Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A World in Disarray

Richard Haas has been on television programs as an expert in diplomacy and is well qualified to do so.  His words are measured and balanced.  Even if you don't totally share his political philosophy what he says and writes is worth considering.

He admires skilled diplomats and names Castlreagh, Metternich and Talleyrand and suggests the Congress of Vienna of 1814-15 was a good example.  The world is much more global now and every nation has global concerns such as climate change, health and trade.

He favours action after analysis.  He faults the Republicans for invading Iraq and even more for disbanding the Iraqi army and top level Baath party members.  After that he concedes there are no really good options, but nonetheless criticizes Obama for not trying to re negotiate to slow down troop withdrawals. There were a lot of factors, political, military and psychological.

He also faulted Obama for drawing a red line with Syria and then not enforcing it.  My perspective is that once Iraq was invaded it opened up a can of worms. and yes it was one of Obama's lapses in careful wording.

He is in favour of multi-lateral institutions, an example of which is Europe.  He feels the more they are linked the less apt they are to resort to war.

The United Nations is good, but sometimes needs to be gotten around.  Vetos assure some nations will continue to participate, but hamstrings the institution.  He speculates that over time nations will see their best interest lies in working together.  He points out that NATO intervened in the former Yugoslavia when it was needed.

Asia Pacific is the area that is most likely to develop to major power.  The rest of the world needs to develop links.  South Korea and Japan are both capable of developing nuclear weapons, but have declined with the understanding United States will defend them.  Although the Trans Pacific Partnership has been curtailed with U.S. declining, Haas felt it should have included China

South Asia which is basically the Indian sub continent is also growing to a major power.

Latin America and Africa need to develop links regionally and globally.  In general the author would like to see NGO and corporations invited to take part in international boards to expand input.

The big international concerns that affect every nation include climate change, health, nuclear weapons and trade.  Understanding each other's needs and a willingness to compromise or better work together is necessary for mankind to survive

"A World in Disarray" is not intended to be a prescription for all problems but as a guideline for how we should try to steer global relations.  A worthy read.

A little more up to date you can check out Richard Haas being interviewed by Bloomberg News on Donald Trump's first foreign trip:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2017-05-26/haass-says-trump-reaffirmed-europe-s-u-s-doubts-video

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