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From Seattle to Quebec City, antiglobalization protesters have complained that international institutions are illegitimate because they are undemocratic. To fight this perception, global organizations need to increase transparency, improve accountability, and think harder about norms for global governance.
With so many players involved, the eagerly anticipated Free Trade Area of the Americas is likely to wind up a shallow project. A better way to jump-start hemispheric integration would be to expand NAFTA to the Southern Cone -- enhancing prosperity, security, and democracy throughout South America.
The simmering dispute over the status of Taiwan may soon explode in violence. The Chinese regime sees Taiwan's recent democratization as an implicit challenge to its own authority and legitimacy and thus continues to threaten and intimidate the island. Meanwhile, Taiwan has procured advanced defensive weapons from the United States. Growing tensions across the Taiwan Strait, along with the lack of military and diplomatic communication, make conflict -- possibly involving the United States -- increasingly likely. To avoid such an outcome, Washington should actively facilitate cross-strait dialogue and deter provocations by either side. But it must do so soon, for both China and Taiwan are growing impatient.
Over the past decade, China's leaders have pursued rapid economic reform while stifling political change. The result today is a rigid state that is unable to cope with an increasingly organized, complex, and robust society. China's next generation of leaders, set to take office in 2002-3, will likely respond to this dilemma by accelerating political reform -- unless a new cold war with the United States intervenes.
Financial abuses -- money laundering, tax evasion, and rogue banking -- have been around for as long as there have been finances to abuse. But globalization is creating new challenges as borders dissolve. New technologies enable tiny, remote countries to make quick money through their underregulated banking systems. Recent multilateral initiatives have started to attack the problem. But if the Bush administration fails to follow through on reforms, the entire effort could fall apart.
Anxious to turn back a string of recent victories by President Mohammad Khatami and his reformist allies, Iran's conservatives have embarked on a campaign of bloody repression. As the two camps battle for control of the Islamic Republic, the proper moves from Washington just might tip the balance. Modest engagement can help Iran's moderates help themselves.
Alaskan politicians have used every oil-price rise since 1973 to push for drilling beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But even putting environmental questions aside, refuge oil is unnecessary, insecure, economically risky, and a distraction from the real energy debate. Market solutions that enhance efficiency can provide secure, safe, and clean energy services at much lower cost.
The passions aroused by the attempt to extradite Augusto Pinochet highlight the many unresolved issues in the movement to enforce global justice. Widespread agreement that human rights violations and crimes against humanity must be prosecuted has hindered active consideration of the proper role of international courts. Universal jurisdiction risks creating universal tyranny -- that of judges.
The Bush administration claims national missile defense can protect the United States from long-range missiles fired by rogue states. But that threat is trivial, and Washington's unilateralist approach to missile defense will only anger China and Russia while alienating U.S. allies.
The devolution of power in post-Suharto Indonesia has empowered corrupt local authorities and brought long-simmering religious and ethnic tensions to the fore. The country lacks a credible executive and impartial military to quell the violence. In fact, the authorities may be exacerbating the tensions instead of helping resolve them.
Reviews & Responses
In Waging Modern War, General Wesley Clark describes how NATO bested Serbia -- just barely -- in the organization's first-ever shooting war. With confused priorities, a reluctant military, and overweening lawyers, the alliance was scarcely up to the task.
Henry Kissinger's Does America Need a Foreign Policy? warns that Washington could become an overly dogmatic superpower. For the new century he recommends returning to the oldest foreign policy of all: maintaining regional balances of power.
France's foreign minister, Hubert Vedrine, is often charged with being anti-American. As his new book shows, however, his brand of realist diplomacy is more subtle and pragmatic than his American critics see it.
Under the Bush administration, U.S. nuclear strategy is shifting from deterrence to defense. In The Price of Dominance, Jan Lodal argues that this is a mistake and explains why multilateral cooperation is crucial for a sensible post-Cold War nuclear strategy.