Live Blogging at the Geopolitcal Summit @ FIU

Hector Roos is writing quick snippets about what is said at the FIU Globalization Summit

9:35am the Event is starting a little late

9:39am Dr. Madique begins a quick intro of sponsors and special guests (SouthCom, Mayor Maurice Forier, AJ Mayer, Charles Breslin)

Theme: “America and the Rising Powers”

4 of the most influential intellectuals invited. School of international and Public Affairs (of the College of Arts & Sciences)

9:42am Fukuyama introduction

Critiques of neo-conservatism in writings. He is a defecting member of neo-conservatism.

9:45am Fukuyama begins

Praises FIU on their approach to international relations

Central issue: Security concerns have created a new approach to international relations with the Clinton and Bush administrations

Legacy of Bush administration:

Initial Assumption of American Dominance

Hard military power can influence politics (Bush Doctrine)

Iraq War: preemption and preventive war, unilateral, strategic use of Democracy where in the Arab war this idea becomes doctrine.

Deeper question regarding the nature of the world we face:
International system is very different to how theory courses are taught. We are taught that it is involved around nation-states (centralized powers) and the balance of power between those countries. It is true in some parts of Asia but in much of Asia and Africa there is a world dominated by “weak states” which do not have the ability to enforce rules within its territory.

In a weak state world the United States approach does not work.

Afghanistan is such a weak state. Pakistan is very unstable and a case study of “state weakness.”

Hard power in such a world is useless. Hard power works with countries such as Japan in WWII.

The US represents more than half of the world’s military spending.

Why does this weak state exist?

New state actors. They want a piece of the action.

Globalization. Has made nation-states weaker since prosperity has spread out creating new avenues of smuggling and criminality.


Shaping a post-9/11 world

Proliferation (especially dealing with Weak States such a Pakistan)

The ability to use preventive war depended on political wisdom that predicts the future:

In Iraq, nuclear armament understanding and location of programs were unknown in 2003 invasion. In N. Korea and Iran, were encouraged to pursue nuclear programs in order to have a better political position. This strategy became self-defeating.

The world didn’t buy the rationale for the US invasion of Iraq. Post-Cold War US foreign policy thought they could continue a benevolent hegemony (business as usual).

We discovered that people to not interpret US actions as benevolent and the US exercise of power has been competent.

Unilateralism dealing with proliferation, terrorism and a weak state world does not work.

#3 Legacy of Democracy promotions

It is a good idea to promote Democracy. An idea from the beginning of the Republic. Novum Ordum. Wilsonian ideals are right.

Democracy promotion creates a Middle East favorable to strategic interests.
Problems: 1) Links effort that is done peacefully to invasion, Bush A created a worldview that the US meant military invasion.
2) The selling point of Democracy came hand in hand to securing resources for the nation. Makes us look hypocritical. There is something in it for us. Control of local natural resources.

More from Hector…

Its getting interesting…

10:04am Foreign policy as social work

If we do not establish this social work than we will not secure our objectives around the world. There is a competition for basic social needs around the world. The competition lies with other countries that sponsor social work for lower class, marginal population. See: Venezuela with Chavez.

Social work agenda in Foreign Policy (Hearts and Minds). Don’t simply lecture but instead offer the direct support to attain the long-term strategic ends.

This is American soft power.

10:08am Economic crisis will affect the American Brand that involves economic ideas.

From Reagan revolution, the welfare state shrunk and the economy was liberalized (government controls were reduced).

Up to this point, the welfare state was steadily growing. With Reagan a swing to the right through many countries and today it seems it has swung too far.

Now the government has to come back and bailout the banking industry.

The US is lacking credibility in its foreign policy agenda but also in the economic realm that was inherited from the Reagan years.

We are reforming the regulatory system and the boundary between state and market.

The level of prosperity in the US was due to the savings in the Third World (particularly Asia).

The deleveraging of savings in Asia will cause an enormous correction to retiring Baby Boomers.

But America still has a lot of advantages:



Flexible labor

Ability of integrate immigrants (we do not have the problem of birth rates in this country)


Hard power use will continue and be used to buy time until the soft power is developed. Problem of “screw-ups” of government action in Iraq and Katrina demonstrates a lack of leaders who direct these efforts. These will have to be developed.

More from Hector…

Panel with questions:

10:15am Panel Intro


Dr Cook, opening statement

Historian in 16 and 17th century. Expert on global empires and the problems and causes of demographic collapse. Wants to talk about a broad issue of change and predictability and the ability of Democracy to be an effective system.

Dr Gamarra, opening statement

Mentions that social elites run Latin American politics and foreign corporation. Culture changes over time with new leaders, foreign influences, new ideas…

“Democratic institutions do not promote stable social structures.”

This is the fault of social elites. Sad process of “inclusion” occurring in South America where movements of Chavez and Morales tear down Democratic institutions as they include new members of the population into government.

How can inclusion be done while protecting existing Democratic institutions?

Other countires like Chile and Uruguay and Brazil are continue to enter the global community while preserving their Democratic institutions.

Dr Hollander, opening statement

Different worldview with Dr Fukuyama which can be seen from the reading of his literary work.

Key premises in recent book:

-States should be key promoters of Democracy

Contra: social movements play at least an equal role

-Weak state lead to global problems

Contra: Global warming and economic recession will be bigger problems than weak states

-Things not said: US overthrowing Democratic governments; transnational corporations; ex. Africa receives investments that do not support the populace and offer prosperity to the people (Nigeria).

Holds different views on threats and challenges.

10:30am Opening questions to the floor

See video

10:46am Close of 1st Plenary

Part 4: Plenary 2 – Dr. Robert Kagan


11:16am Intro

11:23am Dr. Kagan speaks

The US is not in decline. We lead the world into recessions and depression so we gain an advantage as being the first one out.

Military capacity outpaces the world combined.

Iraq is not the only war where it was proven that military might makes right.

What exactly is America declining against?

When could the US do whatever it wanted to do? Never.

While Europe is a fantastic foreign policy success and Asia in general from the Chinese communist revolution to the Indochina independence movement and even the development of the bomb in Russia. The US has never been in control.

Although we should underestimate America’s capability, we also shouldn’t overestimate its past impact.

Post-Cold War period has 2 basic assumptions:

<!–[if !supportLists]–>1)    <!–[endif]–>We had witnessed the end of great power politics (geopolitical politics)

<!–[if !supportLists]–>2)    <!–[endif]–>We had seen the end to the challenge to Democratic and market societies

Geopolitics have been replaced by geoeconomics and economics brings people together. More community and common marketplace replaces the desire for war. Trading partners do not go to war.

This is progress – towards a better society.


In the 90s, there was a time of a sole superpower and assumptions made seemed to be true. Now, the geopolitical conflict is back. Surging India, China, Japan, Russia, etc.

The new Russia is a very human example of a resurgent country desiring to move not just in economics but also in a return to its world influence.

China is motivated by its history.

India has reasons to foreign resentment and history as being a dominant power.

Conflict between China and India is inevitable.


Iran also falls into the category of having an imperial history and being subject to foreign influence.

We are not looking at a conflict any time soon. But the recent Black Sea episode over Georgia (Russia) and the Chinese preparation for battle over Taiwan gives pause to think.

Liberal democracies are the greatest form of government and must triumph as an idea.

Economic modernization = Political liberalization

However, China and Russia doesn’t seem to prove this point. These governments are not going to give up power any time soon.

11:46am Case study

When fascist governments took over around the world in the 30s it also popped up elsewhere. This is also true regarding the expansion of liberal democracies. Today, autocracies are beginning to return again (a system from the 19th century).

Conclusion: It does matter the form of governments around the world.


We have to be an active promoter of Democracy around the world as an interest to us.

We have to let go of the assumption that “Everything is moving in the right direction.” We instead have to work hard toward establishing Democracy for ourselves.

11:50am Commentary beginning

Dr. Allan Rosenbaum

There are a lot more weak states from what has been mentioned (such as in Africa, in Southeastern Europe). These are flash points.

Personality politics have led to conflicts especially determining US unilateral foreign policy. GWB versus GHWB (son must out do Daddy).

Unexpected crisis that are unplanned have a significant impact of “where we go.”

The last few months have changed policies. The abandonment of the New Deal style social-welfare programs in the 70s mirrors today’s readiness for change today.

11:58am Dr. Prugl

What is normality in this world?

Unitary states, power politics, states behaving as individuals (led by emotion or led without emotion yet normal human behaviors).

The old tools of statecraft have returned: alliances, end to international community.

This is a wrong vision. This normality is not inevitable. It is unnatural.

Dr. Kagan does not mention the Iraq war. The Iraq war demonstrated that the US cannot be trusted to lead unilateral military conflicts.

Also look at the US War on Terror. This was not the natural outcome of things. An international police action could have taken place. Realists were not consulted.

“There is nothing natural or inevitable about these choices.”

These choices discourage imagination. These Democracies cannot engage to other countries especially with autocracies.

This type of world means that history has been forced back “into the straighjacket of realist power politics”.

This is a new world of fear and danger with no choice for multilateralism and dialogue.

*Everyone applauds at her statement*

Dr. Mesbahi

What he has to say just starts with a question: Why should we listen to these people who have wrong so many times before?

The War on Terror has not really been covered. Neither in this summit or by the Obama administration.

What kind of model do you base what the world is like? A model that you just abandon every few years.

*Presents a very harsh criticism of Dr. Kagan’s book*

Essentially: You are not consistent and speak a little about everything. Even without talking about your involvement in the establishment of disastrous foreign policy.

What history books do you read that lead you believe that the support of expanding Democracy is NOT the historical exception and historical practice for the US?

This is revisionism.

Perhaps we have different definitions of what system of economics we have.

Power vs force and political objective.

The US has not been able to use its power to translate this power into goals.

The US armed forces have been tested and people are questioning about how the US cannot deliver punitive force to small political units. This is a great problem for countries that want to establish their dominance by force (US and China are examples.)

*Great applause follows*

End to Q&A

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