Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Of Might and Right

Joseph S. Nye

Is nuclear proliferation inevitable? Will the war on terror ever end? Can China’s bid to be a great power rivaling the US be managed? Is culture as powerful a weapon as a fleet of B1 bombers? Will Europe ever forge a common identity and defense policy? Does the American Empire have a grand strategy to assure its survival? Can the UN be made more relevant?

Dean Acheson, the post–WWII US Secretary of State, called his autobiography Present at the Creation – the creation of a new world from wartime rubble. The US and the world face a similar challenge today. With the Cold War international order now buried beneath the wreckage left by terrorist atrocities in New York, Washington, Bali, Istanbul, Madrid, and London, political leaders must create a new political and economic framework capable of securing peace and stability.

So, once again, we are present at a time of creation, a time of novel responses to the world’s new disorder. But are today’s leaders equipped to rise to the challenge, as Truman, Churchill, de Gaulle, and Adenauer did? What vision will guide them? What will be its intellectual underpinnings?

Joseph S. Nye has unique credentials to make sense of our tumultuous age of both creative and nihilist destruction. Former US Assistant Secretary of Defense, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, and head of the US National Security Council Group on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Nye is not only an experienced diplomat, but one of the most original scholars and thinkers in the field of international relations.

Nye's book The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t go it Alone (2002) has transformed the way in which power is understood by politicians and pundits alike. Indeed, Nye’s ideas may be among the most important contributions to building a new international order capable of confronting the forces underlying global insecurity.

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