Michael Lind on a Global Concert of Powers


The unilateral thing is failing — so time to consider alternative options.
Michael Lind, in his new book The American Way of Strategy puts a proposal out that international stability and prosperity will best be pursued in the future through regional concerts of power.
Here is an excellent summary of the book. I will be writing more about this in the coming weeks, but this primer seemed important to get out to folks.
More later.
— Steve Clemons
Extra: For a substantive, well-informed review of The American Way of Strategy, Max Frankel gives the book strong, grudging praise.


5 comments on “Michael Lind on a Global Concert of Powers

  1. Matt says:

    “American Strategy” is just another way of saying, “How can we subdue the rest of the world while maintaining our way of life?” When people talk about “American Strategy”–let’s not kid each other here–this is basically the question being asked and there’s always a certain amount of hypocrisy involved. There’s the subtle hint that “winning” can only come about with the right amount of deception–that there’s something tricky or clever about it.
    As a solution, I propose the elimination of the word “strategy” from all dictionaries of the English language.


  2. d says:

    There’s a term for that: hyper-imperialism I believe. The end of compeition between different power centers to cooperate. It sounds nice and fuzzy doesn’t it? But remember this–that it was during the Cold War that some of the greatest anti-colonial movements happened. I would argue that it was *because* the US/USSR were competing for their loyalty so they could play them off of each other.



  3. Carroll says:

    If there is to be a “concert” of nations, it will have to be an broadly inclusive one, not confined to a handful of colonial powers.
    Posted by John at October 5, 2006 02:15 PM
    Yep, that’s my worry.
    And there would absolutely have to be some very strict restrictions on their authority…like not using it for any concert of powers empire delusions….the more I think about it, it sounds good, but is rife with pitfalls…self interest in capitalist countries being what they always are.


  4. John says:

    Carroll nails the critical question: “how the concert of powers could be outfitted…without causing a problem or more resentment among the non-major power member nations of the UN, who might rightly feel left out and thus add to the problems?”
    The postwar “concert” created a system of insiders and outsiders. Western Europe and Japan received both protection and access to the vast American market. Non-communist outsiders found themselves consigned to Western hegemony: protected in the Mafia sense of the word, colonies with native leaders selected by the West, sources of cheap labor and raw materials offered to Western corporations at disadvantageous terms of trade.
    As the corporate world moved off-shore and the value of raw materials increased, economic power moved off-shore along with it. Mounting current account deficits in the West have meant that financial power is moving off-shore as well. The traditional “concert” is being challenged by a broad set of middle incomes countries that is forming an uncohesive opposition: Russia, China, India, Brazil, Iran, Venezuela, South Korea, etc.
    The problem for the West is that it cannot expect to militarily dominate countries that it depends on. The IMF has recognized that and is restructing to become relevant again. Western trade interests on the other hand have foundered in the WTO because of refusal to open agricultural markets to outsiders.
    If there is to be a “concert” of nations, it will have to be an broadly inclusive one, not confined to a handful of colonial powers.


  5. Carroll says:

    I have been reading Lind’s papers for a year or so now, since I stumbled on the NAF site before I even stumbled on the WN ..and I find that I agree with him nine times out of ten. If I knew as much as he did about the subject I might agree 100%.
    I probably need to buy the book only because I have further questions about this for instance…
    “If the United States adopted a concert of power strategy, it would not have to rely primarily on the rigid UN security council. Instead, the United States could take part in regional great-power concerts.”
    ..which I totally agree with…but wonder how the concert of powers could be outfitted so to speak without causing a problem or more resentment among the non-major power member nations of the UN, who might rightly feel left out and thus add to the problems? Or could a concert of powers ever work in some way with the UN?
    This I also agree with..
    “The members need not be democratic internally, as long as they are not genocidal tyrannies and are committed to the norms of a peaceful international system.”
    And this…I think might be wrong…even if it is only wrong off and on….because local rivalries might fall by the wayside when an entire region is threatened. ( I just listened to Prince Al-Faisal’s on c-span..so I am thinking..huuummmm?)………and what if the ME was included in a concert of peace powers?…would that not be an advantage to them that would be an advantage to us in the overall scheme of peace powers? I mean the “peace concert powers” would most likey have to policy police each other now and then anyway.
    “In the Middle East, a great-power concert is not possible, because of local rivalries. In North America, one is not possible because the United States is the only great power in the continent.”


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