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A new, hybrid form of peacekeeping is on the rise: regional interventions backed by the U.N. This solution may not be pretty, but unlike U.N. missions, it works.
America's participation in international institutions faces a new and ominous threat: a vocal group of intellectuals seeking to guard U.S. sovereignty at all costs.
Despite isolationist sentiments at home and resentment from abroad, President Clinton has preserved America's authority as the world's leader. U.S. foreign policy now follows not a single doctrine but a set of strategic objectives drawn from a clear understanding of globalization. Over the last eight years, Clinton has revitalized U.S. alliances, integrated former adversaries into international organizations, negotiated peace (even in areas of marginal security interest), fought nuclear proliferation and deadly diseases, and advanced economic integration while alleviating economic disparities. More tasks remain -- from supporting new democracies to fighting international terrorism to reinventing the U.N. All this cannot be done, however, if the United States continues to underfund its foreign policy and shirk its obligations to international organizations. America should not apologize for being a "hyperpower"; it must preserve its authority as one.
Despite a vast budget that dwarfs the military spending power of both friends and foes, the U.S. military today remains stuck in the past. American strategy still relies on a Cold War-era view of the world, and U.S. technology is ill-suited to current missions. Meanwhile, demoralization is creeping through the ranks. The next president must seize the opportunity to remake the military by forcing it to focus on the missions of the future rather than those of the past. The alternative -- more of the same -- is too dangerous to consider.
The global economy opens national borders to goods and people, legal and illegal. Narcotics, disease, illegal immigrants, and terrorists and their weapons: all enjoy easier passage than ever before. Fortifying the frontiers is no solution -- it would slow down trade and globalization. International companies and government regulators need to invest in new technologies to help border control keep pace with booming commerce. Then they must learn to cooperate with one another.
Despite recently signing the long-awaited trade deal with the United States, Vietnam's communist leadership is split by uncertainty about the country's economic and political future. Without an economic overhaul soon, Vietnam risks being relegated to the global dustbin. Officials, however, remain wary of too much international engagement and know that capitalism would destroy the one-party state. Change in Vietnam is inevitable. But it will occur through an evolution, not a revolution.
The process of nominating and confirming executive appointments is slow, burdensome, and intrusive. This failed system impedes good governance, frustrates nominees, and hampers recruitment. The next president must rationalize and streamline the appointment process -- starting now.
Last year the European Union announced it would finally accept Turkey as a candidate for membership. Now Ankara faces a moment of truth. To conform to European standards of human rights and democracy, Turkey must all but rewrite its constitution. But one force stands in the way: the military. And the fiercely secular, vastly powerful guardians of Atatürk's legacy are not about to give ground. Tension is mounting as Turkey slides toward the inevitable conflict between European-minded reformers and military conservatives.
Pakistani militant groups are killing civilians and engaging in terrorism in Indian-held Kashmir under the guise of holy war. The government in Islamabad supports these militants and their religious schools as cheap ways to fight India and educate Pakistan's youth. But this policy is creating a culture of violence that exacerbates internal sectarianism and destabilizes the region. Without change, this monster threatens to devour Pakistani society.
After thousands of years of agriculture and logging, the world is losing its trees at a rate faster than it can afford. Fortunately, a Great Restoration of the forests is already under way. More-efficient farmers and foresters are helping matters, as are the growth of recycling and other advances. But more work remains to be done. The world needs a comprehensive solution to expand the effort around the globe. Herewith, the plan.
Reviews & Responses
Three books ask what went wrong in Russia but find the wrong scapegoats: the oligarchs and neoliberal reformers. In fact, Russia's woes have much deeper roots.
Letter to the EditorJean-François Boittin
Letter to the EditorNorman Birnbaum
Letter to the EditorCasimir A. Yost
Letter to the EditorHerb London
Letter to the EditorRuth Wedgwood
Letter to the EditorPhilip Zelikow