Thursday, January 23, 2014

Analysis on Knutsen's Multi-Layered Alliances/Katzenstein and Hammer's Multilateralism-Bilateralism

While I acknowledge the legitimacy of Katzenstein and Hammer’s analysis on multilateralism-bilateralism and Knutsen’s argument on multi-layered alliances, I view their positions to be focused on sub-causes for the establishment and expansion of multilateral, bilateral, or regional alliances while neither analysis focuses on global capital expansion, regional trade blocs, the GATT/World Trade Organization, or the Bretton Woods institutions.   The two arguments are also focus on different historical eras which reflect during phases in the growth of global capitalism and the subtle paradigm shift from states to private sector entities as main actors on the international stage.  With this being said, in order to properly answer the question, I prioritize Knutsen’s theory for multi-layered alliances that identifies “groups of allies with shifting priorities and agendas” (204) as more important to the excessive psychological theory of Katzenstein and Hammer pointing to links in cultural identities shared in the west as a cause for U.S. multilateralism in Europe and bilateral approaches in Asia (587).  Both theories are not only reconcilable; they are both smaller cogs in the machine of capital globalization.

Kutsen used the debauched decade-long NATO military occupation and regime rebuilding in Afghanistan to illustrate the various views toward the future of NATO, in relation to their state interests, by selected NATO state members involved in Afghanistan and their various levels of contributions.  Kutsen focuses of what these variations will mean for the future of NATO and how each state’s policies could impact that future.  The examples of Denmark’s “Atlanticism” (Kutsen, 209) and German suspicions of NATO becoming “a mere tool of US foreign policy” (Kutsen, 216) are defining examples of how state views and interests create multiple layers within the NATO alliance, as well as any alliance.  Yet, Kutsen analyzes a NATO after the completion of a global capital market instead of the stage analyzed by Katzenstein and Hammer which was balanced by western capitalism and eastern communism.  The World Bank and the private sector already have entry into Afghanistan thanks to the UN, ISAF and NATO (UNAMA, 2014), and if that state is ever stabilized the presence will increase drastically.  Interesting enough, German President Horst Kohler, before his resignation even “justified his country’s missions abroad with the need to protect economic interests” (Kutsen, 215). 

Katzenstein and Hammer’s theories on U.S. multilateralism in Europe and their analysis on the creation of regions are also legitimate even though the article is bloated with unneeded fluff, but the authors do not detail the Marshall Plan, the IMF, the World Bank, regional trade blocs, or the expansion of global capitalism or the GATT/WTO.  I agree with the authors that pre-existing economic ties between the U.S. and Europe, along with a shared cultural identity between the two entities, played a part in the U.S. establishing a multilateral NATO in Europe while dealing on a bilateral level with member states of SEATO, but the main emphasis coming out of World War II was the expansion of capitalist globalization.  The authors bring up the issue of U.S. multilateralism in Europe despite “Germany’s pariah status following World War II” (Katzenstein and Hammer, 581).  Global capitalism needed a healthy free-market Europe, and Europe needed Germany to be a healthy free-market Europe.  U.S. bilateralism in Asia where Asian states were “shedding their colonial status and gaining national sovereignty” (Katzenstain and Hammer, 584) correlated to global capitalism because the same European colonial masters were already under multilateral agreements with the capitalist U.S., and the first thing those previous master-states did was to bring those post-colonial possessions (now independent states) into the GATT/WTO and the global “free” market.  The capital exploitation which resulted in multilateralism in Europe and bilateralism in Asia is clear by simply looking at the original members of SEATO as “only two of SEATO’s members, Thailand and the Philippines, were geographically part of Southeast Asia” (Katzenstein and Hammer, 592) and three of those original member states were western capitalist powers.

Hemmer, Christopher and Katzenstein, Peter.  2002.  “Why is There No NATO in Asia? Collective Identity, Regionalism, and the Origins of Multilateralism” International Organization 56, no. 3 (2002): 575-603.

Knutsen, Bjorn. 2011.  Issues in EU and US Foreign Policy. Lexington Books, 2011: 202-232.

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.  2014.  World Bank Grants 50 million for Poverty Reduction in Afghanistan.  United Nations, 12 January 2014.  Accessed January 23, 2014.


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