March/April 2005

March/April 2005
84, 2

Comments

Comment
David H. Levey and Stuart S. Brown

The United States' current account deficit and foreign debt are not dire threats to its global position, as would-be Cassandras warn. U.S. power is firmly grounded on economic superiority and financial stability that will not end soon.

Comment
Robert C. Pozen

With the EU's addition of ten new members and a likely slowdown in U.S. productivity growth, Europe has a chance to overtake the U.S. economy. To actually do so, however, it must boost its competitiveness with some much-needed reforms.

Comment
Michael Fullilove

In its first term, the Bush administration all but ignored a powerful diplomatic tool that had served Washington well in the past: the special envoy. With the State Department now under new management, it should start dispatching emissaries again.

Essays

Essay
Kenneth Pollack and Ray Takeyh

If Washington wants to derail Iran's nuclear program, it must take advantage of a split in Tehran between hard-liners, who care mostly about security, and pragmatists, who want to fix Iran's ailing economy. By promising strong rewards for compliance and severe penalties for defiance, Washington can strengthen the pragmatists' case that Tehran should choose butter over bombs.

Essay
Adrian Karatnycky

The electoral triumph of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko and the victory of the Ukrainian people over their country's corrupt leadership represent a new landmark in the postcommunist history of eastern Europe, a seismic shift Westward in the geopolitics of the region. But what will come next for the new president--and the rest of the former Soviet Union?

Essay
Kenneth Lieberthal

Although neither China nor Taiwan wants war, both pursue policies that raise the risk of bloodshed: the first by issuing vague warnings, the second by testing their limits. To stabilize the situation, the Bush administration should help broker a temporary agreement under which Taipei would put off independence and Beijing would stop threatening to attack.

Essay
Niall Ferguson

Could globalization collapse? It may seem unlikely today. Yet despite many warnings, people were shocked the last time globalization crumbled, with the onslaught of World War I. Like today, that period was marked by imperial overstretch, great-power rivalry, unstable alliances, rogue regimes, and terrorist organizations. And the world is no better prepared for calamity now.

Essay
Jeffrey D. Sachs

As a matter of policy, Washington is committed to supporting development in impoverished countries, and most Americans believe that it is following through. In fact, U.S. assistance for the world's poorest countries is utterly inadequate. Only a new international development strategy can rectify the situation. Continued failure will be too expensive, for the United States and the world.

Essay
Steven A. Cook

If President Bush hopes to make good on his promise to bring democracy to the Arab world, he must rethink U.S. strategy, which overemphasizes civil society and economic development. Neither has caused much political liberalization in the Middle East, nor have more punitive measures. To promote Arab democracy, Washington needs a new approach: offering financial incentives for political reform.

Essay
Max Boot

The fighting in Iraq has exposed the limits of Donald Rumsfeld's transformation agenda. The U.S. military remains underprepared for dealing with guerrillas, and such unconventional threats will grow in coming years. The next stage of military transformation must focus on training large numbers of infantry for nation building and irregular warfare--and Washington must make that task a top priority.

Essay
P. W. Singer

Recent scandals in Iraq and elsewhere have shone unaccustomed light on an explosive trend: the growth of private military contractors. Such firms allow governments to accomplish public ends through private means and without much oversight. This lack of scrutiny may be expedient, but it is not necessarily good for democracy. Privatization can benefit everyone, but only if done in the right way.

Reviews & Responses

Review Essay
Donald Kennedy

Jared Diamond's Collapse is a catalog of past environmental ruin. But despite the abundance of bad news, its message is one of cautious optimism: if modern society can learn from the failures of its predecessors, it can avoid their fate.

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