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America should not abdicate its military duties abroad. But careful cuts in the number of U.S. troops overseas could alleviate some current problems -- such as poor troop morale and low readiness -- without sacrificing U.S. interests or strategic goals.
The crony capitalism of Asian firms was once a rational adaptation to their business environment, but it is now outdated. Rather than preaching or bullying, the West should have faith that the need for foreign capital will spur the necessary changes.
America now faces the prospect of economic conflicts with both Europe and East Asia. The United States and the European Union have already fired the first shots of retaliatory sanctions over their ever-growing trade disputes. On the other side of the world, meanwhile, Asian countries are creating a bloc of their own that could include preferential trade arrangements and an Asian Monetary Fund. These developments could produce a tripolar world and hamper global economic integration. To avert this outcome, the United States must quell its domestic backlash against globalization and reassert its economic leadership in the world. The new Bush administration should make multilateral trade liberalization a top priority -- or it will face unpleasant economic and political consequences as the U.S. and foreign economies slow.
After all the recent bloodshed in the Middle East, many have pronounced the Oslo peace process dead. But Oslo's core principle -- that peace requires an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza -- remains as sound as ever. Friendly cooperation between the two sides appears a long way off; even final-status talks may be premature. But in the interim, there is one step Israel can and must take: withdrawal from the territories, whether the Palestinians are ready or not.
Hemispheric relations seem at an all-time high, as democracy and prosperity blossom throughout Latin America. But President Bush still faces potential problems south of the border, from mission creep in Colombia to chaos in Peru, from Chávez in Venezuela to Castro in Cuba. And then there is Mexico, where the first-ever democratically elected president is eager to engage Washington -- on his own terms. Only one thing is certain: Latin America must not be ignored.
After the historic summit between Pyongyang and Seoul last June, the Koreas could be on their way to eventual reunification. To ensure such progress, Washington should consider making military and economic concessions -- including the possible withdrawal of U.S. forces -- to formally end the Korean War.
A key reason national economies rise and fall these days is their ability to nurture "disruptive technologies" -- innovations that lead to new classes of products that are cheaper, better, and more convenient than their predecessors. America's ability to exploit disruption has led to its recent boom, while Japan's failure to do so has led to stagnation. Other countries should heed the lesson.
The information revolution has created unexpected wealth around the globe, and technology and policy can work together to help all countries reap the benefits. From microloans to village mobile phones to innovative partnerships among governments, corporations, and citizens' groups, the answers are already out there. Now it is time to act on them.
To date, the Internet economy -- with its emphasis on knowledge and innovation -- has widened the global income gap. Rich nations must help level the playing field in areas from trade to banking to intellectual-property laws. Poor nations, meanwhile, must help themselves by taking steps to promote foreign investment, tackle corruption, and improve education.
The Chinese Communist Party is simultaneously fostering the growth of the Internet and weaving a web of regulations to limit network content and use. But regulations cannot entirely block Internet communication, and the state's previously solid control over information is shifting to the citizens. If a future economic or political crisis spurs a challenge to party rule, this shift in information control may decide the outcome.
The information economy creates both opportunities and challenges for global trade. The United States must lead its trading partners and multilateral organizations to extend the free-trade, open-market principles that govern physical goods to cover the intangible products now zipping through wire and air. Trade policy can lay the path for future growth in the new economy -- or block it.
Reviews & Responses
Are The Tiananmen Papers authentic? What do they tell us? The truth could overturn an official history that has stymied political reform in China for a decade.
Jagdish N. Bhagwati's The Wind of the Hundred Days makes for an enlightening sermon on the virtues of free trade. But as a critique of the Clinton administration, it is way off the mark.
Letter to the EditorStephen F. Cohen
Letter to the EditorCurtis A. Bradley And Jack L. Goldsmith
Letter to the EditorJ. Brady Anderson
Letter to the EditorNat J. Colletta
Letter to the EditorMargaret A. Catillaz
Letter to the EditorTheodore Ruthizer
Letter to the EditorWolfgang K. H. Panofsky
Letter to the EditorEdward C. Luck
Letter to the EditorDorothy Dillon
Letter to the EditorGary Shiffman
Letter to the EditorAndrew Apostolou