Spring 1988

Spring 1988
66, 4


Zbigniew Brzezinski

Seeks to transmute claims of US imperial decline into an agenda for its future role. Strategic doctrine should stress flexibility and the control of space, likened to control of the seas in times past. Areas of paramount geopolitical importance are (1) Eastern Europe and Germany (2) the Middle East (3) Central America, where a combination of anti-Yanqui nationalism and demography may even 'prompt a mood of panic' in the USA. The global role needs to be re-defined against parallels with other declining empires (Rome, Turkey) but also against lack of a successor -- "the Soviet Union will remain internally too weak to become a partner for peace and externally too strong to be satisfied with the status quo". Calls in particular for the upgrading to world status of the US-Japanese relationship -- 'Amerippon'. President Carter's security adviser, 1977-81. An excerpt was republished in 'Eastern Europe: a crisis in need of management' IHT 12 Apr 1988 p4.

Caspar W. Weinberger

The USA should not trust Gorbachev, even if over 70% of Americans do. Praises the Reagan administration's defence policies and arms control posture of increasing military strength "to secure real arms reductions". In negotiating with the Soviets it is necessary to bargain from strength and to have patience. Backs SDI as making the world safer and calls for NATO modernization. US secretary of defense, 1981-87.

Lynn E. Davis

"The INF treaty singles out for elimination all land-based missiles of a specified range". Gives the background to the treaty from 1979. In effect it resulted from the USSR calling Reagan's bluff on his zero-option proposal of 1981. The consequence is that the West is on the defensive, lacking a coherent approach and compelled to proceed on the basis of its present policy. The lesson of the treaty is therefore for the West to define its long-term objectives, and the roles of the USA and Western Europe within them. US deputy assistant secretary for defense (policy plans), 1977-81.

Jeffrey Record and David B. Rivkin, Jr.

Defends the traditional, pessimistic evaluation of NATO's conventional capabilities against revisionists, and argues that "NATO is highly unlikely to make the conventional force improvements seemingly dictated by the INF treaty". Predicts a Soviet arms control offensive upon "a vulnerable and divided NATO... the alliance has painted itself into a corner, and the paint will not dry". Despite all this, NATO will continue to prevent war in Europe.

Benjamin S. Lambeth and Kevin Lewis

Soviet response to SDI will be based on (1) analysis of the economic consequences of seeking to respond in kind, and of the shape of future arms control agreements (2) Soviet military doctrine, which is basically offensive (3) Soviet perception of US determination to proceeed with SDI. Of these the USSR's economic difficulties are the most important, so SDI gives the USA diplomatic leverage. Rand Corporation analysts.

Walid Khalidi

Palestinian critique of US and Israeli policy concludes that "a Palestinian state in the occupied territories within the 1967 frontiers in peaceful coexistence alongside Israel is the only 'conceptual' candidate for a historical compromise". For French version see 'Vers la paix en Terre Sainte' Politique Etrangère 53/2 Summer 1988 pp349-364, 1 ref.

Selig S. Harrison

Reviews liberalization in Taiwan under Chiang Ching-Kuo and since, concentrating on constitutional questions and on the views of governing and opposition parties to the question of independence as against re-unification with the PRC, whose policies are also reviewed. The USA needs to avoid charges of bad faith from either side.

Gareth Porter

Prince Sihanouk has offered, under certain conditions, to share power with the existing regime in Cambodia in order to keep out the Khmer Rouge. The Vietnamese need to withdraw their troops from Kampuchea, but the Chinese, who back the Khmer Rouge, can afford to play for time. The USA has been reluctant to use its influence.

Richard N. Gardner

Considers prospects for US multi-lateral diplomacy (i.e. attitude to the UN and its agencies) and recommends practical internationalism as a middle way between isolationism and utopianism, noting five challenges (nuclear, drugs, AIDS, environment, population). Makes suggestions for administrative reform at the UN, and considers its peacekeeping role and responsibilities for human rights. Considers that the Reagan doctrine is consistent with international law, and identifies internationalism with patriotism.

David Calleo, Harold van B. Cleveland and Leonard Silk

US economic problems require defence spending cuts, since civilian programmes cannot be cut nor taxes raised, and these issues thus have a geopolitical dimension. Europe must therefore assume primary responsibility for its own defence, thus "sustaining the Pax Americana from which all have profited so handsomely".

Reviews & Responses

Review Essay
Walt W. Rostow

Professor Kennedy, a British scholar translated to New Haven, has written a massive book around a grand theme: the relation between the rise and fall of major powers over the past five centuries and the shifts in their relative economic strength and technological virtuosity. It is both a work of historical analysis, in which the author seeks to discern recurrent patterns upon which to base defensible generalizations, and a policy prescription, notably for the United States. Understandably, it is the latter strand that is receiving current attention; but before examining Kennedy's advice it is worth surveying briefly the other dimensions of his work.

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