consistent with the end-point will begin to make themselves know. Trying to decide on means without that clarity will just result in our groping around in a fog of confusion.

    The idea of a â€stabilization corps†would certainly make sense, but we need to put it into the context of the Washington bureaucracy.. Which department will it go into? I would opt for State myself. How should it be organized? Let’s say that each component consists of a battallion-sized (1000 person) task force which could be airlifted into a chaotic situation and which could provide for its own immediate support and security. Each stabilizaiton task force (let’s call them â€stablilization commands†after the â€combat command†concept used in American armor divisions starting in WW2) would a structure built around its logistics group, security group, and civil affairs group. And, it should exist outside DoD. The 19th century European colonial powers had foreign colony departments in their cabinets which were charged with similar responsibilities. We can’t proceed down that path, but we should be prepared to assist local and regional governments to restore order to chaotic situations in failed states. Please note this is not intended to be some sort of â€Peace Corps†but something with real assets and moxie behind it. Let’s assume that State would be wise to maintain at least one stabilization command for each continent with one or two additional available for surge needs in particular regions, or conversely one could build the commands around predominant language groups globally.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Juat to be clear, when I said â€the people who run this site†I was talking about the Liberal Imperialists over at â€Democracy†Arsenal.

  25. Anonymous says:

    â€Personally, I would be more comfortable with the US acting as an older brother helping to keep the international peace hold together and helping other rising powers to choose more democratic alternatives for their own citizens without the threat of force.â€

    In a way, this old brother approach plays to antagonisms that pre-exist 911. If we think about the race to the bottom of globalization and the international bodies or instruments used to prevent economic shocks (for example), the argument is that these systems themselves have an inherent tilt towards the most powerful nations, a bias which makes holding their positions easier. Not an unreasonable argument. If the interests of these nations coalesce to prevent being passed up, then talk of enabling democracy might as well be sidelined in the grand scheme of things…

    2nd world countries like Brazil or Venezuela may make gains, but never enough that will bring them a bigger seat at the table if the status quo is to remain…currency markets, development and all those arenas probably have a wiff of patrimony to those locked into existence in a non-first world nation. So of course, a foreign policy should address that too…some kind of check on institutional misuse of authoritah, so that wheeling and dealing takes place up front, and not in back rooms of today’s power brokers.

  26. Anonymous says:


    My endpoint is this:

    Before 20 years are out (preferably before 5) we’d restructure both the WTO and the UN, perhaps combine them, to focus primarily on one goal: shifting world economic patterns to sustainable practices. So there might be goals for developing nations to lower their ecological footprint. The sharing of technology on how to recycle cars and how to increase yield from organic agriculture. And there would be a mediating body, like the WTO has. But it’d be sure to represent all powers of the world (so it might have one poor nation, one large developing nation, and one developed nation on the board at any given time).

    The means to get there is to have the US cede its power in a creative way. So rather than ruling the WTO, it would recognize that, if it didn’t have to compete for oil with CHina, it’d be better off, so it was willing to try to make itself sustainable. Similar to the UN, it’d realize that the price of claiming a special moral role is (as William points out) asymmetrical warfare.

    We just need to convince the US that it’s not only necessary, but preferable to cede its hegemony fora sustainable way of life.

  27. Anonymous says:


    I have to object to one thing. You give George Bush way too much credit by putting him in the same class of moron as Woodrow Wilson. Wilson made some really big mistakes, but he did accomplish a few things on his own in life.

  28. Anonymous says:

    William Ockham is right, so let me say it once more in a different way.

    If you ask the wrong questions, you’ll never get the right answers.

    The reason why I never read Democracy Arsenal unless someone points me to it is just this: the sheer wrongheadedness of so much of what is posted there.

    That said, I agree with the commenter above (emptywheel?) who said that DA represents a large segment of â€progressive†thinking in Washington. This is why the American public finds Democrats to have no clear principles.

    And that said, I agree with Meteor Blades that the solutions to the problems depend on serious detail work.

    So I’m off to finishing up a draft of a paper on the US-India nuclear deal.