- New Issue
- Books & Reviews
- About Us
- Browse by Issue:
Though hailed as a break with the past, free-market reforms prescribed by foreign experts are a familiar feature in Latin American history--as is the crash that follows.
So long as international financiers can demand high interest rates, unemployment and inequality will rise, fiscal policy will remain shackled, and protectionist pressure will grow. Dethroning finance is essential for rekindling growth.
How NATO handles countries that do not make the cut is as important as which ones it admits in the first round of enlargement. Failure to bind the have-nots to Europe could trigger nationalist backlash and backsliding on reform.
Before Europe loses its nerve, Helmut Kohl and Jacques Chirac should disregard the Maastricht deficit targets and declare monetary union between their countries.
Many in the West believe the world is moving toward a single, global culture that is basically Western. This belief is arrogant, false, and dangerous. The spread of Western consumer goods is not the spread of Western culture. Drinking Coca-Cola makes a Russian no more Western than eating sushi makes an American Japanese. The essence of the West is the Magna Carta, not the Magna Mac. As countries modernize, they may westernize in superficial ways, but not in the most important measures of culture--language, religion, values. In fact, as countries modernize they seek refuge from the modern world in their traditional, parochial cultures and religions. Around the globe, education and democracy are leading to "indigenization." And as the power of the West ebbs, "the rest" will become more and more assertive. For the West to survive as a vibrant and powerful civilization, it must abandon the pretense of universality and close ranks. Its future depends on its unity. The peoples of the West must hang together, or they will hang separately.
Democracy makes good neighbors, and in an increasingly interconnected world the United States has both the means and the motive to promote the demo cratic process abroad. On the home front, Americans crave a foreign policy grounded, like their nation, in ideal politik as well as realpolitik. The administration has made support of nascent democracies a priority of its diplomacy from Latin America to East Asia, and the returns from South Africa, Haiti, Russia, even Bosnia seem positive. But democratization is a long, hard journey in which elections are only the first step. The United States should encourage new democratic governments through their most fragile phase.
Twice before, America had the opportunity to make the prevention of conflict its first line of defense. It must not lose this moment after the Cold War to foment a revolution in security strategy. Preventing proliferation is key, and U.S. programs help turn Soviet missile sites into sunflower fields. The American armed services, the world's most emulated, show other militaries how to function in a civil society and conduct exchanges that head off misunderstandings. In Europe, George Marshall's fondest hopes are being realized through the Partnership for Peace, which reverberates well beyond the security realm. Meanwhile, the United States leverages forces for maximum deterrence and invests in smart technology. But its best investment is in openness and trust, the essential tools of the art of peace.
Not skinheads in jackboots but journalists, novelists, professors, and young businessmen constitute the German new right. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, they have sought the "normalization" of German history, a revival of nationalism, and recognition that Germany is the most powerful country in Europe. When confronted with the Nazi past, they talk about Stalin's crimes and complain of an oppressive "political correctness." Violence against immigrants is answered with complaints of attacks against Germans. Though not a political movement, the new right is extending the boundaries of the politically acceptable.
Heady years for arms control make a superpower complacent. The structure of restraint accepted by Washington and Moscow could crack; meanwhile, proliferation continues apace and nuclear materials trickle onto the world market. The Clinton team has followed through on the work of past negotiators, but it is high time for a third start. The United States should propose the dramatic steps of placing nuclear warheads in "strategic escrow" and banning ballistic missiles. Advanced monitoring and inspection technologies make the plan practicable, and there will be security payoffs for all.
Though a leap to global free trade is a nice idea, the political support is just not there. Nor is any such earthshaking step necessary. The World Trade Organization has an extensive built-in agenda that should not be derailed. Fears of regionalism are greatly exaggerated, since regional trade has not increased much since the early 1970s and current plans for free trade in the Americas and the Pacific are unlikely to succeed. Few countries share the free-trade faith of the United States and Great Britain, and even in those places, economic anxiety threatens to push trade in the other direction.
Reviews & Responses
Daniel Goldhagen's book on the Holocaust--condemning the German "eliminationist" mindset toward Jews--has become an international bestseller and a datum in German-American relations. Pity, because it is a simplistic, monocausal, and unhistorical explanation of one of the most complex horrors in history. For Goldhagen, as for the Nazis, Hitler is Germany.
In his new book, Wole Soyinka fears Nigeria may be a farcical illusion. But unity is better than ethnic violence.