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Last year's crisis in Caracas caught Washington by surprise, causing oil prices to skyrocket and exposing flaws in the U.S. ability to forecast and cope with threats to its oil supply. Both government and industry must do better next time.
Although terrorism is a top U.S. concern, the State Department's annual terrorism report was riddled with errors. If Washington wants to win the war, it needs to get its facts straight.
The Bush administration has waged an aggressive war against terrorists abroad, but it has neglected to protect the homeland, even though Americans in the United States are the ones most vulnerable to future attacks. The government must do more to safeguard critical U.S. infrastructure and mobilize the American public to help. For starters, it should create a semi-independent federal agency tapping into private resources that would develop and enforce security standards.
Although the early U.S. blunders in the occupation of Iraq are well known, their consequences are just now becoming clear. The Bush administration was never willing to commit the resources necessary to secure the country and did not make the most of the resources it had. U.S. officials did get a number of things right, but they never understood-or even listened to-the country they were seeking to rebuild. As a result, the democratic future of Iraq now hangs in the balance.
U.S. and international development agencies, believing that poor countries should develop economically before they become democratic, have not taken politics into account when disbursing aid. This is a mistake: poor democracies are almost always stronger, calmer, and more caring than poor autocracies, because they allow power to be shared and encourage openness and accountability. They deserve all the help they can get.
The Bush administration has done little to contain the spread of weapons of mass destruction, even as undeterrable nonstate actors grow more intent on obtaining and using them. U.S. counterproliferation policy needs an overhaul. Its new goals should be to get nuclear material out of circulation, reinforce nonproliferation agreements, and use new technologies and invasive monitoring to get better and more actionable intelligence.
The hope of joining the EU has driven major reforms in Turkey, including economic liberalization, human rights protection, and greater civilian oversight of the military. But these reforms have fueled suspicions among Islamists and hard-line army officers. EU membership would help Turkey become a successful Muslim democracy, strengthen it as an ally in the fight against terrorism, and foster liberalization in the Islamic world.
Beyond headlines dominated by terrorist cells and separatist insurgencies, the world's largest majority-Muslim country has undergone a profound transformation in recent years. Reformers have quietly but brilliantly overhauled the country's long-intractable political system. The government that takes office in October will be the people's choice more than ever before-and will have an unprecedented opportunity to set Indonesia on the road to good governance and economic prosperity.
Three long-term trends are threatening to bankrupt America: the burgeoning costs of waging the war on terrorism, the U.S. economy's increasing reliance on foreign capital, and rapid aging throughout the developed world. Washington must understand that committing the United States to a broader global role while ignoring the financial costs of doing so is deeply irresponsible.
The southern Andes, long known for social volatility and economic disarray, is on the verge of chaos. This need not be cause for fatalism, however. By reengaging with the region, Washington could help turn the political crises plaguing Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia into opportunities for change.
Reviews & Responses
In The Missing Peace, Dennis Ross provides a fair and clear-headed overview of almost ten years of Middle East peacemaking. Although he finds plenty of blame to spread around, he sees one man as the ultimate impediment: Yasir Arafat.