27 Oct 2006
(updated 30 Oct 2006 at 11:03 UTC) »
Princeton‛TM]s Richard Falk on the uncertain future of American
Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank professor of International
Law and Practice and professor of Politics and International
Affairs at Princeton‛TM]s Woodrow Wilson School, was recently
in Athens and lectured on the future of American foreign
policy. The lecture was co-organized by the Kokkalis
Foundation and the Princeton Club of Greece, on Thursday,
December 5, 2003 at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens.
The focus of American interests in this century, Falk
stated, has been moved from Europe to the Middle East and
this is due both to oil interests and to Islam and Israel.
Further, the War in Iraq, the prominent scholar stressed, is
not a consequence of the strikes on 9/11 nor is it a war
against the Al-Quaeda network; it has not been caused by the
fear that Iraq will obtain weapons of mass destruction.
After all, Falk went on to show, Iraq is a weak country and
a less dangerous one in comparison with the first Gulf War.
The present administration and its advisors support the
continuation of Cold War US foreign policy, including the
Reagan administration‛TM]s foreign policy, Falk argued. The
dominant role of the United States has been achieved through
great military power and its distance from the
Mrs. Kokkalis and Falk
countries that could question its hegemonic role. There has
been an effort to connect world security with U.S. national
security and this effort is fueled by the creation of a
political organization that more closely resembles a global
empire than global governance. This empire does not have the
traditional capability to exert direct political influence
on other countries, but the capability to impose its
geopolitical rules in the world, Falk added.Professor Falk
suggested four approaches to depict the organization of the
post-Cold War world. The first is based on the ideas of
Fukuyama‛TM]s eend of history†and purports that the post-Cold
War world will rely on the principles of liberal democracy
and the free market. The idea of the end of history in
essence means that there is no need for conflict between
different countries because what counts is economic
geopolitics. The second approach is that adopted by George
Bush, Sr. who favored and relied on the crucial role of the
U.N. in conflict resolution. George Bush, Jr. has adopted
the third approach based on the belief that U.S. domination
will impose peace in the world. The last approach to world
order has emerged as result of civil society movements
during the 1990‛TM]s and refers to the establishment of a
global democracy regime, where governments are legitimized
only if they preserve a minimum of human rights, as well as
political, economic, and social rights. According to this
approach, the international community is to assume
responsibility when a country is faced with a big disaster,
such as genocide, anarchy, or a plague, and when there is
the possibility of intervention to confront the wrongdoings
of any foreign government.
Finally, referring to terrorism and the imperative of its
extinction, Professor Falk made a clear distinction between
visionary terrorism and violent terrorism, the latter of
which is due to conflicts like the Israeli-Palestinian one.
In the first case, there are no negotiation possibilities
because terrorism is a means of conflict between the eforces
of the Good†that fight the eforces of the Evil.†Cases like
this include the Al-Quaeda and the Greek November 17 group.
In the second case, where Falk includes the Palestinian
issue and Northern Ireland, an end to terrorism might be
obtained through negotiations between the opposing parties.