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A new survey of public opinion on U.S. foreign policy shows that Americans are split in two along party and religious lines. Still, significant majorities are starting to come together based on discontent with the war in Iraq, U.S. standing in the Muslim world, and illegal immigration. Soon the grumbling may become too loud for policymakers to ignore.
Despite widespread fears about China's growing economic clout and political stature, Beijing remains committed to a "peaceful rise": bringing its people out of poverty by embracing economic globalization and improving relations with the rest of the world. As it emerges as a great power, China knows that its continued development depends on world peace -- a peace that its development will in turn reinforce.
Chinese foreign policy is now driven by China's unprecendented need for resources. In exchange for access to oil and other raw materials to fuel its booming economy, Beijing has boosted its bilateral relations with resource-rich states, sometimes striking deals with rogue governments or treading on U.S. turf. Beijing's hunger may worry some in Washington, but it also creates new grounds for cooperation.
No country can affect China's fortunes more directly than the United States. Many potential flashpoints -- such as Taiwan, Japan, and North Korea -- remain, and true friendship between Washington and Beijing is unlikely. But their interests have grown so intertwined that cooperation is the best way to serve both countries.
The United States has done much to enable China's recent growth, but it has also sent mixed signals that have unnerved Beijing. More consistent engagement is in order, because the course of the twenty-first century will be determined by the relationship between the world's greatest power and the world's greatest emerging power.
The Bush administration contends that the push for democracy in the Muslim world will improve U.S. security. But this premise is faulty: there is no evidence that democracy reduces terrorism. Indeed, a democratic Middle East would probably result in Islamist governments unwilling to cooperate with Washington.
Conventional wisdom has long assumed that economic liberalization undermines repressive regimes. Recent events, however, suggest that savvy autocrats have learned how to cut the cord between growth and freedom, enjoying the benefits of the former without the risks of the latter. Washington and international lenders should take note.
Because they lack a coherent strategy, U.S. forces in Iraq have failed to defeat the insurgency or improve security. Winning will require a new approach to counterinsurgency, one that focuses on providing security to Iraqis rather than hunting down insurgents. And it will take at least a decade.
U.S. policymakers debate how to wield American power; foreigners debate how to deal with it. Some make their peace with Washington and try to manipulate it; others try to oppose and undercut U.S. interests. The challenge for the United States is how to turn its material dominance into legitimate authority.
In the past decade, 12,000 Nepalis have died in an increasingly brutal civil war that pits a backward-looking monarchy and an abusive military against fanatical Maoist rebels. To help solve the crisis, the rest of the world must convince both sides that there is a third way.
Past attempts to fix failed states in Africa have gone nowhere for similar reasons: they have tried to restore good governance to places that have never enjoyed it in the first place. A radical rethinking is needed; in the hardest cases, international trusteeships offer the best chance for success.
Reviews & Responses
The Man Who Changed China, a state-sanctioned portrait of Jiang Zemin, reflects the image that China's new leaders want their people to see: pragmatic, moderate, and above politics. The vision, however, does not often match reality.