| N E W S L E T T E R |
Volume 1, Issue 2, December 2003
Editor: Dr. Miltiadis Sarigiannidis
As we are heading to Xmas, we get this attitude; that we move towards the line, the space between farewell and welcome, between past and future. Right there, at this conventional spatiotemporal borderline, wrongs are purified and hopes emerge; accordingly, past transforms into future, free from guilt, away from the Sisyphean labour, effectively getting off the hook of historical contexts that recycle mistakes and deficiencies. It is this state of mind that challenges us to think about the new and the old, about those things and ideas that we have to reject and those to come to the foreground. Thus, we have to map the dividing line that defines past and future, wrong and hope, old and new. We need to tell the one from the other, otherwise time seems meaningless and Sisyphus an absolute looser. Doing so, we define this dividing line as present, and we conceptualize it according to our needs and preferences. The point I want to make, is that if we want to escape repetition and historical cycles, and if we want to provide a transforming dynamic to present, as a means to impact both personal matters and global issues, we need to enter upon a rift with the past, the wrong and the old. Moreover, we need a telos, so past, present and future become a meaningful space, and not a linear replication of facts and ideas. And for the coming days, I cannot think of a better telos, other than caring for the others. Wish you all Merry Christmas!
Robert Kagan, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order, New York: Knopf, 2003.
"From a leading scholar of our country's foreign policy, the brilliant essay about America and the world that has caused a storm in international circles now expanded into book form.
European leaders, increasingly disturbed by U.S. policy and actions abroad, feel they are headed for what the New York Times (July 21, 2002) describes as a 'moment of truth'. After years of mutual resentment and tension, there is a sudden recognition that the real interests of America and its allies are diverging sharply and that the trans-atlantic relationship itself has changed, possibly irreversibly. Europe sees the United States as high-handed, unilateralist, and unnecessarily belligerent; the United States sees Europe as spent, unserious, and weak. The anger and mistrust on both sides are hardening into incomprehension.
This past summer, in Policy Review, Robert Kagan reached incisively into this impasse to force both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Tracing the widely differing histories of Europe and America since the end of World War II, he makes clear how for one the need to escape a bloody past has led to a new set of transnational beliefs about power and threat, while the other has perforce evolved into the guarantor of that 'postmodern paradise' by dint of its might and global reach. This remarkable analysis is being discussed from Washington to Paris to Tokyo. It is essential reading."
"Though in the past we have often disagreed, I consider this essay one of those seminal treatises without which any discussion of European-American relations would be incomplete and which will shape that discussion for years to come."
Dr. Henry Kissinger
"No academic piece in this realm has generated quite as much heat and interest since Samuel Huntington's 'Clash of Civilizations' article in 1993 or Francis Fukuyama's 'End of History' in 1989."
François Heisbourg, New York Times
"This refreshing essay results from careful thought combined with critical information. Read it and you will think more deeply about this important arena."
George P. Schultz
Buy the Book (info) here
|The World Court Finds that U.S. Attacks on Iranian Oil Platforms in 1987-1988 Were Not Justifiable as Self-Defense, but the United States Did Not Violate the Applicable Treaty with Iran, by Pieter H.F. Bekker|
On November 6, 2003, the International Court of Justice (ICJ or Court), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations located in The Hague, The Netherlands, ruled, by 14 votes to two, that a series of retaliatory attacks by the U.S. Navy against certain Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf in 1987 and 1988, although constituting an unlawful use of force, did not violate a 1955 commerce treaty between the U.S. and Iran since the attacks did not adversely affect freedom of commerce between the territories of the parties. The judges from Egypt and Jordan dissented. The ICJ also rejected, by 15 votes to one, the U.S. counterclaim seeking a finding of Iran's liability for interfering with the freedoms of commerce and navigation in the Gulf by attacking ships through missiles and mines. The judgment, which comes at a time when the requirements for the use of force are hotly debated among UN member states, includes important statements regarding the legal limits on the use of force, including the criteria of necessity and proportionality.
Two Steps Back: Relearning the Humanitarian-Military Lessons Learned in Afghanistan and Iraq, by Eric James
The conflicts of the 1990s are often viewed as a departure from state dominated interests in favor of national or other interests and thus called "new," "post-modern" or "residue" as distinct from the conflicts of the Cold War era. The most recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq represent another departure in at least two interconnected ways: first, the supra-nationalist or religious interests of non-state actors are challenging the dominant world system. For the United States government, at least, this has resulted in renewed activism around the world in an effort to combat terrorism. Second, the relationship between the military and humanitarians has been affected by renewed activism; most notably in Afghanistan and Iraq. This second change is the focus of this paper.
Understanding the Bush Doctrine, by Robert Jervis
The invasion of Iraq, although important in itself, is even more noteworthy as a manifestation of the Bush doctrine. In a sharp break from the President's pre-September 11 views that saw American leadership, and especially its use of force, restricted to defending narrow and traditional vital interests, he has enunciated a far-reaching program that calls for something very much like an empire. The doctrine has four elements: a strong belief in the importance of a state's domestic regime in determining its foreign policy and the related judgment that this is an opportune time to transform international politics; the perception of great threats that can be defeated only by new and vigorous policies, most notably preventive war; a willingness to act unilaterally when necessary; and, as both a cause and a summary of these beliefs, an overriding sense that peace and stability require the United States to assert its primacy in world politics. It is, of course, possible that I am exaggerating and that what we are seeing is mostly an elaborate rationale for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein that will have little relevance beyond that.
Power and Weakness, by Robert Kagan
It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a commonview of the world, or even that they occupy the same world. On the all-important question of power - the efficacy of power, the morality of power, the desirability of power - American and European perspectives are diverging. Europe is turning away from power, or to put it a little differently, it is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of lawsand rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation. It is entering a post-historical paradise of peace and relative prosperity, the realization of Kant’s "Perpetual Peace." The United States, meanwhile, remains mired in history, exercising power in the anarchic Hobbesian world where international laws and rules are unreliable and where true security and the defense and promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might. That is why on major strategic and international questions today, Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus: They agree on little and understand one another less and less. And this state of affairs is not transitory - the product of one American election or one catastrophic event. The reasons for the transatlantic divide are deep, longin development, and likely to endure. When it comes to setting national priorities, determining threats, defining challenges, and fashioning and implementing foreign and defense policies, the United States and Europe have parted ways.