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Despite all the ominous warnings of wily terrorists and imminent attacks, there has been neither a successful strike nor a close call in the United States since 9/11. The reasonable -- but rarely heard -- explanation is that there are no terrorists within the United States, and few have the means or the inclination to strike from abroad.
How to prevent nuclear proliferation is once again topping the U.S. security agenda. But few decision-makers are seriously considering what a postproliferation world would look like, even though such a world would inevitably require rethinking many of the policies that the U.S. government and others now take for granted.
The UN's top job is one of the hardest, and least defined, in the world. Canny officeholders have managed to turn it into an open-ended diplomatic and humanitarian post, but much depends on personality. So when the UN picks a new chief this year, it should focus on character; that, not experience, is the key to success.
Religion has always been a major force in U.S. politics, but the recent surge in the number and the power of evangelicals is recasting the country's political scene -- with dramatic implications for foreign policy. This should not be cause for panic: evangelicals are passionately devoted to justice and improving the world, and eager to reach out across sectarian lines.
The debate over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program is clouded by historical amnesia. Nuclear proliferation has been stopped before, and it can and should be stopped in this case as well. Unfortunately, with Tehran -- as with some of its predecessors -- the price for Washington will be relinquishing the threat of regime change by force.
The twentieth century was the bloodiest era in history. Despite the comfortable assumption that the twenty-first will be more peaceful, the same ingredients that made the last hundred years so destructive are present today. In particular, a conflict in the Middle East may well spark another global conflagration. The United States could prevent such an outcome -- but it may not be willing to.
The July 2 Mexican election was about more than picking a president. It represented a choice between continuing the liberalization of recent years or returning to the past. Neither alternative, however, offers a solution to the country's problems. To address those, the next president must not only deepen reforms but also extend their benefits to the many Mexicans who have been left out of the process.
The recent panic over the rise of Islamic extremism in Europe has overlooked a key fact: the majority of European Muslims are trying hard to fit in, not opt out. This is especially clear in France, where the picture is much brighter than often acknowledged. Unfortunately, cynical politicians and the clumsy elite are now making matters much worse.
The advent of a new global politics after the Cold War has led NATO to expand its geographic reach and the range of its operations. Now, NATO must extend its membership to any democratic state that can help it fulfill its new responsibilities. Only a truly global alliance can address the global challenges of the day.
Fears of a "digital Pearl Harbor" -- a cyberattack against critical infrastructure -- have so preoccupied Western governments that they have neglected to recognize that terrorists actually use the Internet as a tool for organizing, recruiting, and fundraising. Their online activities offer a window onto their methods, ideas, and plans.
Modern militaries' obsession with intelligence gathering and evaluation would have bemused Caesar and Napoleon, since such behavior was rarely engaged in until recently. In the war on terrorism, intelligence is playing its greatest role yet, but even today, espionage and intelligence analysis will not be the decisive factors.
Reviews & Responses
In "Economic Justice in an Unfair World", Ethan Kapstein sets out admirably to define a global system that would guarantee opportunity for all states. But on the key issue -- free trade -- he subverts his own efforts by clinging to simplistic neoliberal dogma.
The Foreigner's Gift is vintage Fouad Ajami: bold, crisp, wide-ranging, and discursive, it will surely both inform and provoke. But can the U.S. invasion of Iraq really be defended as a noble mission regardless of its cause -- or its outcome?
Letter to the EditorJean-David Levitte
Letter to the EditorAllen L. White
Letter to the EditorTony Waters