Restructuring Foreign Affairs: The Pathway to Renaissance America

On October 1, 2014 INCIPE held a conference titled Restructuring Foreign Affairs: the Pathway to Renaissance America. The keynote speaker was Endowed Professor of Canadian Studies and Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University in the United States, Earl H. Fry.

The United States currently has a diversified economy, a high per capita GDP, low oil prices, an increasing amount of jobs, diminishing greenhouse gas emissions, and has in the past decade alone proven to be resilient in response to national threats and disasters. However, since the tragedy of 9/11, defense budgets have rocketed and borders thickened. In an era of globalization the US will need to thin borders and form alliances in order to not only sustain success and prominence in the global sphere but also to counter-balance the future power in the East.

The world now is full of uncertainties. Terrorist groups in the Middle East threaten securities especially in the US and Europe. Asia is growing rapidly in population and in technology. The US Senate has been in a prolonged stalemate, and no one knows who will be the next US President in 2016. Generally, the change in technology, globalization, and the resulted quick turnover in the job market has inspired fright globally. National governments are asked to provide more stability to no avail; as a result, populations are turning to local governments in hope of these pressures being addressed. However, these issues transpire on an international level and thus need to be worked through on an international level.

The relations between the United States and its neighbouring countries have weakened since the signing of NAFTA in 1992. Following the dramatic increase of the defense budget and high security tactics after September 11, 2001, US citizens have not been able to cross the Mexican or Canadian borders without first obtaining a passport, a lengthy and costly process. However, last year 41million immigrants came to the US, a sign that despite US isolating defense strategies, globalization is omnipresent. It is time that the US begins to form alliances to remain a superpower and resource.

The European Union has been a cornerstone of politics especially between the eastern and western hemispheres. While the United States has and likely will continue to foster relations with the growing Eastern world, a trans-Atlantic treaty would not only benefit the US from a foreign-policy standpoint, but would be an asset to the European Union as the US could become a more stable energy source and an ally in defense. Already, the EU has strong relations with Canada and Mexico. These relations would be strengthened by a partnership with the United States in anticipation of a new, internationally-dominated, world.

In the future there is much uncertainty; however, it is clear that the US must cut defense spending to decrease the massive federal debt, while also increasing the budget of the state department in order to enhance foreign relations. Countries are becoming more interdependent, and it is up to the US to determine if it will participate in the economic growth, specifically with Mexico, Canada, and the EU. As Fry wrote in his book, “Revitalizing Governance, Restoring Prosperity, and Restructuring Foreign Affairs: The Pathway to Renaissance America,” by 2030 the United States could undergo a period of positive transition, a “Renaissance America” as he describes it. This concept relies on economic and foreign policy changes domestically in the US as well as a stronger emphasis on international relations to foster a sense of international stability in the future.

Poppy Doolan
Research Assistant

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