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No Multilateralism

Obama doesn’t solve – American foreign policy hasn’t changed

Brenner 6/28/10 – Senior Fellow, the Center for Transatlantic Relations (Michael, “Lonely Are the Foolish,”, WRW)
Everybody talks about multilateralism, but nobody does anything about it. That holds true for American presidents from John Kennedy to Barack Obama -- with the exception of George Bush the Younger, whose administration didn't pretend it wanted the counsel of lesser states. Today, the case for a cultivated set of diplomatic as well as military alliances is compelling. Cardinal features of the world environment point clearly in that direction: the nature of the problems (regional stability; global system maintenance); the growing self confidence and capacity of new actors (China, Brazil, India, Turkey); and the evident limits of America's capacities for enlightened leadership in every respect -- including intelligent strategy and skillful diplomacy. Yet Washington shows no inclination to change its commanding ways, for understandable, if not persuasive, reasons. The United States was born with a sense of superiority as well as exceptionalism. Many Americans feel that the country was born in a state of "original virtue." Our belief in that virtue underpins a deeply ingrained conviction that we are destined to be the trail guide to a global Promised Land... The nation's manifest might over the past seventy years has confirmed it, as has the deference of allies. The Cold War success sealed it. A culture of domination and subordination suffuses our dealings with them. Modes of interaction conform to that culture. As a practical matter, American officials find it unnatural to address others as equals, even selectively on problems in their neighborhood that affect their interests more acutely than they affect ours. We instinctively take command and are unbending when we make up our mind, which usually is a strictly internal process (e.g. the Afghan 'surge"). To date, the painful failures of unilateralism have not dented our insular mentality. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Palestine, international monetary reform, the Missile Shield -- they share the same methods of American policy-making and execution. Cumulatively, these serial errors have cost us greatly. How can this change? That would demand both an inescapably agonizing reappraisal of who we are and what we can accomplish, and pressure from allies, e.g. Turkey and Brazil on the Iranian nuclear issue. The latter will grow -- albeit slowly, especially among our truest on most psychological dependent allies in Europe. The United States' disposition to undertake the former is invisible. I refer not only to the arrogance of the Obama people. I refer as well to the discourse within the foreign affairs community more broadly. Frankly, it is replete with "they shoulds" and "they musts" -- whether the "they" is France, Pakistan, Germany, Brazil, the Iraqis, Russia or whomever. A New York Times editorial used the former expression four times and the latter expression eight times in one editorial directed at Vladimir Putin during the Southern Ossetia affair. That broke the informal record of three and seven used in an editorial lecturing General Musharraf. One surmises that the same language is used at the upper echelons of the Obama administration, as evident in every insider account of high-level Washington deliberations. Stanley McChrystal may have been cruder in his remarks about allied countries, but the attitude is predominant. The language is unimportant; the mindset that it conveys is. Obama is well-spoken and polite; but "they" remain "they." All his rhetoric about alliance dialogue and multilateralism has had no tangible meaning. That will continue to be the case unless and until he wakes up to the concrete costs to American interests registering now, and the enormous opportunity costs from failure to see what future world stability requires.
Multilat low – we need to hit up that DOHA

Krueger 6/23/10 – Herald L. and Caroline L. Ritch Professor in Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, Director of the Center for Research on Economic Development and Policy Reform, and a Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, at Stanford University (Anne O., “Obama's Lack Of Leadership On Trade,”, WRW)
At a time when growth prospects for the world economy appear limited, it is astonishing that the Obama administration has not seized an opportunity for accelerating that growth with virtually no fiscal cost. That opportunity: Obama ought to provide U.S. leadership to complete the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Successful completion would spur trade, which in turn would accelerate world growth. International trade has been a major engine of growth. Total world trade has grown at about twice the rate of world real income, spurring productivity growth, the ultimate source of higher living standards, and technical change.The most recent round of trade negotiations, the Doha Round, was started in November 2001. While barriers to manufactured trade had been greatly reduced, there were still some high tariffs on some manufactured goods, and distortions to trade in agriculture and services remained. Reduction or removal of those obstacles presented, and presents, an opportunity for accelerated growth of the world economy. Yet the Doha Round of trade negotiations has languished. Final agreement was close in July 2008, but when it was not reached, American trading partners naturally awaited a new administration to signal its commitment to successful conclusion of the round. Despite President Obama's stated commitment to multilateralism and expanding U.S. exports dramatically by 2015, the administration has not taken significant action nor signaled its intent to bring the round to conclusion.
US multilateralism low – foreign aid funds

Kharas 6/25/10 – Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Wolfensohn Center for Development, The Brookings Institution (Homi, “A New U.S. Multilateralism in Development?”, WRW)
This is especially true of U.S. foreign assistance. Since 2000, U.S. official development assistance has increased significantly by almost 10 percent per year in real terms (see chart). But U.S. aid channeled through the multilateral system has stagnated. All the increase in U.S. assistance has been through new bilateral programs like PEPFAR and the MCC. As a result, the share of U.S. foreign assistance channeled through the multilateral system has fallen to 11 percent today, less than one-half of its level in 2000. Compare that to the United Kingdom that gives one-third of its foreign assistance through multilateral organizations. Other indicators reveal the same problem. Only 12 percent of U.S. aid missions are coordinated with other donors, according to the Development Assistance Committee. Only one-third of U.S. analytical work on development problems is done jointly. This decline in U.S. multilateralism is linked to a loss of its leadership on the aid front. Until 2005, the U.S. had systematically been the largest donor to every multilateral development fund. But it lost this spot in the IDA 14 replenishment to the U.K., and became the fourth largest donor to the African Development Fund’s tenth replenishment, after the U.K., France and Germany.
Can’t solve multilateralism – there’s no such thing as a ‘reset button’. If Bush screwed up, it stays that way

Aznar 6/22/10 – former prime minister of Spain (Jose Maria, “There's No Such Thing as a 'Reset' Button,”, WRW)
Washington's foreign-policy circles clearly find it fashionable to talk about pressing the "reset" button on international relations. The impulse is understandable. Every new leader dreams of shaping a new era in his own image. But the technological metaphors miss their mark. The world isn't a PC, much less a sleek and trendy iPad. America's search for a simple restart is destined to fail. The legacy of history resists being abandoned as easily as a software application is "exited." Only the naive can manage to think otherwise for very long. Meanwhile, the world is waiting for Washington to acknowledge its strategic responsibilities. America's liberal and democratic ideals are the foundation of today's international order. Since World War II, the United States has been the world's defining ideological, economic, scientific, strategic, and cultural force.

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