US stuck in 20th-century foreign policy with wars & bases across globe – leading economist

Instead of building a global economy and solving problems like climate change in order to save the planet, the US is waging wars and maintaining military bases across the world, pursuing Cold War policies, Jeffrey Sachs says.

The world missed the opportunity to build a truly united and global economy, as the United States kept its Cold War mentality after the collapse of the Soviet Union and continued antagonizing Russia, Jeffrey Sachs, renowned American economist and director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, told RT in an exclusive interview.

“Both the West and the Soviet Union – Russia made bad mistakes already a quarter of a century ago in not finding a way towards a more constructive integration of the economies,” Sachs said, adding that moving NATO borders “few hundred miles to the east” violated “Gorbachev’s correct idea… that we should aim to have a unified economy that stretches from the North Sea and the Atlantic all the way to the Pacific, to Vladivostok.”

The US and NATO, pushing towards Russian borders have eventually created the current “mess” in the world we’re living in Sachs believes.

“And we started making divisions again. Well, maybe one could understand Eastern Europe being afraid of the Russian Bear, but every time that NATO was pushed closer to the Russian border – Montenegro, most recently, but probably most frighteningly, when the US pushed for Ukraine’s candidacy for membership in NATO – to my mind it was the final straw that led to the break and we’ve been on the downward spiral since then. It is dangerous for the world.”

There was, probably, “some merit” in the US’ role as “world policeman” at the beginning of the Cold War, but it has completely lost any sense with the collapse of the Soviet Union, leaving the US stuck in a mid-20th century foreign policy framework, Sachs believes.

“With Gorbachev and the end of the Cold War, we should have returned and ended those bases and focused on the problems that we have in the United States, and problems like climate change. But we continued with these military bases and launched a number of wars in the Middle East that were disastrous,” Sachs told RT. “And so we’re living in a kind of anachronism right now. We’re living a 20th-century foreign policy framework in the 21st century, and in my view that doesn’t make sense.”

The US, as well as other global players should leave wars and antagonism behind and focus on solving global problems instead, according to Sachs.

“What we really should be looking for is common solutions like global climate change. The whole world signed up to the Paris climate agreement, the whole world signed up to the 2030 UN agenda and the 17 sustainable development goals,” Sachs said. “And if we’re serious about those, then Europe, Russia, China, and the United States and others should all be working towards the same purpose. That’s what decent leadership would be about. Unfortunately, we have the worst leadership in the United States in generations and so we have a political fight on our hands.”