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10:22AM

WPR's The New Rules: A Positive Narrative for U.S. Foreign Policy

Where is the positive vision for U.S. foreign policy in this election? President Barack Obama and on-again, off-again “presumptive” GOP nominee Mitt Romney now duel over who is more anti-declinist when it comes to America’s power trajectory, with both slyly attaching their candidacies to the notion that “the worst” is now behind us. On that score, Obama implicitly tags predecessor George W. Bush, while Romney promises a swift end to all things Obama. 

Halftime in America? Indeed.

Read the entire column at World Politics Review.

Reader Comments (9)

Thomas Barnett's optimistic vision of a \\\" fracking revolution in “tight” oil and shale gas\\\" which revolutionizes the USA and the world sounds very good, but also very simplicistic. Many Europeans and I once had the idea to revolutionze Europe by a revolution of reneweable energy--means: Build Italy, Portugal,Spain and Greece as the solar powerhouses of Europe with a renaissance of their economies, greater independence for Europe from foreign oil and gas, enabling those PIGScountries to pay their debts and tehreby solve the Eurocrisis.However, many politicians and expert told me that this vision sounds nice, but is impracticable. Therefore I am also very skeptic about the simplicistic approach of Tom Barnett.

February 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

It is a global game of "King Of The Hill." The United States seems to only have a goal of being "on top." The central purpose of the "game" does not allow for sharing the top of the hill. There are no "co-champions" in King Of The Hill. It is a game of constant struggle and conflict. Even children grow tired of it. Former champions in their day...Spain, France, England. Failed contenders...Germany, Japan and Russia.

It reminds me of these lines from a poem. "The world is too much with us and too soon. Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers."

February 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTed O'Connort

The more I think about it, the more I wonder why they picked the path for the Keystone XL pipeline they did? Running it across the Oglala aquifer brought opposition from a sizable chunk of the Midwest. The place they would run it to is on the Gulf of Mexico, which has its own oil supplies. And they bypass the Great Lakes region which is both closer to the Oil Sands and possessed of its own oil needs--especially in the winter, when roads need plowed and some people burn it for heat.

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

It is interesting that Thomas Barnett has a vision of a technological energy revolution or of globalization, but not of democracy like Fukuyama.Fukuyama with The end of history had this grand narrative, but failed in the short term.Therefore the next I read from Fukuyama was a much quoted article in the Chinese People´s Daily: The USA has nothing to teach China, not even democracy. Now Fukuyama and Kupchan in the Foreign Affairs try also to restore an American vision for the world which tries to restore the vision of democracy with an antineoliberal concept.I really feel sad that the USA is still such defensive and culturalpessimistic--from Obama to Romney to to Gingricht to Santorum..Barnett, Fukuymam and Kupchan seem to be the only ones who try to revitalize the vital, missionary USA we had during the Cold War.However, I ask myself: Are the postmodernist riht when they say that all grand narratives are alrady told and that there is no space for a new poitive narrative?
I yesterday read an article which portrays the liberal, benign hegemon conesensu of the USA as an anomaly--from Roosevelt to Carter. The USA before and afterwards had its deep identity crisis and the struggle of differnet factions to win this "Kulturkampf".Therefore in Europe and the rest of the world we have to get accustomed to the idea that the USA has returned to its old pattern and abolishes the anamoly of a liberal consensus we know from the short period of the Cold War.

March 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

I always enjoy the vision Tom displays. A future worth creating always resonates in his tone. Obvioulsy, new energy technology and multicontinent cartel will not be an easy task to accomplish but what a grand vision.

March 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Rogers

There seem to be three interconnected positive narratives of the USA:
-Political narrative Democracy and human rights
-Economical narrative Globalization
-Technological narrative NASA, IT , Bill Gates. Marc Zuckerman and Steve Jobst.Star Wars,shelf gas and tight oil revolution, etc.

It is interessting to see that Thomas Barnett is shifting to and is emphazizing the technological narrative as it seems that democracy, human rights and globalization after the desaster of the finiancial crisis have lost their impetus.To me this sounds like Lyndon La Rouche who also emphazised technological innovation as the center piece of the US narrative. La Rouche wanted to build nuclear-chemical complexes along a Eurasian New Silk Road (Lissabon-Beijing= equipped with German Transrapid technology and railways---in the centre an European productive triangle which should lead the world economy out of its crisis.Ther also have been plans to dry up the Mediterrean Sea and build a infrastructure zone from Europe to Africa.
Newt Gingrich wants to sponsor a new moon prject like George W. Bush wanted to travel to mars or as Reagan wanted Star Wars ( I never understood how the Russian could take this science-fixction-crap for real).I hope that the first two narratives of the USA will gain momentum again and I hope that Thoams Barnett´s idea of a fracking revolution in shelf gas and tight oil won´t be a new Jules Verne novel.However, I think it would be better to start with a revolution of renewable enegries and not with hybrocarbons, shelf gas and tight oil which will also reach its Peak Oil moment at a foreseeable future.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

Maybe to revitalize the narratives of democracy and human rights AND globalization it is necessay to reform the USA from a two party system into a multiparty system or have more people´s democracy like Switzerland ("Volksabstimmungen"). Maybe the best way to revitalize the narrative of globalization is that the USA becomes the forerunner of regulated capitalism, some sort of inertantionalist social democracy.
However, it seems unlikely that the two old parties will do this and that Thomas Barnett will like those ideas. Therefore America seems only to have the third narrative--technological innovaton. Let´s see if the USA can fullfill it.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

I forgot to mention a fourth narrative of the USA:

Religious Narrative (God´sown country, city on the hill, New Jerusalem) Evangelicalsim which is spreading in the USA, Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia

However, most Europeans find this religious narrative threatening as we had all this religious wars in Europe and have now a very moderate religion, most Europeans secularits and agnostic.The Evangelicals remid us more of the Clash of Civilization and new crusades in the name of Christianity and when we see Thomas Barnett´religious map of Africa or hear Pat Robertson´s proposal for the assassination of other countires`political leaders or watch the Evangelical TV station "Day Star"which promots Zionsit propaganda and a war against Iran, we think that this religious narrative of the USA is nothing positive.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

To summarize it: A US narrative which is based on hybrocarbons and Evangelicalism won´t solve the 21st centuriy problems. Reenvent democracy and regulated globalization and we will be better off and think about renewable energies!!!

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

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