The Grand Alliance:?Grand Strategy or Grand Idea?


By:?Katie R. Sciortino

September 2007


The proposition for the Grand Alliance by Carlo Pelanda demonstrates forward thinking necessary for the future of the international system.? Since a shift in global governance is indisputable, due to the rising powers that will eventually rival the United States, the Grand Alliance offers a peaceful and efficient alternative structure where in his words no other “acceptable form on the Horizon?exists.? The plan is historically insightful and recognizes the complexity of the current state of international affairs.? In addition, the careful attention to the various dimensions of the Alliance beyond just political terms, such as economics and security, is important.


Specifically, The Grand Alliance addresses the threat of an emerging China as a prominent concern and the Alliance as a solution to the empire’s domination.? Although the Islamic threat receives more attention in the media, especially in the U.S., China definitively deserves consideration of a greater priority.?Other global issues that require collaborative efforts, such as environmental threats and world health concerns, could benefit from a global governing force such as this in order to make progress on launching preventative and remedying initiatives.?The global integration of democracies could facilitate these future agreements effectively and efficiently.?Moreover, the Alliance based on similar interests rather than cultural values would uphold the democratic integrity thus perpetuating the spread to other nations, particularly those that are developing.?Based on the theory of Democratic Peace, war-like tensions that otherwise would have arose between differing regimes will be smothered among democracies.


The balance between the carrot and the stick that this Alliance supports would be more effective than solely the stick approach.   However, The Grand Alliance is not so idealistic as to overlook the skepticism of participating and observing nations.?The various roadblocks to achieving the formation of the alliance are sketched out in detail for consideration.?While descriptive and valuable, the problems with the Grand Alliance seem to overpower the possibilities.?The following analysis will examine the initial formation process and provide suggestions for improvement of the presentation.?In addition, it will explore the issue of U.S. public opinion and democratic consensus as a hindrance to the Grand Alliance specifically through lack of media support and economic willingness.?


          ?The arguments as to why nations would not consider joining the Grand Alliance are far more convincing than why they should be persuaded to join.?The skepticism needs to be countered with a plan in which the nations involved can faithfully believe. Empirical data supporting the claims of necessary democratic convergence should be included in order to better illustrate the Alliance’s value.?For example, insert graphed predictions for the global economy as China continues as an unregulated force or comparative charts of weapon supplies.?

?Although the proposition presents reasons throughout the book as to why nations should join the Alliance, the argument lacks a credible “how.?span style='mso-spacerun:yes'>?I would like to see a more developed plan for mobilization including a timetable for action.?Understanding that some events cannot be predicted or limited to a certain time frame, there needs to be a deadline with a greater sense of urgency for any hope of reaching this integration in the somewhat near future.?Perhaps a degree of threat analysis for specific global scenarios could be presented followed by a response as to how the existence or absence of the Grand Alliance could impact the outcome.?Furthermore, more intriguing incentives for individual states must exist.?The case for appeal to individual national interests must be strengthened if the heads of the Alliance are expected to join.


The Grand Alliance pointed out that alliances usually form in cases of emergency and not just because they look good on paper.?The “Spark?for the formation of the Alliance itself is vague.?To say that it “is based on the bet that Europe will become more outgoing in the near future?seems like a roll of the dice that the Grand Alliance cannot afford to risk.?It also seems to contradict the E.U.’s “nonposition?that The Grand Alliance refers to several times throughout the book.   Unfortunately it seems that an economic crisis and or security threat would be a more powerful trigger than relying on the E.U. and U.S. to initiate a convergence.?The U.S? track record of joining alliances does not instill much confidence in the plan either.?While NAFTA may seem like an example of a legitimate alliance for the U.S., the physical proximity of the agreement to the United States is an obvious benefit.?Yet, unless another feasible solution for countering the Chinese power arises in the years to come, the United States might be forced to fall back on the Grand Alliance regardless of their past commitments or unilateral desires.?


While the first phase involves Euro-American integration, this in itself is a monumental task in which the issue of democratic consensus cannot be taken lightly.?Finding a politician to jump on board to the idea and persuade their constituencies at this point in time will no doubt be challenging.?With the 2008 presidential election rapidly approaching, it is no secret that opposition to the war in Iraq is a prominent issue if not the most important. The current public opinion in the United States tends to support more isolationist views and no politician can afford to promote questionable international behavior.? Regardless of the individual political stances in the U.S., a majority of the public still believes in American supremacy and favors a protectionist domestic-first approach to policy-making.?Although we cannot yet predict the outcome of the election, it has the potential to make or break the Grand Alliance proposal.


From an economic perspective, the idea that the U.S. will have a hard time excluding their trading partners from the alliance should be weighed more heavily.?The Chinese response to the formation could have a profound impact on the state of the U.S. economy.?A blatant political alienation of a country in which the U.S. is invested does not prove to be the smartest move in theory.?Yet China cannot remain an unregulated force.?Furthermore, the monetary convergence of the three currencies does not at present seem like it would be well-received idea.?


In addition, no clear avenue for proposing the Grand Alliance to the public seems to exist. It would be difficult to find any media outlets that would consider sending the message of the Grand Alliance because of their adherence to corporations?views as well as their cyclical relationship to public opinion.?Media gate keeping could potentially block the chances of getting the word out about the Grand Alliance.   In response to the “communications catastrophe? referred to in the book, this is something that will need to change and it cannot happen overnight.?Until image control can reinforce that the efforts of the U.S. internationally are to achieve a peaceful outcome, it will be difficult to garner support for these endeavors.?The anti-American sentiments must be expelled in order to further pursue the Alliance.? Moreover, unless there is an element of “why should I care?for the public, the call for the Grand Alliance will fall far below the multiple domestic concerns on the public’s priority list.?As previously noted, more specifics on the threat to international order due to the absence of global governance need to be more widely expressed. Perhaps a solution to the problem of communication in the U.S. is a campaign to educate and alert the public on the possible specific threats, such as Chinese emergence, before offering the Grand Alliance as a solution.?At present there is an over-exposure of Iraq coverage that breeds indifference.?There needs to be a new campaign to attract the attention and desire for change and cooperation.?



In conclusion, based on the argument, the Grand Alliance offers a reasonable alternative for the evolving hierarchy of the world order.? The resources and capabilities of the U.S. are not vast enough to police the entire international system any more, and new options for global governance are essential for the future. While the Grand Alliance will not happen tomorrow, through greater development of the plan it could fill this void.   The most crucial phases of the Grand Alliance formation process, the “spark?and phase one, need more details and design in order to increase the overall probability of convergence.?Sensitivity to the current state of public opinion, particularly in the United States, must not be disregarded especially throughout the upcoming election year.? The achievement of a democratic consensus will no doubt take time.?If the only time requirement for the formation of the alliance that exists is “before the containment of China is too late,?then the democratic process might need to pick up the pace.?But if the “spark?fails to ignite then an emergency convergence as a result of a crisis might change minds more quickly than expected.?A vehicle for informing the public might prove difficult, but through indirect methods of education campaigns the seed will be planted.?


The Grand Alliance is an idea with great potential for the future of International Affairs.?Neither hopeless nor impossible, it will require further development and constant monitoring of the current global situation.?Hopefully in time the Grand Alliance will become a strategy rather than just an idea for global governance.?