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Unleashing Hezbollah, stalling talks, and having the state-run media spew anti-Israel vitriol hardly seem pacific, but Syria's dictator has a consistent if chilly peace strategy.
In Kosovo, America stumbled into the age of computer warfare. Now Washington must think hard about how to attack its foes' electronic networks and defend its own.
Germany's huge financial scandal shook more than just Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrats. The country's party cartel system may be crumbling -- and fast.
Austria's elevation of the bigoted Jörg Haider has the rest of Europe fuming. But before rushing to judgment, the continent should review its own record of past wrongs.
New technologies often provoke strong resistance -- even when, as with genetically modified crops, their benefits vastly outweigh their potential harms. The fact is that transgenic food has no proven downside. Nevertheless, scare-mongering consumer groups in Europe have led a global backlash against this new technology. The battle has thus far pitted rich American farmers against rich European consumers. But the real losers are the poor farmers and underfed citizens of the tropics, who desperately need all the help that gene science can deliver.
Amid all the fuss over genetically modified food, environmentalists and consumer activists have overlooked a vital challenge for the developing world: food security. As the South's population grows, it will need more food, a more varied and nutritious diet, and better access to the North's markets. Rich countries must do their part by slashing trade barriers to developing countries' goods -- especially in agriculture -- and spreading the biotechnology revolution to the poorest farmers who need it most. But the debacle in Seattle showed how difficult this quest will be.
The brutality in Kosovo, East Timor, and Rwanda has fed the conventional wisdom that tribal and nationalist fighting is raging out of control. It is not. Since the early 1990s, the number of new ethnic wars has dropped sharply and many old ones have been settled. The world has found a new way to manage secessionism and nationalist passions: granting autonomy, devolving and sharing state power, and recognizing group rights. Ethnic warfare's heyday may belong to the last century.
Kosovo is again erupting with ethnic killings. Just who is to blame for the ongoing violence: hard-line extremists or the embittered populace? Western leaders have avoided this central question because they are unhappy with the answer and its implications for their peacekeeping mission. It is time to face reality: Serb and Albanian grievances run deep, NATO troops are stuck in Kosovo for the long haul, and the West must take a stronger hand in governing this battered province.
A key reason for today's skyrocketing oil prices is the behavior of one of America's closest allies: Saudi Arabia. The world's largest oil exporter was the driving force behind the deal that turned off the spigots. Riyadh is risking a crisis with Washington because the once-flush kingdom has gone broke sustaining a vast welfare state for an exploding population. America must push the Saudis toward privatization and fiscal reform. The House of Saud must get its house in order.
Did East Timor's departure start the dominoes tumbling? Will this vast, multiethnic archipelago fall apart? Not likely. A hard look at Indonesia's main candidates for secession reveals that they have little in common with East Timor and even less with each other. The provinces remain Jakarta's to lose. If the capital plays its cards right, curbs the army's abuses, and accommodates legitimate local goals, the center will indeed hold.
Under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil has finally embraced modern capitalism and broken decisively with a sclerotic old economic model. The country's ambitious reforms are encouraging private investment and loosening state control. Even the 1999 currency crisis eventually ended smoothly. But the world should hold its applause until Cardoso can prove that his reforms will last. If not, his efforts will merely join Brazil's dreary list of false starts and missteps.
Nixon was not the only one who went to China; Ronald McDonald is there now, too. McDonald's triumphed -- in a cultural zone where many adults think fried beef patties taste bizarre -- by catering to China's pampered only children, the so-called little emperors and empresses. The "Golden Arches" have become part of the landscape of Beijing and Hong Kong. But is McDonald's trampling local culture in the name of a bland, homogeneous world order? Not really. Global capitalism pushes one way, and local consumers push right back. Herewith, a parable of globalization.
Reviews & Responses
Robert Gilpin fears that globalization is at risk because the Cold War-era foundations of today's liberal capitalist order are eroding. In fact, they are stronger than ever.
Two new books on Kosovo and a massive history of the Balkans try to make sense of a troubled region -- with wildly mixed results.
Letter to the EditorJagdish Bhagwati
Letter to the EditorThomas R. Donahue
Letter to the EditorThomas O'Brien
Letter to the EditorCharles Duelfer
Letter to the EditorJanet Benshoof
Letter to the EditorPrinceton N. Lyman
Letter to the EditorFrances Fitzgerald
Letter to the EditorMikhail B. Khodorkovsky