Fall 1990

Fall 1990
69, 4


Paul H. Nitze

The central theme of US foreign policy in the post-Cold War era should be "the accommodation and protection of diversity within a framework of world order... it is not now the time for the United States to retreat from the world stage". This is an re-statement, expanded to article length, of the IHT op-ed piece in 1990:03978. The theme is revisited, one year on, in 1991:06626.

Flora Lewis

Some form of regional sub-grouping is required to accommodate the security interests of the former Eastern bloc countries pending the evolution of a feasible continent-wide security order, such as a 'Danubian grouping', and a 'northern, more or less Baltic grouping'. NATO and the CSCE process offer the surest foundation for developing a new European order over the long term.

Abraham F. Lowenthal

Now that the 'obsessions' of the Reagan era can be laid to rest, it is time for the USA to reformulate the premisses and goals of its Latin American policy, and to develop a 'positive agenda' which moves beyond the calculations of US domestic political interests.

Karel van Wolferen

A Dutch commentator calls for an end to US wishful thinking that Japan will ultimately conform to Western ways given continued pressure to do so, and urges the creation of a 'new institutional framework' for global trading relations, based on a mutual recognition of national realities.

Lucian W. Pye

"Chinese civilization has produced a distinctive and enduring pattern of relations between the state and society", which contains the seeds of enduring problems in domestic and foreign policy. Within a general 'conspiracy of make-believe', Chinese central authorities issue 'absolute' orders, with which provincial and local authorities feign compliance, while Chinese society at large continues its tradition of passive and introspective focus on the private domain. China's modern political development has failed to create the cultural building-blocks of pluralist democracy, having retained the absolutist mentality in walks of life (notably science and technology) where independent critical thinking, and tolerance of 'probabilistic' thought, are essential. Moreover, decades of communist denunciation of "just about every feature of Chinese culture as a feudal abomination that should be obliterated" has produced a situation in which it is now "not easy to articulate what exactly are the Chinese qualities that should now be defended". Chinese society is left with an ideological façade by which group-interest is supposed to prevail over private interest, but does not, and an arrogant political elite which disdains the serious tasks of foreign policy planning.

Dankwart A. Rustow

Finds reason to hope that the worldwide 'turning towards democracy' which started with the events of 1989, will prove permanent.

Robert W. Tucker

The USSR is finished as a great power, and NATO will break up in consequence. Future tensions between world powers are likely to take the form of disputes over trading relations. The USA's foreign policy posture as 'defender of the free world' pre-1989 in no way implies a continued posture as 'world policeman' -- a role likely to prove harmful to US interests. Lead article in a FA feature under the rubric 'A world transformed'. See next four items.

Stanley Hoffmann

World politics in the post-Cold War era will be dominated by economic, rather than military disputes, and traditional US 'laissez-faire' foreign policy will not work to resolve the probable sources of economic tension and conflict (environmental degradation, demographic pressures, famines and epidemics etc). The three major economic powers (USA, Japan, Germany), plus the USSR and (perhaps) China, should form a central steering group, with latitude for regional powers to form comparable groups at regional level.

Kenneth H. Keller

Reviews the growing importance of S&T (science and technology) issues for US foreign policy-making over four areas (1) diminution of national sovereignty as transnational communications increase (2) resource limits on world economic development (3) threats to the controllability of society through over-dependence on untestable systems (4) a downward (populist) shift in the centre of gravity of the body politic, as political elites are forced to take greater account of increasingly well-informed public opinion.

William H. McNeill

The most critical axis of world affairs today is the tension between the relatively prosperous urban populations, whose birth-rates have nearly everywhere fallen below replacement levels, and the burgeoning rural masses. This will set the scene for replay, at global level, of the peasant rebellions of the past.

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