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Polls show that most young Russians hold ambivalent or even positive views of their country's worst dictator. Such attitudes stem not from defects in the Russian character, but from a massive failure in education. The West can help, and must do so fast.
Since 9/11, Muslim schools have been denounced as breeding grounds for terrorism. But instead of seeing madrasahs as a threat, Western policymakers should recognize that they present an opportunity for engagement and reform.
Although questions of implementation remain, the new Iraqi constitution makes Islam the law of the land. This need not mean trouble for Iraq's women, however. Sharia is open to a wide range of interpretations, some quite egalitarian. If Washington still hopes for a liberal order in Iraq, it should start working with progressive Muslim scholars to advance women's rights through religious channels.
For nearly a decade, U.S. policy toward Latin America has been narrowly focused on a handful of issues, such as China's growing influence in the region and the power of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Latin Americans want economic ties with the United States but feel slighted by Washington and uneasy about the U.S. role in the world. The costs of the estrangement will be high for both sides.
As it approaches its first presidential election in the post-PRI era, Mexico is at a crossroads: it could either consolidate democracy and proceed with needed reforms or fall back into a familiar state of crisis. Which way it goes will depend above all on the candidates of the three major political parties, who must rise above their short-term interests to further the nation's progress toward democratic stability.
The relative ease of the Gaza withdrawal has fooled many observers into thinking that the Palestinian Authority can now concentrate on consolidating its hold over the territory. Washington and its allies are pushing hard for the PA to do so. But everyone is ignoring the West Bank, where chaos is quickly mounting. If wide-scale violence erupts there, it could quickly bury the entire peace process.
Without the Turkish military's support, Ankara cannot comply with the reforms necessary for Turkey to join the EU. So far, the top brass have cooperated, even when reforms have curbed their power, because they have looked at EU membership as both the culmination of the country's modernization and a way to battle nagging domestic problems. But how much further will they go?
Sustainable development -- the notion that boosting economic growth, protecting natural resources, and ensuring social justice can be complementary goals -- has lost much appeal over the past two decades, the victim of woolly thinking and interest-group politics. The concept can be relevant again, but only if its original purpose -- helping the poor live healthier lives on their own terms -- is restored.
Humans like to think that they are unique, but the study of other primates has called into question the exceptionalism of our species. So what does primatology have to say about war and peace? Contrary to what was believed just a few decades ago, humans are not "killer apes" destined for violent conflict, but can make their own history.
Reviews & Responses
Policymakers need a guide to the complexities and challenges of the struggle against terrorism. Unfortunately, two authors who could have written one have chosen instead to rehash the Bush administration's mistakes.
This article appears in the Foreign Affairs eBook, "The U.S. vs. al Qaeda: A History of the War on Terror." Now available for purchase.