g. American power* .docx

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Political Science

American Power I. Introduction-3 time periods Question/topic of American power has been around since the turn of the century, became central after the Cold War; Post Cold War period can be divided into 3 time periods: A. End of Cold War-9/11 o End of Cold War (regarded as the breakup of the SU): We were faced with an unparalleled super power –US; people wondered what it would look like how the US would act, but was seen in a positive light to some extent (democracy, capitalism, and western culture had won and was seen as good) B. Post 9/11-Bush years o Persistent, explicit discussion on the uses of American power, how it will be used in American foreign policy and etc. C. Today o Big question: To what extent is US power waning and to what extent; what would the world look like in a world where US isn’t so distant from other powers, what arising other powers mean o For now, changing quickly, even within the recent phase many things changed (multipolarity more discussion about a leaderless world) II. Post 9/11 Visions of American Power A. National Security Strategy 2002: issued after 9/11 but much was written before o Wasn’t only a response to 9/11 but a larger vision of US role in the world: there are new dangers that cannot be dealt with traditional means –cannot be deterred; not only dangerous to the US but to the world o Needed new and different policies to confront these new threats –most notably the idea of preemptive war & US uniquely set up to deal with these threats, in fact, is the only actor that can deal with these threats  leads the authors of the document to be unapologetic of US power (if no one else can do it, why would one be shy about US power) o Domestic policies of other countries becomes a part of US foreign policy; matters what other states are like & US has the power to change these domestic policies; Ex) promote democracies and impose free markets o *Note radical nature of the National Security Strategy 2002: calls into question the notion of sovereignty, only intervening when something has been imposed in oneself first or horrific human rights crises (against norms of int’l affairs & founding the UN based on the principle of noninterference, of sovereignty) B. Empire o Term “empire”: used by conservatives after 9/11, esp. Max Bool: “US should seek security through an empire and consolidate the int’l system under its enlightened hegemony”; good imperialism: idea that we would make ourselves safer by making the world a better place through the benefits of liberalism not so much conquest (liberal imperialism- small wars, national building operations, open peacekeeping operations, etc.) o Where are these ideas coming from? 9/11 was said to be a result of insufficient US involvement and ambition in the world solution is to be more expansive in US goals, Ex) trouble spots like Iraq/Afghanistan region needed enlightened intervention & the imposition of order upon disorder (because it hadn’t happened 9/11) o Two sides to look at this: Security –threats to other states so we are ensuring global security and these threats are intensified by weapons of mass destruction & Humanitarian: for reasons of humanity, US should lead people out of oppressive regimes Ex) Kosovo & Iraq- seen as an imperialist war in this definition; bring a better lives and secure the region III. Power, not just 9/11 –about a debate on US power that took on a unapologetic face o Power dynamic when Cold War ended: US was powerful by many different measures, not a question of how much raw power the US had but how it was going to be used and what characteristic this power would take on; mostly about military power o “Nothing before has there been anything quite like this American domination of the world, nothing had ever existed since this disparity of power” (Hard and soft power) o How is this power perceived? o Perceived quite differently prior 9/11 but unapologetic view had preexisted; 9/11 had crystalized a debate about American power that had already existed; paved the way for military force in US foreign policy o Some differences: Bush Senior administration written before 9/11 “We are number 1, there is only one superpower, the circumstances are not only agreeable but the perpetuation of circumstance ought to be a central thrust of US foreign policy from this day onward” which had a negative reaction when leaked to the NYT BUT Clinton used veiled language but when referred to as the “indispensable power” it didn’t (There is some continuity among the two periods) o Clinton did not say “war” –“the use of force”  veiling and politeness of power but there were important differences, a different quality o Clinton and Obama administration believed in collective international action (Bush Ad. didn’t), America was to lead but not dictate o *US power was not a will but an objective fact after the Cold War, but whether the interpretations of power matter or not is interesting/important (because if we just look at materialistic power, it is the same under the Clinton and Bush Administration) IV. Problems with this plan- critique vision of power under Bush Administration a. Preemptive war o Preemptive is misnomer; actually refers to “a defensive war where you see a threat that is both imminent & extraordinarily dangerous, and you strikes first”, rarely accepted type of war o BUT Bush Administration envi
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