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Pivotal Power

October 12, 2009
Obama is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t

I was as surprised as anyone to hear that President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His detractors wasted no time pointing out that he doesn’t deserve it — just as the week before, some were gleeful that the U.S. was NOT awarded the Olympics. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

As he has said himself, his accomplishments aren’t comparable to past recipients (so far). But President Obama’s foreign policy vision is worthy of international accolade. He is implementing a strategy that recognizes that nation states have to hang together in this world or suffer apart.

Countries that want peace and prosperity — which is most of them — need to work together to have any hope against forces of chaos like global warming, worldwide economic crises, omni-present swine flu or terror attacks.

And they need to strengthen the international system that helps fight them, too. That is a far cry from thinking that rising powers as a threat to us as many in Washington tend to do.

Last year, in conjunction with the book I co-authored on this topic (see sidebar), an artist made this video:

It’s often described as “edgy” by my foreign policy friends–to try to illustrate this point and we had the following discussion about it.

I’d like to hear what you think.

– Nina Hachigian

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Comments

6 comments

#6

Nina, you suppose that global pandemic threats illustrate the necessity of a multi-national approach (and I applaud your attention to the issue), but in fact international cooperation has consistently immunized and even subsidized the factory farming that births these diseases, working against the local food movements that are the obvious solution, because too much international power today rests with global corporations. We also can clearly see that today’s global corporations are well designed to migrate uphill as sea levels rise, but not so the innovators working out of their garages on the flood plains. Overall, international diplomacy, walking hand-in-hand with globalization, has tended to favor unsustainable development because it has favored external interests over innovative local oversight. Indeed, it is this intrinsic flaw in globalization — that it opposes local oversight — that has put us in the economic fecal soup. Thus, we might be wise to look to those local solutions, rather than cling to the disproved theory that we gain whenever the forces of global corporatism are united to make and enforce policy.

It seems to me that your background on the specific issues of nuclear arms and terrorism informs you that this is indeed where more and better international diplomacy is needed, but I think your general advocacy for strengthening cooperation between nations needs to be tempered with an awareness of the overwhelming influence of corporatism on international diplomacy regarding industry-related problems. My audacious hope is that Obama has led the world towards dismantling Kyoto because he’s beginning to grasp that global diplomacy there can only result in terminal compromises because of corporatism, and that he instead focuses his international efforts on disarmament and antiterrorism.

#5

Nina, you might suppose that global pandemic threats illustrate the necessity of a multi-national approach (and I applaud your attention to the issue), but in fact international cooperation has consistently immunized and even subsidized the factory farming that births these diseases, working against the local food movements that are the obvious solution, because international power today rests with global corporations. Overall, international diplomacy, walking hand-in-hand with globalization, has tended to favor unsustainable development because it has favored external interests over innovative local oversight. And today’s global corporations are well designed to migrate uphill as sea levels rise, but not so the innovators working out of their garages on the flood plains. Indeed, it is this intrinsic flaw in globalization — that it opposes local oversight — that has put us in the economic fecal soup. Thus, we might be wise to look to those local solutions, rather than cling to the disproved theory that we always gain when the forces of global corporatism are united to make and enforce policy.

My audacious hope is that Obama has led the world towards dismantling Kyoto because he’s beginning to grasp that global diplomacy there can only result in terminal compromises, and that he instead focuses his international efforts on disarmament and antiterrorism because that is where global cooperation is vital.

Kevin Parcell
http://sunmoney.org

#4

Obama is praised if he does, praised if he doesn’t.

#3

“Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.”

Life’s Interpretive Efflux…

Atmospheric Parallels equalled out to the perspectives of Mental Collages of Theories
at varied levels…still torment the differing understandings of the kaleidoscopic philosophies of the Knowledge of the World.
Hence, the continuing Strifes.

If you know not what Level of Parallel
is being Worked, even if you give a certain
Nomenclature to the typhoons of the Details…
you will, still, have, merely, a profusion of chaotic Elements working Unseen though influencing the Observable Environments of all
the psychologies constantly complecting the
communication grids of the Nations.

At what Parallel’s Level does anyone find
his or her own interpretations of the World Map most useful for interpreting Symbolic Beginnings to True Understandings?
What use will be able to be made, also:
of a Book of which will be denoting:
an Internal World Atlas
those representations of our degrees of understanding of the human energies which form the interconnections between Villages, Towns, Cities…
those Topological Codes on Paper Maps denoting the lives endured in War and Peace upon the Scale of Existence representing the Lives of all the Degrees which exist Between Regions of…
Living People…and their Dead?

#2

after the 8 yrs. of bush, anything is an improvement, democracy has been thawarted by modern schemes to manipulate people and laws (lobbying)its only a question of how much money?the unfair policies of american politics and profitering by multi nationals based in america has brought us to be a nation of arrogant egocentric selfish XXXXXX

#1

no one man can or should decide the fate for all in a nation regardless of how many advisors at his disposal,war is for warriers,politics are for votes and relection,the nobel prize knee reaction was indemic with black advancement,retoric and ability to read composed text from tella prompters,got obama elected ,alongwith the bursting numbers of non educated black elegible voters,americas twice war mistakes have been a great loss ,coersing allied countries to be part of america’s poor deciions in order to have world credibility is a cover up for ulterrier motives,such as the protection of israel,

Nina Hachigian is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the co-author of “The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive as Other Powers Rise.” She has worked on the staff of the National Security Council in the White House and been a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. She specializes in U.S.-China relations and great power relationships, multilateral institutions and U.S. foreign policy.

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