As twenty-first century draws near, there appears Essay
to be in the world an era of unprecedented peace. Contrary to the predictions that the end of the Cold War will bring about the fragmentation of international order and the emergence of multipolar rivalry among atomistic national units, today the worlds major powers enjoy co-operative relations and world economy is progressively liberalising and integrating. The peace and prosperity of the current era, however are sustained by the constant operation of a single factor: American relative power capability (Kupchan, 1998, p. 40).
In this paper, a clear foreign policy strategy for the United States of America in Europe and Eurasia will be outlined. Such an outline should be necessarily made from the perspective of American national interests. America is a global power and it has vital global interests.
The perception of the global interests of America is shaped by the desired future that the American political elite is envisioning. A viable foreign policy strategy then will be simply the roadmap for achieving, to the greatest extent possible, the objectives which are substantiated by that desired future starting from the present condition of the international landscape. The means to achieve these objectives are determined by the relative power capability that America has at present, as well as the capability self-image in the context of the international landscape of the political elite; its world view. The prevailing world view often shapes the motivations of the decision-makers and consequently determines the perceived foreign policy objectives , as well as the very means to achieve these objectives.
Misperception of the behaviour of other actors within the international context leads to erroneous foreign policy motivations on behalf of the decision-making elite, which in turn result in a foreign policy strategy that may be, at best misguided, at worstcatastrophe. That has been the sad, costly lesson from the Cold Wara global low-intensity conflict caused by a mutual misperception of threat with excessively high risk potential for escalating into a thermonuclear war. To downsize the potentiality of similar perceptually-based geopolitical disasters, a clear understanding of the true motivations of the other actors on the international scene is vital. The true motivations can best be outlined through the inferential analysis of the foreign policy behaviour of the other actors. Once clearly identified, these motivations will determine the response of the United States in terms of political behaviour. The result will be a viable and systematic foreign policy strategy.
The starting point in outlining the American foreign policy strategy will be an overview of the vital American national interests. Then, a critical review of the means to achieve the ensuing objectives is due. As review of American foreign policy aims and objectives for the world as a whole is positively beyond the scope of this paper, the focus of the analysis will be on Europe and Eurasia.
In the preface to a 1997 report by the State Department titled A National Security Strategy for A New Century, President Clinton sets forth a national security strategy to advance American national interests in this era of unique opportunities and dangers (National Security Strategy, 1997, p. 2). The three core objectives of the strategy are stated as follows:
To enhance our security with effective diplomacy and with military forces that are ready to fight and win.
To bolster Americas economic prosperity.
To promote democracy abroad (National Security Strategy, 1997, p. 2).
The implementation of this strategy is guided by the strategic priorities President Clinton has laid out in his 1997 State of the Union Address. These explicitly stated priorities are:
foster an undivided, democratic and peaceful Europe
forge a strong and stable Asia Pacific community
continue Americas leadership as the worlds most important force for peace
create more jobs and opportunities for Americans through a more open and competitive trading system that also benefits others around the world
increase co-operation in confronting new security threats that defy borders and unilateral solutions
strengthen the military and diplomatic tools necessary to meet these challenges (National Security Strategy, 1997, p. 6).
Viewed within the context of the international political system, these strategic priorities are consistent with American foreign policy direction described as Pax Americana. The term was coined by George Liska in his book Imperial America. It generally described a foreign policy strategy, aiming to create a world in which America, working through surrogate powers, could eliminate conflict, disorder and instability. Liska envisioned America that is the New Rome which is beneficently granting the world an era of peace and stability (qtd. in Cottam, 1977, p. 145).
American engagement in the world and provision of leadership to the international community are vital for American security and to the extent that America is a global power with vital global interests, the world becomes a safer place when American interests are pursued and achieved. The Clinton Administration seeks to create conditions in the world so that American interests are rarely threatened, and when they are threatened America should have effective means of addressing those threats. America should seek a world in which no critical region is dominated by a power hostile to the United States and regions of greatest importance to the United States are stable and at peace (National Security Strategy, 1997, p. 6).
The ability of the Administration to achieve these core strategic objectives, depends on the degree of support granted to it by Congress, special interest groups and the American politically attentive public in general. In other words, a factor of fundamental importance to the ability of Clintons administration to achieve the defined set of foreign policy objectives is the decisional latitude that the President has as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and diplomat-in-chief of the nation. Therefore, a brief analysis of the decisional latitude granted to President Clinton is essential to establishing the parametric values of the foreign policy decision-making process carried out by this Administration.
The general public in the United States grants progressively less attention to international affairs. Bruce Chapman, president of Seattle-based Discovery Institute and a columnist in Seattle Post Intelligencer, points out that:
Not for six decadesince 1936has a presidential election year 1996 played out with so little attention to international affairs. Regrettably, the national Administration takes its leadership cues from polls and focus groups, which, like the weather before a hurricane, give no sign of disturbance. For the Clinton White House the significance of foreign policy pertains mainly to domestic voter groups. If there is an American strategy anymore it is a well-kept secret (Chapman, 1996, p. 1).
Criticism towards Clintons foreign policy coming from conservative and moderate Republican circles in the United States has not been always so benign. The chairman of The Heritage Foundationa moderate non-partisan think tank, Edwin J. Feulner attacks the President for his inability to define properly Americas vital interests, thus confusing them with some liberal do-gooders marginal interests (Feulner, 1996, p. 1). Feulner refers to the foreign policy of Clintons Administration as a feel-good foreign policy elaborating on the article Foreign Policy as Social Work by Michael Mandelbauma moderate foreign policy scholar who initially supported the Clinton Administration. The basic argument of this 1996 article from the journal Foreign Affairs is that American foreign policy is misconceived as it aims at relieving suffering in conflict-ridden regions of the world rather than promoting American national interests (qtd. in Feulner, 1996, p. 2).
In the meantime that conservative and increasingly moderate politically active groups insist upon fundamental re-examination of what American national interests really are, the impeachment proceedings in the U.S. Congress against the President threaten to put an end to the present Administrations hold on the Executive power in the country. Although the probability that the U.S. Senate will vote in favour of the Presidents removal from office is sufficiently small, the implications for Clintons decisional latitude in regard to domestic policy initiatives are dire. Therefore, a decisive foreign policy success is seen as the only means to restore the shaken confidence of the general public and Congress at home in his viability and ensure, if not his own, at least the hold of the Democratic Party on the Executive power (Scenario, Fall 1998, p. 1).
As a consequence from these domestic political dynamics, a major foreign policy motivation for the President is, according to the classification developed by Richard Cottam, domestic personal power drive (Cottam, 1997, p. 41). In order to regain a portion of the lost popular support for the Presidential elections in the year 2000, Clinton has to deal with foreign policy issues which have the strongest impact on U.S. domestic politics. These issues involve the areas of the world with which large segments of the American public have an intense self-identification (Scenario, Fall 1998, p. 1). The argument might be made that the majority of the foreign policy issues are connected with the region that is the focus of the present paperEurope and Eurasia, as an unproportionately large segment of the American population is of European and Eurasian descent. A special discussion on what are these issues and which actors on the Eurasian continent they involve will follow shortly. However, the analysis of the foreign policy motivation of the Executive decision-making elite is due to be completed.
Other interests that shape the foreign policy motivational system, and thus the foreign policy initiatives of the Clinton Administration include the economic vested interests of the oil and arms production industries and the bureaucratic vested interests that the large national security establishment in the U.S. governmental meta-structure have in preserving and extending U.S. commitments to its international alliances and treaty agreements (Scenario, Fall 1998, p. 1).
Application of the comprehensive analytical classification of motivational patterns, developed by Richard Cottam in his remarkable book Foreign Policy Motivation, will allow us to represent the overall motivational system of the U.S. executive elite as follows:
A. (1st intensity) Economic Vested Interests: investments abroad and domestic
Domestic Personal Power Drive
Bureaucratic Vested Interests
B. National Grandeur
C. (3rd intensity) Defence
The second level of intensity is occupied by the National Grandeur and Cultural Messianism motivational patterns which are inherent in the Pax Americana strategy and result from unmatched relative power capability in global aspect.
Now, a discussion is due, of the specific ways in which this motivational system shapes the perceptual patterns that guide the choices of aims in considering the achievement of the objectives in different regional contexts, as well as in the global context. The focus of the evaluation of viable foreign policy moves as part of a systematic strategy will be placed, as was mentioned earlier, within the regional context of Europe and Eurasia. The strategy will be formed by examination of the vital national interests of America on world scale and the regional system of aims that ensue from taking into account the motivations of the regional actors as inferred from their behaviour.
The interests of the United States in Europe and Eurasia can be discerned into few general categories in regard to their congruence with the global American objectives and aims to achieve them. However, the motivational system of the President and his Administration determine the resources to be allocated to the pursuit of each regional objective and thus discriminate the objectives into objectives of primary importance to the viability of the overall foreign policy strategy and secondary objectives that will be pursued with relatively lower allocation of resources. As was stated earlier, the relatively high position of the Domestic Personal Power Drive motivational pattern in the motivational system of the President and his Administration, allude to greater commitment on behalf of the executive elite to foreign policy objectives with higher impact on domestic politics and essentially on the opinion of the electorate.
The excessively large degree of dependence of the American political elite on the support of key social or ethnic minorities and special interest groups in considering policy options, implies that the President has to closely safeguard certain pivotal minority interests. One such minority is comprised of Americans of Greek descent. Of course there is a multitude of other, more influential minorities, but for the purposes of the strategy to be developed with regard to Europe and Eurasia, only the interests of the Greek pivotal minority will be analysed.
In his search for relatively cost-effective foreign policy triumph in the context of Europe and Eurasia, President Clinton should properly assess the opportunities that the situation in the region provides. The focus of his assessment should be on the viability of successful resolution of the Cyprus conflict within the larger context of mounting tension between Turkey and Greece over the Aegean border areas.
The possibility of peaceful resolution of the Cyprus problem is intimately connected to the status of the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, established through the 1974 Turkish Invasion on the island and recognised solely by Turkey. Negotiations for the admission of the island of Cyprus into the European Unity which began on March 31, are made void and futile by the 1959-1960 London and Zurich agreements which led to the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. According to these agreements, Cyprus membership in the AEU is only permissible if Turkey is admitted at the same time. The prospects of Turkey being admitted into the European Union, however are poor, if not non-existent. Therefore, unification of the island in the form of a federated Greek and Turkish state with viable mechanisms for power-sharing between the two distinct ethnic communities is the only possible resolution that will end the division of the island and make it, as a supranational federative entity eligible for membership in the European Union.
The Clinton Administration should attempt to negotiate the permanent withdrawal of both Turkish and Greek military forces from the island as a precondition to any settlement regarding the future status of Cyprus. In this case, the United States should actively seek the involvement of the European Union in the process of negotiation, as the unification of Cyprus has direct bearing on the vital interests of the European Union. To the extent that the mounting dispute between Greece and Turkey over the Aegean border areas has the potential to undermine the stability of NATO, and one of the strategic objectives of the Administration is to preserve American commitment to international alliances (Scenario, Fall 1998, p.1), the vital interests of America and the European Union are in congruity. Therefore, multilateral decisive course of action should be agreed upon and followed with the United States taking the lead to alleviate the effects of the historical inability of European actors to co-ordinate themselves and come up with common foreign policy or set of objectives (Scenario, Fall 1998, p.4).
Apart from the evident ripeness for resolution in the internal dynamics of the Cyprus conflict and Greek-Turkish dispute in the Aegean, the regional context of Europe and Eurasia provides other challenges to the United States. These challenges are with different intensity and direction. In the line of argument regarding the need for a cost-effective foreign policy triumph for the Clinton Administration in order to stay in power, other opportunities should be identified within this context and properly assessed from the perspective of cost-effectiveness in terms of resources.
Another intense opportunity is directly related to one of the three fundamental core objectives of American National Security strategy, as formulated by President Clintoncreate more jobs and opportunities for Americans through a more open and competitive trading system that also benefits others around the world (National Security Strategy, 1997, p. 6). The present situation on the global world market necessitates swift and well-planned action on behalf of the Clinton Administration to seize the opportunity of building up such a more open and competitive trading system focused on the North Atlantic region.
The raging instability on the world financial markets threaten the relatively high levels of U.S. economic growth and create the possibility for a collapse of U.S. export markets in Latin America. In 1996 Richard Judy, of the Hudson Institute, identifies five global converging trends in the international political system, which provide great potential opportunities to the present generation of Americans and American leadership. The leading trend is the most obviousthe globalization of the worlds markets for goods and services, a trend in which the U.S. is both actor and acted upon (qtd. in Chapman, 1996, p. 1). In order to cope with the current global financial crisis and to avoid the threat of economic recession at home, President Clinton should employ all the means necessary to ensure new markets for American exports. The high priority of this objective becomes clear when the share of exported goods and services is looked upon in historical perspective. Thus, exported goods and services in 1960 amounted to only 4.9 percent of American Gross Domestic Product. In 1995, this share has grown to more than 11 percent and is expected to account for 35 percent of American GDP in 2010. The imperative of securing markets for exported American goods and services is imminent and crucial for achieving a fundamental U.S. global strategy objectiveto bolster Americas economic prosperity (National Security Strategy, 1997, p. 2).
Therefore, the objective that the Administration should aim to achieve in the area of political economy within the regional context, has to focus on encouraging multilateral trade between the European Union and North America. However, robust obstructions on the sale of U.S. goods in Europe has increased, thus causing discontent at home and reinforces the negative impact of the widening U.S. trade deficit with Asia due to drastic devaluation of Asian currencies. This negative economic trend might have a tremendous negative impact on the fundamental strategic objective that the U.S. leadership has chosen to pursue. That is, the threat of economic recession might prompt the observers at home to insist upon a foreign policy direction that pushes the United States towards a new isolationism. Thus, the U.S. will not be able to abide by, what is formulated as the imperative of engagement (National Security Strategy, 1997, p. 5) around the world to secure its vital interests as a global power.
Consequently, the imperative for opening foreign, especially European Union markets for U.S. exports should be followed through the negotiation of a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA) agreement between the United States, Britain and Canada. The framework of such an agreement should include market opening deregulation and competition principles with focus on non-tariff barriers impeding transatlantic commerce and investment. Negotiated trade agreements should centre upon sectors in which the U.S. is most competitive, in the fashion of the Information Technology Agreement and the TWO Telecommunications Services Agreement. Also, by negotiating the free access of American exported goods and services to the British markets, the U.S. will gain an indirect but secure access to the increasingly protectionist European Union markets, with British markets used as a gateway.
From the preceding discussion, it becomes evident that the protectionist tendencies on the world trade markets can be decisively overcome to the advantage of Americas economic prosperity. Thus, a perceived threat may be efficiently turned into an opportunity through skilful diplomacy. However, the direction of the most intense challenge to U.S. foreign policy in the regionthe foreign policy direction of the Russian Federation, is unclear. With the retirement of Yeltzin, the executive power is in the hands of the Russian communist leader Gennady Zhyuganov and Yevgenii Primakov remains prime minister. Since the International Monetary Fund with the active support of the U.S. suspended further negotiations with the Russian government, the foreign policy objectives that the Russian leadership has chosen to pursue are highly obscure for so is the motivational system of the prime agents of the decision-making process within the Russian FederationPresident Zhyuganov and Prime Minister Primakov.
Until the Russian policy position is clarified and in concert with the requirements of U.S., the E.U., Russia will not be provided with a new loan from the I.M.F. or the World Bank. The argument can be made, however that the National Dignity motivational pattern is on the first level of intensity in the motivational system of the Russian leadership. As a consequence, the probability that Russia will reveal its true foreign policy objectives in the foreseeable future, is extremely low. Without having a perception of Russian motivations that is based on observable facts, the risk that the U.S. will formulate and implement wrong strategy vis–vis Russia remains.
The implications of a strategy regarding Russia, that is based upon gross misperception of Russian motivations, will be dire. The strategy described as Pax Americana, is fundamentally rooted in the assumption that there is not a major regional power in the world that is aggressively motivated towards the U.S. and has the relative power capability to threaten vital U.S. interests. The ensuing assumption is that Russia is essentially a Status Quo rather than imperialistic power. During Yeltzins Presidency, Russia communicated the willingness to co-operate with the international community and institutions like the I.M.F. in trying to introduce liberal democratic reforms. Since Primakov was appointed Prime Minister in 1998, the Clinton Administration has been trying to determine the general direction that Russian foreign policy will take. The reason for the concerns within the Administration were prompted by Primakovs foreign policy behaviour during the Cold War and while he was Foreign Minister in 1997.
Ariel Cohen, a senior policy analyst in the Heritage Foundation, has done a profound inferential analysis of Primakovs motivations in his 1997 article titled The Primakov Doctrine: Russias Zero-Sum Game with the United States. The careful analysis of Primakovs (Russian Foreign Minister at the time) political behaviour leads Cohen to conclude that the Russian new post-Cold War foreign policy, designed by Primakov, is intrinsically rooted in a larger strategy to challenge Americas leadership role in global security. In his world view there is no place for a single superpower, despite the current dominant status of the U.S. (Cohen, 1997, p. 1). Cohen also observes that Primakov articulates the countrys yearning for recognition as a great power as well as its widespread resentment of the United States. This bitterness and resentment may prod Russia, through Primakov, to challenge Americas interests and allies… (Cohen, 1997, p. 2), Cohen ends his article with an insightful and important recommendation to Washingtons foreign policy decision makers: that they should take note of Primakovs efforts to challenge American interests and allies and proceed with caution when faced with Evgenii Primakovs neo-Soviet foreign policy (Cohen, 1997, p. 5).
The Clinton Administration should be very concerned with the possibility that the team which now occupies the highest echelons of power within the Russian Federation may prove to represent the globally volatile combination of Communist ideology with Russian nationalism (Scenario, Fall 1998, p. 5). Therefore, decisive measures should be taken to prompt a foreign policy action on behalf of the Russian leadership, that will reveal its true motivations. These measures are to be taken at the soonest moment possible. The most suitable context within which these measures are to be taken, is the sub-regional context of the Crisis in Kosovo, only if the internal dynamics of the conflict provide the necessary conditions for doing so.
The crisis in Kosovo should be contained until the conditions for a lasting negotiated peace agreement between the Serbs and the Kosovar Albanians are at hand. Any final resolution of the conflict should not go beyond the restoration of autonomy to Kosovo. However paradoxical it may seem, the international community and Milosevic share some of the same fundamental aims. The international community is opposed to independence for Kosovo just like Milosevic, although for very different reasons. As Richard Caplan observes in a recent article titled International Diplomacy and the Crisis in Kosovo, that the United States and the west European statesthe chief architects of the Dayton agreementare concerned that:
…the establishment of an independent Kosovo will make it easier for the forces of separation to triumph over those of integration in Bosnia and that the fragile peace they have constructed there will be shattered…More serious still…is the danger that an independent Kosovo will destabilise neighbouring Macedonia where the Albanian minority, constituting at least a quarter of the population, is also unhappy with its status and might be drawn to joining a Kosovar state (Caplan, 1998, p. 755).
The interests of the Clinton Administration to stay in power are absolutely incompatible with the idea of independence for Kosovo, because destabilisation of neighbouring Macedonia will imply greater commitment of ground troops in the country and one of the main criticisms addressed to Clintons foreign policy is focused on the expanding commitment of U.S. military forces to far flung humanitarian and peacekeeping operations which stretches thin American military forces around the globe and significantly erodes military readiness by interfering with training to sharpen warfighting skills (Feulner, 1996, p. 2). The present allocation of NATO military assets though, should be sustained. No U.S. ground troops should be re-deployed from other politically unstable regions of the world (like the Persian Gulf) to participate in yet another open-ended Balkan commitment deployment of troops in Kosovo (Anderson, 1998, p.2).
Furthermore, the commitment to use force, should Slobodan Milosevic stray from abiding by the provisions of UNSC Resolutions 1160 (1998) and 1199 (1998) has to be strengthened and restated by all NATO members involved. Instead of continual warnings addressed to Milosevic, a phased campaign of cruise-missile air strikes, so as to avoid any American or Allied casualties, against strategic Serb installations should immediately be carried out. The most important objective that these air strikes are to achieve, however, have little to do with containing or punishing Milosevic.
Through determined and co-ordinated air strikes against Serb strategic installations, NATO will forcefully prompt political response on behalf of the Russian Federation. Should the political rhetoric of the Russian leadership at this time grow into actioneither direct confrontation with NATO forces or forward deployment of Russian personnel and weapon systems into Serbia, as well as immediate provision of the Serb Air Force with hi-tech Russian fighter planes, then the Russian Federation would have proven to be genuinely aggressively motivated and the fundamental direction of U.S. foreign policy strategy will have to be altered from Pax Americana to Containment of Russia and its allies, if any.
Though such a foreign policy adventure might at first glance seem far too risky and unsubstantiated to the extend of being preposterous, the argument holds that the sooner that the Clinton Administration reveals the true foreign policy motivations of Primakov and Zhyuganov, the better prospects for the regional stability in Europe and Eurasia. One might make the argument that the same effect of prompting a foreign policy reaction by the Russian Federation can be achieved far more cost-effectively by assessing Russian reactions to the acceptance of the Baltic states or the countries from Eastern Europe like Bulgaria and Romania into NATO. Again, the process of enlargement of NATO to reach the borders of the Russian Federation might take as long as twenty years to half a century. It will be far too late. Russia would have recovered from the economic stagnation (even on the expense of thousands of human lives lost due to hunger and cold) and modernised its qualitatively superior weapon systems. Attempted containment will surely be unthinkable at that point in time. Rather, a full-scale conven