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Pakistan needs across-the-board reforms, but the record of military regimes in this hapless country offers scant hope that General Pervez Musharraf will get the job done.
Europe's main institutions are morphing together, but the continent's post-Cold War architecture is taking an unexpected form.
U.S. immigration policy is strict enough as it is. Those who want it even stricter should realize that less immigration means fewer workers and higher inflation.
Russia's popular new president is better positioned than his predecessor was to enact needed reforms. But all of Vladimir Putin's efforts will come to nought unless he can do what Boris Yeltsin never did: rein in Russia's plutocrats. These ruthless oligarchs have fleeced Russia of staggering sums, seizing control of its oil industry -- one of the world's largest -- in the process. Through payoffs and intimidation, they have insinuated themselves into electoral politics and virtually immunized themselves from prosecution. None of Russia's problems -- neither its crippled economy, nor its emaciated infrastructure, nor its wheezing democracy -- will be solved while the robber barons retain their power. America cannot afford to sit on the sidelines any longer.
The Russian Federation is unraveling, and its war against Chechnya shows why. Moscow blames Islamist terrorists for the trouble there. But in doing so, it ignores Russia's deeper afflictions. Russia has forced disparate ethnic groups to live together for decades but has proven inept at governing its wobbly empire. Now the fighting in Chechnya is leading dissatisfied nationalities to rethink their options -- and their dependence on Russia. Chechnya was the first to rebel. It will not be the last.
Only one of Russia's 89 provinces has bolted -- so far. But the West must face a disturbing new dynamic: the Kremlin's weakening grasp on the entire Russian Federation. More and more, Russia's restless regions are asserting themselves in domestic and international affairs, whether Moscow lets them or not. The center will probably hold. But America and its allies must learn to contend with a larger cast of actors who are both unfamiliar and unruly.
Bill Clinton's foreign policy record leaves room for improvement, but he did quite well under the post-Cold War circumstances. Even faced with a partisan, isolationist Republican Congress and a disinterested American public, Clinton managed to engage Russia and China, fight nuclear proliferation, liberalize world trade, and save lives in Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. His successor will inherit the same constraints and follow much the same course -- no matter who wins in November.
The next Democratic president should build on Bill Clinton's legacy of embracing globalization and easing its downsides. This means developing a new system of global economic relations based on American leadership, open markets, engagement with China and other emerging markets, and stronger multilateral regimes to handle transnational challenges such as the environment, labor rights, and the information economy. A new world will need a global New Deal.
Mahathir Mohamad and others love to blame buccaneering hedge funds for sparking Asia's recent financial crisis, but they have the wrong suspects. The "hot money" that rushed in and out of emerging markets came from irresponsible banks, not hedge funds. In fact, hedge funds are minor players in international finance. Rather than worsening financial turbulence, they might even help curb it.
To date, the successful launch of Europe's single currency has proven the euroskeptics wrong. But over time, the euro will be gravely threatened if the countries in the eurozone do not put their fiscal houses in order. Generational accounting, a careful analysis of long-term trends, paints a bleak picture: unsustainable spending will bury future generations under mountains of debt. Most governments using the euro must either endure deep budget cuts, swallow sharp tax hikes, or be forced out of the eurozone.
Italy's entry into Europe's single currency was a triumph of fiscal displine over a long history of profligate spending. But Italy's embrace of European institutions is driven by more than just economics. "Europe" has helped Italy cement its national identity, clean up its politics, and modernize its laws. Although the European Union will never replace Italians' regional or national allegiances, it will always find its staunchest supporters in Rome rather than in Paris, Brussels, or Berlin.
Reviews & Responses
Frances FitzGerald's new book demolishes the myth that Ronald Reagan's beloved Star Wars program was the straw that broke the Soviet camel's back.
William Shawcross shows how U.N. peacekeeping has failed but does not draw the obvious conclusion: the world's hot spots need U.S. intervention, and plenty of it.
Letter to the EditorWilliam F. Schulz
Letter to the EditorRichard L. Garwin
Letter to the EditorKosta Tsipis
Letter to the EditorKenneth Weisbrode
Letter to the EditorPeter Van Ness
Letter to the EditorRolf Ekeus
Letter to the EditorEdward N. Luttwak
Letter to the EditorHenry N. Goldstein
Letter to the EditorPaul J. Heer
ResponseLawrence Korb et al.