As twenty-first century draws near, there appears 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 world’s 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 worst—catastrophe. That has been the sad, costly lesson from the Cold War—a 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 America’s 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 America’s leadership as the world’s 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,