U.S. trade policy is adrift and under siege. America's traditional commitment to open markets is now buffeted by both left and right, from labor unions and environmentalists to big business and "America First" isolationists. Fortunately, the advent of the World Trade Organization offers Washington a chance to balance the protectionist threat. If the United States cooperates with the WTO to settle trade disputes multilaterally, it can dilute both protectionist pressure at home and anti-American resentment abroad. But robust leadership and commitment will be needed, and neither Congress nor President Clinton seems up to the task.
Things may look bad, but North Korea can stagger on for a long time before it collapses. The famine there, limited information seems to reveal, is due not to shortages of food but to political decisions in Pyongyang. But unification would be so costly for South Korea - about $1 trillion over 10-25 years - and a mass southward exodus so debilitating that the South will instead try to prop up the North. China will provide food, and the United States fuel, while the North muddles through with a form of apparatchik capitalism similar to Romania's, in which officials channel resources to favored groups.