Lectures as part of the Great Decisions Program
Yannick Mireur is a specialist on the United States and American politics and is author of the book, entitled Après Bush : Pourquoi l’Amérique ne changera pas [After Bush : Why America Will Not Change], Editions Choiseul,2008,) with a preface by Hubert Védrine, former Minister of Foreign Affairs.
After completing his studies at l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris [Institute of Political Studies] in Paris, he received a M.A. and a Ph.D in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston.
He is the founder and editor-in-chief of the review, Politique Américaine [American Policy], which includes articles by American decision makers and scholars, such as Lee Hamilton (co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group,) former Secretary of Defense Schlesinger and professors Joseph Nye and Francis Fukuyama.
He is also a member of the scientific council of the Centre d'Etudes de la Politique et des Institutions Américaines (Center for Studies of American Policy and Institutions) at the University of Lyon III. He is much in demand by print and broadcast media (France24, France5, TF1-LCI, al-Jazeera).
Yannick Mireur, who formerly collaborated with Cambridge Energy Research Associates (American consulting firm for the energy sector,) is particularly interested in aspects of international economic policy, as energy questions are at the heart of the debate on American foreign policy.
He has conducted several studies for the Ministry of Defense, in particular on the links between energy and defense in American policy and the economic relations between the United States and China.
America and the World: Partnership or Hegemony?
The policy of the Bush administration broke with the three main principles inherited from the post-war period: restraint in the use of force, international cooperation and absence of armed messianism, and the absolute belief in the superiority of the American model.
The excessive militarization of U.S. international policy for the past thirty years reached a paroxysm with the invasion of Iraq in 2003. This event led to a split in opinion with allies of the U.S. and to the loss of credibility on the part of the United States.
After Iraq and the historic rejection of the America of “W”, hegemony is no longer a given, however, the return of diplomacy will not be made easier by the fragmentation of the international system which is accentuated by the economic crisis.
The return to a more realistic policy, particularly with respect to North Korea and Iran, is a serious and predictable tendency that the elected administration must pursue in 2009. Europe is coming back alongside its U.S. partners as part of NATO and the economic crisis but the Obama administration’s first test is the reestablishment of an operational relationship with Russia.
Conservatism and Progressivism in Post-“W” America
The conservative revolution launched in the 1950’s won the battle for the American mind and soul. After the domination of the liberalism inherited from the New Deal, currents of thought on free enterprise and a limit to the role of government have regenerated American conservative thought. The 1960’s, counter-culture magnified these trends. The Vietnam War and the détente that Nixon sought vis-à-vis the Soviets sparked an interest in foreign policy and the renewal of American foreign policy.
Family values, patriotism and religion have become principles widely shared by American society. The new conservatism was, though, able to maintain a realistic foreign policy. However, evolutions in Reagan’s American capitalism were marked by growing inequalities and the reconsideration of the grand equilibriums inherited from Rooseveltian progressivism. The Clinton New Democrats, converts to workfare and budgetary rigor, were not able to correct the excesses of conservative policy.
The progressive discourse of the two presidential candidates in 2008 underscored the need to renew the American social contract. Just as progressivism is both a Republican and Democratic political heritage, the expectations of a more consensual practice of politics are all the more necessary to prepare for the future of the American system.
Reinvention of the American Vision
American should renew its social contract by recreating a large equilibrium between the government and the market. Going forward, this will be required by the economic crisis, though middle class anguish led to its detection in the middle of the decade. America should also restore its international credibility.
Regaining confidence in the American model and renewing the confidence of world opinion will be the two major challenges in the years to come. From this perspective, Obama’s task and discourse are comparable to those of Ronald Reagan, much more so than those of his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton.
But in order to renew the American vision, we must consider adapting the American way of life to the requirements – particularly environmental – of the day. Energy consumption again is at the heart of the subject, at the intersection of domestic and foreign policy.
However, only a gradual change seems plausible in this historic exercise, which could transform the victory of Barack Obama into a decisive stage in American history.
Link to Yannick Mireur’s blog: http://yannick-mireur.blogspot.com
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