Robert Naiman: Reframing the conversation from one of threats to one of opportunities


Heather Hurlburt: Can more oversight help limit potentially negative consequences of American foreign policy?


Robert Scheer: Can the United States address global problems in a way that acknowledges our common humanity?


Gareth Porter: Three principles that can push the U.S. towards a fundamental shift in foreign policy


Charles Knight: "Foreign policy is one of the least democratic parts of our governance system"


Heather Hurlburt: The U.S. has a set of tools that have enormous potential for both good and ill


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  • Kathleen Toohill

    Leave your comments and questions for our participants here, and we’ll do our best to incorporate them into the live roundtable!

  • Very timely. Gareth Porter alerted me to this and I will publicize it at Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog. My own essay, “An American Grand Strategy: Evidence-Based, Affordable, Balanced, Flexible,” is available free at Phi Beta Iota and for 99 cents at Kindle. It looks makes specific recommendations for White House & Congress, Intelligence & Covert Actions, Diplomacy & Development, Army, Air Force, Navy & Marines, at four levels of analysis: strategic, operational, tactical, technical. It moves $150B a year from Program 50 (military) to Program 150 (international relations); cuts Pentagon by 30% while still creating a 450 ship Navy, long-haul Air Force, and air mobile Army, closing all bases overseas; AND it eliminates Congressional resistance to change by making all reforms job and revenue neutral from district to district.

  • My question is this: The USA is the only country in the world which, as a matter of official policy divides the world up into military fiefdoms (or Unified Commands, via the Unified Command Plan (UCP)., if you wish to use the military jargon) so that it can military intervene ANYWHERE in the wold, if the U.S. government decides to do so. Structurally, speaking this makes continuing foreign interventions an inevitability, just not likely. It also provides teh basis for the current size of U.S. armed forces and corresponding budget. Given all this, what would teh speakers do to eliminate the UCP?

  • Chris Herz

    Foreign policy cannot be reinvented in this system, which is based upon plunder of the USA itself and its people by a predatory corporate elite and a class of hereditary rich. The USA is an host organism for these parasites and is deployed against target nations for the seizure of markets and resources.
    No real changes in policy can be expected without a Soviet-style implosion and subsequent regime change.

  • mirza saleem beig

    Suggest the USA to start looking inwards. You will be better off. World at large have had enough of your belligerent and dominant posture and can longer tolerate the destructive regime. The security of Americans lies within and not dependent upon the foreign interventions. Uni-polar regime is already breathing slow……..Multi-polar world order, based on the respect for all regimes and nations on the basis of humanity and economic fairness, can only bring stability in the world.

  • PDA

    In preparing for this Reinvent conversation I came across an article about the US and China by Michael Swaine from the Carnegie Endowment called :

    “Beyond American Predominance in the Western
    Pacific: The Need for a Stable U.S.-China Balance of Power.”

    http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/04/20/beyond-american-predominance-in-western-pacific-need-for-stable-u.s.-china-balance-of-power .

    I recommend this article as background regarding what is surely the greatest medium-term security issue for the US and the world.

    It is of particular merit that in this article Swaine takes what is sadly a rare perspective. He steps outside of nationalistic perspectives and discussess in some detail both countries’ legitimate national security interests. How can there be accomodation to changing relative power without increasing the likelihood to resort to war?

    I differ with Swaine in that I do not see any evidence that a ‘balance of power’ can be stable over time. Moments of Realist balance of power tend to break down into war. Much more secure would be a global culture (and strong international institutions) supporting non-violent resolution of conflict and the sharing of power. While the US is still predominate in the Pacific it should busy itself in constructing such a culture and the accompanying institutions that are inclusive of all regional nations. This is the foremost national interest of the US.

  • peterleyden

    I really appreciate the thoughtful comments going into this discussion. They are helping me prepare. If others have ideas or questions, do communicate them in the comments. We do take them seriously and they will inform the conversation. Thanks.

  • Kathleen Toohill

    Unfortunately we’re having streaming difficulties – we’ll let you know as soon as the live stream comes back up. Around 12:30 PT the entire conversation will be available right here.

    • Kathleen Toohill

      We’re back!

  • PDA

    In today’s conversation we didn’t get around to really addressing the future of US security poilicy regarding the rise of Chinese power and influence. This is by far the most important issue among the ‘traditional’ security concerns that affect international war and peace.

    A few thoughts:

    US must the find way to accommodate to inevitably growing power of China. US must share power with China — must get ahead of the curve on setting up inclusive institutions of power sharing. Assuming ongoing US preeminence and that the US Navy rightfully owns the Pacific is the path to disaster.

    We need to be doing everything we can to build partnership, not confrontation, with China by helping to construct an inclusive common regional security and economic framework — which is the opposite of constructing ‘cold war’.

    My colleague Carl Conetta has offered some quick guidelines for reducing tensions with China:

    * De-emphasize exclusive alliances;

    * Build inclusive institutions;
    * Build co-operation across international divides, not buddy clubs (operationalized by ‘coalitions of willing’:
    * Negotiate and build consensus.

    We needn’t recognize “spheres of interest,” but we might recognize “spheres of concern” and act cautiously there; All nations worry especially about what happens next door.

    Finally and obviously: Rollback military face-offs where you can; negotiate confidence-building measures instead, such as: advanced notification of military movements.

    Charles Knight, PDA