(photo of Jackson Ikenberry next to Hachiko at Shibuya Station, Japan; photo credit: G. John Ikenberry)
Sorry folks. This may be a bit inside for some of you — but I have this sort of weird, psycho connection with G. John Ikenberry, a professor of international relations at Princeton University.
Ikenberry is a policy intellectual I always have time for — even though he ‘wrongly’ thinks that the problem the world is facing is an America that is so vastly powerful and outstrips all other global stakeholders that it runs big risks of seeing its power bounded by other competitors who will converge and conspire against its interests. (I see ‘wrongly’ in a friendly, jesting sense — as Ikenberry is usually right)
I, in contrast, see a deficit in America’s power as being the most serious contributor to global instability today. Allies are not counting on the US as much as they once did — and foes are moving their agendas. The international system is in flux because of the profound doubt around the world in American power.
All that said, we are just sort of connected.
At exactly the moment I posted my piece on Dogs in China: More on Leashes, Less on the Menu, Ikenberry snapped this pic of his son, Jackson Ikenberry, standing next to the famous Hachiko statue outside of Shibuya station in Tokyo.
Hachiko stood by his owner, and now everyone gets to stand by Hachiko.
If you are a sucker for tear-jerkers, get Hachiko: A Dog’s Story with Richard Gere at Red Box. Yes, I watched it — and yes, I have to admit to liking it, but I’m a sucker for independent-minded pups.
OK, back to the serious stuff.
— Steve Clemons
Update: Ikenberry writes in that the following better describes his position:
The “Ikenberry position” might more accurately be:
the US has exercised its unrivaled power most effectively when it has invested it in institutions, alliances, and partnerships. The world still wants the US to be strong, if not unipolar, and oriented toward pragmatic global problem solving. No one else can!
My view is that America invents its power and builds it through the investments Ikenberry describes. His book, Liberal Leviathan, should be out soon — and we hope to have him participate in these pages frequently discussing these themes.
— Steve Clemons