[VIEWPOINT]The hegemonist emergesNow that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has resigned and Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser, has been nominated in his place, the outline of the second-term Bush administration’s foreign policy team is beginning to emerge. Along with Mr. Powell, Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state who has worked hard to solidify the United States-Japan alliance, has resigned.
Mr. Powell’s resignation has increased the possibility that the diplomacy and security team of the United States will be much more conservative. Set free from the pressure of another presidential election, President George W. Bush will try to accomplish his goals in his second four years by setting up a unified administration.
Ms. Rice has gained the confidence of President Bush, and played a role of a coordinator who embraced all the opinions of the Department of State, the Department of Defense and the National Security Council. As an African-American woman, a talented university professor and the vice president of a university, she is an expert on Russia with a practical and strategic conservative streak.
Although now a politician, Ms. Rice is not linked closely to interest groups and thus in a position to be able to act firmly according to the desires of President Bush.
The great task of the second Bush administration is the war on terrorism, and its national strategy in national security interests is the maintenance and reinforcement of its hegemony. The direction of foreign and security policy depends on how strong the influence of neo-conservatives becomes and on how much the administration adds multilateralism as a diplomatic strategy. If neo-conservativism becomes strong, Christian faith will be added to the notion of moral supremacy, and the war on terrorism that fights against the evil groups can be in accord with U.S. hegemonistic interests. The war will have the image of the film “The Lord of the Rings” that clearly describes the war between good and evil.
If the Bush administration adopts a hegemonistic line, the United States will occupy resources and strategic bases in the world and may use pre-emptive strikes that mobilize military power in advance to prevent competitors from growing and challenging the country.
The Middle East with oil resources and the South China Sea with marine transport routes are some of the places of strategic importance. According to the theory of “power transition,” the rapidly growing China is considered a challenger, and the expanded European Union a competitor; the Taiwan problem could develop into a hegemonic war between the United States and China.
The United States needs Japan to check China, and it needs Britain to check the European Union. Therefore, a strong alliance with Britain and Japan is indispensable for the diplomacy of the United States.
Japan has strengthened the United States-Japan alliance with a view to revising the constitution, reinforcing military power and joining the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
Using a diplomatic strategy that takes advantage of the hegemony of the United States, Japan participates in the multilateral system of international cooperation and undertakes a foreign policy that attaches importance to the United Nations.
For this reason, Mr. Bush’s second-term diplomacy is very likely to focus on reorganizing the international order so as to befit the hegemony of the United States based on the distribution of realistic power. Specifically, its focus will be on reshuffling international organizations and international standards that do not properly reflect the hegemony of the United States. The reform of the United Nations has long been discussed but has made little progress because of opposition from many minor powers. The United States has ignored the United Nations in the end and cooperated with allies if necessary, and at times carried out unilateral foreign policy according to its national interests. This tendency will increase.
To win the war on terrorism, the United States needs help from allies and a multilateral diplomatic strategy of international cooperation. The United States needs international cooperation for its Proliferation Security Initiative and for resolutions in the UN Security Council.
So the United States should follow the rules of international organizations and international regimes from the stance of using liberal institutionalism and jointly cope with global issues in concert with Europe and China. The United States needs an alliance that will fight together with the country.
The Iraq war is under way, Iran accepted nuclear inspections and Libya scrapped nuclear weapons. What remains is North Korea. It is up to North Korea which model it will choose among Libya, Iran and Iraq.
The North Korean nuclear problem has the possibility of being resolved peacefully through the six-way talks. The United States puts macroscopic pressure on and inspects North Korea with formidable deterrence; South Korea and Japan ease tension through exchanges and negotiations while providing incentives of economic support to North Korea; and China and Russia persuade North Korea.
Behind them, the UN Security Council, prepared with the human rights resolution on North Korea, is standing by, holding the card of economic sanctions. As long as North Korea does not act recklessly, the North Korean problem is likely to be solved peacefully.
* The writer is a researcher at the Sejong Institute. Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.
by Kim Sung-chul