|February 2, 2013
No question this is right in your face off the cuff speech. You the citizen, the debt slave do not matter because the pillars of major power are dominated by a handful of big institutions and alliances. A blueprint of policies for an International Order.
From The International Business Times
Today the world remains a dangerous and complicated place. And of course, we still face many difficult challenges. But a lot has changed in the last four years. Under President Obama’s leadership, we’ve ended the war in Iraq, begun a transition in Afghanistan and brought Osama bin Laden to justice. We have also revitalized American diplomacy and strengthened our alliances. And while our economic recovery is not yet complete, we are heading in the right direction.
In short, America today is stronger at home and more respected in the world. And our global leadership is on firmer footing than many predicted.
To understand what we have been trying to do these last four years, it’s helpful to start with some history. Last year I was honored to deliver the Forrestal Lecture at the Naval Academy, named for our first secretary of defense after World War II. In 1946 James Forrestal noted in his diary that the Soviets believed that the postwar world should be shaped by a handful of major powers acting alone. But, he went on, the American point of view is that all nations professing a desire for peace and democracy should participate.
And what ended up happening in the years since is something in between. The United States and our allies succeeded in constructing a broad international architecture of institutions and alliances, chiefly the U.N., the IMF, the World Bank and NATO, that protected our interests, defended universal values and benefited peoples and nations around the world. Yet it is undeniable that a handful of major powers did end up controlling those institutions, setting norms and shaping international affairs.
Now, two decades after the end of the Cold War, we face a different world. More countries than ever have a voice in global debates. We see more paths to power opening up as nations gain influence through the strength of their economies rather than their militaries. And political and technological changes are empowering non-state actors, like activists, corporations and terrorist networks.
At the same time, we face challenges, from financial contagion to climate change to human and wildlife trafficking, that spill across borders and defy unilateral solutions. As President Obama has said, the old postwar architecture is crumbling under the weight of new threats. So the geometry of global power has become more distributed and diffuse as the challenges we face have become more complex and cross-cutting.
So the question we ask ourselves every day is what does this mean for America? And then we go on to say, how can we advance our own interests and also uphold a just, rules-based international order, a system that does provide clear rules of the road for everything from intellectual property rights to freedom of navigation to fair labor standards?
Simply put, we have to be smart about how we use our power, not because we have less of it. Indeed, the might of our military, the size of our economy, the influence of our diplomacy and the creative energy of our people remain unrivaled. No, it’s because as the world has changed, so too have the levers of power that can most effectively shape international affairs.
I’ve come to think of it like this. Truman and Atcheson were building the Parthenon, with classical geometry and clear lines.
The pillars were a handful of big institutions and alliances dominated by major powers. And that structure delivered unprecedented peace and prosperity. But time takes its toll even on the greatest edifice. And we do need a new architecture for this new world, more Frank Ghery than formal Greek. (Laughter.) Think of it.
Now, some of his work at first might appear haphazard, but in fact it’s highly intentional and sophisticated. Where once a few strong columns could hold up the weight of the world, today we need a dynamic mix of materials and structures.
Now of course, American military and economic strength will remain the foundation of our global leadership. As we saw from the intervention to stop a massacre in Libya to the raid that brought bin Laden to justice, there will always be times when it is necessary and just to use force. America’s ability to project power all over the globe remains essential.
And I’m very proud of the partnerships that the State department has formed with the Pentagon, first with Bob Gates and Mike Mullen, then with Leon Panetta and Marty Dempsey.