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The sweeping military victory in Iraq has cleared the way for the United States to establish yet another framework for Persian Gulf security. Ironically, with Saddam Hussein gone, the problems are actually going to get more challenging in some ways. The three main issues will be Iraqi power, Iran's nuclear weapons program, and domestic unrest in the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. None will be easy to handle, let alone all three together.
In the wake of war, important questions about Iraq remain. Will the newly energized Shi'ite majority seek an Islamic government modeled after Iran's, or will its members agree to share power with other communities? And will the United States succeed in establishing itself as a credible broker, especially in Shi'ite eyes? The future of Iraq may well depend on the answers.
Despite the setbacks al Qaeda has suffered over the last two years, it is far from finished, as its recent bomb attacks testify. How has the group managed to survive an unprecedented American onslaught? By shifting shape and forging new, sometimes improbable, alliances. These tactics have made al Qaeda more dangerous than ever, and Western governments must show similar flexibility in fighting the group.
"The American way of war" refers to the grinding strategy of attrition that U.S. generals traditionally employed to prevail in combat. But that was then. Spurred by dramatic advances in information technology, the new American way of war relies on speed, maneuver, flexibility, and surprise. This approach was put on display in the invasion of Iraq and should reshape what the military looks like.
The Bush administration's new national security strategy gets much right but may turn out to be myopic. The world has changed in ways that make it impossible for the most dominant power since Rome to go it alone. U.S. policymakers must realize that power today lies not only in the might of one's sword but in the appeal of one's ideas.
How can the United States and Europe mend the Western alliance after the split over Iraq? Some Europeans now favor engaging America head on, by building an independent military. But the best answer lies in complementarity, not competition. The two sides should focus on common goals, with each doing what it does best.
The recent war in Iraq changed the dynamics not only between continental Europe, the U.K., and the U.S., but also between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Labour Party. To survive politically and ensure the U.K. is a vital player in the European Union, Blair must affirm his country's European identity.
Washington's unwise return to economic "regionalism," evidenced by the many U.S. efforts to build new bilateral or regional free trade agreements, threatens to damage both U.S. foreign and U.S. trade policy. The United States should work instead to strengthen the WTO and the single world trade system it represents.
Transpacific relations are now shifting as dramatically as transatlantic ones. As Japan slips in power and relevance, China grows ever stronger, and since September 11, Washington has become willing to let Beijing play a larger regional role. Meanwhile, tensions in Korea could still provoke a war--or help reshape the continent.
The debate over energy policy in the United States has consistently failed to grapple with the large issues at stake. It is time for an ambitious new approach to U.S. strategic energy policy, one that deals with the problems of oil dependence, climate change, and the developing world's lack of access to energy.
A new transatlantic dispute is rising over the horizon with the EU's development of an independent satellite navigation system (called Galileo) that will challenge America's GPS. The United States should not try to block it but should rise to the occasion by reforming and enhancing its own system's capabilities.
Underpinning much of the current thinking on oil are two divisive myths--oil scarcity and energy security. Policymakers must realize that some volatility in oil prices is to be expected and focus instead on promoting better consumption habits, more realistic public expectations, and sounder Middle East policies.
Reviews & Responses
The Mind and the Market shows that complaints about capitalism are older and more respectable than most of the antagonists in today's globalization debates realize.
New portraits of Richard Helms and William Colby show how the Central Intelligence Agency evolved into the major player it is today.
Strong Religion tries to find similarities in religious "fundmentalists" groups across the world. But the book's real lesson is that profound religious belief is here to stay.
In John Gillingham's latest book, European integration is an economic story. But how does that affect internal security issues and a common foreign policy?