Thursday, September 28, 2006

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Is it possible to forge a world of liberty under law?

You can add another grand strategy to the pile of candidates proffered in recent months -- "progressive realism," "ethical realism," "realistic Wilsonianism," etc. The Princeton Project on National Security released its final report, Forging A World Of Liberty Under Law: U.S. National Security In The 21st Century.

One factor that distinguishes the Princeton Project from these other approaches was the degree of consultation. UPI's Martin Walker provides a nice precis:

The new strategy seeks to absorb the rising powers like China, India, Brazil and others into a law-based global economic and diplomatic structure that avoids open conflict by making them stakeholders within the system, and thus encouraged in their own interests to play by the rules.

Known as the Princeton Project, the venture lasted over two years and brought in over 400 participants, and was chaired jointly by the Reagan administration's former Secretary of State George Shultz and by former President Bill Clinton's national security adviser, Tony Lake.

The strategy they have devised, titled 'Liberty Under Law," seeks to chart of long-term course in the way that George F. Kennan in 1946 drafted the concept of "containment" that broadly defined U.S. policy in the Cold War for the next 45 years.

"The difference is that we soon came to realize that there is now no single threat as there was in 1946, so there can be no single theme like "containment," Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson school of public and international affairs and one of the directors of the project, and a former president of the American Society for International Law. [Slaughter co-directed the project with G. John Ikenberry--DWD.]

"There are now a series of threats, including global terrorism, nuclear proliferation, pandemics, the rise of Asia, the energy crisis and threats emanating from the Middle East becoming too numerous to count," Slaughter added.

A lot of bloggers were involved in the project -- Steve Clemons, Christopher Preble of Across the Aisle, everyone at TPM's America Abroad, a couple of the Democracy Arsenal gang, Nikolas Gvosdev, and yours truly. To be clear, however, none of us would necessarily endorse everything that's in this report. I do, however, agree with the point Anne-Marie and John make about the multiplicity of threats.

Read it and debate away.

posted by Dan on 09.28.06 at 11:20 PM


This is one strategy to fight terrorism that hasn't been tried: get an enormous committee together, compile a report on everything, and airdrop it on those parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq known to be frequented by terrorists. Get them to read it for a couple of hours, then simply arrest them all after they've fallen asleep!

"The Sources of Soviet Conduct" ( influential because it was written by an expert on Russia to explain Russia. The Princeton Project report seems to have been written by people who looked at the laundry list approach commonly taken by modern Presidents in their State of the Union addresses and thought, "Great! We'll do that!"
They are two documents vastly different in kind, not just in degree, and it is remarkable that anyone would think it likely they would have a similar impact.

posted by: Zathras on 09.28.06 at 11:20 PM [permalink]

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