Europe Solves Nuclear Dilemma

Iran’s quest for nuclear technology has been met with unquestionable opposition from the Bush Administration and, until today, similar opposition from the European Union. In truth, the unified voice that has surrounded this issue has left conservatives like myself desperately missing the days of old, when France was the butt of every joke. Well, those glorious days are back, fellow conservatives. Earlier today, the EU unveiled their latest plans for combating proliferation in Iran. What’s the plan? you ask. They are going to give Tehran a nuclear reactor.

The Europeans will consider offering the nuclear reactor as part of a larger package of incentives. The package, by the way, is similar to the gift bags handed to Hollywood elites at the Academy Awards, only it’s nuclear.

The reactor in question is of the light-water type, which is “less likely” to be used for nuclear proliferation than its heavy-water counterpart. However, the light-water reactor is fueled by enriched uranium, which can be used to produce highly enriched weapons grade material for nuclear warheads.

Fortunately, Iran’s level-headed president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has already assured us that his enrichment program is geared toward peaceful purposes only. Surely, he would not exploit a light-water reactor’s ability to produce weapons grade material for nuclear warheads; that is, unless Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, issues a fatwa in support of nuclear weapons.

According to one European government official, whose name was withheld, “It’s much more complicated than simply saying the EU is going to offer [Iran] light-water reactors.” I certainly hope so, because from my vantage point it seems as though the EU is planning to deliver to Iran the technology needed to produce nuclear weapons in the form of a gift basket.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending:

Where can you find 60,100,000 French jokes?
In France.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, we have retrieved the butt of our jokes.

Posted by Dr Politico at May 16, 2006 8:46 PM
Comments
Comment #148764

Here’s a link to the original story:

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/05/16/D8HL50JO0.html

Posted by: Dr Politico at May 16, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #148765

Slick. France will build it, Israel will bomb it.
Why does everything these days need to have a part deux?

Posted by: europheus at May 16, 2006 9:06 PM
Comment #148766

Of course when I tried to argue that Franco-German policies were an attempt to undermine US policies, people called me paranoid. Glad to see France would never do anything to become a threat to the world order.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 16, 2006 9:13 PM
Comment #148771

Indeed. If only we could get France and German Troops out of Afghanistan, then the American GI can have as much war as the GOP wants.

Posted by: Aldous at May 16, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #148772

DR. I think you left out a relevent quote from the article. Let me provide it for you.

“The United States was behind a similar offer to North Korea in the when it proposed building two light-water reactors if Pyongyang gave up a plutonium-producing heavy water research reactor.”

Posted by: 037 at May 16, 2006 9:18 PM
Comment #148779

037,
“The United States was behind a similar offer to North Korea in the when it proposed building two light-water reactors if Pyongyang gave up a plutonium-producing heavy water research reactor.”

The deal to which this refers was offered after N. Korea agreed to abandon their nuclear ambitions. When the US learned otherwise, the deal was immediately revoked.
On the other hand, Iran has already responded to this offer by maintaining its right to use nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment.

Posted by: Dr Politico at May 16, 2006 9:29 PM
Comment #148782

Dr.
This is true. My point is that supplying technology as an incentive to change a country’s behavior is not unique to Europe and should not serve as an indictment. I don’t recall how we punished Pakistan for their role in supplying nuclear technology to Iran and N Korea.

Posted by: 037 at May 16, 2006 9:39 PM
Comment #148783
Franco-German policies were an attempt to undermine US policies
How DARE they not do what we tell them. Those evil-doers! We must invade them immediately! Posted by: ElliottBay at May 16, 2006 9:50 PM
Comment #148790

‘Those evil-doers! We must invade them immediately!’

Invading is old hat. Why not get rid of that pesky EU counterbalance with Trident?

Posted by: europheus at May 16, 2006 10:11 PM
Comment #148811

I say we agree to allow the EU to supply the reactors… if they take over policing Iraq.

Posted by: Don at May 17, 2006 12:05 AM
Comment #148813

We have some lead time. At the current rate of production, the Iranians will have enough enriched uranium to construct a bomb in 13 years. Possessing the uranium and constructing a bomb are two separate issues. If they add a substantial number of centrifuges, they could have the material in 10 years.

So, we have some time.

Iran is a theocratic democracy. The political structure is in place for Iran to become more democratic and less theocratic. Treating Iran as an equal, perhaps even an ally, and meanwhile letting the forces of globalization act upon them, is far more likely to yield the desired outcome than saber rattling.

In addition, Iraq is likely to finish its transformation into a similar theocratic democracy. Both countries will be dominated by the Shias. They are more likely to be allied with one another than the US.

Given the enormous clout this will give the Shias, we would be wise to dump the conservative outlook which has done our position in the world so much harm. We need to get past the harm caused by the Bush administration and act in our own long-term interests.

Xander,
It is absurd to view a Franco/German alliance with alarm. These are two of the largest and most peaceful democracies in the world. If we view them as enemies, why in the world would we want to spread democracies throughout the Middle East?

Don,
There is no chance any other countries will help the US in Iraq. Blair will be gone soon, and the Brits will probably withdraw from southern Iraq. In the city of Basar they are averaging an assassination every hour. It is bad. Real bad. Once the Shias kill enough Sunnis to end resistance, and win the civil war, we would do well to establish a vision of the Middle East which creates respectful and mutually advantageous relations. It will not be easy, but it must be done and it can be done.

Posted by: phx8 at May 17, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #148815

Bloggers, contained within this Blog are those who are particularly skilful in pleading with you the rights of the rest of the world; and I should be glad to give them this single piece of advice: that they should seek to plead your rights to the rest of the world. It is monstrous to instruct you about the rights of foreign dictators and lend support to the policies of countries that would placate dictators and undermine our world order; and it is not right that these Bloggers should have presented all the arguments against America and none of those in its favor.

“How DARE they not do what we tell them”

As the leader of the world order we alone possess the mandate to establish a new world order and we must command support when it is essential and prevent dissention when it would undue all that we fight for. While I am not saying that there is a Franco-German enemy in formation, I am saying they are undermining our policies and these policy approaches must not continue.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 17, 2006 12:23 AM
Comment #148820

Xander,
For America, “Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.

But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force….

She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….

[America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace.”

This is part of the speech given by John Quincy Adams from the well of the House of Representatives, July 4th 1821.

Posted by: phx8 at May 17, 2006 12:40 AM
Comment #148821

At the time Adams wrote that the world was a very different place, one in which Britain was the hegemon and therefore the mantle of world order fell on the motherland. No more. The US is now that which maintains the world order, and unless we want to see another power establish a new order, one that may or may not be a better world to live in, but which will most definitely not favor the US, then we must maintain and expand our established order. See Volgy and Bailin 2005 for more on world structural power.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 17, 2006 12:48 AM
Comment #148822

Xander Jones:

Interesting viewpoint. The last time America thought like that, they sent the CIA to overthrow the duly elected Iranian President and installed the Shah in his place.

Ofcourse… that had nothing to do with the present crisis.

Posted by: Aldous at May 17, 2006 12:51 AM
Comment #148824

phx8,

“Iran is a theocratic democracy.”

No. Iran is a theocracy, period. To view Iran as a democracy would require an extremely loose definition of the word. Even if they start implementing fair elections, they will remain a far cry from a democratic nation. Nevertheless, fair elections will never take place in Iran, so long as the Guardian Council has its say.

“The political structure is in place for Iran to become more democratic and less theocratic.”

Please elaborate. I have not yet seen any concrete steps—nor baby steps—taken by the Iranian leadership toward a more democratic system of governance.

BTW, any country that is actively seeking the destruction of another does not meet the requirements of being an ally of the US. Not that it matters. Iran is not interested in aligning itself with the US, nor any other Western country.

As for the whisper-like democratic movements within the country, they have little support from the country’s leadership. The prospects for change, therefore, are VERY slim. Just take a look at the makeup of the government, the role of religious leaders (Guardian Council) in determining policy, and the utter lack of moderate voices within that poisonous regime.

There was a time when liberals, such as yourself, would have been eager to take up the fight against dictators like Ahmadinejad. Yet, today, you are defending the man—to an extent—on the basis of the failures of a “conservative outlook.” I can still recall the last liberal White House that overlooked the worst genocide of recent memory. Look into Rwanda and you will understand the uncompromising failures that result freom an internationalist outlook.

Posted by: Dr Politico at May 17, 2006 12:55 AM
Comment #148826

Regarding my last post:

When I say “the last liberal White House,” I am speaking in terms of foreign policy. In terms of domestic policy, we still have a liberal White House.

Posted by: Dr Politico at May 17, 2006 1:01 AM
Comment #148829
However, the light-water reactor is fueled by enriched uranium, which can be used to produce highly enriched weapons grade material for nuclear warheads.

Dr, you — inadvertently, I’m sure — forgot to mention that the EU would do the enriching. Iranians get the reactor if they stop enriching their own uranium.

…under the deal to be proposed by the West, Iran would be guaranteed a supply of fuel from outside the country

In fact, the US and EU are on the right track with this. The point is to put Iran in a position where it’s obvious that the only possible use for their nuclear program is for military purposes.

It’s working. Ahmadinejad’s lobbying trip to Muslim SE Asia was met with lukewarm support only on the condition that Iran cooperate fully with the IAEA and yesterday, China and Russia both turned on Iran and told them to take the EU offer.

Mr. Liu called on Iran to react positively to the European plan, Reuters reported. He also expressed a hope that the European Union would “improve” its plan to “take into account the reasonable concerns of Iran,” the news agency reported.

Speaking in Beijing, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, called on Iran to clear up remaining doubts about its nuclear program, saying that Moscow is “worried that Iran has not answered questions posed by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” according to Russia’s state-run news agency.

The way Dr Rice is handling our part in this issue is probably the only real foreign policy success the Bush administration has.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 17, 2006 1:17 AM
Comment #148830

Dr Politico:

So you support the overthrow of the Iranian President and Installation of the Shah?

Posted by: Aldous at May 17, 2006 1:17 AM
Comment #148833

Xander,

“As the leader of the world order we alone possess the mandate to establish a new world order and we must command support when it is essential and prevent dissention when it would undue all that we fight for.”

Sorry, that “us and them” attitude is what has gotten our relationship with the rest of the world into it’s present mess.
There are cultures on this planet with temples older than America.
America cannot continue to be the biggest bully on the block. If we do there will be more Sept 11th’s and the support will be for those against us.
We just can’t sink into a “shoot em all and let God sort them out” attitude and expect cooperation from the rest of the world, and the world’s cooperation is nescessary, if the spread of Democracy is to continue.

Posted by: Rocky at May 17, 2006 1:32 AM
Comment #148837

Rocky,

Your argument is exactly why the US must maintain and reinforce the world order. It is being challenged now, by those that we especially don’t want forming the new order. Only be establishing the Hegemonic world order that has held the system together for the last 50 years can things reach equalibrium. If the US gives ground to those challenging the order, then rival systems will develop and there will be much continued warfar and conflict.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 17, 2006 1:51 AM
Comment #148841

Xander & Dr,
You underestimate America. You underestimate the tremendous attraction our country presents to other countries and cultures. In one sense this attraction is mere materialism. In a higher sense, this attraction is derived from freedom of expression, & freedom itself.

The Bush administration is right when it comes to advocating ideals like freedom & liberty. But how to do so? No country in the world benefits more from trade than the US. No one benefits more from peaceful relations and globalization than us.

It is not 1821, and isolationism is not an option. But Adams is right in this respect: the attraction of our culture and ideals is ultimately irresistable. It spreads through modeling, through globalization, & through the rule of law and trade.

It most emphatically does NOT spread through military conquest.

I will not address a topic like Rwanda, much as I would like to go into that. We should have intervened. Period. But for a very interesting take on the causes of the disaster in Rwanda, read “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. Basically, he argues that geographic determinism and a malthusian population explosion made the bloodshed inevitable. Anyway, highly recommened reading!

True story. The Nez Perce were tremendously impressed with their initial contacts with white men. They wanted the material goods which the whites flaunted, and asked how to obtain them. The white men responded that everything came from faith and belief in the Bible & God. Neither culture understood the other, not at all. The Nez Perce interpreted this in terms similar to a cargo cult; belief in God & the Bible would result in acquiring material wealth.

So the Nez Perce sent a small delegation eastward. Eventually, a few of them made contact, and indicated that they were very interested in the Bible, thinking that would result in trade & acquisition of material wealth. Whites took this as a request for missionaries. The missionaries brough disease and the utter destruction of native american cultures.

But spreading American materialism & ideals does not necessitate destruction. Change can be spread peacefully, and innoculations are available to counter the more harmful elements that come with change. This can happen peacefully, in a benign fashion; military conquest is unnecessary.

There is no need to swagger or bully or dominate. Believe in the the best we have to offer. It will work.

Posted by: phx8 at May 17, 2006 2:20 AM
Comment #148859
In terms of domestic policy, we still have a liberal White House.

Posted by: Dr Politico at May 17, 2006 01:01 AM

Tell that to the citizens of New Orleans, those Americans whose `phone records have been compiled by the NSA, and about 150 different species of wildlife in ANWR.

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 17, 2006 6:08 AM
Comment #148871

Dr Politico,

I guess you should get one more Geography 101, because Europe is (far) wider than just France.
If you’re french-bashing, don’t title your post “Europe”. If you’re euro-bashing, stop talk about only France. In this very topic, Germany *and* UK share France view. Why aren’t you british-bashing then?

Last but not least, that is the same policy pushed by US (and France were NOT part of it!) with North Korean in the 90’. But Bush new doctrine stop the KEDO project.
So, did US solved nuclear dilemma in North Korea? In Pakistan? In India? In China? In Israel?

Nope. We all failed, so far.
But, please, be my guess, have fun making joke at french.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending:

Where can you find 60,100,000 French jokes?
In France./

Check your numbers, it’s bigger, thanks to birthrate.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 17, 2006 7:10 AM
Comment #148874

Xander,

While I am not saying that there is a Franco-German enemy in formation, I am saying they are undermining our policies and these policy approaches must not continue.

What’s real US policy toward Iran nuclear program?
Strike the plant? In such case, I fail to see how the Franco-German *AND* UK policy could undermine an air strike.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 17, 2006 7:25 AM
Comment #148878

Dr Politico,

Iran’s quest for nuclear technology has been met with unquestionable opposition from the Bush Administration and, until today, similar opposition from the European Union.

If you mean nuclear weapon technology, agreed.
If you mean nuclear civil technology, I disagree. Europe, in line with the NPT charter, don’t oppose Iran quest for nuclear civil technology.
While US do.

Proposing to help Iran, but under international control, to progress faster toward nuclear energy is a good way to see if Iran is really after nukes only, too or not. Plus, such proposition kill nobody. To be opposed to an air strike in the next months or years…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 17, 2006 7:33 AM
Comment #148909

Xander,

“Your argument is exactly why the US must maintain and reinforce the world order. It is being challenged now, by those that we especially don’t want forming the new order.”

Perhaps I was too subtle.

No, it’s not America’s place to maintain, re-inforce, or enforce the world order.

We are only a member in this “world order”. Just because we are the “baddest” (militarily) member on the block right now, doesn’t put America in the position to “order” how things go.

Our screwing around with other countries governments in the latter part of the last century is why we are fighting the war on terror to begin with.
Do you understand that OUR policies have pissed people off?

The respect America garnered after WW2 disipated after we displayed some imperialistic tendencies of our own, and whatever sympathy the world community had for America after Sept. 11th, has been pissed away.

I don’t have a problem with America helping the rest of the world, but Democracy cannot be handed out like candy, or enforced at the end of a gun.
It must be fought for and earned.

If we continue trying to remake the world in our own image, we will be deserving of what ever happens.

Posted by: Rocky at May 17, 2006 10:49 AM
Comment #148921

Rocky,

Group hegemony doesn’t work, read up on structural power and you will see that world architecture can only be constructed by a fully empowered hegemon. In periods of group hegemony the structures are unstable and conflict is imminent.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 17, 2006 11:19 AM
Comment #148922

Philippe,

You misundertand, the policy is no nuclear program for Iran and by undermining that policy, other nations are wryling against the world hegemon and when that resistance becomes great enough then it necessitates either a new hegemon (and who really is poised to fill that role right now?) or a much increased military domination from the current hegemon. Either way you get a series of world wars to establish the new order, in this way the policies of the Franco-German led EU can be very damaging to world order.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 17, 2006 11:26 AM
Comment #148932

Xander,

The very concept of hegemoney smacks of the totalitarianism that we have fought against.
Your assumption that the world wants to be lead by America and will just fall into it’s rightfull place behind us is dubious at best.

Do you truely think that China, for instance, will just kowtow to American wishes?
I think not.

Right now America has the dominant military presence on the planet, but we have mortgaged our children’s future, if not our very souls to acomplish this.
And steadily lost world support in the process.

History is littered with the comings and goings of empires, shall we be next?

Posted by: Rocky at May 17, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #148941

This idea that America is the biggest, the best and the baddest is going to come back and bite us on the ass. Proponents of this should keep this in mind.

Who are we to say who should have nuclear technology and who shouldn’t? The horse is out of the barn folks. We need to rethink how to handle this whole mess.

Who is the only country in the world that has used the “nuclear option”? US.

From what I have seen happen with our foreign policy over my lifetime sometimes makes me ashamed. It seems we will never learn. Who the hell do we think we are?

I think we should seriously consider our motives and actions. Think about this: what if a number of countries got tired of dealing with us and banded together? Are we big enough, strong enough, rich enough to take them on and win?

We have done some serious wrongs in our quest to be the super power. We can’t even take care of our own borders and our own citizens.

We are arrogant and every bit the “ugly american”.

Posted by: womanmarine at May 17, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #148952

Xander,

You misundertand, the policy is no nuclear program for Iran…

None at all, right?
I said: “Europe, in line with the NPT charter, don’t oppose Iran quest for nuclear civil technology. While US do.”
Tell me again where I’ve misunderstand US policy on no Iran nuclear program?
I *know* US want *no* Iran nuclear program, nor military nor a civil one. Except that under NPT, US along other nuclear powers agreed that every nation have the right to nuclear peacefull development. By opposing *any* nuclear program in Iran, one that so far they says is a civil one, your country is breaking its NPT agreement.
EU triad try to not breaking her, that’s a difference, and try to confront Iran about its nuclear program “peacefullness”.

… and by undermining that policy, other nations are wryling against the world hegemon and when that resistance becomes great enough then it necessitates either a new hegemon (and who really is poised to fill that role right now?) or a much increased military domination from the current hegemon.

And? You’re not happy? That what happen when someone else *undermine* your policy: it taste bad. Welcome to the club. Old members here!
Plus, nobody ask you to “fill” that role, you’re the one asking to keep it. Alone. And/because you largely benefits from it.
Sorry, you can’t have both way.

Either way you get a series of world wars to establish the new order…

Are you saying that Iraq War is all France fault?
Are you saying that Afghanistan War is all France fault?
Are you saying that North Korean nukes is all France fault?
Are you saying that a future Iran War will be all France fault?

Seriously?
If yes, please back these claims with hard facts. Hard facts on the “all France fault” part in particular. Should be funny.

…in this way the policies of the Franco-German led EU can be very damaging to world order.

For the last time, regarding Iran, please consider it’s the policies of the “Franco-British-German”!
Why do you always forgot UK policy in your posts???

Regarding EU policies damaging the (current, aka favoring US) world order, I’ll bet US last few years foreign policy have made way bigger damage to this so-called world “order” (I think it’s more a balance than an order, but, well) than EU could have dream to do herself. If she has such dream. Which AFAIK she hasn’t (she has its own - domestic - issues to fix, you know)

But feel free to continue blaming EU, and France among all EU 25 nations, over increased US hatred worldwide. If it help you to fear less about world order, after all, who am I to break your conspiracy theories!? Be my guess, enjoy.

Rocky,

History is littered with the comings and goings of empires, shall we be next?

As History told previous empires, the question is never “shall” but just “when”.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 17, 2006 1:00 PM
Comment #148954

Phillipe,

One can only assume that by learning history, changes could be made so that it not repeated.

I will admit that assumes too much.

Posted by: Rocky at May 17, 2006 1:12 PM
Comment #149022

and let’s not assume to much, because like my old mother said, it will make a ass out of u and me.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 17, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #149024

Rodney,

We’re not doing too well in the learning from our mistakes department.

Posted by: Rocky at May 17, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #149034

agreed, Rocky! it seems like Deja-vu. 1,2,3, how many are we allowed?

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 17, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #149088

Well guys, I think it comes down to a fundamental difference in methodological approach. I support the idea that structural power is needed to order the system and with the lack of hegemon you have constant conflict.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 17, 2006 9:43 PM
Comment #149102

Xander,

So what your saying is we all need a babysitter.

Posted by: Rocky at May 17, 2006 10:33 PM
Comment #149105

Xander

As the leader of the world order we alone possess the mandate to establish a new world order and we must command support when it is essential and prevent dissention when it would undue all that we fight for. While I am not saying that there is a Franco-German enemy in formation, I am saying they are undermining our policies and these policy approaches must not continue.
A MANDATE???? You have no idea what the word means. Our claim of a “mandate” as “leaders of the world order” is as legitimate as Bush’s claim of a “mandate” following the 2004 election. And it sounds very Hitlerian in nature.

Posted by: ElliottBay at May 17, 2006 10:50 PM
Comment #149107

Rocky, and all,

Well I wouldn’t make it into a pejorative. Without going all Poli Sci professor on you:


Realists argue that international relations are essentially conflictual and this is because of the anarchical nature of the international system (Pease 2000). States are stuck in a self-help situation where all other states pose a potential or actual threat to their own security. The only solution to the problem is for a state to become so relatively powerful that no other state in the system can threaten its sovereignty. Several realist research theories exist to explain state power in this quest to become completely secure. Waltz’s balance-of-power theory (1979), Organski’s power transition theory (1958), Gilpin’s hegemonic transition theory (1981) and Modelski and Thompson’s (1989) theory of long cycles. However, these approaches consider only military strength, and do not measure structural strength. It is through the combination of both kinds of power that there emerges the possibility that the world will not be locked in constant violent conflict at all times.
Susan Strange’s conception of structural strength versus relational strength is crucial when trying to explain the confusing paradox that comes out of growing US military and economic relational power and its inability to exert hegemonic dominance over the international system. Strange (1989) suggests that relational strength is the sufficient for coercing/persuading other actors within the state system to conform to desired behavior. Structural strength is the capability of the hegemon to establish the norms, institutions and rules of the system, which dictates state’s behaviors without the need for coercion. The latter requires more than pure military or economic strength that can be used to muscle states in a one-on-one confrontational style, it requires that a hegemon be able to dictate the preferences of other states and establish a consensus on all important system issues.
In light of these two conceptions of power the current world order can be re-examined. Volgy and Imwalle (1995) provide graphic representation of US relational and structural power through time. It is clear that relational power has been increasing while structural power has been in steady decline since the 1950’s (1995 p240). Their evidence suggests that although the US is definitely the dominant power, creating a unipolar system, it does not have enough structural power to maintain hegemonic status. If this is the case then there should be evidence that shows that although the US can coerce other states into cooperation and maintain the current structure it does not have enough power to establish a new system.
Volgy and Bailin (2005) suggest that there is evidence of such a phenomena. The US has been able to maintain such institutions as NATO (p14) in the face of the decline of the USSR. The US does not possess the power to create a new security regime but it can support and expand the already established NATO structure to suit its new need for a collective security arrangement. Economic structures remain as well such as the IMF, World Bank and the GATT/WTO which all promote economic liberalism and democratization; goals of the cold war era. These organizations live on and assume new missions because it is easier to maintain the structure that already favors the US than form new institutions and regimes.
In terms of US failure to form new structures it is difficult to measure non-events but the recent failure to build a unified anti-Iraq coalition is evident of the shrinking ability of the US to command international opinion. The US failure to receive UN authorization for the invasion of Iraq points to growing willingness of the international community to stand up to US pressures. The GATT summits have within the last two decades become dominated by human rights and environmental issues, often which the US opposes or at least does not support. Within the UN the group of 77 developing nations have come to dominate the general assembly docket placing issues of concern to the US out of the focus of the body (Bennett and Oliver 2002).
Since the US retains the relational power which enables it to sustain the system but not enough structural power to redesign the system, world order is changing by a process of what Volgy and Bailin call creeping incrementalism. The end of the Cold War left the US as by far the world’s strongest power and left no other immediate threat to that dominance. No state has enough structural strength to redesign the system. The continuing system is close enough to the Cold War system that the former institutions can adapt to meet new the needs of a crises that may threaten the unipolar system (Volgy and Bailin at p11). When change in the system is required the US has to recruit several other major powers to achieve that change.
When hegemonic power is required to perform the change possible under creeping incrementalism the US has to turn to other major powers within multilateral institutions (Id at 17). Volgy and Bailin suggest that the role of the G7 is to fulfill these institutionalized group hegemony demands. Limited membership keeps the problems of collective action low and those states can be called upon to augment American hegemony. Continued use of the G7 enables all members to win sometimes, reducing the chance of defection on any single issue. Volgy and Bailin claim that the G7 was formed for this purpose towards the end of the last system and then persevered after the decline of Soviet power.
Institutionalized group hegemony is no substitute for a single hegemon however because it is limited in its application. Volgy and Bailin suggest that it is most effective when solving macro-economic problems but not so much in addressing regional problems (Id at p22). Group hegemony combined with the incremental approach is what has enabled the US to maintain the international order even though it lacks the structural strength to unilaterally bring about change. However, Volgy maintains that if the US wished to do so it could convert some of the gains in the economic realm into gains in structural power (Volgy and Imwalle 1995). Effectively the US is the ONLY nation that can maintain the stability of the system and prevent a collapse into pre-WWII pure system anarchy.


Bennett and Oliver. 2002. International Organizations. Pearson Education, NJ.


Gilpin, Robert. 1981. War and Change in World Politics. Cambridge University Press.

Mearshimer, John J. 1990. “Back to the Future: Instability in Europe after the Cold
War”. International Security. 15:5-56.

Modelski, George. 1978. “The Long Cycle of Global Politics and the Nation-State.
Comparative Studies in Society and History 20:214-235.


Strange, Susan. 1989. “Toward a Theory of Transnational Empire.” In Ernst-Otto
Czempiel and James Rosenau. eds. Global Changes and Theoretical Challenges:
Approaches to World Politics for the 1990s. Lexington: Lexington Books.

Volgy, Thomas J. and Alison Bailin. 2005. International Politics and State Strength.
Boulder: Lynne Rienner.

Volgy, Thomas J. and Lawrence Imwalle. 1995. “Hegemonic and Bipolar Perspectives
on the New World Order”. American Journal of Political Science.

Waltz, Kenneth N. 1979. Theory of International Relations. Boston: Addison-Wesley.

Wilkinson, David. 1999. “Unipolarity without Hegemony”. International Studies
Review. 1:141-172.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 17, 2006 10:53 PM
Comment #149123

Xander,

This is all well and good in theory.
All this really does is narrow it down to “us or them”.

I am not a collage graduate so I have never taken “Poly Sci”, and this whole world domination thing is new to me, so please, bear with me.

I’m sure that every country would love to be in control of the world.

Right now we have the upper hand because we have outspent everybody else on wizzz bang military hardware, and we have the capability of spying on any phone call, or any e-mail, anytime or anywhere we want to.

So, there’s what, 190 or so countries on the planet?
We can throw out 85% of them because they’re military might is insignificant. That leaves us with aprox. 28 1/2 countries.
Out of the 28.5 countries 7 are known to be members of the “Nuclear Club”, with two possible suspect members, probably another dozen that have had “programs” in the past that may or may not have been abandoned.

1 of the “knowns” is a bullet away from an authoritarian regime that would make Afghanistan look like Nebraska.

Together the “Club” still has enough fissionable material to burn the planet to a cinder.

In reality how many of these countries are going to acquiesce to American world domination?

And you don’t find that answer a little scary?

Posted by: Rocky at May 18, 2006 12:11 AM
Comment #149124

Its not about domination really, its about having the power (structural) to build rules that everyone follows (whether they agree or not). You have to have rules, or you have anarchy, and anarchy means the world powers (your number is generous, in reality only about 8 countries have the ability to launch an offensive war, and only 1 has the power to launch prolonged international war on at least two fronts [the US]) will each attempt to construct their own order, which means world war. Without a hegemon, you get world war. History has shown that whenever the hegemon is unseated, you have a world war to restructure. As the current hegemon, this is not desirable, and for anyone who enjoys the freedoms that the current structure has brought (the spread of democracy and trade) it is bad.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 18, 2006 12:16 AM
Comment #149126

Xander

I’m not trying to be difficult, but you still haven’t answered the question.

How many countries even in the civilized world, are going to accept America’s leadership role without a fight?

Given our popularity right now, and the fact that we our resources are pretty thin, I think the question is valid.

Posted by: Rocky at May 18, 2006 12:23 AM
Comment #149127

Sorry about the we.

Posted by: Rocky at May 18, 2006 12:25 AM
Comment #149128

Well, it isn’t a matter of choosing to accept. Subordinate countries in a hegemony have no choice unless the hegemon institutes rewards and penalties according to policy. When countries don’t play nice (they undermine the hegemon’s policies) then you administer penalties in the form of sanctions, warnings, and invasions. When they cooperate you reward with binding agreements, increased levels of trade and investment. What Volgy and Bailin argue, and I do as well, is that since the 1980’s we have undercapitalized our investment in structural power (we have been wimping out too much and failing to reward others) and that we need to get tough and generous at the same time; tougher on those trying to disturb the order, and more generouse with those supporting it (of which there are still plenty, but the more we pussy around the fewer that there will be).

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 18, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #149129

Xander,
Interesting reading. There is an assumption of agreement about goals. However, the assumption leads to a perception of leadership and a perception of structure which limits the possible outcome to a top-down model, with a hegemon providing structure, stability, and acting as relational referee.

A couple of vague observations which might encourage original ideas:

What is leadership? Most people do not understand the topic. There are numerous styles enumerated in military training and business. Here are two links:

http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/leadership_styles.htm

http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadstl.html

Apply leadership styles to potential styles of international relations. Catch my drift?

Another interesting topic is negotiating. Again, most people do it in some form or other all the time, but have no idea what is involved. Usually people imagine negotiating is an adversarial process. They imagine it is a process of haggling over, say, a pie.

Frame the problem in more favorable terms. Create a larger a larger pie. Apply the concept to international relations.

Discussions of hegemony or unipolarity make little sense in military terms. While the US possesses conventional military forces which are more powerful than any other forces by orders of magnitude, it is a Third Generation type of power which is rendered worse than useless by Fourth Generation Warfare. In addition, weaponry such as biological warfare makes use of overwhelming conventional or even nuclear force an extremely hazardous undertaking.

Fortunately, technological innovation & adaptability is a strength of US culture. By its very nature, innovation and adaptability are politically progressive and liberal, in contrast with conservative thinking, which seeks to conserve the static status quo.

Nothing could be more foolish than to continue approaching the world in terms of military conquest or oil policy. Our strength is in technological innovation and adaptability. The rest of the world is already making its first steps into that realm through the Kyoto Accords.

Once the Bush administration is out of the way, I look forward to the US resuming leadership in this area. We can create a larger pie, through leadership styles which encourage multipolar shared goals. It is a kinder way, a more compassionate way, and a far more utilitarian, practical path.

Look back at that speech by Adams, Xander. It is a brilliant piece of writing, and very applicable to the situation today.


Posted by: phx8 at May 18, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #149130

Generous… that was

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 18, 2006 12:31 AM
Comment #149134

phx8,

“Nothing could be more foolish than to continue approaching the world in terms of military conquest or oil policy.”

What you said!

Posted by: Rocky at May 18, 2006 12:37 AM
Comment #149135

Hegemony is about structural power and military power, you can’t negate the first Phx8. And THAT is where the crux lies, in the end overlapping structures that clash and lead to zero-sum behavior between the two (or more) competing structures. When examined in terms of polarity (this is structurally, not militarily) you have the least conflict in a unipolar hegemony, some in a bipolar hegemony and tons in a multi-polar situation. Think Italian parlament but between countries. Shifting agreements and no set rules or order. Without the perverbial threat of a spanking, states don’t play by any rules but their own and feel free to change the rules any time they want.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 18, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #149136

The current problem is the current hegemon has gotten cheap about handing out cookies and a little too forgiving in making sure the whooping stick is handy.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 18, 2006 12:39 AM
Comment #149138

Xander,

“The current problem is the current hegemon has gotten cheap about handing out cookies and a little too forgiving in making sure the whooping stick is handy.”

Somehow I’m sure those weren’t cookies we were handing out in Iraq.

Posted by: Rocky at May 18, 2006 12:44 AM
Comment #149142

Xander,
Ok, I follow the concept of structural power. Very interesting. Especially interesting is the idea of a unipolar hegemony providing the most stable, least conflicted structure.

The terminology is new to me. It does remind me of the legal framework posited by Friedman & Barnett, among others, the shared perception of law and order which makes relations possible. Several pitfalls come to mind:

Would a unipolar hegemony be the most repressive of all structures? By definition it maintains uniformity & agreement on terms, which requires repressing conflicts. But conflict can also be a way of adapting to change, to changing conditions. Conflict provides the possibility of taking a thesis & antithesis, and creating a new synthesis…. survival of the fittest thesis.

If I understand this correctly, unipolar hegemony is a very… Hamiltonian… concept of political structure, as opposed to a more Jeffersonian model. It is a Platonic Republic made modern. Or to put it yet another way, unipolar hegemony advocates Lenin over Trotsky, Castro rather than Che, statism rather than internationalism, conservative rather than progressive, order instead of creativity.

I am rambling now, but interesting material Xander, appreciate it.

Posted by: phx8 at May 18, 2006 1:51 AM
Comment #149148

Xander,

Without a hegemon, you get world war. History has shown that whenever the hegemon is unseated, you have a world war to restructure. As the current hegemon, this is not desirable, and for anyone who enjoys the freedoms that the current structure has brought (the spread of democracy and trade) it is bad.

And this, still from you:

Subordinate countries in a hegemony have no choice unless the hegemon institutes rewards and penalties according to policy. When countries don’t play nice (they undermine the hegemon’s policies) then you administer penalties in the form of sanctions, warnings, and invasions.

So long for your “freedoms that the current structure has brought”. Where is true freedom when subordinates countries are in “lite” slavery?
So long for the spread of free trading when there’s no true freedom for us little players (yep, like France) to trade with nations that US dislike or classify as *their* (not *our*) enemies?

In my opinion, the single true freedom subordinates countries really haveis to choose between slavery, whatever liteness, and fighting for its real freedom. Hegemony will never work in the long term because people tend (how dare they!?) to like more freedom over subordination.
Or does the right to figth for freedom apply only to americans?

People like to do as they will as much as they could. Won’t change anytine soon, whatever structural hegemony could have provide a short-time (in term of mankind lifetime) stability.
People see the difference between structural hegemony and pure altruism, you know. Check worldwide opinion about US foreign policies during the last 60 years…

BTW, if I translate you position from geopolitical space to software industry space, you will be for a total Microsoft “structural” hegemony over any computer standards. Say bye to open source softwares, say bye to HTTP & HTML (not invented by Microsoft nor in USA BTW) which means say bye to watchblog.com in its current shape, say bye to MacOS [X], say bye to Java & PHP, etc.
So long for alternative solution and kiss your new digital hegemony’s ass.

PS: are you posting thru Internet Explorer or Firefox, just curious…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 18, 2006 4:33 AM
Comment #149149

Xander,

When examined in terms of polarity (this is structurally, not militarily) you have the least conflict in a unipolar hegemony, some in a bipolar hegemony and tons in a multi-polar situation.

Since 1945, how many wars US was involved with (unipolarity at work) others nations ? Its neighboors?
Since 1945, how many wars EU was involved with (trying multipolarity) others nations? Its neighboors?

… in reality only about 8 countries have the ability to launch an offensive war, and only 1 has the power to launch prolonged international war on at least two fronts [the US]

Only 1? I think your underestimate China and Russia. Plus with nukes none of these 8 countries really need anymore to be able to substain a prolonged multi-fronts international war. They just need to be the quickest MAD (not to be confused with NUTS!) one of all.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 18, 2006 4:53 AM
Comment #149150

No I am not underestimating them. Neither country can launch a multifront attack beyond their immediate neighbors. But that aside.

There is no inconsistency between the two statements. One is talking about the rules of the system, and the other is talking about the promotion of domestic policies coupled with a free-trade system.

I’ve already laid out the structural definition as much as I can without just quoting the entire texts. So without talking about structural power the discussion loses focus.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 18, 2006 5:24 AM
Comment #149151

Eh that came off snotty. Just tired.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 18, 2006 5:27 AM
Comment #149314

There’s the power you can claim, then there’s the power you actually have when you try and do something. The difference, to the extent it exists, is in how you go about using them.

Xander wrote of the subjects of the Hegemon (us, I’m guessing) having no choice but to submit, but in reality, even conquered people have choices. Difficult, but they can be made.

Our European Allies, told to take a hike by us, are off doing their own thing. Why is this unexpected?

As for enrichment? It’s difficult. Uranium is natural, but most of it, by far, is an Isotope called U-238, which doesn’t engender the kind of chain reactions nuclear plants and nuclear weapons need to produce lots of energy in one place. When you hear about Depleted Uranium, thi is the main ingredient by far. It’s radioactive, but not that much. The half-life of the Isotope is equal to the age of our planet.

What they’re looking for is U-235, which is very fissionable. It’s also very rare, in comparison. Only .72 percent can be found in naturally occuring Uranium.

Typically, The Uranium is turned into some kind of gas and spun around in a series of centrifuges. These aren’t cheap or easy to construct, the speeds are intense and wear at the parts quickly. Also, the separation is slow and painstaking.

Nuclear fuel for Heavy Water Reactors, which uses water whose hydrogen is mainly the isotope Deuterium (A neutron in addition to the proton) is natural uranium metal. For a light water reactor, there’s the need to enrich to 10-15%, but there’s a major difference.

The U-238 that gets bombarded by Neutrons becomes Plutonium 239, an isotope that works very well in nukes. The Heavy Water plants, which use natural Uranium, produce much more of this than the Light Water Reactors. Iran has it’s own supplies of Uranium, so it can go on producing this material essentially for free.

So, still, why risk giving them enriched Uranium? The trick is that it’s only a 10-15% headstart, when the goal is 85-90% Since we’re asking them to end enrichment, we’d be the ones to give it to them. I think we’d also negotiate to have it back, too.

No easy answer here, contrary to what some believe.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 18, 2006 9:05 PM
Comment #149346

Woman Marine,
Let’s look at his logically. Do we have the right to tell Iran they can’t have nukes? No, not really. However, they have repeatedly threatened us and our allies with nukes, you know they one’s they say they aren’t building, and if they ever carry out that threat, what will be our response, hmmm? It will be nukes of course. Probably more than one. At least you better hope so because I hear the Muslims are rather tough on the girls when they take over. So what we are trying to do is avoid a NUCLEAR EXCHANGE, which would lead to more nukes down the road. We have a right to defend ourselves, but only if we first all agree that we are worth defending.

Unfortunatly, all the kooks who think America is evil, have never lived in a totalitarian country. They have no idea what evil is. Because of the hard work and sacrifice of those who came before us, they have so much time and priviledge, they can afford to work up a good hatred of the US because some of us don’t care about seals like they do, or aren’t as compassionate with other people’s money as they are. Meanwhile poor Mexicans risk death to get here just for a job. I guess they just don’t have time to sit around and ruminate about how evil America is.

Lastly, I have friends who are Marines. I love the Military. My greatest regret is not joining. Thanks for your service. But, please don’t make me explain to a Marine why dropping nukes on Japan was the correct tactical and strategic decision. I have too much respect for what they did in the Pacific.

Posted by: David C. at May 18, 2006 11:15 PM
Comment #149421

If this article is true, the debates may be moot.

I personally find this very disturbing

Holocaust II?

Posted by: gergle at May 19, 2006 9:44 AM
Comment #149437

Gergle,

That is quite possibly the most disturbing article I have ever read. I emailed the author, Chris Wattie, asking about the veracity of the story and he (or she) stands by it—obviously?

While I remain hesitant to accept this story as fact, it does appear to be consistent with the depravity of Iran’s present regime. Also, Drudge has the story running on his website, which adds a certain level of credibility in my eyes.

Posted by: Dr Politico at May 19, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #149458

Dave C.
My feelings exactly!!

Betty,
Didn’t want you to feel bad because everyone else ignored you.
1) the people of NO should be more upset with the failures of their local and state governments. Besides, not really sure what that has to do with the subject of this post.
2) Last I heard, 2 of the 3 phone companies mentioned in the USA Today report have publicly denied furnishing the records. Makes you wonder if this is yet another phoney (couldn’t risist the pun) story to attempt to do political damage. Besides, according to the USA Today’s won report, the NSA was buying info that is legal for phone companies to sell to anyone (and they do sell it). Again, how is this related to this thread?
3) There are only 150 species in ANWR?? My local zoo has more than that!! Perhaps, if liberal extremists were not opposed to solar and wind farms, bio-fuel processing plants and nuclear power, maybe we wouldn’t need the oil. Oh, well….again, relevance to this thread??
Have a great weekend!!!

Posted by: Rich at May 19, 2006 1:18 PM
Comment #149549

Rich,

“There are only 150 species in ANWR?? My local zoo has more than that!! Perhaps, if liberal extremists were not opposed to solar and wind farms, bio-fuel processing plants and nuclear power, maybe we wouldn’t need the oil. Oh, well….again, relevance to this thread??”

And I’m sure that those species in your local zoo are comfortable in their natural habitats.

If now isn’t the time to get off the teat of big oil, when will it be?

Posted by: Rocky at May 19, 2006 5:16 PM
Comment #149678
Invading is old hat. Why not get rid of that pesky EU counterbalance with Trident?


I guess because the moment the trident would leave the water France would open its silo gates and appr. 25 minutes later NY, LA, Chicago, Houston and every single US-Carrier Group on this globe would be radioactive waste.
(called second strike capability, witch France has.)

First world nations tend to react rather annoyed on beeing nuked…

Posted by: Simon at May 20, 2006 1:12 AM
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