The entire debate on the US post 9/11 grand strategy was generated by the necessity of proposing an alternative strategic worldview to the one articulated by George W. Bush Administration, highly influenced by the so-called neoconservative moment. The administration’s grand strategy crafted to help America to navigate in a post 9/11 security environment was the neoconservative revolution, and I will try to take a very brief snapshot of it: a neo-con America means basically a discretionary unipolar power liberated from any constraints, check and balances mechanisms; a discretionary Leviathan that enforces a global order that reflects US basic/ontological values; a neo-con America is fundamentally not a status-quo power, but a revolutionary power, an enlightened revisionist power that has the will to use its unipolar assets in order to democratize the world and alter the non-liberal status-quo; a neo-con America will naturally use coalitions of willing and will reject the formal entangling alliances that set constrains on US unipolar power.
I think that the alternative in crafting the US post 9/11 national security security consists in mixing the core ideas of liberal internationalism with the so called doctrine of integration. United States should become a liberal Leviathan (Jonh G. Ikenberry) in the center of a liberal order: an uberpower (Josef Joffe) constrained by a liberal constitutional international order; a friendly-user uberpower constrained by constitutional devices and mechanisms at the interaction with the international system; a liberal Leviathan should devise a grand strategy that intends to build an international order that integrates great powers in a constitutional setting. A constitutional international order will gradually integrate the other great powers that could become responsible stakeholders and pillars of the constitutional order.
The greatest task of a Liberal Leviathan should be that of devising some constitutional mechanisms that will govern the post-Westphalian world politics by projecting a post-Westphalian axiological and procedural consensus on the values, norms and institutions that will manage the post 9/11 international system.
In my opinion the core idea of a grand strategy built around this conceptual system (liberal internationalism and the doctrine of integration) is that of making US power acceptable for the international system. Once again United States will become a friendly user of power, exercising its power through a multidimensional system of networks (alliances and binding institutions) that will impose/create a constitutional system of checks and balances thus making US power accountable. The interaction between the US power and the international system will be mediated by this vast array of binding institutions (systems of rules and constitutional devices) that will make the projection of the unipolar power restrained, benign and acceptable.
The United States should once again pursue an enlightened self-interest by projecting its power in order to provide to the international society an essential public good- a multilateral institutional infrastructure for global governance. This multilateral infrastructure should become the central pillar of a system of consensual rule-based governance.
One of the primary tasks of a liberal order is that of providing an architecture of binding institutions and cooperative mechanisms in order to produce/generate an institutionalized collective response for the management of the post 9/11 security environment. Basically the liberal internationalism is a theory for creating international order by designing/projecting an architecture of binding institutions with the purpose of enforcing a constitutional/a rule-based international order (Ikenberry).
A capital role in building a liberal order should be given to the doctrine of integration, articulated by the former director of the US Department of State’s Policy Planning (from early 2001 to mid 2003) Richard Haass. Basically the doctrine of integration “would aim to create a cooperative relationship among the world’s major powers, built on a common commitment to promoting certain principles and outcomes” (Haass) in order to provide a stable framework for the management of the post 9/11 security environment. At this first level the vital step is that of the gradual development of a normative consensus on the values, principles, norms and the rules of the road, in order to develop a common and a stable framework/an international and a cognitive consensus for the conduct of the international relations. According to Haass the world’s major powers should once again forge a global consensus on a certain core issues of the international relations-“to develop understandings, rules of the road about the conduct of the international relations”.