America and the World After Bush: 12 Step Recovery Plan

As I write this, Barack Obama is minutes away from taking the oath of office as president of the United States.   It’s a fitting time, then, for an overview of the foreign policy challenges and opportunities ahead.

Let’s continue our look at Thomas Barnett‘s forthcoming book, America and the World After Bush, with Chapter Two: A Twelve-Step Recovery Program for American Grand Strategy.

1. Admit that we Americans are powerless over globalization. Barnett uses the analogy of a general contractor, who subcontracts “the lower-end jobs to the most competent, entry-level providers.”   We should quit trying to prevent the natural flow of simple manufacturing jobs to the developing world and the demand of immigrants who want to do wage labor from crossing our borders.   We should instead embrace these trends and remember that “demand determines power far more than supply.”

2. Come to believe that only a bipartisanship far greater than that displayed by most national leaders can restore sanity to America’s foreign affairs.  Barnett argues that the reign of the Baby Boom generation has been disastrous for our politics and that it’s time to pass the torch.  We need a “comprehensive and thus centering middle-class consensus on issues like globalization and overseas military interventions.”

Continued at New AtlanticistAmerica and the World After Bush: 12 Step Recovery Plan

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. M1EK says:

    The globalization answer is glib, but foolish. Take my field (software) as an example:

    We were supposed to ‘move up the value chain’ to architecture-like or senior development positions and then offshore all our more junior positions to India and the like.

    Problem is that if it worked (it didn’t, but let’s pretend it did), then where do the US architects or senior programmers come from in the future? You’ve just offshored all your jobs that people have to spend time in to get to those more senior or creative or valuable roles.