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Exaggerated claims and charges are obscuring the facts about the North American Free Trade Agreement. Over time, in almost every instance, what's good for Mexico would also be good for the United States.
To the United States, the labor and environmental costs of NAFTA would be minimal and the economic benefits real, but small. The trade agreement is really about helping a friendly and important neighbor in its yet uncompleted economic and political reform.
By the end of the decade U.S. trade and investment flows across the Pacific will be double transatlantic levels. President Clinton should use the November summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to galvanize American economic efforts in the Far East and to ease trade tensions.
The United Nations must define the conceptual no-man's-land-the domain between peacekeeping and enforcement-where many of its blue-helmeted troops currently wander.
Environmentalists, traditionally hostile to free-trade advocates, argue for "greening" the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. But a stronger approach would be to "GATT" the greens and create an honest institutional broker to resolve transnational environmental disputes.
The militant Islamic movement, threatening the PLO's power base and Israel's security, forced the parties to end their enduring and bloody stalemate. But now that Israel and the PLO have shaken hands, disparate Islamic groups from Algeria to Lebanon will calculate for themselves the accord's costs and benefits. If the Islamic movement could finally make Israel and the PLO come to terms, can it now break a fragile peace?
The Israeli-PLO peace accord has reignited Jordan's historical identity crisis. King Hussein, the Hashemite ruler of a large Palestinian population, must walk a fine line. Native Jordanians, his bedrock support, fear becoming a minority in their own land. With the prospect of a new Palestinian state, they may want Jordan's Palestinians to choose allegiance. By renouncing the Palestinians, however, the king could lose the economic base he needs to maintain Jordan's stability. To which of his competing constituencies Hussein tilts will determine his kingdom's future.
If its economic growth continues, the rise of China will be the most important change in the global economic, political and military balance of the next century. This growth will be accompanied by environmental degradation, an activist foreign policy, and even military adventures. Yet the pervasive tendency to blame China, and the current regime in particular, is misplaced. Most of China's actions are perfectly understandable attempts by a rising power to expand its influence abroad.
Expanding economic and media links are giving Asia what Asia historically could never give itself: a distinctly "Asian" identity. Far from a reaction to some Western impulse-colonialism or superpower imposition-the Asian consciousness is uniquely homegrown. It is animated by workaday pragmatism, the awakenings of a flourishing middle class and the moxie of technocrats. Though rifts in the region still exist, this new mindset gives Asians the confidence that-from human rights to security to political issues-they can fend for themselves.
The foreign policy of a democratic South Africa will emphasize human rights and democracy. It will recognize that our destiny lies with Africa, and southern Africa in particular, but will cooperate in the sphere, not dominate it. Above all, we will try to help end the terrible economic crisis that is afflicting our country and integrate ourselves into the global economy.
South Africa stands as the world's first case of nuclear rollback. But the circumstances that led Pretoria to develop the bomb, the size and capability of its arsenal, who controlled it, and why the nation eventually gave it up have, until now, been largely obscured. Lingering questions about the past raise concerns about South Africa's nuclear future. Foremost among these are Pretoria's intentions for its valuable store of highly enriched uranium and what will be the ANC's nuclear agenda.
Turkey's historical knack for melding contradictions continues. Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern republic, left a legacy that Turks are actively adapting. Relative isolationism is giving way to rising regional power. Secular democracy has let Islam back out of the bottle. And dogmatic homogeneity is being usurped by growing cultural awareness of, and even fondness for, the Ottoman past. Turks are becoming more Turkish again, and old taboos are falling one by one.
The "Pinochet model," a potent mixture of authoritarianism and liberal economic reform, is sold as the elixir to nearly any country ailing under socialist transition. But the years of improvisation by Chile's reformers actually leave scant recipe to follow. The secret of Chile's turnabout, if any can be found, was simply the inspiration to shrink the state. Any country can do it, without a caudillo in charge.
Reviews & Responses
Nationalism is not a modern, nineteenth-century phenomenon, author William Pfaff's claims to the contrary. Rather, it has deep, primordial roots. It will neither go away nor sober up into a sane "liberal" variety. Our hatreds are here to stay.
The United States as a Third World country? Geostrategist Edward Luttwak sketches the awful specter, casting shadows of blame over the public-private financial system and public schools. But his solutions comprise a populist critique rather than a plausible strategy.