The Initial Euro-American Alliance:

How it could be instigated by the United States

 

 

 

Megan Hughes

 

October 2007

 

mhughes2@uga.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††?In his book The Grand Alliance, Carlo Pelanda argues for the creation of an alliance between the American, European, and Asian democracies of the world. He calls for this alliance to counter the rapidly growing power of China. The growth of this nation threatens the world economic system, because of their attempt to practice liberal economics within a communist government. The Grand Alliance, Pelanda argues, is the only way to counter and stop this grim future from coming to be.

††††††††††?The Alliance would need to begin with a Euro-American Alliance. Only the power of a stable alliance between these two world powers could attract the Asian democracies to join. This is because the nature of this new alliance would be radically different from the type of alliances found in the current world system. Modern alliances which include the United States are not even, mutual alliances in which all parties have equal power and influence. Currently, the United States takes a leadership and management role in alliances, forming a star-like alliance with the United States at the center, and all other participants drawing power and guidance from the U.S. The Grand Alliance would be a drastic change from this. The arrangement of this alliance would be shaped like a matrix, instead of a star, with all the nations involved sharing power and influence evenly.

††††††††††?However, it is not a coincidence that the United States only participates in alliances where it maintains a larger share of power and is the dominant figure. The American government and its citizens value their sovereignty above all else. They view alliances where other nations have influence over US international policy and potentially domestic policy as a violation of their sovereignty. Because of their current position, as the perceived world hegemon, the United States is willing to participate only in these types of alliances. However, if this policy continues, as it is likely to, the Grand Alliance (necessary to save the world economy from future collapse) will never be possible. The Grand Alliance explores ways in which the alliance could be formed, despite the problem of lack of initial American support. ?/span>

††††††††††?Pelanda argues that the initial equal Euro-American would be nearly impossible to form, unless instigated by the European democracies. European nations are much more likely to be willing to relinquish some of their sovereignty to form this vital alliance. This is for many reasons, not least of which is the different histories and geography the United States and Europe. America has historically been able to be isolationist, physically separated from the rest of the world. Conversely, European geography makes isolationism impossible and compromise of sovereignty a necessary step to maintain security for all European peoples.

††††††††††?However, although it would be extremely difficult for this alliance to be started on the American end, it would not be as unlikely as Pelanda believes. The key to convincing the American government to consider such an alliance lies not in the government itself, but in the power of the American people. The Grand Alliance seems to ignore, or at least not give full consideration to, the power of peoples within a democracy to constrain and to cajole their governments. If the majority of people within a democracy are convinced of a certain path of action, their elected representatives are likely to act in accordance with these wishes, so they will maintain constituency support and be reelected. Those who are trying to start the creation of the Euro-American alliance should turn to winning the hearts and mind of the American people, and not their government. Current sentiment in the U.S. against relinquishing sovereignty ties the hands of American leaders, an idea discussed on p.111 of The Grand Alliance. Even if they were supportive of the alliance and believed it was the correct course of action, elected officials have no power to create the alliance. The question then shifts from how to convince the US leaders to participate in the Grand Alliance to how to convince the American citizens that they should call on their leaders to participate.

††††††††††?This is not an easy question to answer, and no clear, defined path of action is immediately found. However, in exploring the nature and tendencies of the American people, several potential options can be seen. American nationalism is different from the kind found in most other nations in the world. This is because American nationalism is not based on any kind of cultural, ethnic or religious identity. It is based on the respect of and admiration for the Constitution and its democratic principles. This gives American nationalism a different character and nature than is normally associated with nationalism, and must therefore be analyzed and utilized in a different way. Americans treasure the Constitution above all else. This leads directly to why they refuse to relinquish any sovereignty. Americans not only love the Constitution, but believe it to better than all other documents of a similar nature found in any other society. By relinquishing some of Americaís sovereignty, they are succumbing to and being guided by lesser forms of government and weaker democratic principles.

††††††††††?This leads to the first problem that must be overcome to form the Euro-American alliance: demonstrating to the American people that the European democracies believe in the same basic democratic principles as they do. Currently, Americans view European democracies as too socialist in nature. Whether are not this is true is beside the point. The main issue is that they are democracies, and the American people need to be reminded of that fact. The creation of a kind of democratic kinship between these two geographic areas would be an expansion of current American nationalism. Rather than American, or French, or Italian nationalism, a sense of democratic nationalism, without defined borders, could be fostered.

††††††††††?This new nationalism is not intended to replace current nationalism in any of these countries, but more as an expansion of it. Democracies need to learn to recognize their similarities (which are abundant) instead of focusing on their differences. This leads to the second problem that must be overcome: convincing the American people that although this alliance would in some ways violate American sovereignty, it would not be harmful to the functioning of the American government and the American way of life. It is this very democratic nationalism that would make this argument easier to sell to the average American citizen. If we viewed European democracies as sharing of our ideals, than an alliance in which we shared power would not seem nearly as threatening.

††††††††††?Now that it is clear what would need to be done to make the American people more open to the Grand Alliance the real question comes. How can the American people be convinced of the validity of this argument? Although there are many possible answers to this question, as an American I feel that one option is the most likely to have an impact on the America people: the use of fear to motivate and the use of the media to convey this message.

††††††††††?September 11th truly changed the core of the American people. Before they felt safe from the problems of the world, they knew that no one could ever violate American soil. This was a mostly unspoken, but central belief of almost all American citizens. However, now people are afraid. They realize that oceans and borders are no longer a guarantee of safety. This concept is similar to one found in The Grand Alliance. No nation is safe, within its own borders, from the economic problems that China will bring into the world system. Because of the trauma of September 11th, the American people have been changed in a subtle way that would make them more open to an equal alliance. This is where the careful use of fear tactics against the American population comes into play. I am not advocating that we should lie about or unnecessarily exaggerate the threat. To do this would be a violation of the very democratic ideals we are trying to protect. Instead, I am advocating that more efforts should be made to make the American people aware of the threat that already exists.

††††††††††??/span>Even the current war in Iraq has changed the American psyche in small, but necessary ways. The current problems with the war effort have in some ways brought to light the problems with unilateral, or very minimally multilateral, action. This is not to say that the American people would now demand multilateral support for any international action; they will not. However, it has made many citizens much more wary and skeptical about solely unilateral policies. The American people realize that multilateral action is more powerful and effective in the world system, perhaps if we had had more support in the Iraq war it would be going better right now.

††††††††††?These small but important changes in the American mind about international politics will be helpful in making Americans tolerant of the Grand Alliance. If the American people truly believed that our nation was threatened by China, and that this alliance was the only way to prevent economic (and maybe political) collapse, they would be accepting of the alliance. However, the threat from China is not considered at all by most Americans, they are too focused on terrorism, and it is not taken very seriously by those who do recognize it. The necessity of multilateral action to defeat this threat must also be emphasized.

††††††††††?The most effective way to use fear to convince the American people of the threat from China is through the American mass media. Americans are obsessed, to an unhealthy degree, with 24 hour news coverage. Whenever any tragic or horrific event occurs in the nation, the American media seizes on the opportunity to use our fascination with danger and violence to boost their ratings. It is easy to see that the American media would not be hard to manipulate. So long as these corporations and conglomerates see an opportunity to increase their ratings, and therefore profits, they would be complicit in any plan. This is the perfect tool to use for the American populous; they tend to not question the facts and opinions presented to them on major channels like CNN or Fox News. While this media giant has in the past used its influence for questionable means, this is a situation in which their greed for ratings could be used to help and improve the United States. If these media outlets can use their expertise at scaring the American people, they can show them something they truly need to be scared of.

††††††††††?Even using fear and the media as an effective one-two punch, the necessary changes to the American conscious will not take place over night. Fundamental changes to American values like these will take time to grow and truly take root. However, efforts must be made to begin these changes now. The threat from China grows more imminent and unavoidable every day. True, when the threat fully emerges into public view, America and other democracies of the world will try to make a last minute alliance. However, it will be too late to do any real good. This is why every small change that can be made now is important. The more that the American people can be made more acceptable of the Grand Alliance, whether or not they fully understand what they are being prepared for, the more likely it is that the current economic system can be maintained and strengthened.