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U.S. isolationism has risen yet again from the grave. The new Republican Congress threatens Wilson's and F.D.R.'s magnificent dream of collective security.
The dollar is declining in value but not in its role as the world's reserve currency. In 2020 the greenback will still be king of the hill. There is simply no alternative.
The United States is addicted to dollar devaluation. As a result, America has a false, euphoric sense of progress in its competition with Japan for key markets.
Unless the Clinton administration halts the slide of the dollar, the United States will forfeit the financial leadership it has enjoyed since World War II.
After the Cold War, everyone believed the world was going capitalist in a hurry. Developing countries followed America's advice to them--"free your markets and strengthen your money." In fact, the gains from both free trade and sound money were overstated. But the force of conventional wisdom ostracized cautious voices. The result was a speculative binge in emerging markets. With the Mexican crisis, the bubble has burst. Politicians in developing countries could continue their reforms only so long as investment poured in. Sooner or later, a reality check was inevitable. Disappointing growth and statist retrenchment may lie ahead.
When thinking about Latin America, despair can be as disorienting as optimism. In the early 1990s, economic euphoria reigned in Latin America. Then came Mexico. The current gloom--the Tequila effect--will also pass. The recent wave of reforms dealt swiftly with such problems as inflation, low exports, currency instability, capital flight, and the boosting of regional trade. But to ensure prosperity after the peso debacle, Latin America must address its underlying woes: poverty, low productivity, and chronically ineffectual civic institutions.
Brazil's immense natural wealth and potential have been squandered amid perpetual cycles of reform and authoritarian relapse. This sad fact has prompted the wry observation that Brazil "is the country of tomorrow--and always will be." In an interview with Foreign Affairs, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the new president, makes the case for his ambitious plan to stimulate the private sector, privatize and trim much of the federal government, and attack the deep economic inequalities and social ills that hold his country back. Cardoso discusses the ways he has tried to navigate Brazil's political shoals--a socialist left, a rightist military, the destabilized financial markets of Latin America--while raising the profile and increasing the role of Brazil internationally.
Like Jews, Armenians, and White Russians, Cuban-Americans see themselves as exiled members of a diaspora, not simply immigrants. From Kennedy's Bay of Pigs plan through Clinton's continuation of the trade embargo, U.S. administrations have encouraged the hope of return to a democratic homeland. Every hour of the last 36 years has meant added suffering for the Cubans across the Florida Straits. But Clinton's reversal of the policy of political asylum for all Cuban migrants signals that the Cold War is over, even with Cuba. Cuban-Americans have become just another immigrant group. For Miami, the exile is over.
Security is like oxygen: you tend not to notice it until you lose it. A continued U.S. presence in East Asia provides the oxygen that is so crucial for the region's stability and economic prosperity. Critics who call the Clinton administration's strategy myopic misunderstand the firm U.S. alliance with Japan and the importance of East Asia to U.S. national interests. The United States must maintain its troops, develop regional institutions, bolster its allies, and remain deeply engaged in Asia.
The Defense Department's new report on East Asia reads as if the Cold War is ongoing. For Japan, the report signals U.S. acceptance of its ruinous trade deficits. For other Asian nations, it signals the hollowness of American superpower pretensions. The report masks the failure of the Clinton administration's trade policy. By insisting Japan remain a U.S. protectorate, Washington encourages Tokyo's reactionaries. The real threat to Asian security is not China but U.S. distrust of Japan as a true ally. Cold War military power is irrelevant to the economic challenges posed by East Asia's dynamism. Someone should tell the Pentagon.
Reviews & Responses
How did Marshal Tito keep Yugoslavia in one piece? He didn't, really. A new biography portrays the Yugoslavian dictator as a mild, reluctant autocrat who unified his people. The truth is that Tito pursued many policies that exacerbated ethnic tensions. His "genius" rested in his willingness to use raw military and police power, not in his penchant for conciliatory politics.
Describing American neoconservatism as a branch of Cold War liberalism, John Ehrman's new study overlooks the Trotskyist roots and missionary mentality that prolonged and escalated the Cold War.