Saturday, July 12, 2008


By Francis C. W. Fung, PH.D.

BEIJING, June 3 (Xinhuanet) -- 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 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. What we should do as world’s major power is to advocate Harmony Diplomacy.

Our 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 concern for forcing 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 viewed as unilateral 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.

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. North Korea has just declared its willingness to dismantle their nuclear facilities. US also removed North Korea from the list of evil countries. Is this sign of Harmony Diplomacy is working?

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.

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."

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. In Art of War, by Suntze, the most desirable way to win to win is not to wage a war. Dynamic balance of harmony is more fluid like in nature. Soft power can conquer hard power.

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. 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, a senior Chinese diplomats 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," he added. 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.

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 one's 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.

Attached is an excerpt of a recent article by WHO World Harmony Diplomacy Watch quoting People's Daily. 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. The merits of his speech are self evident.

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.

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-U.S. cooperation will be on global scale. For world harmony US and China must work together to reach harmony consensus. This means cooperation on many fronts, including environmental collaboration and energy common strategy. I hope our next president will take the hint and play the lead role. That is how best America can preserve our leadership.

Editor: Pan Letian

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