Economic Space and Big Picture National Security

In the 1930's, there was an idea in common currency of "Economic Space".  What collection of resources and markets were needed by the Big Powers to remain Big Powers -- and how secure were they in their Economic Space.

And in the 1930's, it became clearer and clearer that there were about three Economic Spaces that four Big Powers were trying to fit into -- The UK (as the previous number one economic power), the US (as the recently emerged number one economic power), Germany (as the resurgant Continental European power), and Japan (widely underestimated in its own right, but taken serious in terms of shorter supply lines to the eastern Pacific Basin).

Fitting four into three implied war, and war there was.

And that's what makes the Bush National Security agenda scary.  It seems like the Bush agenda is for the US to have the whole world, and everyone else can have the rest.  If there ever was a path to war, this is it.

Now, I have been nursing this idea for a long time -- since the 1980's, not long after returning from teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer in Grenada.  And my conclusions are the same as ever.

Suppose, JUST suppose, that the US can get past the ideological knee jerk reactions that substituted for thought in the Cold War.  Suppose it can genuinely work together with Latin America and Africa.  It is possible to craft a cooperative "Economic Space".

There is one hurdle to get over, though.  And that hurdle is Oil Addiction.  As long as the US economy needs a growing amount of oil to support economic growth and population growth -- then there is no stopping the conflict ahead.

And that conflict will be with China.  Now the US is the pre-eminent economic power of the past century and immediate present.  And, at present growth rates (and correcting for the steeply discounted exchange rates in a developing economy with a still-underdeveloped financial system), China is the pre-eminent economy of the middle of the 21st century.

America taking serious steps to kick Oil Addiction helps in not one, but two ways.  First it reduces the fight for oil.  And second it develops the technological path for China to walk on.  That is, there is nothing that will prevent a growing Chinese middle class from aspiring to an improving standard of living.  However, with the right technology, the amount of oil required to deliver a particular standard of living can be substantially reduced.

These provide twin themes I will be looking at.  First, the South Atlantic strategy -- how America can work with instead of against the development of our South Atlantic neighbors.  Second, the fight against oil addiction, to prevent the next major global conflict being a World War with China in one coalition and the US in another.

crossposted from OAC

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Tags: africa, china, National Security, Oil, South America, South Atlantic (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Re: Economic Space & National Security

The type of leader needed to implement that kind of strategy is someone who combines keen intelligence, an ability to negotiate, and an understanding of the problems of poverty--- someone like Senator Edwards.

by NCDemAmy 2006-08-18 12:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Economic Space & National Security

Yeah, on reflection maybe I should have stated more clearly that this is Presidential cycle type thinking ... so more focused on '08 than on '06.

And even in advance of elaborating on the vision -> policy -> strategy -> tactics, there are probably only a certain number that could pull it off. Gore, Kerry and Edwards seem to be the strongest proponents of Energy Independence. Of those three, Edwards is working hard on building a labor coalition ... and the active collaboration of labor in something like this is critical to make sure it is not sidetracked from "balanced trade" into DLC-style "free ride trade".

Of course, its no secret that I was a Gore supporter from long back, and since Gore was not running in '04, I ended up supporting Edwards. So if I say the perfect combination would be Edwards fighting the ticket, with Gore coming aboard as Sec'y of State to implement it, it really is rather predictable, isn't it?

by BruceMcF 2006-08-18 02:06AM | 0 recs
Gore

Gore has solid record, experience on environment, energy, economy. He also enjoys strong national and international stature. Not to mention his long standing work on global warming.

Gore opposed the war, which is an important factor given that most people of the world view it as an illegitimate and avaricious adventure.

He brings principles and values to boot, which the political system, in sore need for reform, will benefit from.

Therefore, Gore would make the best choice for the leader of our nation to help put it back on track, and help chart a vision for future generations.

Edwards could make a good labor secretary in a Gore administration, and Feingold an outstanding supreme court justice (as would Hillary).

I recommend this important current diary at DKos: Peter Schweitzer lied about Gore and Kossacks were fooled, by stardate

Thanks.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-08-18 04:52AM | 0 recs
Edwards for NC Governor?

Here is an idea worth exploring.

Edwards may make a good NC governor, gain some executive experience, put some of the poverty initiatives to real world implementation (hence make amends for supporting the invasion of Iraq, in a meaningful way), and thus establish strong credentials for a strong run for President in 2016.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-08-18 05:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards for NC Governor?

Wow ... get promised a reply on dKos and get it on MyDD ... what a wordwrapped kind of world we live in.

The thing is, Edwards may look younger than me, but he's in his 50's. You add a race for the governer's mansion ... and if he ran, I reckon he'd be staying for two terms ... and he's in his 60's.

And as for me, I want the Democrats to take the White House before I am as old as Edwards is now. But, on the other hand, it would give more time to get the Economic Space sequence of diaries finished.

by BruceMcF 2006-08-18 06:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Economic Space and Big Picture
I am on the same page with you Bruce.   Edwards background and personal ideology sets him apart from the other candidates and potential candidates.  There is no doubt that China has emerged as a major threat to our economic stability and huge steps need to be taken to stabilize relations with them.  Oil will be the bone of contention as you so correctly point out.
Edwards with Gore as Secretary of State sounds just about perfect to me.
by MLD4JRE 2006-08-18 04:35AM | 0 recs

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