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Americans see the presence of U.S. troops in Japan as a gracious favor. Well, it's time for the Americans to go home.
Although Beijing is usually thought of as the villain, Taipei, provocatively moving toward independence, must be reined in.
Millions flee persecution and war within their borders. The international community should be ready to act when states fail to protect their own.
How does Binyamin Netanyahu do it? The continued popularity of Israel's Likud prime minister, despite his derailment of a popular peace process, is the great paradox of Israeli politics. The key is the rise of the soft right, an odd mix of ultra-Orthodox Jews and secular immigrants from the former Soviet Union whose newfound influence lets Netanyahu defy political gravity. He holds their support by pandering to their distaste for Arabs and Israel's secular left. But the soft right is not only right but also soft and thus less wedded to a hard line. If Netanyahu drags Israel into a bloody confrontation, they could desert him for a more dovish candidate.
Yasir Arafat and his loyalists have been the backbone of Palestinian support for the Oslo peace process, but Arafat will not live forever. Already, the corruption and repressive practices of his Palestinian Authority have sapped support for Oslo. His Islamist foes will not remain on the sidelines. Palestinian society's traditionalism makes the fundamentalists of Hamas the only credible alternative to Arafat's center, and they feed off frustration over Israeli intransigence. If the diplomatic deadlock, graft, and illiberalism continue after Arafat, Hamas could well take over.
The key player in Algeria's crisis is not the Islamist rebels of the FIS but the army, the real power in a terrorized land. Increasingly, Algeria is run by a military caste that is above civil law. The generals will not let an international inquest try to uncover the truth about the recent spree of village massacres -- perhaps by Islamists, perhaps by a regime out to discredit them. Algeria's democrats sully themselves by failing to denounce human rights violations suffered by the Islamists. The army must get out of politics and let Algeria's parties, including the FIS, agree on a national pact that enshrines elections and civil liberties.
The Kyoto pact on global warming is neither a battle won nor a costly burden -- more like a quick political fix for the vast problems of climate change. Above all, policymakers need to think more about the long term. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires including the developing countries who sat out Kyoto. Research into affordable energy sources that emit little carbon dioxide must intensify. And the world must develop international bodies to minimize the costs of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, including trading emission rights.
The preeminent symbol of the Chinese Communist Party's economic policies has been an unbreakable iron rice bowl, standing for cradle-to-grave social security. But with Beijing unable to keep its state enterprises -- behemoths that employ about 76 million workers -- afloat, China is teetering between economic reform and social unrest. At last count, 15 million workers were officially estimated to be redundant, and the real number may be higher. Beijing must cushion their fall to avoid a second Tiananmen Square uprising. The iron rice bowl is cracking and may soon shatter.
So far China has avoided Southeast Asia's financial crisis, but it shares many of the underlying weaknesses that brought on the panic. Although it lacks capital convertibility and the high foreign borrowing that imperiled other countries, its weak banking system has issued a mountain of bad loans. Shenzhen has enough empty office space, for instance, to satisfy the market for three years. New reforms are supposed to reduce political nepotism in lending and apply the ax to subpar bank presidents, but whether they will succeed remains to be seen.
Reviews & Responses
Martin Gilbert's canonical history of the Israeli epic lies outside the heated debate that is questioning the country's founding myths.
Two new books recognize that the United Nations cannot handle the burdens recently thrust upon it, but only one sees the need to set more realistic goals.