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December 31, 2003 » 1:37 pm

George Soros: “The Bubble of American Supremacy”

George Soros has an excellent article in this month’s The Atlantic Monthly entitled, “The Bubble of American Supremacy,” where he decries the neoconservative Bush doctrine and proposes an alternative. Soros compares the Bush doctrine to a financial bubble:    (OE)

The quest for American supremacy qualifies as a bubble. The dominant position the United States occupies in the world is the element of reality that is being distorted. The proposition that the United States will be better off if it uses its position to impose its values and interests everywhere is the misconception. It is exactly by not abusing its power that America attained its current position. (65)    (OF)

One of Soros’s criticisms is that framing our fight against terrorism as a “war” instead of “crime-fighting” dooms it to failure. (See my previous entry on George Lakoff and framing.) War assumes that there is an enemy state, which is not currently the case. Terrorism has always been a problem (although the scope and form in which it took place on September 11 was unprecedented), and will never completely go away. Worse, war implies and, in some ways, condones the existence of innocent victims, some of whom will undoubtedly become terrorists themselves in response. Soros says:    (OG)

The most powerful country in the world cannot afford to be consumed by fear. To make the war on terrorism the centerpiece of our national strategy is an abdication of our responsibility as the leading nation in the world. Moreover, by allowing terrorism to become our principal preoccupation, we are playing into the terrorists’ hands. They are setting our priorities. (66)    (OH)

Soros concludes by proposing a cooperative approach towards building collective security:    (OI)

I propose replacing the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive military action with preventative action of a constructive and affirmative nature. Increased foreign aid or better and fairer trade rules, for example, would not violate the sovereignty of the recipients. Military action should remain a last resort. The United States is currently preoccupied with issues of security, and rightly so. But the framework within which to think about security is collective security. Neither nuclear proliferation nor international terrorism can be successfully addressed without international cooperation. The world is looking to us for leadership. We have provided it in the past; the main reason why anti-American feelings are so strong in the world today is that we are not providing it in the present. (66)    (OJ)

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