The clash between the international economy and the political institutions that ostensibly govern it also weakens the sense of common purpose necessary for world order. The economic system has become global, while the political structure of the world remains based on the nation-state. Economic globalization, in its essence, ignores national frontiers. Foreign policy affirms them, even as it seeks to reconcile conflicting national aims or ideals of world order.

This dynamic has produced decades of sustained economic growth punctuated by periodic financial crises of seemingly escalating intensity: in Latin America in the 1980s; in Asia in 1997; in Russia in 1998; in the U.S. in 2001 and again starting in 2007; in Europe after 2010. The winners have few reservations about the system. But the losers--such as those stuck in structural misdesigns, as has been the case with the European Union's southern tier--seek their remedies by solutions that negate, or at least obstruct, the functioning of the global economic system.


For the U.S., [a new international order] will require thinking on two seemingly contradictory levels. The celebration of universal principles needs to be paired with recognition of the reality of other regions' histories, cultures and views of their security. Even as the lessons of challenging decades are examined, the affirmation of America's exceptional nature must be sustained. History offers no respite to countries that set aside their sense of identity in favor of a seemingly less arduous course. But nor does it assure success for the most elevated convictions in the absence of a comprehensive geopolitical strategy.

It looks like Kissenger is backing off the "hyperpower" model of American exceptionalism here. While he gives lip service to America's taken-for-granted "exceptional" nature, now this apparently must be balanced against "other region's histories, cultures and views of their security". That sounds a lot like... hmm... let us think... Russia. So it appears the international establishment might think the Russia-bashing has gone a bit too far... maybe there is concern about an imminent 2008-Georgia-esque rout looming...

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