March/April 1999

March/April 1999
78, 2

Comments

Comment
Sheri Berman and Kathleen R. McNamara

Given the ECB's fundamentally anti-democratic ideology, the Bank's role during a true crisis was destined to become a source of controversy.

Comment
Charles Clover

An old political theory, "Eurasianism" is fast gaining converts in Russia's corridors of power. Its vision of a new Russian-Asian alliance could start World War III.

Comment
Elizabeth Economy

China gambled that economic growth would outpace environmental harm. It lost. Fixing the resultant damage may break the stalemate in U.S.-Chinese relations.

Essays

Essay
C. Fred Bergsten

The euro's launch will transform the transatlantic relationship for good by placing Europe on an equal economic footing with the United States. If Washington does not face up to this and tackle outstanding trade and monetary-policy issues with its European partners soon, its current concerns-such as ballooning trade deficits and rising protectionist pressures at home-could spiral out of control. A good starting point for cooperation would be a joint initiative to limit fluctuations in the dollar and the euro. Trade negotiations between Europe and the United States also need a shot in the arm to get commerce flowing freely. An effective U.S. partnership with Europe is essential to avoid a showdown and maintain global leadership.

Essay
Samuel P. Huntington

The unipolar moment has passed. Even old allies stubbornly resist American demands, while many other nations view U.S. policy and ideals as openly hostile to their own. Washington is blind to the fact that it no longer enjoys the dominance it had at the end of the Cold War. It must relearn the game of international politics as a major power, not a superpower, and make compromises. U.S. policymaking should reflect rational calculations of power rather than a wish list of arrogant, unilateralist demands.

Essay
Garry Wills

Since World War II, America has styled itself the "leader of the free world." But to get its way, the United States has ignored the American public and used covert action, sabotage, and threats against hapless foreign countries. This is not true leadership. To lead in the 21st century, the United States will have to learn to acknowledge the world outside its borders and listen to others' opinions, act in partnership with other nations, and get used to persuading allies rather than browbeating them. Given its penchant for secrecy and long history of avoiding "entangling alliances," America does not seem up to the challenge.

Essay
Milton Viorst

A Western journalist travels to Libya for an exclusive interview with Colonel Mu'ammar Qaddafi and finds a country struggling to modernize. Tired of suffering under the U.N. embargo, Libya may be ready to hand the suspected Lockerbie bombers over for trial. After being pariahs for over a decade, most Libyans seem eager to reenter the international community. But power in their country is divided between bureaucrats who favor the West and the old, fiercely anticolonial revolutionaries who still cherish Qaddafi's defiance. The bureaucrats are ready to put Libya's rotten image behind them, but the colonel is leery.

Essay
Jeffrey E. Garten

The global financial crisis has eroded developing nations' faith in modern capitalism itself, and the meltdown of Brazil's currency was grim evidence that the chaos is far from over. But few lessons have been absorbed. That had better change. Key Wall Street and Washington players do agree that crisis management was muffed, the nature of contagion misunderstood, and the importance of local politics underestimated. But they argue over the pace of fiscal liberalization, the efficacy of the IMF rescues, and the importance of "moral hazard." Herewith, a politically realistic plan to bridge the gaps and gird for the next, inevitable disaster.

Essay
Martin Feldstein

The global financial crisis of 1997-98 was neither the first of its kind nor the last. But this time, even the virtuous were not immune. The stricken countries desperately need a plan for protection in the future. The IMF is too strapped and its program too flawed to serve as an effective international lender of last resort. Instead, emerging markets must learn to inoculate themselves against future currency attacks by increasing liquidity, such as foreign currency reserves, so they can fight back the powerful forces of market speculation on their own. While self-help is expensive, it is far less painful than the turmoil of currency crises. Emerging markets must take their fate into their own hands.

Essay
Strobe Talbott

India's and Pakistan's nuclear tests last May were a double setback: for security on the subcontinent and worldwide nonproliferation efforts. U.S. attempts to forge warmer relations with both countries were also casualties of the blasts. The tests could spark a chain of withdrawals from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, undermining the international consensus against the spread of nuclear arms. Cold War brinkmanship is no model for diplomacy. For their sake as well as the world's, India and Pakistan need to stabilize their nuclear rivalry at the lowest possible level, ban further tests, and embrace frequent, high-level bilateral talks to ease tensions.

Reviews & Responses

Review Essay
Jeffrey A. Frankel

In his new book, George Soros the philanthropist argues that markets are too volatile and need regulation. But the speculator is short on specifics.

Review Essay
Gideon Rose

A raft of new books confronts a very real threat--the terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction--and propose vital, though moderate, responses.

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