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In its recent decision to ban satellite sales to China, Congress has failed to recognize that dual-use exports are now vital to America's technological edge.
After the epic reign of Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schroeder may be the right man to lead Germany away from history's summits and onto its more prosaic plains.
Corruption does no one any favors. After long pretending that graft was a necessary evil -- or just plain necessary -- governments rich and poor are trying to stamp it out.
To some degree, biology is destiny. The feminist school of international relations has a point: a truly matriarchal world would be less prone to conflict and more cooperative than the one we now inhabit. And world politics has been gradually feminizing over the past century. But the broader scene will still be populated by states led by men like Mobutu, Milosevic, or Saddam. If tomorrow's troublemakers are armed with nuclear weapons, we might be better off being led by women like Margaret Thatcher than, say, Gro Harlem Brundtland. Masculine policies will still be essential even in a feminized world.
Since independence, India's nuclear policy has been to seek either global disarm ament or equal security for all. The old nonproliferation regime was discriminatory, ratifying the possession of nuclear weapons for the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council while preaching to the nuclear have-nots about the virtues of disarmament. India was left sandwiched between two nuclear weapons powers, Pakistan and a rising China. The end of the Cold War has not ushered in an era where globalization and trade trump old-fashioned security woes. If nuclear deterrence works in the West, why won't it work in India?
The assumption behind the International Monetary Fund's recent bailout of Russia is that the country is gradually reforming its economy according to market principles. But Russia's economy is much smaller than official figures suggest. Workers, the government, and industry all accept the myth that the manufacturing sector produces value, when in fact what it makes is worth less than the labor and resources it consumes. The result is a mountain of wage and pension arrears and government debt that will continue to provoke crises. The day of reckoning will be much worse if the West does not pull the plug soon.
During Asia's economic crisis, U.S. policy toward Japan is based on disdain for its overweening bureaucrats. But Japan is hardly unique. Bureaucracies dominate most countries; it is the United States that is the exception. Such elites can hold power for decades, despite repeated blunders, because even developed countries fear social disintegration without their leadership. In Japan, where society's stability takes precedence over the economy, the bureaucrats' caution, bred by past traumas, is not as foolish as many Westerners think. Defending the bureaucrats is wiser than trashing them.
Throughout this century, modernists have been proclaiming that technology would transform world politics. These days futurists argue that the information revolution is leading to a new electronic feudalism, with overlapping communities laying claim to citizens' loyalties. But the state is very resilient. Geographically based states will continue to structure politics in an information age, but they will rely less on traditional resources and more on their ability to remain credible to a public with increasingly diverse sources of information.
Somehow the Americans went from claiming they did not have a dog in the Bosnia fight to redrawing the map of the Balkans over Scotch with the ruthless Slobodan Milosevi,c. But the Dayton Accord that ended Bosnia's war has been oversold. It is the product not of Wilsonian idealism but of a reluctant realpolitik. Had Washington intervened in 1993, as Bill Clinton promised to, 100,000 lives could have been saved. Dayton has strengthened the two nastiest dictators in the region, Serbia's Milosevi,c and Croatia's Franjo Tudjman, and edged toward accepting the de facto partition of Bosnia. The violence in Kosovo today is a reminder of the costs of appeasing aggressors.
For the first time in a generation, there is real hope for peace in Northern Ireland. A fortunate political constellation in Britain, the United States, and Ireland provided the impetus to make the compromises needed for a viable pact. But the Good Friday Agreement is fragile. It survived its first major challenge, this summer's marching season and its attendant strife, only by a grim kind of Irish luck: a brutal bombing that killed three boys and inspired both unionists and republicans to renew their commitment to the accord. The province's new government will face more such challenges, and its ability to overcome them depends on a few good men.
Reviews & Responses
Noel Malcolm's history of Serbia's flashpoint province is marred by his sympathies for its ethnic Albanian separatists, anti-Serbian bias, and illusions about the Balkans.
Although Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel is original and convincing, his "therapeutic" approach to history confuses scholarship with social work.
James Chace's wise biography of Dean Acheson shows how Truman's inimitable secretary of state helped create the postwar order.