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Cafe Society to continue discussion of the role of U.S. as a super-power

By Staff | May 4, 2017

During its next session on Tuesday, April 25 the Cafe Society will extend its discussion from last week of the elements that make the United States a powerful force in world affairs. The focus will be on how we retain credibility and avoid over-playing our hand. Despite modern advances in technology and enhanced capability of individual weapons systems, there are real concerns about our ability to influence events without being drawn into a protracted conflict. Equally important is the need to fully consider the value of diplomatic and economic options and importance of contributions from allies and like-minded states. The U.S. has a habit of failing to consult other nations when launching initiatives, particularly in times of crisis and then lamenting the lack of support. These failures are particularly egregious when we need backing in the court of world opinion. Some of that support can only be provided after accepting considerable political risk in their own political constituencies. This is especially important as we struggle to find some leverage to suppress terrorism and pursue more constructive and collaborative efforts in world trade, health, and on environmental concerns.

These informal discussions are held every Tuesday morning from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center. There are no fees and registration is not required.

Facilitator Mike Austin added: “International affairs in this day and age are frequently conducted in a ‘gold fish bowl’ where real- time communications are often publicly exchanged without regard to validity of content or consequences from misinterpretation.”

In many cases the false information or lack of clarity is intentional. Equally unfortunate is the extent to which our national dirty laundry (the pushing and shoving between our two political parties) is aired without regard to impact on our image and ability to influence events in domestic, as well as foreign affairs. This makes it even more difficult to take the high ground and find justification when we take matters into own hands and conduct unilateral actions as we did with the retaliatory missile strike on Syria or escalation of the confrontation with North Korea. We will find that ‘good intentions’ don’t count for much in world affairs. We need to put some points on the board to break our growing string of politico-military losses. As a ‘Super-Power’, if that title still has any meaning or relevance, we need to check our back side before venturing into the fray. Even Don Quixote had the support of his trusty Sancho Panza when he sallied forth to tilt windmills.”