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From the Editor


n the wake of resurgent economic populism, protectionism has once again become touted as the most significant threat to globalization. History, however, begs to differ—great power militarism, with its attendant dangers for life and property, seems its principal menace. Globalization is old. Since Europeans first sailed to Asia and the Americas, the world and its people, goods and services have increasingly been drawn together. By 1913, a rudimentary globalization was already taking place as international trade reached its zenith. Economists and politicians alike noted that a new age was dawning. And just when it was finally within reach, the world committed economic suicide. As the First World War swept across Europe, its immediate casualty was what many economists now call the “First Era of Globalization.” World War I not only destroyed the powerhouse of globalization, the European economies; it also crippled entire markets, trade routes and supply chains, dooming free trade. Only after seventy years did the percentage of world trade as a portion of GDP reach its pre-war levels. And even today, net flows of FDI are still below their levels ninety-five years ago. While protectionism is harmful, militarism is particularly pernicious. Today, all the great powers—the U.S., China, Russia, India—are dramatically expanding their military capabilities for strategic purposes. But the belief that a nation’s military force should be actively used to promote national interest implicitly assumes military force should be a serious element of strategic calculations. Relying on weapons as a strategic hedge therefore introduces instabilities into the international system—if a strategic “bluff” is called, force then becomes a necessary answer. This is especially true over the Straits of Taiwan, where military force is the ultimate hedge, and where strategists on both sides admit that conflict could plausibly lead to nuclear war. Our cover story notes that modern weapons make even smaller conflicts between great powers potentially crippling. Just as World War I brought war to the skies, so too would another great power conflict bring war to Earth’s orbit. Here, nations would seek to cripple the satellites essential to each other’s military coordination and reconnaissance. But since orbital satellites are also fundamentally responsible for the telecommunications revolution and the foundations of modern globalization, a “shooting war” in space would be ruinous, undermining the infrastructure essential to the global economy. Today, the world is not fundamentally less conflict prone then it was in the 1913. Global economic interconnectedness, after all, did not prevent World War I. Militarism remains an element of foreign policy; violence is still an oft-used tool of the international system. Despite seventy years of virtually uninterrupted growth, globalization is not inevitable. It can be undermined. Yet the largest economies today continue to assemble the largest militaries. At the same time, they may also be conjuring the forces of their own destruction.

Rush Doshi ‘11, Editor-in-Chief

American Foreign Policy is a student-written, student-run publication based at Princeton University. It was founded in the wake of September 11th to provide Princeton students with a forum to discuss the difficult problems and choices facing the United States and the world. American Foreign Policy magazine is sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. No part of this publication should be construed to promote any pending legislation or to support any candidate for office. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Woodrow Wilson School, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, the James Madison Program, Princeton University, or American Foreign Policy.     AFP gladly accepts letters to the editor, article proposals, and donations, which are fully tax-deductible. All correspondence may be directed to: American Foreign Policy, 5406 Frist Center, Princeton, NJ 08544


Staff Editor-in-Chief Rush Doshi ‘11 Publisher Manav Lalwani ‘09 Managing Editors Zhenling Lai ‘09 Adam Harris ‘10 Editors Cole Bunzel Owen Fletcher Kent Kuran Carlos Hanco Emily Norris Jessica Sheehan Zvi Smith Ahson Azmat Jon Bradshaw

‘08 ‘08 ‘08 ‘09 ‘09 ‘09 ‘09 ‘10 ‘10

Hee Jin Cho Jon Extein Jonathan Giuffrida Brandon McGinley Catalina Valencia Brendan Carroll Ellen Choi Addie Lerner Eric Stern

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Jonathan Giuffrida ‘10, Production Manager Kelly Lack ‘10 Ellen Choi ‘11 Peck Yang ‘11

Business Staff Rebecca Kaufman ‘11 Patricia Sever ‘11 Peck Yang ‘11

Peter McCall Ellen Choi Shaina Li

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Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Zvi Smith ‘09 Publisher Emeritus Joel Alicea ‘10

AFP Advisory Board

Anne-Marie Slaughter: Dean, Woodrow Wilson School Nolan McCarty: Acting Dean, Woodrow Wilson School Katherine Newman: Director, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Robert P. George: Director, James Madison Program G. John Ikenberry: Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs Bernard A. Haykel: Director, Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East

April 2008 Issue  

AFP's April 2008 print edition