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After being shackled by the government for decades, India's economy has become one of the world's strongest. The country's unique development model -- relying on domestic consumption and high-tech services -- has brought a quarter century of record growth despite an incompetent and heavy-handed state. But for that growth to continue, the state must start modernizing along with Indian society.
India is on the verge of becoming a great power and the swing state in the international system. As a large, multiethnic, economically powerful, non-Western democracy, it will play a key role in the great struggles of the coming years. Washington has recognized the potential of a U.S.-Indian alliance, but translating that potential into reality will require engaging India on its own terms.
Over the last year, the U.S. and Indian governments struck a deal that recognizes India as a nuclear weapons power. Critics say Washington gave up too much too soon and at a great cost to nonproliferation efforts. Perhaps. But India could in time become a valuable security partner. So despite the deal's flaws and the uncertainties surrounding its implementation, Washington should move forward with it.
India's growing economic and diplomatic prominence is unlikely to be derailed by its territorial dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. But given the risk that the Kashmir issue could spark a nuclear war, it is in India's best interest that it be resolved. Washington should use its influence with Islamabad to broker an agreement and thereby cement its growing strategic partnership with New Delhi.
By toppling Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration has liberated and empowered Iraq's Shiite majority and has helped launch a broad Shiite revival that will upset the sectarian balance in Iraq and the Middle East for years to come. This development is rattling some Sunni Arab governments, but for Washington, it could be a chance to build bridges with the region's Shiites, especially in Iran.
The Bush administration's "revolutionary" foreign policy rhetoric has not changed, but its actual policies have: after squandering U.S. legitimacy, breaking the domestic bank, and getting the United States bogged down in an unsuccessful war, the Bush doctrine has run up against reality and become unsustainable. The counterrevolution should be welcomed -- and, if possible, locked in.
Just 15 years after the Cold War's end, hopes of integrating Russia into the West have been dashed, and the Kremlin has started creating its own Moscow-centered system. But instead of just attacking this new Russian foreign policy, Washington must guard against the return of dangerous great-power rivalry.
Despite obvious manpower shortages in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration remains wedded to spending defense resources on "transformational" new technologies rather than on new troops. Cutting-edge weapons are critical. But what the United States needs above all are more men and women in uniform.
Israeli politics have undergone a transformation, driven by the recognition that holding the West Bank and Gaza is not in Israel's interest and that the Palestinian leadership is not ready for peace. The new consensus has induced Israel to withdraw unilaterally -- and brought a measure of hope to a seemingly hopeless situation.
When French voters rejected the proposed EU constitution last year, they revealed a profound lack of confidence not just in Europe, but in France itself. Long the driver of European integration, Paris these days can barely steer its own ship of state. Jacques Chirac is a big part of the problem. But France's troubles run deeper.
George W. Bush wants to be remembered as a president who left a lasting mark on U.S. foreign policy. His emphasis on spreading democracy and reshaping the Middle East is a manifestation of this drive. But the results of his management style and policy choices -- especially the invasion of Iraq -- may have already denied him that legacy.
Can anything -- international mediation, regional collaboration, decentralization, or constitutional negotiations -- save Iraq from a full-fledged civil war and the Bush administration from a foreign policy fiasco?
Reviews & Responses
Taken together, Peter Beinart's The Good fight and Joe Klein's Politics Lost provide a road map for a successful, politically savvy Democratic foreign policy.
In China's Trapped Transition, Minxin Pei attempts to solve the puzzle of China's present -- and figure out its future.
Can realism and idealism be reconciled? Christopher Layne's The Peace of Illusions and Colin Dueck's Reluctant Crusaders take on the twin poles of U.S. foreign policy.