WORLD HARMONY DIPLOMACY VERSUS POWER DIPLOMACY
By Francis C. W. Fung, PH.D.
World Harmony Organization (WHO) pursues world harmony renaissance by seeking truth. Our principle and goal deems it necessary to advocate world harmony diplomacy by initiating Harmony Diplomacy Watch. In this spirit we began with articles entitled “Harmony Diplomacy Essential for World Development”, “Harmony Diplomacy in Work” and “It is Important to Cover Good Examples of Harmony Diplomacy.” In this tradition, we continue our entrusted mission to compare and contrast innovative, influential and state of the art theories on world diplomacy. http://www.worldharmonyforum.blogspot.com/
America as a young, dynamic, and endowed nation earned its place as the leader of world democracy during and immediately after the Cold War. The scope of success of America Cold War diplomacy has no parallel in human history, in part due to the competitiveness of American economic system but also largely brought about by execution of Power Diplomacy made possible by the largest economy and the most powerful military. The after effects of America winning the Cold War remained today, good or bad. The good is that the world has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity due to relative peace and stability. On the other hand the American public is constantly being reminded by their media and government that we are destined to be the leader of the world because God is on our side.
This self defeating arrogance is in contrast to the universal harmony principle that the more powerful we are, the more we need humility. The damaging consequence of deviating from this all encompassing truism is evident by the dilemma of our embroiled involvement in unilateral Iraqi war. As a result of continuing our Cold War Power Diplomacy we have too often infringed on the dignity of many disadvantaged nations in the world. After 9/11 we declared war against terrorism and were eager to launch the unilateral war on Iraq without giving diplomacy a chance.
Our pride blinded us from seeing the need of dignity by the poor and disadvantaged. We have become immune to other nation’s needs for development. Instead from our ethnocentric perspective, we continue to be critical of other striving nation’s efforts to modernize. This lack of understanding of other nation’s loss of dignity and desperate need of modernization did not go without notice by America’s elite, experienced in foreign policy. In fact the extensive survey conducted by Pew Research Center involving 45,239 people and 46 nations from April 6 to May 29,2007 found majorities in many countries reject the main planks of current U.S. foreign policy and express distate for American style democracy. According to the polled results, there is a wide spread perception that the U.S. acts unilaterally in making international policy decisions. And majorities in most every country polled, including 97 percent in France, 80 percent in Argentina, and 75 percent in Lebanon, said the United States promoted democracy mostly where it served U.S. interests. This, according to Pew, helps explain why U.S. ideas about democracy are rejected by vast numbers around the globe.
Caution for change to a softer and more understanding American world diplomacy is being sounded in unison by many notable and seasoned formal high ranking diplomats such as Kissinger, Brezezinski, Albright and Slaughter. New theories such as Faith Diplomacy, Value Diplomacy and Diplomacy by Deeds are being advanced, (for reference please see my afore mentioned papers on world harmony diplomacy.)
In today’s multilateral world, Power Diplomacy as preached by the bygone wisdom of “speak softly and carry a big stick” has lost most of its relevance. The unpopular unilateral Iraq War makes it clear that “speak loudly and carry a big stick" as practiced by the present administration has not worked so far either. In fact there are signs that Harmony Diplomacy is on the rise, witnessed by the softening of U.S. position in the Sixth Party denuclearization talk ( see “Harmony Diplomacy in Work” http://www.worldharmonyforum.blogspot.com/ .)
On the other hand, in catering to the interest of the uninformed and proud American public, the theme of Power Diplomacy is still echoed among U.S. 2008 presidential candidates. In a July/August 2007 Foreign Affairs Journal article titled “Renewing American Leadership”, fore running U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate, Barack Obama expounded Power Diplomacy as key U.S. foreign policy to revive American leadership. The central theme of Power Diplomacy, instead of dialogue and mutual understanding, is American leadership. The truth is that commerce and cultural exchange will increase understanding not American leadership. Gradual increase of understanding will enhance trust. Trust will lead to harmony. This is the essence of Harmony Diplomacy.
According to Obama “we must harness American power to reinvigorate American diplomacy. Tough minded diplomacy backed by the whole range of instruments of American power—political, economic, and military—could bring success even when dealing with long standing adversaries such as Iran and Syria.” Notice the perennial emphasis of “success against our adversaries” instead of dialogue and win-win mutual development. The presumption that those who disagree are enemies, will surely not win us friends. In contrast, Harmony Diplomacy espouses mutual development between any two nations powerful or weak, developed or developing, rich or poor. As demonstrated by my article “Harmony Diplomacy in Work” misunderstanding and distrust between U.S.-China can only be resolved by dialogue through discussion of commonality. Confrontation and threat will only extend animosity as exemplified by prolonged U.S. - Cuban and U.S. - Iran mutual accusations with shouting matches that are becoming permanent features of U.S. Power Diplomacy.
Through out Obama’s foreign policy exposition, words such as “power, pushing, pressure, aggressive, tough, tough minded, American leadership and instrument of power” are used freely. Words such as dialogue, mutual understanding, trust, tolerance are noticeably absent. Instead, proud of our past Cold War confrontational expertise, the intensity of cold war diplomacy is called on to deal with a small band of extreme radicals. The war on terror advocated by Bush will certainly become an over kill that will unsettle world diplomacy for years to come. The world certainly can not afford to have another debilitating cold war. The over enthusiastic inclination to use confrontation and ever increasing force without consideration of neutralizing force with dynamic balance, totally neglects the first principle strategy in counter terrorism or any warfare for that matter. Dynamic balance of harmony is more fluid like in nature.
Without the consideration of humility, the narrowly defined American value is trumpeted as a cure all for world ills. To quote directly from Obama's essay, “I will show the world that America remains true to its founding values. We lead not only for ourselves but also for the common good.” On self reflection we must admit that some of our values great as they are, cannot avoid being dated, unilateral and ethnocentric. They have not been keeping up with the multilateral world development. For the future world, Power Diplomacy must gradually evolve towards Harmon Diplomacy by accepting and expanding to more universal values as expounded in Harmony Diplomacy Watch essays.
Despite the claim to the contrary, wisdom and humility have no place for self glorification. Yet we are told “I believe the American people will be eager to see America lead again.-----it is time for a new generation to tell the next great American story----this was the time we defeated global terrorists and brought opportunity to forgotten corners of the world.” The final conclusion is the crowning moment for Obama. “This is our moment to renew the trust and faith of our people—and all people—in an America that battles immediate evils, promotes ultimate good, and leads the world once more.” Humility may be the only single most effective reflection to restore others lost of dignity due to our past trespasses.
Can we Americans be any more unilateral and presumptive in our own self glorification? We can easily see our failings through following selections of essays on Harmony Diplomacy by contrast to our aggrandized proclamations, in tone and reason. Following is an excerpt of a recent article by WHO World Harmony Diplomacy Watch quoting the concluding statements of the recent Asia-Europe Meeting . The spirit of harmony in this article is in strong contrast to the prevalent American Power Diplomacy to renew American leadership.In the article, Dialogue, Mutual Understanding, Commonality and Tolerance are emphasized. In the pursue of Harmony Diplomacy, it is important to pursue mutual understanding through dialogue and harmony through tolerance.
A harmonious future for Asia and Europe hinges on wisdom that can steer the course of their interactions. So said delegates at the third annual Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Interfaith Dialogue, which wrapped up June 23, 2007 in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province. In the Nanjing Statement, issued at the conclusion of the event, participants from the two continents vowed to deepen and broaden the dialogue process to foster a peaceful and harmonious partnership. Cui Tiankai, assistant minister of foreign affairs of China said at a joint news conference with Senator Gianni Vernetti, undersecretary of state at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Building on the achievements of the first two meetings, in Bali in 2005 and Cyprus in 2006, the two-day dialogue co-hosted by China and Italy served as a platform for religious and political leaders and academics to address their diversity and commonality in faiths and deliberate on further tapping the potential of interfaith talks in enhancing mutual understanding in an era of globalization, he said.
"In Chinese culture, harmony is underpinned by diversity. Seeking harmony while acknowledging differences means that a country or an ethnic group, while preserving its own cultural heritage, should be open and tolerant to other civilizations," In a world wrought with uncertainties, it is vital to pursue mutual understanding through dialogue, and achieve harmony through tolerance, he said. If nations collide because of different values, globalization may be giving a new spin to the multiple values involved in international relations. From the dim past to the present, international relations could be categorized as relations of war and peace - nations clashing over values. This approach does not project a bright future for relations among states as it doesn't provide a paradigm for the peaceful co-existence of different value systems.
A way to avoid conflict has long been sought. A seemingly uncomplicated approach is for nations to share peace and prosperity through dialogue and tolerance. The recipe of dialogue entails not imposing ones values or faith on others. It involves respecting different peoples' treasured values and beliefs. It is necessary to understand and appreciate, or at least tolerate, different cultures and religions. The ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Interfaith Dialogue, under the framework of the Asia-Europe Summit, is just such a platform. It brings nations together from two continents to address their diversity and commonality in faith and culture, with the hope of convergence for the sake of humanity.
Following is an excerpt of a recent article by WHO World Harmony Diplomacy Watch quoting People’s Daily. The spirit of harmony in this article is also in strong contrast to the prevalent American Power Diplomacy to renew American leadership as discussed previously. The title of the original speech is China's Diplomacy: Pursuing Balance to Reach Harmony. President Hu Jintao made the speech on China's new foreign policy of building a harmonious world at the United Nations Summit marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the world body. His words received wide approval and the policy is thought fruitful in 2005. The policy helped to lift China's international status, fundamentally because of its pursuit of balance. That is, to balance national development against international responsibilities, economic benefits against political and security interests, relations with world powers against those with various countries, and reform against the maintenance of world order.
We should build a harmonious world by aiming at "performing great deeds". Although a developing country, China is a rising big nation. Change in international environment casts a direct impact on China's rise, and the country will suffer from its negative effects if she doesn't take the initiative to push it towards a more harmonious direction. Such a pro-active approach will benefit both the international environment of China and the advancement of the whole world.In the spirit of "performing great deeds" China has decided to take responsibilities of a big nation. During his meeting with President Bush, President Hu said explicitly that the China-US cooperation will be on global scale.
We should build a harmonious world by taking the overall national interest as a starting point. Both national and international interests are multi-faceted, and different interest claims can clash. For example, globalization can raise economic efficiency, but also worsen the wealth gap and interest conflicts at home and abroad. To build a harmonious world, we must, on top of economic interests, give due consideration to political interests such as China's image, influence and status on the international arena. We should build a harmonious world by following the policy of a greater neighborhood diplomacy.To the end of a harmonious world we must maintain friendly ties with as many countries as possible, so we should avoid sacrificing relations with other countries for the sake of stable Sino-US ties.
We should build a harmonious world in the principle of gradualness. In proposing such a long-term objective, China has no intention to reach it in one step. China fully understands the difficulty in constructing a harmonious world under anarchy, so she stressed on safeguarding UN authority and conducting necessary reforms.To reshape the world order is a permanent task, and as time changes the old international order is for sure to be replaced by a new one. To ensure peace and order during such a course, China believes that reforms should be carried out in a measured, cautious way based on the current world order, so that the reforms can benefit the greatest majority of world countries.