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The West must open itself up to the states that Communism cleaved from Europe. Otherwise it risks undermining the values of its civilization, the very things worth sacrificing for.
The nonproliferation regime is unraveling, and the Soviet rival is gone. The first goal of U.S. policy should be to keep America out of potential nuclear crossfire.
America cannot avoid the dangers of small states with big weapons. U.S. policy must shift to deterrence, and only a conventional threat will be believed.
The view that nations compete against each other like big corporations has become pervasive among Western elites, many of whom are in the Clinton administration. As a practical matter, however, the doctrine of "competitiveness" is flatly wrong. The world's leading nations are not, to any important degree, in economic competition with each other. Nor can their major economic woes be attributed to "losing" on world markets. This is particularly true in the case of the United States. Yet Clinton's theorists of competitiveness, from Laura D. Andrea Tyson to Robert Reich to Ira Magaziner, make seemingly sophisticated arguments, most of which are supported by careless arithmetic and sloppy research. Competitiveness is a seductive idea, promising easy answers to complex problems. But the result of this obsession is misallocated resources, trade frictions and bad domestic economic policies.
Bucking a worldwide trend toward democracy, free markets and civilized conduct, "backlash states" pose a threat to U.S. interests and ideals. The United States must devise strategies to contain and eventually transform these rogue regimes. Iran and Iraq are particularly troublesome since they not only defy nonproliferation exports but border the vital Persian Gulf. Past attempts to build up Iran to counter Iraq and vice versa have been disastrous. The policy of "dual containment" creates a favorable balance of power in the region by relying on America's strengths and those of its allies, and it is already showing signs of success.
"Dual containment" is shot through with dangerous inconsistencies and flaws. It assumes that either the regional status quo in the Middle East will endure or the United States will be able to stage-manage a change of regime in Iraq, while keeping Iran from being a spoiler of stability. Dual containment now pushes Iran and Iraq closer together despite their history of hostility. An end to the futile U.S. economic embargo of Iran and a diplomatic dialogue to assuage Iran's fears of hostile encirclement would make for a better policy.
Rosy scenarios of a democratic, economically revitalized Russia are the basis for the U.S. partnership with Boris Yeltsin. Such views hinge on the assumption that Russia wants peace with its neighbors. But Russia cannot be both a democracy and an empire, and it now seems to be choosing the latter. In the "near abroad," the politically powerful Russian military hungrily eyes breakaway republics. By heaping aid on a corrupt economy and deferring to wounded pride, the United States will legitimize a Russian sphere of influence in Europe's east and forfeit the fruits of its Cold War victory. A more even-handed diplomacy and distribution of aid among the former Soviet republics could temper Russia's imperial impulse.
Organized crime syndicates, flush with smuggling profits and tied to all levels of government, have undermined reform and fueled Russia's ultranationalist backlash. Unprecedented violence is the most visible sign of their competition in the new economy. Can a free-market democracy flourish in a state where making a profit may be a crime and where Western-style racketeering laws have yet to make it onto the books? Russia needs help in bringing its justice and law enforcement system into the modern era, before capitalism becomes synonymous with chaos in the mind of a dangerously disillusioned public.
Bringing the newly market-oriented countries of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe into the global economy would harness the productive capacity of some three billion people. But increased resistance to free trade has cut the supply of political tolerance for another global trade round anytime soon. An expansion of regional trading areas such as the European Union and NAFTA promises the greatest progress, but international e»orts must keep regional blocs from becoming protectionist and ensure they are compatible with the global trade regime.
More than economics, more than politics, a nation's culture will determine its fate. So says the man who built Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. Lee is not optimistic that other nations can replicate East Asia's staggering growth. He is critical of the social breakdown that he sees in America: "The expansion of the rights of the individual has come at the expense of orderly society." East Asia is changing in the face of rapid growth, but Lee doubts that American-style individualism will ever catch on there. While critical of American social order, Lee strongly supports America's role as a balancer in East Asia. If it withdraws, other powers, notably Japan, would go their own way. And that would unsettle the region's peace.
Reviews & Responses
The success of the Bundesbank in anchoring the German mark has sent a wave of central bank independence sweeping across the globe. But does the Bundesbank owe its effectiveness to the German people's unique experience with inflation? In his new book, David Marsh looks for the roots of the Bundesbank's power.
From John Quincy Adams' conception of America as "the champion and vindicator only of her own liberty" to Woodrow Wilson's idealism, the splendid new Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations shows the extent to which foreign policy debates in America have really concerned the definition of the nation.