Sunday, December 16, 2007
The world after Bush: the positive agenda we need
But what happens next?
We will need much more than a critique of what should have done differently.
Those of us who believe we need a 'new multilateralism' to deal with the global challenges of our age must show that we can find the ideas, the policies and the political strategy to make it work.
The Bush revolution in foreign policy has failed. But that does not mean there will be automatic swing back to a more internationalist approach. Traditional realists, for whom foreign policy must be a values-free zone, and left oppositionists, for whom western iniquity is at the root of every global problem, feel vindicated by events, while many liberal internationalists are divided and demoralised.
This blog will seek to contribute to debate about the new ideas which can be turned into an effective multilateral agenda.
It will discuss the impact of the US election campaign, as voters prepare to elect a new President. But it will place at least as much emphasis on what those outside the United States - particularly in Britain and the rest of the European Union - must do to make a 'new multilateralism' effective.
The blog will draw on and debate the ideas of a significant Fabian Society strand of activity on the world after Bush, including the major 'Change the World' conference in January 2008, and further events and publications across the year, as well as drawing on a wider range of contributions and ideas.
The Fabian Society has run a series of activities on this theme over the last 18 months. Here are some selected highlights:
* Sunder Katwala's Fabian essay, 'The World After Bush' published in the summer 2006 Fabian Review, a global politics special issue, calling for a more confident 'neo-prog' agenda to challenge that of the neo-cons.
* Charles Clarke's Fabian Next Decade lecture, 'The World After Bush' in November 2006, argued for a recommitment to liberal internationalism and arguing that this requires a stronger British commitment to the EU, and a rethinking of the renewal of Trident.
* Glenys Kinnock's Fabian Review article ' in 'What needs to change in foreign policy, in December 2006, argues that returning ethics to the centre of foreign policy demands a rethinking of the 'special relationship' with the United States. Glenys Kinnock debated this with Hilary Benn
at the Fabian new year conference in January 2007.
* Tony Klug's Fabian freethinking paper 'How peace broke out in the Middle East: a brief history of the future, which has been widely acclaimed for its advocacy of the possibility and necessity of a just settlement for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Our fringe debate (full transcript) 'What do Iran's democrats want from us?' held by the Fabian Society and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Bournemouth in Autumn 2007.
As the Washington clocks strike twelve on 20th January 2009, listen carefully and you might just hear a swooshing sigh of relief travel around the world. The Bush Presidency will not leave the legacy its architects intended. But a critique of what should have been done differently since 2001 is not enough. This blog is about the new ideas which can create a 'new multilateralism' to tackle the global challenges we face.