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sulking tone of U.S. official response to the populists, and to suggestions the United States should come out swinging against them.
Now what about the support of the American people for such a progressive internationalism? What about Senator Case's concern that you have to get domestic public opinion behind these idealistic sounding notions?
Senator Case. Take away the demagogic populists and turn them into benign populists.
Mr. Brown. How do we do that? I would suggest that we do not do it by debating with them or falling into the trap of regarding the U.N. as a debating society. There is more to the U.N. than that.
We have to be very careful that we do not allow them to develop the U.N. forum into polarized coalitions, with the United States leading one coalition, which will be the minority coalition, and the populists leading the other. How do we do it? I think we do it by practical measures in which we identify our concerns with theirs.
GENERATING PUBLIC OPINION IN SUPPORT OF U.N.
Now, what about public opinion?
It is always difficult and probably wrong to look at public opinion polls as a real guide, and I do agree with the Senator that an elected official is the best judge of public opinion,
Senator CASE. He had better be.
Mr. Brown. Yes. There is this inchoate public opinion which we were talking about; and some indications of what that might be for some of the policies that I am recommending here can be gleaned from a very interesting publication of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and the Lou Harris Associates published just about a inonth
I summarized some of the results in my prepared statement, which you have. It does show quite high support for fostering international cooperation to solve common problems. The goal of strengthening the U.N., despite all of the despair, still has considerable support, rather surprising support. The pertinent figures are in my prepared presentation.
Now, of course, these polls are an insufficient guide to policy. They inadequately probe for the tough tradeoffs which are the essence of policymaking
Ask Americans whether they are in favor of interdependence and international cooperation and they will answer, “Yes.” Ask them whether they are for preserving U.S. independence, they will answer, “Yes.” The tough question involved in a lot of these fields we are talking about, is how much independence to give up in specific fields in order to respond to the needs of an interdependent world. For surely we cannot avoid the fact that by agreeing to respect and enlarge international decision processes, we are in some fields likely to limit our freedom of action, just as a complete insistence on freedom of action will tend to limit our effectiveness in international forums. But to make such tradeoffs is precisely, I would suggest, the role of statesmanship-legislative statesmanship as well as executive.
Public opinion is inert when it comes to generating the real policy
options. It can only respond to the options generated by those who have thoroughly studied the issues.
The public responses, I suggest, would also reflect the concepts and visions suggested by the statesman for evaluating the options. This interplay is crucially important when it comes to the questions at issue here: The role of the United States in international organization and the reform of international organization in the present context of this growing international populism.
To attempt to follow public opinion simply on these questions is to attempt to take guidance from a public that has received little conceptual guidance from the congressional debates so far and heavy Spenglerian visions of the decline of the West from the seventh floor of the State Department.
The main need in U.S. foreign policy generally, not just in its U.N. policies, is for fresh concepts, fresh analysis, to illuminate these optimal tradeoffs that we have to seek between independence and interdependence, and new visions of progressive internationalism, that resound with the best in our domestic and international experience, in order to counter the cynicism of both the new populists and the conservative critics.
[The biographical sketch and prepared statement of Mr. Brown follow:]
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF SEYOM BROWN
Seyom Brown is senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, where he is currently directing a project on technological change and international institutions. From 1962 to 1969 he was a social scientist with the RAND Corporation. He has been a consultant to the Office of International Security Affairs in the Department of Defense, to the Policy Planning Council in the Department of State, and to the United States Navy's "Project 2000." He received his Ph. D. in political science from the University of Chicago. and has taught courses in foreign policy and international relations at UCLA and at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. His publications include New Forces in World Politics; and The Faces of Power: Constancy and Change in U.S. Foreign Policy from Truman to Johnson.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SEYOM BROWN, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
Just when the need for international cooperation is higher than ever and universally recognized, the United Nations system, the main hope for instituting international cooperation, is in its deepest trouble yet. Ironically, with its prestige at a low mark, the UN system is more centrally implicated in world politics and economics than at any time since its founding. If the UN were simply dying a slow death from irrelevance and neglect, it might not warrant our intense concern. But it is precisely the contradiction between greater reliance on the UN simultaneously with a severe loss of faith in its ability to perform its enlarged tasks that is alarming and, I gather, is the reason why the Foreign Relations Committee is devoting special attention to the problem today. It is also, I assume, the reason why someone with the perspicacity of Ambassador Moynihan seems to have an itch to participate in the UN debates.
If involvement is a measure of health, the UN system is alive and well: UN forces at this moment are patrolling the cease-fire lines in the Sinai and the Golan Heights, with trepidation in all capitals that their mandate may not be renewed this summer.
Under UN auspices the largest international negotiation in history is underway, with fits and starts and prophecies of collapse, in an errort to allocate the biggest hunk of the world's resources ever attempted-two thirds of the earth's surface in and under the ocean.
A parallel negotiation started in April to establish an elaborate UN-affiliated organization to run a space satellite system to handle much of the world's maritime communications.
The international conference of signatories of the Nonproliferation Treaty now meeting is considering expansion of the international inspection functions of the International Atomic Energy Agency to keep pace with frightening spread of weapons-convertible nuclear technology.
In the wake of the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system, the International Monetary Fund has had to assume major responsibility for steering the relationships between the world's major currencies, lest pure unilateralism in altering exchange rates becomes a form of destructive protectionism and international economic coercion.
The UN special session on the "new economic order” scheduled to meet in September, will be tackling the most highly charged international political economy issues of the mid-1970s, including the international regulation of commodity pricing. The special session, an idea of the developing countries, is now, albeit belatedly, being taken very seriously by the United States and other industrialized countries; meanwhile, serious consideration is being given in the U.S. policy community to setting up some kind of umbrella international trade organization within the UN system that would absorb the functions of the GATT.
A Martian looking down at all this unprecedented activity in the UN system might conclude that humankind was on the brink of a new era of international creativity at least as great as that which resulted in the establishment of the League of Nations and then the United Nations itself. So why all the pessimism? Why the despair over the future of the UN?
The source of the despair of many in the United States policy community, even among some who are usually the staunchest supporters of the UN, can be summed up in a phrase, the new international populism: military demands by the majority of countries upon the privileged minority, mainly the non-communist industrialized countries, for an international redistribution of wealth and political power. Redistributive demands with no chance of being accepted by the still powerful minority are put forward in an uncompromising tone and injected assertively into all types of forums and negotiations as top priority agenda items, often with the threat of disruption of normal international processes if they are not granted top priority.
Finding themselves in a potential voting majority in many international institutions whenever gross redistributive issues are being discussed, the would be leaders of the populist coalition, such as Algeria or China, somewhat demagogically will attempt to turn even more mundane deliberations into debates on the central populist themes ; they also enjoy bringing such matters to a head in the form of votes on shrill resolutions which, while they may have no means of practical implementation, can reinforce the emotional bonds of the populist coalition, and spotlight the isolated position of the non-Communist industrialized countries, especially the United States. The fact that most Arab countries have identified themselves with the populist coalition has allowed them to swing the coalition in back of their vendetta against Israel. China has tried to effect a similar mobilization of the populists to its side in its confiicts with the Soviet Union, but with less success, for the Soviet Union itself takes every opportunity it can to vote with the populist coalition.
I am most concerned not with the fact of international populism, which is an historically inevitable reaction to the dismantling of the colonial empires, but rather with the despairing and wholly inadequate responses to it thus far by this country.
Ambassador Moynihan thinks he has found an appropriate response, which he derives from locating the cause of today's Third and Fourth World militancy in the Fabian socialist ideology of the former British subjects who are now leaders of some of the new states. He would do just as well to blame the military of the former French colonies on the French Jacobins, and of the radical Latin nationalists on Simon Bolivar. Woodrow Wilson also should be given some credit.
Moynihan's prescription (as presented in his Commentary article of March 1975): Stop appeasing the Third and Fourth World ideologues. Go into open opposition. With what? Apparently with a pudding of Burkean political conservatism to counter the new Jacobins combined with economic liberalism, a la Adam Smith, to combat the egalitarian state socialism of the new Fabians. Additionally, we should expose the hypocricies of developing country leaders who
keep political prisoners in their own countries while preaching to the West about the rights of man. "It is time," he says, "that the American spokesman came to be feared in international forums for the truths he might tell."
If only we could overcome the UN crisis by elegant and witty debate in the General Assembly. But the crisis has its sources in the structural upheavals of world society. Edmund Burke, for all his skill as essayist and orator, could not turn back the French Revolution. Nor could Winston Churchill arrest the independence movement in India by his insistence, "I have not become the King's First Minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire."
This is not to underestimate the practical consequences of political rhetoric. It is at its best the carrier of the noble visions of a people. And there have been times when the visions of American statesmen inspired the world; but this has usually been when the visions and the rhetoric were forward looking and reflected the basically optimistic and innovative spirit of our society.
Our domestic experience perhaps provides a guide for responding to the new international populism in a more constructive spirit than that recommended by Mr. Moynihan. The radicalization of the French Revolution was not imitated here. Instead of Jacobinism or monarchical restoration we produced Jeffersonianism. The bitter indigenous populism of the late 19th Century that threatened to break the bonds of civil society was supplanted by the progressivism of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Again, the New Deal was a progressive response to the great world depression of the 1930s, which otherwise might have left the society polarized between the Marxist-Leninists and the Fascists.
This society's most progressive responses to militant domestic populism have been in the form of institutional adjustments directed toward (1) increased accountability of the privileged and powerful to wider public interests; and (2) greater participation by the otherwise alienated in the processes of politics and government. An equally progressive response to the new international populism could build on this domestic experience. The hallmarks of such a U.S. response would be support for strengthened norms and processes of international accountability and for greater participation by the developing countries in important international negotiations and institutions.
Such a posture of international progressivism would mean that the United States had committed itself internationally to the principle that those whose actions substantially affect others should accord the affected parties a role in the decision processes related to such actions. At a minimum this principle would obligate governments, international institutions, and nongovernmental entities to consult with those whom they affect. A fuller implementation would accord the affected parties decisionmaking weight corresponding to the degree toward which they are affected.
The first and yet most basic step toward implementing the concept is provided by the Kantian categorical imperative: act in such a way in world affairs as you would have all countries act. Obviously this country has been violating that norm left and right. (Indeed we have heard the present Administration on more than a few occasions justify its coercive international policies on the grounds that other countries are doing it). To demand that the OPEC countries act in accord with principles of international accountability now that their oil pricing policies substantially affect the U.S. economy is only to invite the outraged retort of the Venezuelan President: Where were you when we were screaming about the price of your industrial exports? To insist on free and unimpeded passage for all ships through the Strait of Malacca, considering the care with which the United States has maintained its prerogatives in and around the Panama Canal, is to appear to be taking the stance: "What's mine is mine, what's yours is international.” Our present ambassador to the United Nations flails out against the “tyranny of the majority.” But have we in the past in the General Assembly (and do we now in other international institutions where we are part of the majority) refrained from imposing our will on strongly offended minorities?
Our top foreign policy officials lament the loss of U.S. credibility in honoring our "security" commitments, and apparently feel driven to shore it up by refurbishing our reputation for decisive, unsqueamish military action in response to provocations from tiny and confused countries.
Surely another worry should be the credibility of U.S. commitments to international processes for dispute resolution and peaceful change. The threats to U.S. security posed by a general deterioriation of international order, given the exponential growth in the ability of countries to do each other great damage,
are more real and loom larger in the years ahead than any fantasies of falling dominoes. The threat to the UN system is a part of this general crisis. It is being exploited by the international populists because of a vacuum in progressive leadership by countries like the United States.
The proposed reorientation of U.S. policies in the direction of greater international accountability obviously has implications beyond the way we conduct ourselves in UN debates. There are numerous practical applications in a variety of fields.
A few examples:
1. Despite the sluggishness of the international negotations to revise the Law of the Sea, the United States should refrain from unilateral extensions of its coastal zones and from unilateral authorizations of its corporations to exploit seabed resources before the establishment of an international regime. The Congress must play a crucial role here in resisting the pressures of special interests urging such unilaterialism.
2. The United States should enter into serious negotiations to develop a comprehensive international system for protecting commodity producers and consumers from damaging fluctuations in prices.
3. The United States should take the lead in supporting obligatory international consultations by any country or corporations contemplating projects that might aiter natural environments used in common with other countries.
4. The United States should revise its standing policy of opposing all international limitations on the capabilities of the advanced space powers to broadcast via satellite into other countries.
5. To balance its insistence on due process and just compensation by countries who take over U.S. multinational corporation subsidiaries, the United States should champion international regulation of the behavior of multinationals to assure they do not take unfair advantage of weak national governments and weak national labor movements.
6. The United States should broaden the opportunity for developing countries to participate responsibly in the international financial system, through revising voting procedures in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and opening up the informal committee structure of the International Monetary Fund.
The basic security and welfare of the United States, its international influence, and ultimately the self-respect of its people, require its full participation in the difficult task of constructing such networks of international political accountability, and assuring that the resulting institutional structures are congruent with the emerging realities of material interdependence. Other countries have no less an interest in the full participation of the United States. If the United States withdraws from this effort out of pique at not being able to dominate the process to the extent that it dominated the founding of the UN system, the necessary evolution of world society will suffer a severe setback.
An emotional polarization of world society along North-South lines is inconsistent with the sense of basic community that is the precondition for the elaboration of the needed scope of international accountability. Thus, for the United States to fall into the trap of polarization set by demagogic populists, would be against the United States interest and against the world interest. This is my main argument against the current sulking tone of the U.S. official response to the populists as well as the suggestions that the United States should come out swinging against them.
The effectiveness of the performance of the United States in the new international politics does partly depend on our style, the concepts we employ to explain our actions, and the words we use to symbolize our empathy and connection with others, or our opposition and alienation. But the words will ring hollow unless they are accompanied by concrete policies that are consistent with them. Whom we consult with; whom we invite into the forums of decision in international institutions with important operational responsibilities; our willingness to invest wide-membership international institutions with significant allocative and dispute resolution capabilities-more than the amount of foreign aid we give, more than our charity, these issues will test the credibility of our professed commitments to world community.
What about the support of the American people for such a progressive international sharing of decision-making power? Even the best public opinion polls give us little guidance; for the most part, they are still asking the old questionsWhich allies should we support with military force if attacked by the commu