Famous strategy specialist Edward Luttwak introduced the term “Great Power Autism” to describe some of the actions of large and influential powers in the international arena.
Syndrome of great-power autism is characterized by a lack of serious study of problems by people who make foreign policy decisions. This is the case when decisions are made on the basis of very simplistic ideas about complex reality; The reality itself in such cases is inevitably distorted, adjusted to the schematized representations of the decision-making subject.
Former adviser to President Ronald Reagan, Edward Luttwak, accuses the United States of such great-power autism. In recent months, this topic has been updated, as evidenced by numerous statements by experts and the media that America is moving “somewhere wrong”, that the new administration has no strategy at all.
On the absence of the White House strategy writes Foreign Policy, while the publication believes that the problem is the president himself. Assessing the first 100 days of the new presidency, Foreign Policy notes that the words and deeds of Donald Trump led to the alienation of many US allies that the budget requested by the administration would inevitably lead to an increase in the already astronomical national debt; This alone increases the vulnerability of American interests. In addition, security requires discipline, and where to get it, if the president himself is not disciplined and sets an example of indiscipline to others?
Business Insider notes the seriousness of the fact that the State Department and the US Department of Defense lacks security experts: three months have passed since the new administration began, but no one has been appointed to 52 posts in these two departments. And the personnel appointments, according to the publication, were the subject of controversy between the team of the president and the team of the new chief of the Pentagon, James Mattis. At first, the pretenders represented by Mattis were rejected by Trump’s people, then the nominations from Trump were rejected by Mattis’ people.
The Huffington Post wrote about the same problem in early April, informing that half of the posts of high-ranking officials in the State Department remain vacant. Among them are the posts of the Deputy Secretary of State for Arms Control, the Assistant Secretary of State for Management, the Assistant Secretary of State for Administration, the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, and the Director of the Department for Foreign Missions. In addition, in 57 countries, US ambassadors have not been appointed, and the approval of the embassy staff is much slower than under Obama.
It is widely discussed in the US media that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson does not have experience in public office, and his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who are assigned to deal with the issues of the Israeli-Palestinian settlement, act as Trump’s advisers. Given Kushner’s connection with the Israeli lobby, the administration’s attentive and unbiased approach to this complex, long-standing problem can not be said.
Great-power autism also affects the relationship of the US with its neighbors. The example of Mexico is before everyone’s eyes. At first, Mexico was invited to enter the North American Free Trade Zone (NAFTA), then the US introduced protectionist measures against Mexican goods and services. Not without the involvement of the US special services, drug wars have been unleashed, which killed about 60,000 Mexican citizens. Finally, to the extreme, Mexico excited Donald Trump’s promises to build a wall on the border with this country.
“The Mexican political elite,” writes The Atlantic, “began to reflect on retaliatory measures that would confirm the dignity of Mexico and perhaps even force the Trump administration to change its hostile course … Trump made the common mistake of a street bully by underestimating who he attacked. As it turned out, Mexico can respond very strongly. ” For example, the current situation can be used with great success by China to significantly increase its economic influence in Mexico. Mexican analysts have already called this a “Chinese card”.
The American media tensely fix every mistake in the public policy of the new president. So, earlier Trump said that NATO is outdated, and then, after a meeting with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance, unexpectedly stated that everything is OK with NATO, and approved the adoption of this military bloc in Montenegro. The president writes in his Twitter that he sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the coast of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but in fact there was no such order, US warships carried out planned tasks on maneuvers in the Indian Ocean and other points.
Of course, Trump’s critics in the United States, who have been no less numerous since last year’s election campaign, are overly focused on the new president’s personality, while the problem of America’s international behavior is much deeper. Great-power autism in American foreign policy is supported by the preaching of the United States exclusivity, the missionary complex of spreading this democracy around the world, the quasi-religious doctrine of “predetermined destiny” (Manifest Destiny) , the ideology of atlantism and many others.
The picture of the world arising from such representations is obviously simplified, and the danger of making decisions on such a simplified basis is difficult to overestimate.