January/February 2003

January/February 2003
82, 1


Fouad Ajami

The driving motivation behind a new U.S. endeavor in Iraq should be modernizing the Arab world. Most Arabs will see such an expedition as an imperial reach into their world. But in this case a reforming foreign power's guidelines offer a better way than the region's age-old prohibitions, defects, and phobias. No apologies ought to be made for America's "unilateralism."

Michael Scott Doran

Many critics argue that the Bush administration should put off a showdown with Saddam Hussein and focus instead on achieving a breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But they fail to understand that although Palestine is central to the symbolism of Arab politics, it is actually marginal to its substance. Now, as in 1991, if a road to a calmer situation in Palestine does in fact exist, it runs through Baghdad.

Richard K. Betts

President Bush's case for war on Iraq overlooks a very real danger: if pushed to the wall, Saddam Hussein may resort to using weapons of mass destruction against the United States. Such a strike may not be likely, or may not succeed, but attacking Saddam is the best way to guarantee that it will happen. And Washington has done far too little to prepare for it.

Jahangir Amuzegar

Nearly a quarter-century after the revolution, economic failure and a bankrupt ideology have discredited the Islamic Republic. Despite the attention paid to a clash between "reformers" and "conservatives" in the government, the real story in Iran is the growing discontent among the generation born after 1979. This "Third Force" will eventually topple the regime, and the United States should just watch and wait.

John Waterbury

Although U.S. foreign policies are often deeply unpopular in the Arab world, American educational institutions in the region enjoy widespread respect. Not only do they encourage open debate and the cultivation of a skeptical attitude toward received wisdom, they also train leaders in all walks of life. These schools present an underexploited way of dealing with the current crisis.

Philip H. Gordon

In recent months, many observers have concluded that the United States and Europe are on divergent paths and that the transatlantic alliance is crumbling. In spite of some real differences, however, American and European attitudes remain remarkably similar on most key issues. Basing policy on the false assumption of transatlantic divorce would only make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thomas Carothers

During the war on terrorism, George W. Bush has shown a split personality on the promotion of democracy abroad. Bush the realist seeks warm ties with dictators who may help in the fight against al Qaeda, while Bush the neo-Reaganite proclaims that democracy is the only true solution to terror. How the administration resolves this tension will define the future of U.S. foreign policy.

Jagdish N. Bhagwati

Migration lies at the center of global problems today. Rich countries are trying to attract skilled immigrants and keep unskilled ones out; poor countries are trying to keep skilled labor at home. Both sides are doomed to fail. Governments must stop trying to curtail migration and start managing it to seek benefits for all.

John Williamson

In the run-up to the October presidential election in Brazil, financial markets panicked at the prospect of a left-wing administration that might want to repudiate national debts. Now that Lula has taken office, will he confirm these fears or embrace prudent policies that will advance the modernization of Brazil? And will the markets even give him a chance?

Richard Katz

It is hard to be optimistic about Japan's economy, given that Tokyo has already frittered away a decade. But a corner has been turned. The Japanese people increasingly realize that without reform the situation will only get worse. This new awareness was the force behind Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's election in 2001. The bad news is that it may take another decade to get the economy back on track.

Susan Esserman and Robert Howse

The World Trade Organization represents a dramatic innovation in international law: binding dispute resolution between sovereign countries. But have the WTO's judges gone too far and exceeded their unprecedented authority? Although the truth turns out to be more complex than the organization's many critics insist, the fact remains that the WTO's courts still leave plenty of room for improvement.

Reviews & Responses

Review Essay
Ellen Laipson

The Age of Sacred Terror vividly recounts how al Qaeda emerged and how America responded. This sobering history reveals the true difficulty of the war on terror.

Review Essay
Hew Strachan

Two new books examine World War I's role in shaping the twentieth century and place current foreign policy dilemmas in historical perspective.

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