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The World Bank Group was a child of World War II, conceived to help developing countries build infrastructure, establish the foundations of economic self- sufficiency, and indirectly nurture political stability. But it should not retire at the age of 50. The bank's mission should be revised to benefit from the colossal growth of private sector financial resources and to help coordinate the work of nongovernmental organizations. A good first step would be more openness about its work.
Middle-class entitlements must be slashed to stem the budget deficit, raise private investment and restore the American dream. An international budget agreement could break the political impasse, argues Peter Peterson in his latest book.
The threat of war between NATO and the WP still exists, though it is lessening. It could be further reduced by arms control and defence policies conducive "toward a structure of forces with a more defensive character, and with greater emphasis on new technologies that could reduce the role of heavy armored divisions". The basic goal is to reduce capability for sudden large-scale attack.
The next annual economic summit is scheduled to be held in Bonn in May 1985. What follows is a more or less fanciful account of its proceedings--not a prediction of the eventual reality, but a depiction of where present domestic and international economic trends are leading. Foremost among these trends is the growth of the U.S. trade and budget deficits. Conceivably, by next May, the actors at the Bonn Summit will have seen signs that these deficits are being reduced. More likely they will not, and the Summit will open in full awareness of the dangers that these deficits pose to the global economy.
On January 20, a new American President will appear on the East Portico of the Capitol to speak, among other things, to the question: What lies ahead in foreign policy? The question will be posed not merely by the advent of a new administration; in greater degree than at any time since 1945, Americans are questioning the concepts which in recent years have shaped their country's role in world affairs.
Before World War I, German planners prepared for only one contingency: an all-out, two-front war. In July 1914, this made it difficult for Germany to match Russia's military preparations without automatically escalating into general war. Before World War II, French military planners also prepared for only one contingency: full-scale invasion of France. This made it difficult for France to react effectively when Hitler occupied the Rhineland in 1936. Both the German and French governments went wrong by assuming, rather than judging, where the main threat lay. Each country put tremendous effort into elaborating its war plans and force structure, down to the most minute detail. And yet each seems to have given only the most cursory attention to the political contingencies in which those plans and forces might have to be used. Hence the plans and force structures turned out to be not only irrelevant but-because of their rigidity-downright harmful.