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Japan's low wage and high productivity economy, which has depended on an export boom, is being challenged by other economies, and forced to adopt new strategies. One of these is 'going multi-national'. This is economically right but presents a social and psychological dilemma. It threatens the social harmony represented by life-long employments and circumscribes the ability of the Japanese to control their cultural destiny.
NATO is facing new challenges; there is confusion and uncertainty about its security requirements in the light of Gorbachev's nuclear disarmament proposals, and a need for a more concentrated effort to meet these challenges, which cannot be left to the USA alone. A common strategy for deterrence is a pre-requisite for a common strategy for arms reductions.
'Glasnost' finds the Eastern European countries out of step with the USSR. They are reluctant to follow Moscow's lead because they are sceptical about Gorbachev's chances, concerned about the effect on internal politics, and fearful of internal instability. Gorbachev's attempts to reconcile communism with 'glasnost' might begin to unravel in Eastern Europe rather than in the USSR. These countries remain a major stumbling block for Gorbachev in his search for a new beginning with the West.
There is a need to re-evaluate US policies towards Eastern Europe in the light of Gorbachev's reforms. There is no prospect of fundamental change in relations between these countries and the USSR but, by improving its capacity to analyze trends there, expanding its contacts and developing its trade, the USA can discourage differentiation between the individual countries with the object of achieving a safer, less divided Europe.
Should the USA, in the light of the Iran/Contra affairs, attempt major covert operations at all? If so, under what circumstances can they be reconciled with the requirements of an open democracy? Moral concerns are not absolute and must be weighed against the gravity of the threat and the adequacy of other available responses. Covert action is justifiable provided it is conducted as a last resort and constrained within clear guidelines.
US budgetary pressures caused by the Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction legislation necessitate serious analysis of how US interests in developing countries can be advanced when resources are scarce. The recent growth in security and military assistance, at the expense of economic, has created an un-affordable imbalance. Aid programmes need to be re-focused in order to concentrate on global growth, the alleviation of poverty, and the promotion of social equity.
Prospects for a peaceful transition to democracy in the ROK, and the limits of US power to assist the process.
The most urgent problems facing Rajiv Gandhi when he assumed office in Oct 1984 were the Punjab, Congress Party reform, the economy and relations with Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Halfway through his five-year term his record is mixed. He is not a politician by instinct, but he may yet develop political skill to enable him to lead India into the 21st century.
Cuba's intervention in Africa has proved very costly. Its involvement in 17 countries and three insurgencies has caused economic drain, loss of life, and domestic discontent, although the political benefits of involvement in Angola have been great. Despite the rising human and financial cost of remaining there, Cuba will be loath to withdraw without some tangible and lasting achievement, such as Namibian independence.