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The "Wise Men" are gone, and with them went the old style of foreign policy. A new America - with new domestic forces - will create a new foreign policy.
Multinational corporations are using cheap Third World labor to avoid the high labor standards of developed nations. The time is ripe for a global New Deal that protects the rights of all workers.
"Worker rights" is the guise under which protectionism is rising in Europe. The EC denies liberalized trade to low-wage countries able to out-compete Western Europe's benefit-laden workers.
Rigorous work-study tours of private businesses in developed countries could expose large numbers of people from ex-communist economies to market-based practices. Such technical assistance, successfully pioneered by the Marshall Plan, could jump-start the lagging economies of Russia and its neighbors.
A sense of confusion about defining the national interest is the most troubling aspect of Bill Clinton_s first year as president. This is particularly true with regard to the use of force. The administration has squandered military prestige on issues of little importance in Somalia and Haiti. In Bosnia, it has failed to reconcile American interests with the dangers of military intervention. In his implementation of policy, Clinton has been too wedded to two limited tools of diplomacy: multilateralism and peacekeeping. Neither is as important as is currently fashionable to think. In the future, the real threats to U.S. interests are "backlash states" like North Korea, Iraq and Iran and instability in Europe and East Asia. All require skill, determination and a president truly engaged in foreign policy.
By casting its lot wholly with Boris Yeltsin, the Clinton administration has missed what should be the larger aim of U.S. policy toward Russia - security for the West. The former Soviet nuclear arsenal still looms as a threat, and Russia's conventional weapons trickle out to America's global adversaries. The United States needs to state and pursue clear security goals, regardless of who prevails in Russia's politics.
The Bush administration set out to clear relief channels and avert mass starvation in Somalia, resisting a more ambitious U.N. agenda. But the Clinton administration embarked on "nation-building" and "assertive multilateralism." The resulting violence and embarrassment cast doubt on the United Nations' competence in peaceenforcement and "nation-building."
In the latest Russian transitions lurk the potential for autocratic presidential rule and neo-imperialist foreign policy. Neither would serve Western interests and may not come to pass. But it would now be prudent for the United States to practice a patient, detached policy clearly based on its interests and not on the personal propensities of Boris Yeltsin. Discernment is called for. Traditional great power assertiveness should not be mistaken for a revival of the Russian imperial legacy.
Despite apparent anarchy, Russia is passing three important tests for establishing a democracy. The military is acquiescing in the new democratic order, the old managers of the economy are losing their political grip, and the new regime has come to embody patriotism and legitimacy in the mind of the populace. A fledgling Russian republic may succeed where the Weimar Republic failed.
The world economy is changing profoundly due to the enormous growth of services exports, the forging of new kinds of business alliances and the merging of transactions of different types. Effective policies will recognize the deficiencies of both managed trade and outright protectionism. Needed is a deliberate and active policy that gives the demands of the external economy priority over domestic policy demands and problems. Integration is the only basis for an international trade policy that can work and the only way to rapidly revive a domestic economy.
The success of air power in the Persian Gulf War has led some to consider it as a "revolution" in military technology, one that holds out the possibility of war meted out in fine increments and perhaps even bloodless battles. Air power was commanding in the war and innovative in its use of rapid electronic information. But that did not, and will not, alter the Clausewitzian "fog of war" or war's lethal, inevitable spread to noncombatants. War remains a cruel business.
U.S. intelligence must widen its focus from bipolar, military issues to economic, diplomatic and political issues in numerous regions. The international community should ban economic espionage, but U.S. intelligence should monitor foreign spying and share information with U.S. companies. Close observation of democratic transitions and human rights abuses could also aid foreign policy. Greater strategic and battlefield intelligence must accompany the revolution in military technology. Most important, the intelligence community can assure the quality of its analysts by opening its doors to academia and business.
Historians of the Cold War were powerfully influenced by fears that America was betraying its ideals in the course of that long struggle. The real tragedy of the Cold War, however, was that faced by Stalin's victims. The newly available archives from the East seem to bear out Western hard-liners.
Reviews & Responses
Margaret Thatcher's memoir, The Downing Street Years, offers little nuanced portraiture, self-revelation or introspection. But it is a work of real force and shrewdness that recounts the political battles of a dogged, self-assured champion of conservatives. In tone and tilt, thus, it is unalloyed Iron Lady.
Did Germany's détente with the Soviet Union and East Germany drive the reunification of 1989? Or was it overshadowed by America's pressure on the Soviet Union? Timothy Garton Ash's new book never quite answers the question.