Fall 1988

Fall 1988
67, 1


Daniel Yankelovich and Richard Smoke

Reviews recent US public opinion poll evidence on relations with USSR and security issues, finding a cautious attitude, stressing verification and other means of testing Soviet 'good faith'. Americans believe that (1) Gorbachev seeks "to change... the very character of the Soviet Union" (2) the nuclear threat from a (hypothetical) terrorist group or Third World power is greater than that from the USSR (3) today's greatest challenges (including pollution, terrorism, over-population and trade) "are no longer East-West in nature but global".

Graham T. Allison, Jr.

Criticizes "the failure of American policymakers to develop any concept or strategy for dealing with the 'new-thinking' Soviet leadership". Proposes that "the United States and its allies... reach beyond containment to aggressive engagement of the Soviet Union in ways that encourage Gorbachev's reformist instincts" by means of specific tests of his intentions in the fields of arms control, regional conflict and human rights.

Robert C. McFarlane

Expresses scepticism at the notions of (1) any "fundamental re-orientation of Soviet global purposes" (2) defensive doctrine, calling for "survival ICBMs". Proposes appropriate basing modes either with or without superpower arms agreement since "deterrence ... remains the most cost-effective, stable and militarily sensible way to avoid nuclear war and lower-order aggression in Europe". US national security adviser, 1983-1985.

Strobe Talbott

Gives an account of problems encountered by START negotiators in 1988, as minor issues about particular types of weapons turned into major issues. Notes that these problems will persist post-Regan and concludes that "before a new administration can pick up where the old one leaves off in START" it should (1) impose some order in the chaos of US thinking about ICBMs (2) decide whether there is a militarily-sound mission for nuclear-armed SLCMs (3) develop a realistic plan for strategic defense R&D.

Bruce M. Bagley

Chronicles the rise to wealth and power of the Colombian drug lords and the efforts of the Bogotá government to destroy them, characterized as an extensive and protracted war often bilked by US policy. Examines how to make the war on drugs more co-operative and multilateral and concludes that "the principal challenge for US drug warriors is to develop a viable, long-term strategy for both demand and supply sides".

Robert I. Rotberg

Seeks to explain the failure of democracy in Haiti after Duvalier by reference to economic and historical factors. Haiti is a (1) "rural fastness" suffering from land erosion, lack of natural resources and a 90% illiteracy rate (2) a country which, since its revolution at the end of the 18th century, has been far more often ruled than governed. "The case for helping Haiti is overwhelming ... but exactly how and when to help are still open questions".

Daniel Yergin

Currently, oil prices are low and supplies plentiful. But the key to understanding energy policy (in which, for the USA, oil is central), is uncertainty. Analyzes the 'margin of security in supplies', recommending that US energy policy should (1) slow the growth of oil imports (2) strengthen the domestic oil and gas industry (3) increase natural gas use (4) promote energy efficiency (5) support energy R&D (6) fortify the strategic reserve to 100 days (7) renew the US commitment to the International Energy Agency (8) ensure competitive markets.

Carlisle Ford Runge

Buffeted by drought and protectionism, agriculture is emerging as a key issue in the politics of international trade. Because international agriculture cannot be divorced from domestic farm programs, foreign trade officials and others in the diplomatic community are being forced to confront issues beyond their normal purview. "I sit there talking about soybeans," lamented Italian Foreign Minister Guilio Andreotti during an interminable debate with his European partners, "and I don't even know what the miserable things look like."

Dominique Moïsi

Reviews the record of recent French diplomacy including support for NATO in the early 1980s, Chad, Lebanon, and the 'Rainbow Warrior' affair. "Yet France cannot remain prisoner of her great past and of the myths created by de Gaulle". Her future lies within a European framework, within which the issues of her nuclear deterrent, her lack of adequate conventional military strength, and her declining economic competitiveness must all be addressed. Summarized in D Moïsi 'A threatened France must retreat to Europe' IHT 9 Sep 1988 p4.

Gerhard L. Weinberg

Offers a revisionist account of Munich, noting that Hitler regarded it as 'the greatest setback to his career'. Concludes that "those commitments, policies and alliances that can reasonably be expected to involve a country in a great war must be clearly articulated, understood at least in general by the public and perceived as truly essential to the nation's security".

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