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The mass public has tuned out. Major networks' coverage sticks close to home and news moguls give rulers what they want. But choice is only a few clicks away.
High growth in postwar Japan depended on shared sacrifice. Today Japan's multinationals go wherever profits take them, while consumers demand more.
Many American policymakers and Sinologists believe that China will inevitably become non-ideological, pragmatic, materialistic, and progressively freer in its culture and politics. Beijing, however, sees the United States not as a strategic partner but as the chief obstacle to its regional and global ambitions. Under cover of its current conciliatory mood, China acquires the wherewithal to back its aspirations regarding Taiwan and beyond with real power. America's number one objective in Asia must be to derail China's quest to become a 21st-century hegemon.
There is no "China threat," not because China is a benign giant but because it is too weak to challenge the balance of power. China can damage U.S. interests, but it does not require containment. The most striking aspect of Chinese foreign policy is its effort to promote stability. Indeed, China is easier to deal with today than ever before. The United States needs a policy to contend with China's ability to destabilize Asia, not a policy to deal with a future hegemon. China is a revisionist power, but for the foreseeable future it will seek to maintain the status quo-and so should the United States.
As the leader of Britain's Labour Party and the leading contender to become the next prime minister, Tony Blair has stirred excitement in Europe with his promise to reinvent the left. But who is he, what would he do once in power, and where is "left" in a post-Thatcherite Britain and a post-communist Europe? Blair has made his own personal break with socialism, but lacks a replacement. His strategy has been to offer proposals, then retreat at the first sign of criticism. He can talk like a Tory, and sometimes borrows from their playbook. He may be the harbinger of the new left, but he must establish exactly what that means.
While Russia is wedged between its visions of grandeur and its reduced capabilities, the consolidation of Ukraine and Uzbekistan, the rise of China, and the assertion of the newly independent rimland states are transforming Eurasia. Russia must come to terms with its neighbors' ascendancy and its own economic and military decline. Acting otherwise could plunge Eurasia into turmoil and usher in a new era of tension between Russia and the United States.
Pacific powers would like Korea to reunify slowly, but the North is soon likely to implode, its economy deteriorating as its weapons of mass destruction accumulate. Rapid reunification would spur economic growth, as in Germany, and reduce regional tensions. South Korea's liberalization of its own economy and strengthening of its civic institutions will prepare it to assist the North. China and Russia may not go along, but Western governments should stop coddling Pyongyang. America should underwrite a united Korea's security, and Japan its finances.
The peso crisis was a wake-up call for Latin America. Reformist political leaders realize their support will erode if the economies of the region do not turn around. But building robust economies requires deeper reforms, at a time when the people suffer from acute reform fatigue. For rapid growth with rising real wages, export growth must be higher and value added to exports increase. To foster these, Latin America must address long-neglected weaknesses with a next generation of reforms in education, infrastructure, banking, and the civil service.
Wall Street financial managers may eye China's economy with pleasure and awe, but the engine of its growth is exploited labor. Since Deng Xiaoping declared getting rich glorious two decades ago, China's embrace of capitalism has made sweatshop socialism a reality for millions of Chinese workers. Although some economists claim the workers' day will come with continued growth, double-digit rises in GDP have not translated into a better life. Exhausting hours, scant pay, draconian work rules, psychological harassment, and physical punishment are the seamy underside of China's economic miracle.
Like Bosnia, Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-majority enclave deep in Azerbaijan, has seen civil war, ethnic cleansing, and a million people made refugees. Living without a peace agreement, this statelet no one recognizes is mired in communal grievances and nationalism, as is the entire region. One almost longs for a return of the Soviet Union and its rhetoric of friendship between peoples. Karabakhis are discovering that nationalism cannot power an economy and that ethnic identity is a poor foundation for a state.
Reviews & Responses
Universities were complicit, the leftist academics reminiscing in The Cold War and the University all agree. But whose side are the writers on in the new culture wars?