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It is time for Japan to open its markets and end the drag that its persistent trade surpluses create on world growth. The Clinton administration is right to demand measurable progress in specific import sectors.
The Clinton administration is unfairly manhandling Japan and abandoning free markets in favor of managed outcomes, undermining the global trading regime.
Soaring production costs and sinking defense budgets are killing off competing arms-makers. America must use its arms monopoly for the good of global security.
China's economic "boom" is more mirage than miracle, and rosy predictions are based on its neighbors' successes not Beijing's ability to sustain growth. The regime is more akin to Latin America's hyperinflationary Peronistas than East Asia's ascetic militarists. Beijing has flunked the fundamentals of sound fiscal and monetary policy and proven incapable of accommodating the impulses of a free market. Inflation, speculation and lax regulation are fueling a bubble economy.
Deng Xiaoping has embarked on a risky strategy that pushes economic decentralization at a time when international forces are pulling China's regions apart. Provinces feud with each other over trade and with Beijing over taxes. East Asian neighbors, leery of a unified great power, exacerbate internal tensions by drawing China's fringes into competing economic spheres. Beijing is increasingly helpless to assert its control, and real power on a range of issues has already devolved to the local level. As the last of the old guard acquiesces in the move from Mao to market economics, China may not only be changing face but also shape.
A democratic Russia is as natural an ally of the United States as a totalitarian Soviet Union was a foe. For both the United States and Russia constructive partnership is the best strategic choice. Despite its troubles, Russia remains a great power. In a range of economic and security organizations, the West must make room for greater Russian input. Russia cannot accept a partnership in which one side retains complete freedom while demanding that the other coordinate its every step. The West must consider Russia's special role and interests in its "near abroad," where Moscow will seek gradual and voluntary reintegration. The benefits of partnership are real but require frank dialogue and mutual trust.
A powerful orator with shrewd political instincts who skillfully manipulates media attention, Vladimir Zhirinovsky has emerged as a potent threat to Russia's political and economic reforms. Despite the electoral success of his Liberal Democratic Party, which now commands a strategic position in the Russian parliament, many dismiss Zhirinovsky as a bit player, projected less by his own talents than by the inadequacies of Russian reformers. But a careful reading of his memoirs and LDP literature indicates that he may have more substantive appeal than his critics allow. To dismiss this ultranationalist demagogue as a self-destructive clown is dangerous and ignores the real danger that he poses to Russian democracy.
The idea that every nation should have its own state has been the most powerful political force of the past two hundred years. Yet in an age of transnationalism and rising demands for sovereignty, many view secessionist movements as dangerous. U.S. policy harbors a prejudice against nationalism, without distinguishing between benign and malignant strains. Reflexive support for multinational political entities, especially despotic ones, is as misguided as automatically rejecting policies that would create new national homelands. The United States should no longer consider selective support of oppressed minorities as a policy of last resort.
Most of today's national and ethnic conflicts cannot be settled by a revision of boundaries. To prevent the cauldron of ethnic unrest from boiling over, a new framework is required where Wilsonian principles have failed. Self-determination must be supplemented by a new scheme that is less territorial in character and more regional in scope. A "states-plus-nations" approach would create special functional zones across state boundaries and national home regimes in historical lands. It would recognize the rights and status of stateless national communities and differentiate between nationality and state citizenship.
George Kennan’s "X" article, published in these pages more than 45 years ago, outlined for the United States a "doctrine of perpetual struggle" against communist ideology. The "containment" strategy optimistically assigned the American people the task of redeeming their Soviet rival. As long as the Kremlin remained wedded to its ideology, negotiation was futile. The struggle could only end with the collapse and conversion of the Soviet system. Critics assailed the policy as too global, reactive and moralistic for a nation possessed of no authority to undertake a crusade. Containment nonetheless guided American policy, and Kennan came closest, and earliest, in his prediction of the fate that would befall Soviet power.
Reviews & Responses
Henry Kissinger_s eleventh book, Diplomacy, is a magnificent survey of power politics over more than three centuries. He contends that the great statesmen, Richelieu, Metternich and (of course) Nixon, have tried to purchase international stability with judicious realism, while paying political debts to ideological constituents. But Diplomacy fails to transcend eloquent nostalgia; Kissinger_s brand of realism is ill-suited to today_s interdependent world.
ARCHIVE: A 1994 review of General Norman Schwarzkopf's memoir of the Gulf War and several others. The books revealed just how much the war's initial reportage missed and replaced facile accounts with tempered, nuanced looks at the war's strategy, incendiary personalities, and massive logistics challenges.