Winter 1988/89

Winter 1988/89
67, 2

Essays

Essay
FA editors

The election campaign failed to shed much light on the probable course of American foreign policy over the next four years. Domestic issues and personalities dominated the presidential contest; there was no urgent issue comparable to Korea in 1952, the Berlin and Cuban confrontations of the 1960s, Vietnam in the 1970s or even the Iran hostage crisis of 1980. President George Bush will probably not be confronted with a burning foreign policy problem in his first hundred days.

Essay
C. Michael Aho and Marc Levinson

Summary of current US economic dilemmas, sets out a panoramic economic 'agenda' for Reagan's successor. Analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of Reagan's policies, and lists measures needed to improve the US economy at home, and in relation to its major competitors. Covers policy towards international economic institutions, Europe, trade laws and taxes at home. Notes that "significant cuts are possible only in the two largest budget categories, entitlements and defense", and concludes that there is a need for 'much closer cooperation between the executive branch and Congress'.

Essay
James Chace

The central concern of US foreign policy -- relations with the USSR -- could be derailed by stakes in lesser countries, namely South Korea, the Philippines, Panama, and some states in Central America. Assesses each 'danger zone', and concludes that Bush cannot "postpone the reckoning ahead".

Essay
Sol M. Linowitz

Recent and forthcoming elections in key Latin American countries come at a time when US relations with many states in the region are particularly uncertain. Discusses six areas which should be addressed by policy-makers (1) the debt crisis (2) the need for co-operation between the USA, Europe, Canada and Latin American countries in ending Central America's wars (3) support of democratic institutions (4) the drug problem (5) the need to rebuild inter-American institutions (6) relations with Mexico and Panama. Concludes that too much attention has been devoted to Nicaragua at the expense of greater concerns, although straightforward solutions are unlikely. Former US ambassador to the Organization of American States, and co-negotiator of the Panama Canal treaties. A substantial criticism of Reagan's policy in Central and South America, and interesting for its view of both regions as one.

Essay
Walter B. Wriston

Technology, particularly information and satellite technology, is altering the concept of sovereignty, business institutions, domestic policy and the power of political elites. It threatens to drive a wedge between the interests of business and the authority of governments, while satellite photography poses a challenge to states' abilities to protect military secrets and control the flow of news. "Like all technological advances, the new Information Standard makes the world's power structures very nervous, and with good reason... they correctly perceive (it) as an attack on their sovereign powers... what will eventually harness politicians' attention is that there is no longer any way for a nation to resign (from it)". Chairman of Citibank. An important article, with deep implications for all foreign policy concepts involving government control of economic activity in any form (e.g. arms control, technology transfer and anti-proliferation policy, and economic warfare).

Essay
Samuel P. Huntington

Examines areas which have been cited by 'declinist' writers as causes of the US economic, and hence national, decline, in particular (1) deficits (2) declining shares (3) 'systemic' failures. Highly critical of the arguments propounded by Paul Kennedy, counters that the real source of any nation's decline -- 'internal stagnation' -- is something from which America is not suffering. Economic or military power are not the only determinants of national power, and so decline cannot be seen against a purely economic background. Concludes that although US predominance in world affairs is not so secure as it was, "the ultimate test of a great power is in its ability to renew its power". Director, Center for International Affairs, Harvard University.

Essay
Robert G. Kaiser

Surveys Gorbachev's problems in his attempt to reform the Soviet economy. The Stalinist system has produced a demoralized people, incapable of individualism or initiative. While the failure of the Soviet system is recognized by all, efforts to change the attitude of the populace seem, so far, to have been largely unsuccessful. Assistant managing editor, The Washington Post, formerly the paper's Moscow correspondent, 1971-74.

Essay
William E. Odom

Discusses (1) the size of Soviet military forces (nuclear, naval, air and ground) (2) the ideological drive behind Soviet defence policy (3) possible future doctrinal developments. Since the late 1970s, changing technology has stimulated doctrinal change, giving rise to concepts of multi-front operations. But the doctrinal vision is at the moment unrealisable, and the Soviets may thus be seeking to reduce nuclear arsenals, so as to make defence of the rear easier in wartime. Concludes that, in the light of the continuing ideological basis of Soviet doctrine, the West must be careful not to underestimate the danger which lies behind the undermining of deterrence through badly-conceived arms control measures. Director, National Security Agency, 1985-88. Very useful analysis, recommended.

Essay
Fouad Ajami

Discusses the dynamics of the Iranian revolution. Argues that the traditional conflict (common to all revolutions), between consolidating the revolution at home and exporting it abroad, can be seen in Iran since Khomeini came to power. Moreover, the image of an isolated, embattled revolutionary nation is proved to be false by the "foreign links of the revolution's political economy".

Essay
Teddy Kollek

Outlines economic and political developments within Jerusalem, covering ethnic violence, advances in Arab rights, social programmes, the importance of religion, and the way in which the city is governed. Bitterness and tension still obviously impinge on many aspects of life, but the authorities are doing everything possible to ensure that a lasting peace will come eventually. Concludes that "the basic dilemma that confronts us in the governance of Jerusalem is... (that) we are trying to run a democratic municipal administration in a city where most of the population, Jewish and Arab alike, lack democratic traditions". Important statement, which is both balanced and conciliatory; Kollek has been mayor of Jerusalem since 1965. Particularly noteworthy is the forthright condemnation of Ariel Sharon, who made a provocative political statement by moving into a building in a Muslim quarter of the city. Valuable reading for those concerned with Arab-Israeli relations, especially relevant to debate on the 'intifada'.

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