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Before taking office, the new secretary of defense chaired a panel that warned that the United States would soon face a sneak attack in space. Rumsfeld was right to note that the country is more dependent on its satellites than ever before. But building antisatellite weapons will only trigger an arms race, increasing the danger for all sides.
The world of European finance is changing dramatically: capital markets are displacing banks as both savings vehicles and sources of corporate finance. This shift, along with the growing integration of Europe's financial markets, could create promising new opportunities for investors around the globe.
In many areas, transatlantic cooperation is stronger than ever before. Yet the common perception is of an increasingly fraught relationship, as evidenced by the well-known disputes over beef, bananas, and burden sharing. Assumptions are diverging over security risks and cultural values. Each side criticizes the other's unwieldy policymaking process without admitting its own shortcomings, while leaders pander to domestic interests and prejudices without educating voters on international issues. Europe nonetheless remains indispensable to a multilateral U.S. foreign policy. The Bush administration must acknowledge the European Union as a true partner, in political and military matters as well as in economics. America cannot expect its allies to share the burdens of global leadership without allowing them their say in the issues at stake.
European elites lambaste the United States for bad behavior at home and hegemonic hubris abroad. These Europeans see an ominous transatlantic "values gap" emerging over the death penalty, guns, "Frankenfoods," and unchecked capitalism. And Washington's unilateralist obstinance on issues such as missile defense, land mines, and global warming only makes matters worse. But a closer look shows that Europe and the United States are in fact converging culturally, economically, and even strategically. This phony crisis in relations only makes it more difficult to tap the full potential of the transatlantic partnership.
As last year's global shortage of petroleum and natural gas showed, the world can no longer keep up with the demands of continued population growth and economic expansion. Indeed, the competition for natural resources is intensifying. And with four-fifths of the world's oil reserves lying in politically unstable areas, with diamond and timber wars already raging in Central Africa, and with many regions suffering persistent drought, resource competition could easily turn into open conflict. Governments now see the acquisition and protection of natural resources as a national security requirement -- and one they are prepared to fight for.
The recent trial of two Libyans for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, raises a vexing problem for U.S. policymakers: What should Washington do when American containment policy starts to pay off and a "rogue" state starts to reform? After years of international isolation, Colonel Mu'ammar Qaddafi is ending his belligerence and starting to meet many of the demands placed on him by Washington and its allies. Now President Bush must figure out how to keep the pressure on while recognizing Libya's progress and helping reintegrate it into the world community.
In the last several months, Ukraine has descended into chaos. A series of scandals linking President Leonid Kuchma to vote fraud, corruption, the disappearance of journalists, and the harassment of opposition politicians has rocked this struggling country. Meanwhile, Western criticism has only pushed Kuchma toward Moscow's more welcoming embrace. A careful response from Washington and Brussels can still stop Kiev's descent into tyranny -- but there's no time to lose.
The United States is obsessed with its ever-growing trade deficit. Yet trade is no longer a valid measure of global competitiveness. Today U.S. firms compete in the world marketplace through foreign-affiliate sales instead of exports -- and they do so with unparalleled success. Overblown fears about the burgeoning trade deficit, along with a slowing U.S. economy, could spark protectionist policies in Washington, which could then trigger retaliations around the globe. This outcome -- not the size of the trade deficit -- is the greatest danger.
The United States may be an uncontested military superpower, but it remains defenseless against a new mode of attack: information warfare. As the military, the private sector, and Washington grow increasingly dependent on computers and information networks, they also grow more vulnerable to cyber-attack. Cyberspace is becoming the new front line of warfare, and private citizens are the new prime target. U.S. policymakers and technology entrepreneurs must wake up to this threat and build a wall of defense -- now.
Reviews & Responses
Larry Siedentop's Democracy in Europe contrasts the tyrannical bureaucracy in Brussels with the federal republic that inspired Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. But the author's political nostalgia overlooks the European reality.
Seven years after more than 500,000 Tutsi were massacred in Rwanda, the world still cannot explain why. Mahmood Mamdani's When Victims Become Killers is a rich history of Hutu and Tutsi identity, but how it applies to the genocide is unclear.