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A peace agreement, if achievable, will require enforcement and must be followed by strong efforts to replace conflict with trade as the basis of the Balkan states' relationships.
Japan's successful government-guided economic policy is in disarray and unlikely to be revived. In place of consensus policy and administration guidance, individual companies will set their own course and be tougher competitors on the world market.
Rising fundamentalism in all of India's major religions, most dangerously among Hindus, could shatter the nation's secular identity and fragment the subcontinent catastrophically.
With the end of the Cold War many at home and abroad are urging the United States to prepare for a new long struggle against radical Islam. But Islam is neither a threat to the United States nor a unified political phenomenon. Iran, the supposed center of Islamic fundamentalism, has pursued a foreign policy dominated by geopolitics, not religion. In the rest of the Middle East, Islam has become the language of political opposition to a thoroughly corrupt status quo. By blindly supporting autocratic Arab regimes against these popular movements, the United States will turn the threat of Islamic fundamentalism into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Any individual or government concerned with pluralism, democracy and human rights must not be complacent about the rise of militant Islamic groups. Islam is incompatible with these values--as shown by the continued oppression of women and minorities in Muslim societies. Support for democratic elections in the Middle East is thus contradictory, because radical Islamic fundamentalists, who are most likely to come to power, have no commitment to democracy. Trying to distinguish between good and bad Islamic groups may be convenient for U.S. policymakers, but it is impossible to determine which ones will keep their promises of democracy and human rights. In practice, few do.
Radical socialists wanting to remake the Russian economy were once called maximalists; now the maximalists are fervent free marketeers. Yet separating radicals from gradualists only clouds the peril, progress and prospects of the Russian economy. Virtually all economists now accept four pillars of policy for Russia: controlled inflation, price liberalization, steady privatization and reformed legal and political institutions. A development bank for Russia is still needed to help manage the economic metamorphosis. President Clinton should be leading now, through the Group of Seven industrialized nations, to collar more money and free-market expertise for Russian reform.
Seventy years of Russian communism have left a demoralized work force. Generations of communist labor policies have instilled the nation with a "Gulag complex" and a stable of untranslatable terms for shirking work. Private initiative was sometimes dangerous and always unrewarded. Wage inversion led to the highest pay for the lowliest labor. And job dissatisfaction created moonlighting and enormous labor fluidity as Russians moved aimlessly from job to job. After all this, have the Russians forgotten how to work? The answer will prove crucial to Russia's pursuit of democratic capitalism.
The nation state has become a dysfunctional unit for understanding and managing the flows of economic activity that dominate today's borderless world. Policymakers, politicians and corporate managers would benefit from looking at "region states"--the globe's natural economic zones--whether they happen to fall within or across traditional political boundaries. With their efficient scales of consumption, infrastructure and professional services, region states make ideal entryways into the global economy. If allowed to pursue their own economic interests without jealous government interference, the prosperity of these areas will eventually spill over.
California is the most populous state in the United States. Its gross economic product is seventh in the world, well ahead of China or Canada. Given its massive size and the fact that the export-driven sector is the only part of its economy that shows any potential for long-term growth, California is increasingly adopting its own foreign policy. In turn international economic trends are having strong regional effects from San Diego to San Francisco. At the center of this new interdependence lies the North American Free Trade Agreement and the pivotal bilateral tie between Mexico and California.
Since 1989 communist regimes worldwide have toppled like dominoes. Yet Fidel Castro's homegrown revolution clings tenaciously. How has Cuban communism managed to survive despite the withdrawal of the Soviet subsidy? Economic hardship has hit Cuba's already weak opposition particularly hard. Stubborn U.S. policies blocking tourism and commercial communications only censor outside information to the island. And the new Cuban Democracy Act tightening the U.S. economic embargo gives credence to the regime's call for sacrifices in the face of a foreign threat. With enemies like these, Castro may not need friends.
As the fourth-largest national group in the Middle East, the Kurds have become a major factor in the region's future stability. Large Kurdish populations in Iran, Iraq and Turkey are seeking more cultural and political autonomy. In doing so, they are intensifying a number of destabilizing pressures--breakaway ethnic movements, human rights, treatment of minorities, democracy and possibly separatism. Though they have a strong self-identity, the Kurds are not yet ethnically unified, separated as they are by language, customs, neo-feudal obligations and physical distance. However, these barriers are breaking down. The three states with large Kurdish populations are at a crossroads: they must embrace federalism, allowing more autonomy for the Kurds, or prepare for prolonged violence and turmoil.
Both the United States and France benefited from the geopolitical freeze during the Cold War. Now that the bipolar stalemate is over, Germany is preoccupied with reunification, England is economically hobbled and blanches at the European Community, and migration of the rising populations of North Africa and the Middle East may soon threaten more disruption than post-Soviet states. France alone among its neighbors has the desire, ambition and means to lead the reordering of Europe's security. Yet its efforts must fuse with U.S. policy, not snuff it out.
The Group of Seven leading industrialized nations is a circus of fop and flop. Its governments have been unable to pursue disciplined or consistent fiscal and monetary policies. Now, when market interdependence is replacing realpolitik, the G-7 should be reformed. It should add on a council of ministers like the European Community's, a brainy, vocal secretariat and a wide-ranging agenda. This broader and deeper structure could help turn the G-7 into a liberal concert of powers.
The time is ripe for a global program to reduce existing nuclear arsenals and prevent their further proliferation. The immediate tasks are to execute agreed-upon bilateral reductions in U.S. and Russian forces, assure that Russia remains the only nuclear weapon state of the old Soviet Union, and strengthen the international effort against the spread of nuclear weapons by tougher monitoring. Further steps to take under U.S. leadership include: adopting a "no first use" doctrine except as a last defensive resort to deter a nuclear attack; ending new weapons tests and phasing out safety tests by 1996; replacing the goal of strategic defense against missiles with a limited defense objective, and seeking Russian agreement on a warhead ceiling lower than the accepted range of 3,000-3,500. Effective future action will require a stronger policy of public explanation from American political leaders than ever before.
Reviews & Responses
Paul Kennedy has followed his Rise and Fall of the Great Powers with an even gloomier prophecy. The major global trends underway-demographic and technological- portend trouble for both nations and individuals. If Kennedy is right, the future looks bad. If he is wrong, it may look worse.