Comparing and Contrasting the Views of Stephen Brooks and Eugene Gholz
In the past two decades, a multiplicity of analytical fulcrums have been advanced from diverse quarters about the role of globalization in either promoting or weakening national and international security. Many international relations scholars and security experts have taken sides in the great debate, with some arguing that globalization has indeed promoted national and international security by advancing peaceful resolutions of conflicts, while others taking the initiative to debunk loose generalizations about globalization’s actualized or empirically viable effects on the state and security policy. This section aims to compare and contrast the views of two critical thinkers – Stephen Brooks and Eugene Gholz – about the role of globalization in enhancing or weakening national security.
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Stephen Brooks’s “Producing Security: Multinational Corporations, Globalization, and the Changing Calculus of Combat,” is a well researched and thoughtfully argued book that certainly advances our understanding of globalization and the correlates between globalization, economics, and national security concerns (Gholz, 2007). The author addresses an extraordinary continuum of theoretical issues and practical applications without been carried away from his core analytical fulcrum – the globalization of production and its implications to national security. On its part, Eugene Gholz’s article “Globalization, Systems Integration, and the Future of Great Power War,” offers an insightful and lucid critic of some of the supposition made by Brooks, particularly on his notion that globalization of production can enhance universal peace. For ease of comprehension, the authors’ views will be compared and contrasted under 3 broad topics: the globalization of production versus systems integration, economic benefits of conquest, and technological leadership in defense production.
Globalization of Production versus Systems Integration
According to IMF (2008), globalization “…refers to the increasing integration of economies around the world, particularly through the movement of goods, services, and capital across borders” (para. 8). The term, according to IMF, also refers to the movement of people, technology, cultural orientations, and political doctrines across international borders. Brooks adopts the term ‘globalization of production’ to demonstrate where and how transnational corporations organize their production activities and how this economic phenomenon has initiated economic interconnections between nations in modern-day global politics in ways that are qualitatively diverse from economic interdependence observed in the past under the banner of international trade (Brooks, 2005 p. 3). In consequence, Brooks implies that focusing on the security implications of international trade no longer makes sense; rather, it is where and how the transnational corporations organize their production activities that influence issues of international security and stability. Indeed, the author suggests that “…although the globalization of production does not provide any guarantee of peace among great powers, it does act as a force of stability among them” (Brooks, 2005 p. 12).
Gholz (2007), however, counteracts the above claim, arguing that the high level of contemporary international commerce among developed nations, including the globalization of production, does not in any way water down the prospects of witnessing great power war. In his presentation, Gholz introduces the concept of “systems integration” to demonstrate how conflict and war among the great powers are not any less likely than it was during the past. The systems integration theory presented by Gholz permits organizations to not only consider alternative product designs but also to consider which components of the product will be produced locally and which components will be outsourced, not mentioning that the approach provides a framework through which organizations can be able to manage production across a network of suppliers (Gholz, 2007 p. 618). Systems integration, according to Gholz, underlines the contemporary economy, particularly the high-tech economy, and facilitates global dispersion of production, and determines the intrinsic importance of each link in international supply relationships.
Economic Benefits of Conquest
Using liberal and realist logic, Brooks (2005) argues that “…the globalization of production has greatly lowered the economic benefits of conquest in the most economically advanced states” (p. 10). The author bases his argument on the premise that irrespective of the motives advanced for engaging in war, the prospects for stability will certainly diminish if the conquerors can extract considerable economic resources from the newly vanquished territory, in part because the geographic diffusion of MNC production has structurally and systematically altered the scales against any world power that attempts to oust the fundamental nature of the system through the employment of force (Brooks, 2005 p. 208-9). This, therefore, implies that globalization in general and the geographical dispersion of MNC production, in particular, have adversely impacted the economic benefits of conquest, therefore taking away one of the incentives or motivating force for engaging in conflict – economic gain. Brooks take this argument further by observing that peace will therefore be achieved, at least in developed countries, because the great powers would not want to hurt the geographically dispersed networks of MNC production either for fear that the MNC’s will relocate to other territories or that taxes will decrease as a direct consequence of driving away foreign direct investment (Brooks, 2005 p.58-60).
Gholz (2007) disagrees with Brooks’ liberal supposition about the economic benefits of conquest, arguing that the flexibility of contemporary systems integration permits global suppliers of critical components to do what is in their best interests and to earn proceeds that are proportionate to the value of their most fundamental competencies. According to Gholz, conquest can only slightly alter the value of such components, implying that the level of economic returns, both prior and after the conquest, is principally determined by the ease and flexibility of changing the production network to alternate global suppliers and the bargaining among the partners of multinational corporations – that is, it is determined by the choices made by the stakeholders during the systems integration process. Furthermore, according to Gholz (2007), “…governments are not especially motivated to increase revenue after a victorious war, or at least that is not the principal circumstance that multinational firms should fear” (p. 621). Indeed, there have been instances where the conqueror exhibits a strong resolve towards protecting property rights or promote superior constitutional checks and balances than the conquered government as it happened in Iraq during the latest invasion.
Technological Leadership in Defense Production
Here, Brooks (2005) also assumes a realist theory to suggest that the shift in the parameters of military components production initiated by the globalization of production acts as a stabilizing force for security affairs among the great powers. This observation derives from the author’s perspective that the development and production of high-tech military components now, more than ever before, heavily relies on global supply networks, particularly on imports of multiple-use items such as electronic components used in both commercial and military equipment (Brooks, 2005 p. 87,89,91). The author further argues that the global networks of military components production would be compromised during acts of aggression or war and, as such, no great power world risk to start a major war against another for fear of being cut-off from critical military supplies, hence losing the reliability of its mobilization base (Brooks, 2005 p. 76-78).
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The bottom-line for Brooks’s argument is that an autarkic defense production approach has been essentially undercut by the globalization of production and that this bodes well for peaceful security relationships among the great power. One of the reasons advanced by Brooks as to why global outsourcing of components should be promoted is that such an arrangement enables great powers to access leading-edge military equipment (Brooks, 2005 p. 11). The author provides an example of how the U.S. emerged victorious against the former U.S.S.R due to its capability to source leading-edge military technology and components from global suppliers while the Soviet Union continued to rely on home-made equipment because they were “…largely closed off from the international economy at the time they challenged the status quo” (Brooks, 2005 p. 11). Brooks also relies on his Book’s finding – that nation can no longer effectively manufacture high-tech military equipment on their own – to advance another proposition that any great power that attempts to make a fundamental challenge to the territorial status quo would be easily subdued and counterbalanced by a coalition of great powers, who will then impose a supply cutoff to the nation that is refusing to toe the line, thus degrading its military capacity to act alone. This, according to Brooks, promotes international security.
However, Gholz (2007) disagrees with Brooks prepositions on technological leadership in defense production, arguing that “…it is the invention of systems integration rather than the globalization of component sourcing [that] best explains the high rate of American military-technical innovation that won the Cold War” (p. 618). As a matter of fact, according to Gholz, it is systems integration that provides the leeway for the U.S. defense sector to capitalize on foreign components, not mentioning the fact that the systems integration approach insulates the U.S. from the risk of experiencing an interruption of critical military suppliers by increasing the flexibility and resilience in the globalized economy. In consequence, Gholz (2007) argues that great powers that fully understand this basis of military power will not be particularly susceptible to wartime interruptions of their mobilization base; hence globalization of military components as opined by Brooks cannot be viewed as a valid base for prevention of future international conflicts or the advancement of peace among the great powers. What’s more, it is highly unlikely that any great power would want to rely on global military supply networks for which substitutes are most likely to be unavailable. Furthermore, Gholz questions the auxiliary perceptions by Brooks that economic sanctions may be used against an aggressive great power to undermine its power and effectiveness principally because economic sanctions rarely work in modern times (Gholz, 2007).
Overall, Gholz presents a more persuasive argument than Brooks. It is true that “Producing security” presents compelling arguments when making the case that globalization of production, that is, intra-corporation trade, inter-corporation collaborations, and the techniques in which the behavior of MNCs has radically fragmented and integrated the production process, is a particularly important but often underappreciated aspect of modern globalization (Brooks, 2005, p. 233). The author, however, is less successful in connecting the relationships between globalized production and the ramifications for international security. While many of his viewpoints progressed regarding the ramifications of production for national security are, in my view, not invalid, there exist some definitional challenges, competing and often conflicting deductive statements, and, almost consistently, significantly over-determined outcomes. For instance, Brooks moves too freely between the manner through which globalization acts as an inhibiting force for conflict or war among the great powers and how it has adversely altered the economic benefits of military conquest among the great powers. However, he fails to account for the unique mechanisms that hinder aggression that is of greater relevance to his basic presuppositions that challenges related to defense independence make conquest harder, and that the economic difficulties of extracting resources from conquered territories make conquest less profitable.
Gholz, on his part, has been able to successfully connect the dots between systems integration and the flexibility it offers great powers in the broader debate about globalized production and the probability of great states to engage in war or aggression. This particular author convincingly demonstrates how contemporary MNC’s use new communications technologies under the banner of systems integration to synchronize their production needs across national boundaries, and how each component specialize in manufacturing only the components of the final products that they are most effective at making, hence drastically enhancing efficiency and flexibility of the overall production network (Gholz, 2007). This argument fits well with the notion that military and political leaders mostly consider efficiency as opposed to globalized production when making procurements for military equipment. In this perspective, it can be safely argued that Gholz has the more persuasive argument.
A Critical Analysis of the Past, Current and Possible Future Impact of Globalization on China and Russia
The ongoing integration of economic, cultural, political, and social processes continues to generate differential impacts across geographical frontiers, resulting in the development of interconnected relations at the global level (Proedrou & Frangonikopoulus, 2010). Although academics and international relations theorists hold that globalization is a centuries-old phenomenon of the international system, its sustained influence on the economy and security issues of many countries has elicited interest from diverse quarters. It is against this background that this section purposes to critically analyze the past, current, and possible future impact of globalization on China and Russia.
The Case of China
Scholars and political analysts are in agreement that in recent years no country has basked in the glory of globalization as China, based on the country’s continued economic growth and influence on the world map (Henderson, 2008). It is indeed true that the modern notion of economic security, known in the Chinese dialect as jingji Anquan, found interest in the Chinese academic literature in 1997, partly as a response to the financial crisis that was eclipsing the Asian continent and partly because of “… the increasing role China began to play in globalization, the effects of which it increasingly felt as its economy became more integrated with that of the world” (Yeung, 2008 p 635). A World Bank Report on ‘globalization, growth, and poverty’ notes that the newfound integration in the 1990s enabled China, India, and a host of other Asian countries to experience large-scale poverty reduction, with available statistics demonstrating that the number of people who were poor in these nations declined by 120 million (World Bank, 2002). This implies that globalization introduced a new frontier of economic prosperity in China by availing a framework through which reduced transportation costs, minimal trade barriers, faster and efficient communication of knowledge, and enhanced capital flows could be achieved.
It is imperative to note that China’s economic prosperity and national security were treated as disconnected conceptual concerns before the 1997 Asian financial crisis (Yeung, 2008). Under the pressure of the financial crisis, China embraced economic reforms aimed at attracting international trade and integration, with the most notable reforms including the introduction of an “…open door policy, the separation of the party and government administrative bureaucracy, the decentralization of fiscal and trade authorities from Beijing to the provincial level in the 1980s as part of political reform, as well as macro adjustment and management” (Yeung, 2008 p. 636). China, motivated by the negative effects of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, its inadequacies in financial infrastructure, and the potential entry into the World Trade Organization (WHO), began to warm up to economic globalization. One of the notable impacts of globalization during the initial years of China’s alignment to the rest of the globalized world is that national security ceased to be irrelevant to the country’s foreign economic relations such as trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) and began to be considered from both a regional and global perspective.
The integration or reintegration of China into the globalized world and its subsequent entry into the WTO impacted the country’s economic security and political system in diverse yet subtle ways. During the late 1990s, many Chinese organizations were compelled to shift their business strategy to improve their resource base and seek out partnerships with foreign technological know-how and capital. Another noteworthy impact of globalization during these formative years is that it allowed Chinese organizations to access ready markets for their good and services at a global level, not mentioning the fact that it greatly assisted to promote new growth areas in the economy (Yeung, 2008). Also, globalization in general and the entry into the WTO in particular greatly assisted China to solve its many trade disputes. As a direct consequence of globalization, however, China lost its freedom to set taxes on imports or to influence international capital entering its economy as was the case during the previously insulated economy. Also, some of its nascent industries, particularly in the electronics and chemical sectors, were exposed to unprecedented challenges in the form of strict competition from other global industries (Yeung, 2008).
In terms of security issues, China feared that increased economic integration would compromise the country’s stability, particularly due to reliance on foreign information system packages and technologies. Political analysts and security experts argued that “…the security of the Chinese domestic information infrastructure and its economic data would be particularly compromised if most of China’s computer network component continued to rely on imports” (Yeung, 2003 p. 640). It can therefore be argued that as a direct consequence of globalization, China embarked on a journey to strengthen its information systems, including undertaking research and development (R&D), training professionals of Chinese origin for confidentiality, and developing preventive and tracking systems to curtail data leakage and for internet security. It should be noted that China to date continues to censor and jam some of the internet applications in a spirited but often misplaced attempt to safeguard its information systems, and it can be remembered that this trend made the global search engine giant “Google” to pull out of China. This is yet another direct impact of globalization.
Currently, globalization is the cornerstone of China’s economic growth. In terms of growth of world exports, statistics reveal that while “…China was second to the United States between 1995 and 2004, with 8.9% relative to the latter’s 10.7% of the total, its share in the growth of world exports between 2005 and 2020 is projected to be 15.4% compared with the United States’ 9.9%” (Henderson, 2008 p. 380). Also, China is currently the world’s largest exporter of electronic and ICT products, not to mention the fact that it currently enjoys an immense market share in terms of producing high-skill and technology-intensive commodities. China’s economic prosperity has continued to surge under the auspices of globalization. In 2002, according to statistics released by WTO, China emerged as the world’s fourth-largest trading nation, and in 2004, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surged forward to become the world’s largest, after the United States, Japan, and Germany (Hsiung, 2009). The country’s foreign reserves, exports, and consumption trends have also tremendously grown, courtesy of global integration.
It is however imperative to note that globalization per see has been largely ineffective in weakening the Communist Party’s hold on power (Yeung, 2003). Currently, the state is viewed as largely authoritarian and repressive, sometimes exhibiting strong signs of entrenching a socialist market economy. Companies such as Google have since withdrawn their operations from China as a direct consequence of the political interferences. However, the immense economic growth that China has so far achieved has ruffled feathers in diverse quarters. In the U.S., for instance, some political analysts have “…called for a reversal of America’s engagement policy, and suggested that U.S. interests would be best served by keeping China down and encouraging Japan to build up its military capability, to help cope with the China threat” (Hsiung, 2009 p. 120). Another realist notion progressed, and that has an overriding impact on national security issues, is that China is amassing all this wealth to balance and check the U.S. Power in the post-Cold War era (Henderson, 2008).
Globalization is in the future likely to impact the Chinese political system and initiate a vibrant civil society that would not only check the excesses of authoritarianism, but it will offer a framework through which the Chinese people can subscribe to ‘enlightenment values’ (Henderson, 2008). In line with the globalization of production explicitly discussed by Brooks in his book “Producing Security,” many Chinese industries, although achieving outstanding growth results, will in the foreseeable future either remain as subsidiaries or forge joint partnerships with major world corporations located elsewhere in the world (Hsiung, 2009). This arrangement has obvious security implications for China as well as for other nations that depend on the global supply networks to source critical components used in military operations (Kirshner, 2008). China draws its strength from the fact that no country in the world, including the U.S., can pride itself as having achieved unipolarity of economies; hence the need for China to preserve the existing global networks as it seeks more opportunities in the future (Hsiung, 2009).
The Case of Russia
The events of the Cold War and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union have so far influenced how Russia has been able to integrate its systems of trade and commerce with other world powers, and how this integration continues to affect its national security domain. Due to the countries bitter experiences after undergoing an economic, geopolitical, and moral collapse as a consequence of the above-named events, Russia is wary of the world politics and views them “…as an endless rivalry for advantage, influence, resources, markets, and cultural matrices” (Lukyanov, 2010). Indeed, Russia continues to reject globalization concepts to expand the European Union (EU) and considers itself insecure from the West. However, this should be carried to imply that Russia is a closed system – economically and politically; on the contrary, Russia’s reemergence in the global economy has ushered in a state of enhanced interdependence between Russia and other major world powers, particularly after the realization by Russian political officials and economists that competition is a key driving force in global affairs (Lukyanov, 2010).
Russia is still one of the few counties that rely on the own capacities to produce its commodities, and many analysts suggest that this was the primary reason where the former Soviet Union lost to the U.S. during the Cold War (Brooks, 2005, p. 11). It can therefore be safely argued that Russia’s preoccupation with strengthening local capacities at the expense of globalized sourcing of high-tech technology and components has profound implications for Russia’s national security.
A turning point for Russia’s globalization efforts came in 1992 when the country embarked upon a “…neo-liberal policy of radical market reforms, privatization of state-owned enterprises [and] legislation guaranteeing property rights was also rapidly passed” (Ferdinand, 2007 p. 657). This implies respect for property rights, market reforms, the abolition of the state’s monopoly on foreign trade, and the privatization of state-owned organizations were all influenced by the sudden urge to globalize and interconnect Russia to the rest of the world. Analysts, however, have pointed that the Russian way of developing their economy, particularly their industries, to a large extent diverged from the Anglo-American neo-liberal perspectives for reform that lay focus on opening to competition with the outside world (Ferdinand, 2007).
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Globalization has indeed opened up Russia’s democratic space, freedom of expression, and governance even though it was negatively correlated to the collapse of the Soviet Union some two decades ago. Russia’s trade patterns have shifted dramatically when evaluated against the fact that its trade relations with the West have gone up while its trade relations with the old trade partners have slackened (Andreason & Kaare, 2005). This, therefore, means that the ongoing geopolitical realignments initiated by the forces of globalization can turn Russia into an even more significant strategic partner to the West some decades from now. However, such integration will oblige a lot of political courage, resolve and sacrifice from key players such as the EU, the U.S., and Russia.
Due to the effects of the Cold War, however, Russia is still wary about the fragmentation and tension in the international system occasioned by blanket integration of economies since embracing that root will not imply a loss of prestige in the world, but it also denotes a scenario through which neither geography, not national policies will offer much protection from aggressors (Kerr, 2010). Also, Russia is still unsure of how to deal with the spill-over effect of international issues on its national security framework, particularly because the country is still considered as an outsider to Western democracy. Lastly, it is clear that whereas most Western countries correlate globalization with good economic prospects, the case is a little bit different for Russia due to its links to communism and the effects of the Cold War. Although the country has taken giant steps towards embracing capitalism, many Russian political commentators still view globalization as a form of economic and political domination by westerners, hence a threat to national security (Kerr, 2010).
Globalization & U.S. Supremacy: A Critical Analysis
International relations theorists have often equated globalization to a double-edged sword with the capacity to initiate good economic returns as well as generate actual and perceived feelings of inadequacies within the security domain of nation-states (Patton, 2005). This section purposes to critically evaluate if globalization is a threat to U.S. supremacy and power in the world and ways through which stakeholders can effectively manage the situation
Although undeniably an engine of national economic prosperity and international integration, globalization could very easily derail the United States quest for great power status by not only introducing new avenues of economic vulnerability but also by affording a fertile ground for nontraditional threats such as weapons proliferation and terrorism to grow, which in turn presents serious challenges to the U.S. supremacy and power (Bohas, 2006). Globalization has indeed elicited a two-sided debate, with one school of thought arguing that the U.S. take pleasure in the many advantages offered by “…globalization across the military, technological, economic, political, and even cultural arenas to consolidate Washington’s predominant position in the world further” (Deng & Moore, 2004 p. 122), while another school of thought postulates that globalization is already draining the gains made by the U.S., particularly in the security front (Patton, 2005; Bohas, 2006).
What the Proponents of Globalization Say
Some pundits of globalization argue that the phenomenon has the potential to reduce conflict and aggression among great-power states, hence enhancing the supremacy and power of such states. In “Producing Security,” the author uses realist theory to suggest that globalization of production has largely influenced the great-power capabilities to engage in the war because such aggression may result in the disruption of global supply chains that feeds the military with components (Brooks, 2005 p. 12). Looked at the lens of globalization of production, it is evident that globalization can only enhance the U.S. supremacy and power by enabling a framework through which the country can outsource leading-edge technology and modern military components from MNCs located in diverse parts of the world. Finally, advocates of the liberalist school of thought argue that globalization of production and enhanced importance of knowledge-based economies has “…arguably reduced the gains from territorial conquest by limiting that which can be extracted by force and increasing that product which is more efficiently garnered through an exchange rather than warfare” (Kirshner, 2008 p. 371).
Sources of Discontent
A major source of discontent about globalization and its effects on U.S. supremacy and power comes from the fact that post-industrial countries, which were in the recent past seen as major sources of and demand for a swelling number of products and services, are now playing in the same union with recently industrialized nations as equal partners since the latter uses the benefits of globalized economies to enhance their competitiveness (Kirkegaard, 2008). This implies that post-industrial countries such as the U.S. are losing not only their economic competitiveness to emerging countries such as China and Russia, but are also losing the military might and competitiveness through engaging in questionable global contracts that only serve to expose their military secrets. The sale in 1995 of the Valparaiso factory to Chinese interests under the auspices of a globalized economy and its subsequent closure in 2006 triggered utter discontent about globalization among U.S. citizens and heightened security concerns especially after the realization that the company was being sold to a potential rival even though it dealt with products used in military applications (Freeman, 2009).
U.S. political analysts and policymakers think that a globalized world has served to expose the country against external and internal security threats. It has been argued that “…globalization, in aggregate tends to reduce the autonomy and capacity of states, although in some ways states may find their powers enhanced” (Kirshner, 2008 p. 363). The free flow of information and capital to a large extent curtailed the U.S. capacity to prevent the 2001 terrorist bombings on U.S. soil. The bombings demonstrated how technology can make it extremely easy to transmit information and extremely difficult to control capital flows which could, in turn, be used to upset national and international security. It is in the domain of many analysts that if the U.S. had engaged different policy preferences, say those of controlling information systems and capital inflows, then the pressures of globalization, while still existing and dominant, would not have been as insidious (Kirshner, 2008).
It is indeed true that globalization pressures initiate new conflicts between individuals, groups, and societies. The attendant disruptions, according to stakeholders, create new sources of vulnerabilities, generate demands for insulation from perceived state or non-state aggressors, and bring forth calls for resistance, all of which functions to clip the supremacy and power of a nation (Kirshner, 2008). It can be well remembered that the Iraq invasion of Kuwait in the 1990s was a direct consequence of globalization, but the involvement of the U.S. in the first Gulf War opened new sources of vulnerabilities against American citizens. This example demonstrates how globalization can affect the supremacy of a nation-state, in this scenario the supremacy and power of the U.S. The problem is further progressed by the fact that “…
American unipolarity has both extended the political influence and engagement of the United States throughout the world and also fostered the permissive environment in which globalization has flourished [thus] disentangling globalization from Americanization is not always easy or obvious” (Kirshner, 2008 p. 371). As a direct consequence, some of the criticisms against globalization find their expression in acts of terrorism against American targets, as well as wide-ranging opposition to Western ideologies, culture, and economic values. This is one of the very concepts that make Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida leader, to target American interests in a spirited attempt to curtail its supremacy and power in the world. The invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration and the hanging of the former president by the coalition-led justice system elicited a strong wave of anti-American protests around the world. Such protests and active resistance only served to weaken American supremacy and power as can be demonstrated by the passion with which terrorists target American interests locally and abroad.
Stakeholders, especially in the western developed countries, continue to display their discontentment with globalization regarding massive job losses to developing nations. The Valparaiso factory sale to Chinese interests reveals how the U.S not only lost 225 jobs to china, but also how it lost its know-how in products used in military applications and, more importantly, how it compromised its national security (Freeman, 2009). The U.S. lost in the whole debacle while China emerged victorious, implying that globalization must involve winners and losers sieved under the lens of competition (Freeman, 2009). In practice, however, the public in most developed countries view globalization as an unfair transfer of existing careers, know-how, and wealth from industrial nations to the budding and rapidly growing economies, thus the disgruntlement (Patton, 2005). No individuals, in their sane mind, would truly encourage a typology of economic change that involves enhanced competition for their jobs from other quarters that only hope to use a globalized economy to benefit themselves. Here, it is imperative to note that the security implications arising from discontent may entail engaging in acts aimed at hurting the other group perceived to be taking undue advantage, frosty relations between the two countries as it is usually the case between the U.S. and China, and a general lack of trust for each other. The bottom-line of this argument is that the massive job losses occasioned by globalization serve to inhibit the supremacy of the U.S. while transferring power and economic wealth to its competitors.
How can Policy Makers Manage the Situation?
The internal and external threats placed on the supremacy and power of the U.S. by the effects of globalization need to be adequately addressed before unhappy state and non-state actors amass enough arsenal to hit the U.S. again. It is indeed true that America is now less safe than it was after the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, and even more unsafe than it was before the U.S. attacked Iraq and executed President Saddam Hussein. It is clear that leaders of nations plainly described by the U.S. as the ‘axis of evil’ are up to no good, but the country needs to adopt a framework by which sources of conflict can be effectively dealt with without exposing the country in general and the citizens in particular to unwarranted threats to security.
It is indeed true that “…international relations are relations of power, not law; power prevails and law legitimizes what prevails” (Soros, 2003 para. 3). The U.S. is undeniably the dominant global power, particularly after the fall of the Soviet Union, and, as such, it is in a better position to enforce its views, interests, and values on other nations. However, as much as the U.S. values its supremacy and power, stakeholders need to come up with strategies that will debunk the popular unipolar myth to curtail anti-Americanism among the populace. The country needs to realize that such projections of being the ‘global watchman’ serve many good interests, but they also expose to hatred from fundamentalists and undue criticisms.
Stakeholders also need to come up with a way through which the excesses of globalization can be curtailed if the U.S. is to retain its supremacy and power. It has been mentioned here that the September 2001 terrorist attacks against the U.S. demonstrated how technology can make it extremely easy for terrorists to use global networks to perpetrate a crime (Kirshner, 2008). It is therefore imperative to put in place checks and balances to curtail such eventualities while still enjoying the many benefits of globalization.
To conclude, it would be a good idea for stakeholders to replace the commonly used foreign policy of pre-emptive military action against perceived U.S. enemies. Such a policy can be replaced with a preventive action of a constructive and affirmative scope to curtail feelings of disgruntlement from other state and non-state actors. Enhanced foreign aid or better and fairer rules of engagement, for instance, will occasion minimal damage on the sovereignty of other states, and the U.S. must realize that military action should be used as a direct resort, issues of the country’s supremacy and power notwithstanding. The U.S. may be justified in its defense against Israel or, lately, its assistance to overthrow Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi. But the framework within which to go about overthrowing the Libyan leader should be seen within the context of international security, not another misplaced attempt to use power and supremacy to overthrow a government that enjoys the trust and confidence of the majority number of the population. When the U.S. engages in the latter, it will be taking yet another route to enhance anti-Americanism and providing disgruntled state and non-state actors with enough reasons to continue attacking American interests. But the U.S. stands to strengthen its supremacy and power by leading international attempts aimed at restoring peace in Libya through acceptable means.
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