America and the World 1986

America and the World 1986
65, 3

Essays

Essay
James Schlesinger

Asks whether the Reykjavik summit and Irangate have shaken the USA's self-confidence and standing in the world. Reykjavik threatened the credibility of the West's flexible response strategy, while Irangate undermined the authority of the President, made a nonsense of his anti-terrorism campaign, and embarrassed and angered his Middle Eastern allies. On the other hand, the USSR is no longer in a position to gain from these blunders.

Essay
Philip Geyelin

Reagan's foreign policy is not statecraft, but stagecraft. Irangate has shown this, having shaken Reagan's authority, and made a nonsense of his anti-terrorism policy. But this does not mean that he has doomed himself to two years of reactive, defensive, unproductive foreign policy, because his unworldly views, and the cosseting courtiers who take his wishes as commands, may change.

Essay
Leonard Silk

Forewarns of another world depression and Western political fragmentation, if the USA's twin deficits are not reduced, and reduced gently. But the USA's major trading partners and world creditors, Japan and the FRG, are unwilling to shoulder the burden of world banker. Internationally integrated monetary and fiscal policies must nevertheless overcome traditional national politics and interest-group pressures.

Essay
Dimitri K. Simes

Gorbachev's foreign policy has the same aim as that of his predecessors, with the addition of tactical flexibility and sophisticated PR, and he is in more control of it. Arms control policy is the one difference, but he will get nowhere as long as he insists on linking progress with the banning of SDI.

Essay
Michel Oksenberg

There are many nationalisms in China's tradition, aggrieved, isolationist, assertive, and expansionist, all of which are possible in the future. But the nationalism of the mid-1980s is 'confident' that (1) through involvement in world affairs the PRC can attain wealth and power while preserving its national essence (2) better relations with the USSR, Japan and the USA will allow concentration on domestic development (3) the PRC's improved world and economic standing will also bear fruit with Korea, Indochina and Taiwan. Outlines the many factors, particularly generational change and greater awareness of the outside world, which support 'confident' nationalism.

Essay
Sandra Burton

Tells how Aquino plucked victory from defeat with the help of the military, how she broke with the military, how she is dealing with the communists, and the flagging economy. Threatened from both left and right, she must build up the centre.

Essay
John de St. Jorre

Examines the nature and extent of Botha's reforms, and their failure culminating in the 1986 state of emergency. Despite his policies to defeat or co-opt all opposition groups both black and white, the confrontation between government and anti-government forces is deepening. Traces how and why South Africa reached the top of the US and Western political agenda, which led to the end of Reagan's policy of constructive engagement and the failure of the Commonwealth's EPG, and the beginning of disengagement. The effects of sanctions and South Africa's policies towards the front-line states are polarizing the country and worsening the crisis throughout Southern Africa.

Essay
Clifford Krauss

Assesses the status of revolutionary forces in Central America, arguing that none will be successful. Catholicism and conservatism have deeper roots than Marxism. Domino theory will not be demonstrated. Rebels in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala are unpopular and ineffective. Explains that US containment is the reason why the role of the USSR and its allies has been only one of assisting in defence and economic development of Nicaragua, and has been circumspect and miserly about activities in Central America. Continued US military reaction without diplomatic efforts will only de-stabilize the region.

Essay
Samuel W. Lewis

Assesses the achievements of the Peres premiership of the coalition government in (1) gaining the full backing of the USA (2) tackling Israel's economic crisis (3) withdrawing from Lebanon without compromising security (4) thawing the chill with Egypt (5) getting wider Arab-Israeli negotiations started (6) broadening diplomatic relations around the world (7) dealing with divers domestic discords. Compares Peres' record with Shamir's. A positive perception of coalition was Peres' greatest contribution to Israel.

Essay
Robert Oakley

Charts the origins, contents and achievements of Reagan's most popular and successful policy, anti-terrorism, and how Irangate dented it. The controversial bombing of Libya was popular at home and moved allies to take effective anti-terrorist action. The importance of the media in his policy was emphasized by the scandal. Moderating Iran was a major objective, especially with hostages still being held in the Middle East and given its strategic importance. The dilemma for democratic governments (that they must oppose the criminality of terrorists, but also have humanitarian obligations to their citizens held hostage by terrorists) led the Reagan administration into the arms-for-hostages bid. Notes French, Greek and Italian collusion with terrorism and hopes that the affair will not unduly hamper the US administration in foreign policy generally.

Essay
James H. Billington

US foreign policy has a split personality, between (1) realism-conservatism, the need for military power and political will to maintain friendly alliances to contain Soviet expansion (2) idealism-liberalism, the need to perfect and spread democracy. These might be harmonized, by a foreign policy combining prudent realism with the universal appeal of 'inner aspirations' towards political accountability, economic opportunity and religious freedom. This will however entail attention to the USA's own decadence in divorcing freedom from the responsibility to protect the values on which the USA was founded. Discusses several "ideals drawn from the America of yesterday" which may be "relevant to the emerging world of tomorrow".

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