Responses: Mitchell Cohen

Responses: Mitchell Cohen

A far-reaching transformation of global politics has made the world a freer but messier place. The cold war was never tidy, yet superpower competition did impose a simplicity—often an unfortunate simplicity—on perceptions of events, if not on the events themselves. Today, virtually all the assumptions that governed international politics must be reconsidered.

George Bush proclaimed a “new world order,” but this only masked a new world flux that he was unwilling to address in a comprehensive manner. Fashioning the Gulf coalition as an exercise in American-led collective security was, finally, a moment, not a policy. Missing was a reconceptualization of America’s place in a changing world, of a proper balance between domestic needs and foreign requirements. But Bush did have a strategic perspective in one essential domain, and that was foreign economic policy. Here the guide was a type of market fundamentalism, with little regard for the social or environmental costs, expressed in the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) negotiations and in prescriptions for ex-communist lands.

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Wurgraft | University of California Press Lima