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32 2 A PARALLEL BIAS Since threats and punishments have not reliably advanced the nation’s foreign policy goals, their performance cannot account for their dominance. Nor, given the value of established approaches, can the academic disinclination to consider other strategies be explained by a presumption of their redundancy.We thus have to ask whether the predilection for negative pressures is rooted in circumstances unrelated to their practical value.Is it instead grounded in the dynamics by which policymaking and academic communities are driven? Although the bias operates with comparable force in both realms, its sources are not identical in the two, and each must be considered within the framework of its own logic. Independent causal paths notwithstanding, an absence of bias (or one tilted in the other direction) in either of the two arenas would make it harder to justify the leaning within the other. This chapter explores the causes of the parallel tilt, examining the reasons for the unwillingness to entertain positive incentives, and it asks how a different disposition might be encouraged. Bias in the Political System The case for a bias within the political system is easily made, since regimes considered hostile to U.S. interests almost always are dealt with by threats and punishments . At the same time, the U.S. proclivity to rely on negative pressures has not been shared by most other democracies, which are more willing to explore constructive engagement. The reluctance of many democracies to endorse military A PARALLEL BIAS 33 action against Iraq until its possession of chemical and nuclear weapons was credibly established is still vividly remembered. It is less widely appreciated that the European Union has engaged Cuba both diplomatically and economically. The EU accounts for a third of that country’s trade, the bulk of its foreign investment, and more than half of its tourist traffic,1 and virtually every EU member maintains diplomatic relations with Havana. At the same time, the EU has consistently criticized Castro’s human rights record and has sought access to the country’s political opposition and other elements of its society.Canada,too,has maintained uninterrupted diplomatic relations with Havana, while a number of commercial ventures link the two economies.At the same time,and like the European Union,it has criticized Cuba’s treatment of its citizens. Normal diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran,suspended after 1980,were reinstated in 1988,and normal economic relations govern those areas not covered by UN-mandated sanctions. The EU, too, complies with UN Security Council resolutions on Iran, and it maintains targeted sanctions of its own, but these sanctions have been balanced by occasional incentives packages designed to nudge Tehran away from its nuclear ambitions. The EU as a whole, and most member countries, maintain normal channels of diplomatic communication with Tehran.While the EU suspended plans to offer North Korea improved access to its market, it has provided significant food aid and supported improved agricultural production in North Korea. Unlike the United States, most major powers, including China and Russia, maintain normal diplomatic relations with the Kim Jong-il regime. The current U.S. proclivity to use force rather than positive incentives when dealing with its adversaries is apparent not only when the United States is compared with other moderately powerful countries in recent times; it may also be compared with imperial powers in the past. Thus, during the period between the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) and World War I, France showed a clear disinclination to go to war.With regard to Great Britain, historians as distinguished as Paul Kennedy (1983) and Paul Schroeder (1976) have argued that, for a significant part of its imperial history, British policy was based on a pragmatically flexible and conciliatory strategy, on a positive conception of appeasement, viewed by Kennedy as “the policy of settling international (or, for that matter, domestic) quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be bloody, and possibly very dangerous. It is in essence a positive policy” (1983, 17). In any case, it would be difficult to argue that a predilection for punitive policies toward refractory regimes applies to other major powers and democracies 1. “EU Relations with Cuba,” 34 THE LOGIC OF POSITIVE ENGAGEMENT to the degree that it does to the United States. Why is this inclination so evident in the U.S. case? The Sources of the...


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