Your Name Here Should the U.S. emphasize multilateral over unilateral initiatives in foreign policy? PRO: Yes, the U.S. should emphasize multilateral over unilateral initiatives because… 1. Multilateral cooperation help build good standing in international arena by improving the American image and reassuring other states about its behavior and goals…
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4. Many important international institutions require multilateral cooperation. 5. Multilateral initiatives allows for more alliances. CONS: No, the U.S. should NOT emphasize multilateral over unilateral initiatives in foreign policy. 1. The U.S. may have a disadvantage in multilateral negotiations because some countries outstrip the American influence in many consensus-oriented fora such as the ASEAN, Asean Regional Forum and APEC. 2. Some of the benefits of multilateralism can be achieved in through other strategies such as bilateral agreements, which sometimes could be more forceful and effective. 3. It is less decisive in addressing immediate threats or issues that need immediate attention. The dominant opinion domestically and internationally is that the United States is better off pursuing a multilateral approach to its foreign policy instead of unilateralism. This is exactly what is being pursued by the current Obama administration. For example, in the current civil war happening in Libya, the US is working with the North Atlantic Territory Organization (NATO) and the Arab League in order to best solve the crisis. When several airstrikes were finally launched against Moammar Gaddhafi’s military installations, they were done within the auspices of NATO and were explicitly projected as international efforts with the French or the British, possibly taking the lead. American policymakers are careful to avoid the failures of the previous administrations in its foreign policies, particularly that which concerned the unilateral invasion of Iraq, including the policies that came to constitute the American War on Terror. The confidence-building capability of multilateral initiatives has been demonstrated by Japan – a state now held in high esteem by most of Asia – after its much derided status during the Second World War. Through its strategy, it was able to achieve a kind of diplomatic influence that sometimes surpasses that of the US. For example, through the years, Japan has cultivated strong economic relationships with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN). Multilateralism’s benefit for Japan is quite clear. Today, the country has two major East Asian multilateral foreign and security policy options: the first is the ASEAN/ARF structure, which are now consisted of most of the states in Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia.1 Then, there was also the case of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which the first Bush administration encouraged and ratified under President Clinton’s watch. This initiative to engage Latin America, wrote Horwitz, helped redirect the foreign policies of thirty-four Western Hemisphere states in favor of closer political and economic ties.2 This engagement also facilitated the pursuit of common goals that led to the solution of common problems such as illegal drugs and immigration. Engaging other states and international institutions makes an initiative legitimate or, at least, provide a semblance of it that might otherwise be perceived as narrow political/military/economic interests of the US. According to Parmar, the popular critique against the recent Bush administration was that it had alienated the world by “by-passing international institutions, flouting international law and norms, and disregarding the interests and opinion of states.3 Anjali
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Asian middle class is rising 4. Asian countries are progressing in the path of economic growth 5. Asian countries are successful in combining ‘tradition’ and ‘openness to the world’ 6. Human rights movement is gaining momentum CON: No, democracy is NOT making gains in Asia because… 1.
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