Where is the Tea Party? And where do Republicans stand on foreign policy?

Nearly a year ago, I shared in this blog a fascinated look at the Tea Party. From a social movement theoretical perspective, and based on my own personal experience living in the US and on the analysis of news sources, I tried to identify a few lessons we could learn from the rapid rise and relative success of the Tea Party movement. I made (or borrowed) a couple of predictions: firstly, that the relevance of the Tea Party would diminish progressively; and secondly, on foreign policy, following Walter Russell Mead, the Palinite wing (after Sarah Palin: nationalist, vigorous and hawkish) would predominate over the Paulite wing of the Tea Party (after Ron Paul: isolationist and in favour of a limited interpretation of “national interests”). Has time confirmed or refuted these two predictions? Continue reading “Where is the Tea Party? And where do Republicans stand on foreign policy?”

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The Nobel Peace Prize to the EU: An assessment

I was driving when I first heard about the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. It was Friday morning and I was listening to the radio in the car. They interviewed Javier Solana, formerly known as “Mr PESC”, the person in charge of common EU foreign and security policy between 1999 and 2009. He could barely hide his excitement. His assessment was that the award was entirely deserved: The EU and its predecessors (the European Communities) are the reason why Europe has left the continuum of bloodshed behind. In Solana’s view, in this time of Euro-crisis (both financial and institutional), the Nobel Prize will strengthen the European identity, and this recognition will remind European leaders that their power increases when the ties among them get tighter. Continue reading “The Nobel Peace Prize to the EU: An assessment”

How do Kagan, Obama and Romney know that America is not in decline?

At the State of the Union Address on 26 January, President Barack Obama assured that the United States is still the most influential nation on Earth:

Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about

America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs – and as long as I’m President, I intend to keep it that way.

His words on America’s place in world affairs drew cheerful applause among enthusiastic legislators of both sides and both chambers of Congress.

 According to an article published in Foreign Policy, while drafting his speech President Obama was influenced by an article of the well-known conservative intellectual Robert Kagan published in The New Republic: “Not Fade Away: Against the Myth of American Decline”. Mitt Romney, the leading runner in the Republican race, who counts on Kagan as a political advisor on national security, has also insisted several times that this is not a “post-American century”.

But, how do Mr. Kagan, Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney know that America is not in the early stage of a historic decline? Kagan’s argument is based on two main points. Since we discussed not so long ago the possible implications of the fall of Western hegemony for the idea of human rights, we should now look with a critical eye to what makes Kagan, Obama and Romney be so dubious about our premise, namely, that the world as we know it is falling apart.

Continue reading “How do Kagan, Obama and Romney know that America is not in decline?”

Libya, R2P and a Wilsonian Barack Obama

Last March, we asked in a post here about the normative effects of the Resolution 1973, by which the UN Security Council authorised the use of force in Libya based on the self-attributed ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P). The war in Libya has claimed many victims and has already reached a point of stagnation. It is time to think about whether that Resolution helped consolidating the idea of R2P or rather constituted a proof of the emptiness of such a norm:

Continue reading “Libya, R2P and a Wilsonian Barack Obama”