A Skeptical Analysis of The Grand Alliance


By: James W. Long

30 September 2007

Email: jwlong@uga.edu


There is a crisis among us!


Since 1949, China has become increasingly more liberal in its economic policies, (abandoning a strict soviet-model of economic policies for a more Capitalistic free trade-model) yet they still engage in a largely protectionist economic policy that Dr. Pelanda calls, “authoritarian capitalism??This economic policy has fueled China’s rocket-like ascension into the global economy and made it the world’s third largest economy.?However, this authoritarian-capitalist infrastructure has its flaws as well.?With practices such as intentionally devaluing their currency and restricting human rights to freedom of the press, religion, and speech, the Chinese economy is built on a very shaky and falsified foundation.?

With the most conservative estimates guessing that China will surpass the U.S. in terms of world GDP by 2040, the growing threat that China presents as the replacement to the U.S. as the world’s hegemonic power and global governor is closer than many may have thought.?

As China becomes a dominant figure in the global economy, it is slowly and stealthily making grabs at U.S./Western dominance in the international political arena. ?/span>If we continue to underestimate the growth and threat of a possible hegemonic China, it is likely that in a matter of just a couple of decades, we could see the U.S. superpower fall from world hegemon to a confused and much less influential power that is struggling to find its role in a world governed by China and its eastern communist values.?

A world that is governed by a power with such shaky institutions is bound to implode.? The international economy would eventually collapse, creating a catastrophic depression that would be felt by virtually every person across every nation. ?/span>This would be a global depression that would marginalize the great depressions that the U.S. and Europe experienced in the first half of the 20th century.?Dr. Pelanda feels that something must be done to stop this impending doom that will fall upon the globe if China is left unchecked and allowed to ascend to world hegemon while the U.S. dissolves into nothing more (politically speaking) than a modern-day France (God help us!).? Something must be done to stop this current trend in the international system or the Western world as we know it could have the worst collapse in history, resulting in years of political and financial turmoil.


In his new book, The Grand Alliance, Dr. Carlo Pelanda sets out on a mission to reform the international political system.? This mission is brought about by the situation described above, and what Dr. Pelanda believes to be, the waning power of the United States (and other Western powers) in relation to the unprecedented rate of growth being produced by Communist China.?This inverse relationship in power growth between the East and West is causing increased tensions among the two sides.?Dr. Pelanda believes that the West’s inaction and appeasement to Chinese expansionist foreign policy is emboldening this possible enemy and could have disastrous results.?

A possible solution to this dilemma is an elaborate coalition of all the major democracies in the world that Dr. Pelanda calls, The Grand Alliance.


The Grand Alliance Proposal:


Dr. Pelanda’s solution to beat back this new rising star in Asia is to integrate all of the world’s great democratic powers, namely The United States, European Union, Russia, India, and Japan, in order to more effectively provide a global governance system that is still embedded in Western ideals.  

          ?As stated previously, it is the belief of Dr. Pelanda that the U.S. has simply become “too small?(with the rise of some questionable new powers) to govern the entire world on its own.?Thus, a new alliance must be formed in order to create a large enough power that is able to force any nation wanting to compete in the global market, especially one the size of China, to democratize, become more transparent, and play “fairly?in the international market.?The Grand Alliance will be so “big?and so powerful that states like China will have no choice but to reform and adopt the western-model of democracy and capitalism if they wish to continue to compete in the global marketplace.?States that do not share, practice, or aspire to these western ideals can only be detrimental to society as a whole, and thus have no right to do business in the global economy.?


Is The Grand Alliance the solution?


In this analysis, I seek not to mesmerize the reader with a vast knowledge and grasp of history, economics, and foreign affairs. ?/span>As a mere undergraduate student of international relations, trying to give a groundbreaking analysis of The Grand Alliance proposal by a scholar of Dr. Pelanda’s level would be a waste of time and hard thought.?At the tender age of 21, I have a very open mind but have a ways to go when it comes to understanding all the intricacies of international relations.?Furthermore, I could not even begin to assert a solution of my own to a global crisis like the one that is addressed in The Grand Alliance.?Therefore, my analysis of Dr. Pelanda’s proposal seeks merely to offer a young skeptic’s opinions, in hopes that they might be the catalyst for more dialogue from the intellectual and foreign policy elites that are much more qualified to offer solutions to a problem of such great importance than myself.

My skepticism of The Grand Alliance is not a doubt of whether it would be effective if it actually came into existence.?My skepticism lies at the basic level of whether such an idealistic alliance among a wide spectrum of democracies is even feasible.?While the idea of a Grand Alliance sounds like a great solution in Dr. Pelanda’s book, no time is really given to address how it will come into being and how it will function once it does.?The difficulties that I foresee in the creation of a Grand Alliance are as follows:


The American Problem:


          ?Since taking the thrown as world hegemon from Great Britain after World War II and especially after becoming the only remaining super power after the Cold War, Americans feel as though we can do anything we want, when we want, without the help of the “Euro weenies?or any other world power.? We have such dominance in military and economic capabilities that we by no means have to get the approval of other nations to do what is in our best interest.?Even if we can’t get our way by offering the world’s largest “carrot? we have an even bigger and mightier “stick?to use in order to get our way, so why give Europe as much power as us in an alliance when, in recent years, they have been a continuous thorn in our side in the war on terror and other American interventionist policies??Why concede them a spot in an alliance with the same amount of influence as the U.S. when we spent decades trying to defeat them and their Communist agenda that has consequently helped lead to China’s growth (not to mention their renewed friendship with China in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization)?


The European Problem:


Perhaps this is just another American ethnocentric view, but since the United States became the world hegemon, it has been carrying the extra weight of the many “free riders?in the international system.?As it pertains to the Grand Alliance scenario, I believe this to be a big reason for the hesitation of the EU to join in the Grand Alliance.?Why would Europe after “free riding?under the security umbrella of global dominance of U.S. military might for decades agree to finally start sharing more of the burden of military security in a matrix style alliance where all of the members must share an equal amount of responsibility.?It is hard to believe that out of a deeper desire for democracy and capitalism (especially the latter, considering many European countries have strong socialist leanings) that Europe might finally take more of an enforcer role in the international system, rather than sitting back and reaping the benefits of American interventionism while engaging their own forces very minimally if at all?


The Russian Problem:


          ?As I stated earlier, with Russia and China’s alliance with each other in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization it seems as though recent trends would be leading to a stronger Sino-Russian alliance rather than Russia joining with other democracies.?Additionally, with Putin’s recent grabs at extended power and virtually rewriting the constitution, it seems in my eyes, that Russia is slipping back in to its old authoritarian ways and moving further from democracy.?How do we allow such a questionable democracy into a league of grand democracies?


India and Japan:


          ?It seems to me that the two easiest countries to get onboard the Grand Alliance would be India and Japan.?Japan is a true pillar of democracy in Asia and India is on its way.?Also, both countries have had a history of conflict with China and they both share a border with China which would lead me to believe that they would both have a strategic interest in a Grand Alliance with the U.S., against China. ?/span>While Russia shares the same characteristics I just mentioned (history of conflict and shared border), Russia is trying to restore its power and influence in the world, whereas it seems that India and Japan are content with maintaining the status quo.?




          ?I think that if the Grand Alliance were to come into being, it would be a powerful solution to the crisis that would be a world governed by China.?However, I see many difficult obstacles to overcome in forming the Grand Alliance and wonder if there are not other, more feasible solutions out there.?I hope that some of my skepticism was able to sow the seeds of thought in a more able mind than my own, in order to find a solution to the catastrophic results of letting China overtake the U.S. as the world hegemon.