In which world do we want to live in some years?
How can we make our planet a better place?
Which foreign policy the new US president and the leaders in the European Union and other countries should promote?
Let’s have a deeper look and ask for advice from the foreign affairs philosopher and Pentagon strategist Dr Fritz Kraemer. He was my mentor for 25 years.
According to Kraemer, foreign affairs should rest on the following principles and convictions:
Showing strength and avoiding “provocative weakness” against anti-democratic forces;
• Emphasizing the importance of power in foreign affairs as a backup for diplomacy;
• Primacy of foreign affairs over domestic affairs as they deal with the survival of the nation;
• The need for a foreign minister to be a statesman of genius with an inner quality of musicality.
• Shaping the world with a mission promoting absolute values and the cause of humanity;
• Acknowledging the psychology of nations and the need for a soul in foreign policy;
• Sharp criticism of self-serving capitalist bourgeois politicians and diplomats unwilling to confront extremists and fight for their values, thereby encouraging mediocrity;
• Fighting moral relativism on the basis of respect for religions and belief in God;
• The imperative to mentor a broad, responsible elite of young men and women of excellence and character to foster a nation´s good governance;
• Supporting and encouraging young talents not to seek privilege and material goods, but serve their country with passion and satisfaction.
• Belief in the power of re-generation, with this innovative and dynamic elite acting as a catalyst to change the course of history.
Fritz Kraemer always firmly believed in re-generation through an elite comprising just a few active personalities.
However was the danger that the still immature shoots of freedom may be pulled up again by a few radicals. This nightmare became true few years later in Egypt, Libya, or Syria and Iraq.
Democracy and the millions of new jobs needed for young people in North Africa and the Middle East (MENA) cannot be created within a few months.
Democracy must be allowed to grow –as documented by its development in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.
It will be of crucial importance for the new free elite to inspire and lead the two-thirds majority of freedom-loving, but politically deprived masses and in turn elicit their enthusiasm for courageous leaders.
The alternative, which recalls the tragic experiences of Fritz Kraemer and the German nation during the Weimar Republic, is radicals hijacking democracy and erecting an even more dreadful extreme Islamic dictatorship than that in Iran in 1979.
The revolutions in North Africa and the Gulf still served as a crucial litmus test to prove that Islam and democracy and common global values are reconcilable; and determine if the people and moderate Islamist parties there – as was accomplished in all of Europe – are able to create a modern humane free order, rather than producing yet more authoritarian regimes like those so aptly described in the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell or in the books about the Third Reich and the rise of totalitarism by my Bonn professor Karl Dietrich Bracher.
America and Europe should be active to promote freedom and support the new elements of democracy there.
I firmly believe that our world will be safer if we get rid of the remaining dictatorships and implement everywhere the principles of our coexistence, stipulated in the UN Charter of 1949.
Dictatorships employ violence in both their domestic and foreign conduct, because they are violent by nature, existing only by permanently violating the rights of others.
The predominantly negative experiences of interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan or the Arab winter show, however, that the U.S. and its European allies have not been able to implant strong Western-style democracies by either hard military or soft political means from the outside, in states without pre-existing democratic traditions.
Our foreign policy must draw lessons from the mistakes and take into consideration the actual experiences of Eastern European and North African revolutions as well.
Until now our diplomacy seems mostly to consist in following developments, rather than actively shaping appropriate change.
There is no such massive support for the delicate palm of democracy as there is in many Arab countries for Islamic movements.
Meanwhile in our foreign policy, talking replaces concrete deeds.
What elements ought a new, promising foreign and security policy -I would like to call it World 3.0 following Micosoft´s developing steps- include, capable of deterring enemies, strengthening the forces of freedom and making the world safer and more peaceful – a policy corresponding with the national interests of 21st century freedom-loving, democratic, industrial nations while also meeting the needs of billions of people in impoverished and underdeveloped countries for food, jobs and human dignity.
A smart and effective policy capable of mastering the global challenges and changes; moreover, a policy we can afford as highly indebted nations with limited financial means; a smart foreign policy meeting the desires and dreams of the new Facebook generation, the new young and active elite from Cape Town or Seattle to Beijing.
A shaping foreign policy, following the example of Fritz Kraemer, which does not remain stuck in administering the status quo – as does World 1.0 – or remaining in the categories of deterrence of classic politics of power and national interest – as does World 2.0, failing to offer coherent action plans for crisis management and staggering from one TV-suitable conference to the other. A better foreign policy shaping the globe for our children – Networking a Safer World.
What kind of priorities, double-strategies and actions do we need in our globalized world to promote peace, stability and human rights in our time?
How can classic foreign policy in a fragmented world, with many of its more than seven billion individual inhabitants striving for food, shelter and human dignity, achieve positive change? What can it achieve in the struggle against terrorism, nuclear weapons in the hands of mullahs, famine in East Africa, pirates and greedy politicians pillaging their impoverished countries and installing themselves comfortably in authoritarian structures? Have we reached the limits of what is possible, but are unwilling to admit it? Are we not just puffing ourselves up like a vain rooster unable to lay eggs?
Let me start with a simple metaphor.
Think of yourself as a plumber with a tool-box full of hammers, screwdrivers and twenty other different tools. As a good craftsman you will first look at what you have to repair and then choose the tools which serve you best – job done – quickly, easily, effectively.
This is not the case in foreign policy yet. We must address this weakness and change it.
Many “craftsmen” are on hand to address hot spots in foreign policy. Politicians in parliaments and parties with different views, the media, public opinion, the foreign office, the defence ministry, generals, the UN and many actors from other countries as well. That amounts to several dozens of people with strong egos and perceptions. Sounds like chaos and a big mess – and it is certain to always start like that. Fritz Kraemer used to say “Great interests are at stake, but small interests govern.”
In the end each action comes too late, is mostly uncoordinated and costs the tax payer a lot of money. This is the negative experience of Iraq and Afghanistan.
We should never merely blame the bad guys, jihadists or dictators for what they do. We must instead be self-critical, examining what needs to be improved to make us smarter as well as stronger than our enemies.
Our own bureaucracies, including weak politicians in cabinets and parliaments, constitute our main adversary. Experience shows that at the end of frustrating, grinding decision-making processes we usually burn too much money for little output and are too slow, uncoordinated and inefficient. This red tape monster is harder to fight than any enemy. It is our main Achilles Heel in foreign affairs, causing us to win on the battle field but lose in the end and produce one “lost victory” after another. Our enemies do not constitute the main threat, but rather our system´s inability to deal effectively and creatively with them.
Worlds lie between the dynamics of the actual movers and shapers, such as the young Egyptian bloggers, the young Palestinians and Israelis or Syrian and Libyan activists willing to risk their lives for freedom on the one hand, and the planning staffs of the State Department and the Foreign Office in Berlin on the other.
On the whole the foreign policy establishment is unable to keep up with such rapid developments, barely understands the complex new world and hardly exerts any influence on the course of events. Foreign policy officials have become on-lookers. The powerful are attempting to shape the world with pep talks, international conferences and state visits, but mostly end up splashing in their own bathtubs. Political rhetoric carries the day, while actual plans and deeds are rare. A year ago, the ousted rulers in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt were openly courted. No foreign minister predicted what would follow so soon.
Most of the much vaunted international conferences produce nice TV images for the electorate, but no concrete proposals. They consist of exhaustive speeches, but an “action vacuum”. Today, a nearly endless diagnosis replaces therapy. The usual discussions and international meetings dealing with foreign policy mostly end with the demand “We ought to do something”, but without mentioning consequences, plans and precise implementation. Hardly a politician or leading civil servant asks about the where, how and when. But this is where effective work starts. Success or failure is determined in this realm of plans and options. Listening to politicians conveys the impression that they confuse their speeches with implementation with the motto “But that is what I said.”
The subjunctive has taken over. Foreign policy is no longer shaped and conducted; instead it is geared toward the media saying what should, could and must be done. A growing number of problems are being merely described, but none are being processed and mastered. This creates a huge traffic jam on the foreign policy motorway.
We are leaving the initiative to a few radical activists and –through our passivity – creating with them an action vacuum full of active weaknesses. We are not acting, but instead the object of action. We are not shaping, but instead reacting to new developments. We are not actively stimulating and effectively supporting the silent majorities in specific countries, but remaining passive bystanders. We are not helping with deeds, only advertising our interest with words.
In view of today´s paradigm shift in foreign policy, what is needed is a new preventive stabilization policy, transcending traditional deterrence. We must systematically neutralize the numerous time bombs large and small, before it is too late and they get out of control. Pure crisis management no longer suffices. We must address the roots of tensions such as ethnic conflicts, hunger, poverty, population growth, water shortage or underdeveloped agriculture. We must collect, evaluate, strengthen and implement best practice on a global scale. So far this learning process appears extremely bureaucratic, slow, without dynamism and unprofessional.
We must analyze well beyond existing limits of military thought.
In an age of towering debts and limited budgets, we are obliged to calculate precisely what we can afford and which funding mix will enable maximum output with minimum input. We need a better long-term planning and cost-control.
We must focus to find and support the new elites in the Arab states.
We cannot solve the “problems of the world on the same level of thinking where we have creacted them” (Albert Einstein) and need a fresh thinking with new ideas.
We need double strategies of power and diplomacy, hawk and dove, integrating the Human Codes of Tolerance (see www.codesoftolerance.com).
We must shape reality. The leaders in the free world leaders should become more active and not just adopt to the bad realities and start a moral, active and successful new foreign policy World 3.0.