Welke strategische visie moet president Obama hebben om de velerlei dreigingen in de wereld het hoofd te bieden en de kansen te benutten?Uitgangspunt hiervoor zou de recent gepubliceerde evaluatie moeten zijn van de Amerikaanse National Intelligence Council "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World."
Obama does more than select a good team, delegate well and react intelligently to the problems that he will confront. He must have his administration build a broader framework through which to view the world and America’s relations with it a grand strategy. At this moment, the United States has a unique opportunity to push forward a vision that aligns its interests and ideals with those of most of the world’s major powers. But it is a fleeting opportunity.
Grand strategy sounds like an abstract conceptsomething academics discussand one that bears little relationship to urgent, jarring events on the ground. But in the absence of strategy, any administration will be driven by the news, reacting rather than leading. For a superpower that has global interests and is forced to respond to virtually every problem, it’s all too easy for the urgent to drive out the important.
Strategy begins by looking at the world and identifying America’s interests, the threats to them and the resources available to be deployed. By relating all these, one can develop a set of foreign policies that will advance America’s interests and ideals. When the unexpected happens, one can respond in ways that are aligned with these broader objectives. One uses the urgent to pursue the important. Or, to put it another way: never let a crisis go to waste.
How to think strategically? ..
Any attempt at a grand strategy for today must also begin with an accurate appraisal of the world. For that, the Obama administration should study the National Intelligence Council’s newly published forecast, "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World."..
President-elect Obama has powers of his own, too. I will not exaggerate the importance of a single personality, but Obama has become a global symbol like none I can recall in my lifetime. Were he to go to Tehran, for example, he would probably draw a crowd of millions, far larger than any mullah could dream of. Were his administration to demonstrate in its day-to-day conduct a genuine understanding of other countries’ perspectives and an empathy for the aspirations of people around the world, it could change America’s reputation in lasting ways.
This is a rare moment in history. A more responsive America, better attuned to the rest of the world, could help create a new set of ideas and institutionsan architecture of peace for the 21st century that would bring stability, prosperity and dignity to the lives of billions of people. Ten years from now, the world will have moved on; the rising powers will have become unwilling to accept an agenda conceived in Washington or London or Brussels. But at this time and for this man, there is a unique opportunity to use American power to reshape the world. This is his moment. He should seize it.