Stronger Incentives Needed to Develop the Grand Alliance


Katie M. Flanigan

October 2007



In his work The Grand Alliance, Professor Carlo A. Pelanda presents an intriguing proposal for the creation of an alliance among the democratic nations of the world whose mission is to establish and regulate a true global market, to unite together to combat the growing power of China, and to assist the United States in its role as the global police force.?Professor Pelanda suggests a “strong alliance between America, the European Union and the Asian democracies such as Russia, India and Japan? (11).?He argues that the “gradually converging military and economic power of these meganations, plus the European Union, would be more than enough to guarantee economic governance and security to the globe?(11).?This alliance would not only assist the United States, which is currently spread too thin by single-handedly policing the world, but would also help other democratic nations by uniting them in a solid front against the unregulated growth of China, which will inevitably affect their economies within the next generation.?


According to Professor Pelanda, states function as rational actors in the international system and are driven by their own self-interests. I agree with the professor that states are driven by their own self-interests and make decisions rationally, and, in line with this belief; I believe that stronger incentives are required to bring states on board with the Grand Alliance.?Having reviewed his argument, I believe that the following three incentives will strengthen his argument and hence increase the probability of the Grand Alliance from its current 30% probability.?The first incentive I propose is to provide empirical evidence that exposes the current and projected effects of China’s unregulated growth on the world market.? The second incentive I propose is to clarify a temporal process that depicts the important stages of the formation of the Grand Alliance based on the declining power of the United States and the rising power of China. The third and final incentive that I believe will strengthen the probability of the Alliance is a projected timeline of the regression of both the world economy and international security over the course of the next twenty years should China continue on its current, unregulated path.? With these incentives, democratic nations of the world would see the growing, unregulated power of China as a serious and immediate threat that must be checked, rather than as they currently see it, which is as only a potential threat.?It is vital that democracies of the world take the initiative to counter China as it is impossible for the United States to maintain its status as world superpower and counter China independent of the help of other nations.?The United States?resources have been spread all over the globe and, with the Global War on Terror, they are spread even more thinly than they were prior to September 11th; therefore, the democracies of the world need to be brought under the umbrella of the Grand Alliance to counter the growingly detrimental effects of China on the rest of the globe.


Professor Pelanda makes a powerful statement in The Grand Alliance saying that the “underlying fact, which can be overlooked today but will be a stark reality in the near future, involves two destabilizing risks: internal economic crisis in China would have a knock-on effect on the global economy [and] growing tensions in terms of security?(82).?I believe that both this statement and the professor’s proposal, would be even more powerful if buttressed by strong, empirical evidence that exposes the effects of the unregulated growth of China on the world market today and its projected effect during the next generation, not only on the world economy but also on international security.? States are driven by the immediacy of security threats and therefore empirical evidence laid out in a straightforward, graphical way would be a powerful element to include in the professor’s argument because states would be able to see measurable data on the growth of China’s GDP, defense spending, technological advances, and economic power.? In essence, the growing threat of China would be put on display.?This, along with an honest depiction of the United States?decline as the world superpower, would prove the imminent importance of joining the Alliance now in order to prevent tremendous loss later.?It would also be beneficial to target this empirical evidence directly at each of the meganations individually so that the issue of China is brought directly home.


The second incentive, which is a clearly defined temporal process of when and how the Grand Alliance should be formed, is also an important element to add to the professor’s argument.?Laying out such a process will show the importance of acting today in order to prevent loss tomorrow to the democratic states of the globe.? This temporal process should be crafted by the United States, as it would be the state most responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Grand Alliance as the current world superpower, and it should consist of three steps.?The first step, as Professor Pelanda makes clear in The Grand Alliance, is for the United States to bring the European Union on board with the Grand Alliance before drawing other democratic nations in to the Alliance.?This is important because it would give the Alliance legitimacy.?In order for this to happen, though, I propose that a preceding step would need to be taken on the part of the United States and the European Union.?


In this preceding step, the United States would need to present the powerful data, as described above as the first incentive, to the leadership of the states of the European Union and, once the countries of Europe have been convinced of the strong threat that China presents, they must rally their citizens domestically around the need to unite with the United States against the loose canon that is China.   European leaders must convince their constituencies that joining such an alliance would be beneficial and vital to them before joining the Alliance because democratic nations are inherently accountable to their constituencies and, with the growing trend of pacifism and anti-Americanism around the globe, democracies of the world would be placed in a difficult position between their citizenry and the Grand Alliance if their citizens did not rally behind the idea.?This would also help the United States to counter anti-American sentiments and pacifism because European leadership would prove the aggressive nature of