Speaker Events - Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Gelb Says US is Indispensable World Leader, With Allies
Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a new book, Power Rules, said last week at an IPI event that the US remains the indispensable leader of the world, though US partnerships with other states are equally indispensable.
"The central operating principle for getting things done in this world is mutual indispensability," said Mr. Gelb, "with the United States as the indispensable leader, and other states as indispensable--equally indispensable--partners. Fail alone, succeed together. It's plain obvious, and we don't seem to get it."
Mr. Gelb also cited containment and deterrence, in concert with alliances, as two of the best strategies to keep hostilities in check.
In fact, said Mr. Gelb, these have always been the strategies.
"I see our colleagues writing all the time, 'You know it's not like the good ole' days when we could dictate foreign policy.' When the hell was that? During the Cold War when we told the Soviet Union what to do? It didn't exist. That's a mirage that's become a touchstone for the diminishing powers of the United States."
And even twenty-first-century threats, according to Mr. Gelb, can be tempered with containment and deterrence.
"If the Taliban represents a continuing threat to other countries, we have a way of forming alliances with India, China, Russia and, yes, Iran, as we did at the beginning of the Afghan War, in order to contain them. Deterrence and containment and other forms of power can work in the twenty-first century, so that we can concentrate on rebuilding our economies, our educational systems, and our ability to solve problems and make our lives better."
Said Mr. Gelb, "The worst word in my foreign policy lexicon are, 'no choice, no alternative.' Every time I hear that, I know that's the end of reasonable thinking. There's no more choice. There's only necessity. And necessity is the weapon of great tragedy in international affairs."
Mr. Gelb spoke at IPI on May 19th in the Trygve Lie Center. The event was moderated by Warren Hoge, IPI Vice President and Director of External Relations.
Slide show: Image 1 of 7
Photo Credits: Elliot Moscowitz
Left to right: Dr. Peter Gastrow, IPI Senior Fellow; Warren Hoge, IPI Vice President and Director of External Relations; and Leslie Gelb.
The Global Observatory
Year in Review: Top 10 Peace and Security Reads
The International Peace Institute and its Global Observatory offered research and analysis on a range of topics in peace and security in 2014.
Key Global Events to Watch in December
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.
December 12, 2014
Effective Governance Key to Africa’s Rise
Good governance is the key to Africa’s rise, but structural challenges are pulling the continent back, according to a new report launched at a December 12th IPI policy forum entitled “Effective Governance in Challenging Environments.”
December 09, 2014
Small States in a Multilateral World
Despite their size and limited resources, small states have an important and crucial role to play in the multilateral system and can leverage their power through cooperation.
September 25, 2014
IPI Remembers Margaret Vogt