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With the collapse of oil prices in 1986, the holiday ended for America's Mideast allies, who must now face up to political accountability and economic responsibility.
Though initially hailed for his "bulldozer" Balkan leadership, Chirac's nuclear testing and fiscal austerity have alienated the public and cut his honeymoon short.
Learning from America's mistakes, Japan is using tight control of technological know-how to keep its Southeast Asian partners from revving up their economies.
President Clinton and the Republican Congress do not agree on much, but both want to give the Pentagon more than it dared hope for in the post--Cold War era: some $260 billion a year. The Joint Chiefs say the United States should be ready to fight two wars at once, but would this really take as many troops as they claim, and is it even reasonable to plan for it? Look around at what allies and enemies are spending. Election time, however, is almost here, and politics in the defense debate has seldom run higher. What makes no strategic sense is good on the hustings.
China's reform policies have created economic opportunities, but they have also unleashed political tensions. Some U.S. strategists advocate a containment strategy, yet such a strategy is both undesirable and infeasible. America's fortunes in Asia depend on the evolution of a China that is secure, cohesive, reform-oriented, and open to the world. Failed reform could easily lead to a nationalistic, obstructionist China. In recent years, Washington, while trying to engage the People's Republic, has driven it into a corner over human rights. America must develop a long-term strategy to integrate China into the world community and avert serious damage to this crucial bilateral relationship. And it must begin to do so now.
Japan, Europe, and others worry that the United States is backing away from its historical commitment to international rules and reverting to arm-twisting and private deals on trade. So long as governments intervene unfairly, Washington cannot demobilize. But as the world's most open market and a burgeoning exporter, America has the most to gain from multilateral decisions to lower trade barriers and increase exchange. During the past half-century it has shown the way, and it will continue to lead in shaping a multilateralism for the millennium.
Both in public and underground, Iranians are debating the legitimacy of the Islamic state that Khomeini built. Students challenge the notion that Islam has all the answers but evince pride in an Iran free of the shah and under no foreign master. The religious and secular elites are increasingly willing to contemplate pluralism and openness to the world, though most makers of the revolution remain obdurate and appeal to anti-Americanism to stir up the masses. Washington needs to listen to the new voices of Iran.
Iran is the one sore spot in an otherwise highly cooperative German-American relationship. The United States has sought to punish the Islamic state for sponsoring terrorism. Germany has tried to maintain a "critical dialogue" of limited diplomacy and commerce, much as its Ostpolitik tried to engage Soviet bloc nations during the Cold War. U.S. officials decry Germany's shady dealings and billions of dollars in loans and credits to Iran. When challenged, German officials charge the United States with hypocrisy. Lurking behind the dispute is an uncomfortable fact: in a world without the Cold War, "rogue states" are not threatening enough to force accord among Western nations.
Jimmy Carter's high-profile parachutes for peace earn scorn from some and admiration from others. From Haiti to North Korea, the ubiquitous former president helps resolve disputes with his unshakable confidence in the power of moral suasion. But Carter's penchant for bucking U.S. foreign policy has strained his relations with the Washington establishment, and the Clinton administration has not always treated him with the respect he deserves. Lost in the controversy are the humanitarian achievements on which his reputation will ultimately rest.
Reviews & Responses
One does not rise through the bureaucracy as spectacularly as Colin Powell has without shrewd insight into of the game of government. But to understand Powell's views on issues ranging from the use of force to civilian control of the military, one has to return to his foot-soldier origins.
When he is not mischaracterizing radical environmentalists as eco-Stalinists, Luc Ferry concedes that nature has a value beyond its use to human beings. Yet he hopes the environment can be saved without abandoning industrial civilization.