We're Being Rolled

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 2, 2009

Peter Feaver surveys the diplomatic landscape. What he sees should disturb those who thought that the Obama Administration would be staffed with masterful diplomats:

Not too long ago, America wanted Europe to:

  • adopt more American approaches to addressing the global financial crisis;
  • shoulder more of the military and economic load in Afghanistan; and
  • accept more responsibility for holding the detainees currently at Guantanamo Bay.

And Europe wanted the opposite — for America to:

  • adopt more European approaches to addressing the global financial crisis;
  • shoulder more of the military and economic load in Afghanistan; and
  • accept more responsibility for holding the detainees currently at Guantanamo Bay.

These conflicts of interest have been worked out not with hard power tools of threats and intimidation but with soft power tools of shaming and suasion. And the results so far are:

  • America is going to adopt more European approaches to addressing the global financial crisis;
  • America is going to shoulder more of the military and economic load in Afghanistan; and
  • America is going to accept more responsibility for holding the detainees currently at Guantanamo Bay

Why even bother having a State Department in the first place?

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