The Grand Alliance:? Too Grand for America?


Brenna Michelle Taylor


September 2007


        ?The notion of the global integration of democracies as set forth in “The Grand Alliance?is an idea both extremely pertinent to the issues currently facing the international community and fairly conventional on the grounds of alliance building.?The Grand Alliance is conventional in that, like most alliances, it seeks to accomplish the objectives of ensuring safety, security, and cooperation among its members through a strategy of convergence.?What makes this alliance different from those previously and currently entered into by the United States is its comprehensive and overarching nature.? It is this seemingly minor difference that may be the deciding factor as to whether or not America will be likely to join such a grand alliance.?Given the general trepidatious nature of American insight when it comes to joining international, multilateral alliances, the Grand Alliance may be suspect to such US hesitance based on the required sacrifice of sovereignty that must be conceded in order to build a stable, efficient alliance.?Thus, the question surrounding the notion of building this Grand Alliance is not that of whether or not the United States would ever join, but, instead, of what conditions must exist in order for America to join.?Based on the history of American alliances such as NAFTA and NATO, the US must recognize the immediate and long-term benefits of joining an alliance before even considering sacrificing any fraction of its sovereignty.?As seen with both NATO and NAFTA, the US is indeed capable of joining relatively stable alliances.?However, within such alliances, the United States has always held itself in a position of superiority over other members, which in and of itself contradicts the very nature of an alliance.?Thus, there is a pressing need for change in the American mentality towards international relations.?As the world grows smaller and smaller as globalization takes its toll, it is becoming more important for the US to move towards a collective management model of global governance.?

It is possible that the US will soon find itself face to face with monstrous mega-nations such as China. Without a stable and balanced constituency, neither America, nor Europe for that matter, will be able to balance the ever-growing power and might of a non-democratic China.?The issue of China and the debate over whether or not it is accurate to consider the country an “enemy?to the United States is a scenario worthy of its own research paper. For the purpose of this one, however, only the broader implications of the debate will be analyzed.? Thus, China’s role in the issue of whether or not America is likely to join the Grand Alliance will primarily be limited to that of a driving, motivational factor.?Due to the exponentially increasing economic might of China and the lack of responsibility on the part of the government to follow and abide by the rules of a global economy, China is becoming more and more dangerous to the interests of both Europe and America.?In the event of an economic implosion in China, the global market would be devastated and the effects would be felt worldwide.?Thus, in facing this monstrous China, a cohesive body of individual nations- beginning with the Unites States and Europe- is needed in order to form a formidable opponent worthy of balancing and overcoming China’s power.   It should be noted that this notion of an alliance among democracies should not be viewed as some sort of ideological war, but rather as the common denominator between otherwise individual, divided nations.?In the event of a European-American convergence, it can be inferred that this would have a magnetic effect in attracting other democratic nations such as India and Japan to join.  ?

          ?It is fairly simple to logically outline the need for and effects of a Grand Alliance, but, in reality, it is a much more complex scenario.?Unfortunately, the world is not cut and dry in nature with an apparent “good?and “bad?side for everyone to join.?Instead, it is extremely multifaceted and each individual nation is primarily concerned with its own security and well-being.   Thus, there are many dissenting interests in the international arena, all of which hold equal importance.?In studying the history of American alliances and the manner in which the United States acts within them, it quickly becomes evident that there is a double standard within American mentality towards alliances.?For instance, consider the role that America plays within the North American Free Trade Agreement.?Having come into effect on January 1, 1994, NAFTA is an agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico that lifted most tariffs on products traded between the countries and set out plans to gradually phase out the remaining tariffs within the following 15 years.?There have, undeniably, been many positive effects of this agreement on all parties involved, but the alliance does not possess the balance and stability needed to be effective in the long run.?In short, while NAFTA is intended to be a matrix model alliance, it actually takes the form of a star model alliance with America at its core, only bilaterally connected to the other parties.?Thus, the United States seems to hold itself in a position of superiority to the other member parties, taking it upon itself to “head?the alliance.? This is both hypocritical and counterproductive.?How can one country in an agreement such as this expect fair and responsible actions on the part of other members when it does not display these qualities itself?? Furthermore, acting with this double standard will only end up hurting the United States in the long run by crippling the cohesion and efficiency of the alliance and eventually rendering it unable to function.

          ?Presently surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement is a debate over whether or not Mexican truckers should be allowed to cross the United States border to transport goods to the US and Canada.? Those who argue against this initiative argue that this will cause American highways to become more dangerous and will reduce American jobs.?Others go on to say that the openness that NAFTA has brought amongst the member parties is actually damaging the sovereignty of the US.?This is exactly the mentality that will doom any prospect that the Grand Alliance may have in coming to fruition.?Until both the American public and the American elite realize the fundamental importance of building fair, balanced and stable, small-scale alliances, it is unlikely that it will embrace the idea of entering into a grand alliance.? What conditions must then exist for The Grand Alliance to be a feasible option in America’s future??First and foremost, it starts with the people.? Although government officials are responsible for making policy decisions, public opinion and support is what lies at the core of the decision-making process.?As with the current debate surrounding NAFTA, the public is only partially informed.?The average American citizen who receives his or her worldly knowledge through the avenues of CNN and FOX News is not aware of the day to day benefits that NAFTA brings to the US agricultural businesses, not to mention the fact that it has accounted for 55% of US agricultural export growth since its implementation in 1994.? Instead, they hear about illegal immigrants and insecure borders, and are easily swayed by policy-makers with an agenda.?Thus, the initiative towards the global integration of democracies must start with diffusion of accurate information amongst the American people.?

          ?As has been the case since 1973, the United States has made conscious efforts to move from a Single Management Model to a Collective Management Model in the realm of global governance.?Such efforts, however, have all too often proven unsuccessful.?Although the US made headway after 1973 with the formation of the G5 and G7, this progress was stunted with the introduction of the Reagan Administration.?Upon entering into office, Reagan cut back on convergence and returned to a more unilateral approach to global governance.? Today, we find ourselves in the same predicament as 1973 in acknowledging the need to move from a single to a collective management approach towards global governance.? Unfortunately, however, the US is in a much more dangerous position today than it was thirty years ago.?In today’s world there is the threat of rogue nations and non-governmental extremist groups acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities, of a looming economic disaster in the global market, of massive human rights violations throughout the world, and of global warming and environmental catastrophe.?In a world of such uncertainty and chaos, the only way to ensure stability for the future is to act today.?More importantly, however, it is time for change in the way the Unites States responds on a global level.?Military action must take a back seat to diplomacy for the time being and a shift must be made from pragmatic realism to strategic realism to avoid the trend of minimizing the risk for today and increasing it for tomorrow.?On the contrary, primary focus must concentrate on the implications of today’s actions on tomorrow’s world.  

After the attacks of 9/11, the American public is acutely more aware of US vulnerability to a constantly shrinking world.? Unfortunately, however, there seems to be a lack of urgency when it comes to acknowledging the pressing need for the United States to be involved in a strong, stable alliance.?The United States has lost several and tested many of its allies since entering into military action in Iraq and although this seems to be common knowledge among the American public, there is no proceeding initiative in place to counter such negative effects.?It is as though the American public seems to think that the United States can act alone on the global arena without repercussions.? Although the US did, indeed, enjoy the position of global hegemon in the years proceeding the Cold War, the international community and global arena have drastically changed since then.?New powers are emerging that pose legitimate threats to the United States, and the Unites States is no longer big enough to repel such threats alone.?Thus, it is absolutely imperative that America become part of something that is big enough to balance this threat.?The first step on the path to the Grand Alliance must be the diffusion of this information and the sense of urgency surrounding it to the American public.? Whether this information is diffused through the media or through the educated elite who govern them, the message must be sent.

It is important to focus intently on the United States?participation in the Grand Alliance in particular because without American support, the Grand Alliance is unlikely to be the cohesive, extensive environment that it is intended to be.?Without the US present to help galvanize the participation of more questionable candidates such as India, Japan, and Russia, there is unlikely to be any reason for such nations to join.   Furthermore, it is extremely important for the United States to join a stable alliance before it finds itself isolated, weak, and vulnerable to destruction.?The most efficient way to go about this integration into a Grand Alliance would be both gradual and transparent.?The United States must learn to concede part of its ego for the greater good of forming a stable, balanced alliance that will ensure a safe environment in an uncertain future.?The sacrifice of a little bit of sovereignty now is well worth having all of the democratic nations in the world in your corner in the future.                     ?/span>