Securities, Economic Liberalism, and Democracy
Asian Elite Perceptions of Post-Cold War Foreign Policy Values
. With the Cold War’s end, no new road map for policymakers has yet been drawn. Nevertheless, policy councils throughout the world are debating new paradigms; these debates reveal a divergence between the concerns of states that are primarily regional actors from those that are primarily global.
World politics in the 20th century has been dominated by a structural-realist realpolitik paradigm through which states aligned with or against each other for protection and expansion. Concerns about domestic political and social conditions were distinctly subordinated in security policy to more mechanistic balance-of-power considerations. This paradigm required, however, easily identifiable blocs of states as allies or adversaries. With the Cold War’s end, conditions for such realpolitik, great-power foreign policies have evaporated. No new road map for policymakers has yet been drawn.
Nevertheless, policy councils throughout the world are debating new paradigms; these debates reveal a divergence between the concerns of states that are primarily regional actors from those that are primarily global. The United States under President Bill Clinton has formulated a new foreign policy, the “enlargement of free-market democracies,” to replace the containment of Soviet communism as the centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy. The unique objective of the Clinton Administration’s global policy has been to elevate the character of other countries’ domestic regimes to an American foreign-policy priority. Based on empirical findings that democratic governments have not fought one another in the 20th century and that governments committed to international trade prefer peace to war, Clinton’s national security and foreign policy advisers believe they have identified a formula that will promote both global peace and prosperity.
In Asia, however, this emphasis on democracy (including the promotion of human rights) is frequently interpreted as a sign that the generally positive previous American roles of protector, investor, and trade partner might be replaced with one which intends to impose ethnocentric Western values on polities unwilling or unable to accept them. U.S. National Security Advisor paradigm required, however, Anthony Lake, for example, has advocated not only support for fledgling democratic systems, but also policies to promote the liberalization of states considered hostile to democracy and markets.