A Mixture of both?

February 14, 2007

Almost everyone in the United States think Mr Rudy Giuliani, the New York Mayor, once a hero. This was especially true during the period of 11 Sept 2001, when Mr Giuliani rushed downtown as soon as the first plane hit and took command amid the confusion. He was titled “America’s mayor”, instead of just New York.

On 5 Feb 2007, Mr Giuliani almost announced that he would be running for the Republican nomination, but actually only filing a “statement of candidacy” instead of spitting it out. Mr Giuliani is the most socially liberal senior Republican since the Gerald Ford time, and that he is going to face one of the biggest problems: Social conservatives. Mr Giuliani is obviously “pro-choice and anti-gun, pro-civil unions and anti-moral censoriousness” as quoted from The Economist. Yet, he puts law and order above everything else and imposes “zero-tolerance” approach to crime. And that seems working pretty well in New York, with murder rate falling by 67%. Tourists returned to New York and the private sector has boomed ever since.

Do you think as an example from Mr Giuliani’s case, the United States should embrace two political views in shaping her political and economic decisions? We saw for G. W. Bush and Clinton that they acted quite in alignment with their party positions. Will realism and liberalism work together in the States and be able to supplement each other? Are there examples in the past? Or does the mixture of both weaken the superpower position of the States in the world?

By May and Rachael

And Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂

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7 Responses to “A Mixture of both?”

  1. mark Says:

    I think it is absolutely possible to be both conservative and democrat – its call being in the centre…Clinton and Blair called it the Third Way and had regular meetings with other like-minded leaders around the world to find ways to push this new thinking.

    The problem is that political parties like to keep unique identities and by merging what some claim to be their own ground, leaders can be pulled back to taking one formal stand on a particular issue, even if a mix would be the best option.

    In terms of home affairs, perhaps the US needs to become more Democrat (or Labour in the UK) but in terms of its global foreign policy, i think it might be nice thought for the US to become more socially consious and try to “heal the world” but where-as MJ can sing about it, it would only leave the US open to further attack, literally and figuratively – – maybe not so different after all….

    The US will need to protect itself, its citizens and its interests around the world, and a softly softly approach, in the current climate is simply not possible……maybe in the future.

    Guiliani would need to be a magician to pull off zero tolerance with the world…anyway, Bush beat him to it.

  2. Ada Says:

    Everybody has unique identities, whether it’s called in the center, the Third Way, or my own way. I suppose it is about which side you lean more towards.

  3. O C Lin Says:

    I believe the best policy, both domestic and foreign, is one that can address issues and needs. On size does not fit all. Instead of sticking to any single ideology, a smart leader should be able to employ different apporacohes that can best repond to the need of the time. Having said that I agree with Mark that political parties may prefer to have a unique identity and view. So, as a representative from a party, one has to figure out a way to strike a balance. Perhaps that’s why we have these names like the Third Way… or as Ada said, my way.

  4. Monica Says:

    As far as I understand, IR theories are not cookie-cutters, different theorists have different ideas, interpretation of their own “cut”. IR Theories are there “to help identify associations”, “to generalize and to connect”, “to test hypotheses about the world” and they are merely a “representation of the way the world ought to be”.

    Therefore, a mixture of theories is totally possible. Afterall, IR theories have been evolving with history. Even the so-called “Classics” are constantly challenged and replaced by new theories. IR Theories are not like pigeon-holes where you can fit in politician or states into each holes perfectly, there are bound to be in-betweens.

    Living in a fast changing world, ideologies also adjust itself to adapt. Only dynamic theories can help us make sense of a dynamic world.


  5. Referencing Habermas’idea of hegemony, different ideologies always compete with one another to “win public consent” and take the dominant position in a society. Therefore, realism or liberalism, there should be a dominant ideology acting as political philosophy of the ruling class/party, and thus shaping the foreign policy of a country. The realist Bush will always take U.S. interests as primary concerns when dealing with international relations. He could hardly suddenly change to be a liberal who believes in international co-operation for the good of the world despite he has to say so when facing the public. Even engaged in international organizations, such organizations are just treated as U.S. tools to struggle for more power and to seek for national interest. (I do not mean that a realist is a bad guy.)

    But this is only part of the story. Habermas argues that hegemony is a process rather than a static state. Hegemony of any particular ideology can be lost and that’s why it still needs to make use of different ways such as media to win public consent on its dominant position.

    Similar to Mark, I think both realism and liberalism should be found in a pluralist country like the U.S. in the future. But it is impossible to have both taking equally dominant position. “The Third Way”, or “radical centrism”, which provides an alternative to both left-wing and right-wing politics, can be considered as another ideology competing with other “–isms” to take the hegemonic position.

    Perhaps the problem is that the differences between the political concepts of “left” and “right” have been breaking down nowadays. (According to Chris Brown’s textbook, neo-realists and neo-liberals are also much closer together than their non-neo forebears in IR theories.) That’s why we sometimes find it difficult to identify the dominant political philosophy of a country.

    About “The America’s Mayor” Giulian, I am sorry that I do not know him much. Thanks May and Rachael for the provision of his background. In my impression, he should be pretty conservative since he opposes abortion and gay marriage. Does he show any political leanings when making suggestions to U.S. foreign policy?

  6. anniesmho Says:

    I am with Ada and OC’s ideas. Leaders normally takes on positions that best suit the circumstances they are facing. The so-called mixture can co-exist in U.S. as long as they would not deviate too much from the stance of the party the individuals belong to.

    After all, no matter what stance they take on, U.S. is always too good at justifying their actions with beautiful causes.

  7. wooi yee Says:

    With the growing interdependence & interconnected between countries, it’s hard for a country to remain itself as an “absolute” realist. In many areas such as trade, economics, non-traditional security etc, a state just need to turn itself to be a “liberalist” and cooperate with other states. In this globalisation era, some national interests are becoming common interests. They are better served through cooperation.


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