Although this blog has the hallmarks of a generalist, given the range of different topics and issues I have discussed, I am in fact a specialist, and my specialty is in the area of U.S. foreign policy. And in the previous essay, I mentioned what was perhaps the most important book of not just American foreign policy, but also of American government policy as a whole since the end of the Cold War, namely, Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations.” For folks who have not read Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” — as well as the folks who have read it — I recommend that everyone go back and read it, but with a particular focus on the ending of the book. Once there is a grasp of some of the admonitions that Huntington gave towards the end of the book, everyone will then realize how and why everything went wrong over the course of approximately the last two decades.
I also mentioned that what makes each of the major civilizations in today’s geopolitical competition distinct is the basic essence of each civilization. One of my professors at American University’s School of International Service (SIS) was the late Robert Pastor, who served as a deputy to the late Zbigniew Brzezinski in the Carter White House. Pastor argued that America’s outlook towards the world and thus its foreign policy is “schizophrenic” in nature. On one hand, there is a desire and interest for engagement and involvement in international affairs. But on the other hand, there is a fear of conquest and danger that coincides with desire and interest in the American foreign policy psyche. Hence, the “schizophrenic” approach towards the world which Pastor highlighted.
Thus, while China is in essence very much energized and power-oriented in both its internal and external affairs, and while the Islamic world is in essence very much interconnected with developments in both the East and the West, America’s “schizophrenic” approach towards the world has hampered America’s power projection as well as its global reach as of late. External affairs and one’s outlook towards the world have a direct impact on one’s internal affairs. In fact, internal affairs are shaped first and foremost by what goes on externally. Arguably, what needs to be at the heart of American government policy in a globalized age is the “spiritual connection” with Eurasia which Kissinger emphasized. Thus, the “schizophrenic” essence of America’s approach towards the world has to somehow be abrogated by someone with a “spiritual connection” with Eurasia and the rest of the world, but especially with Eurasia. However, in the current economic, political, and social climate, abrogating the schizophrenia with a “spiritual connection” is easier said than done.