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In spite of its diffculties in Iraq, the United States was not wrong to have removed Saddam Hussein. The outcome of the Iraqi enterprise will be crucial to the course of the "war on terror." And success is still possible -- if Washington takes a page out of its Cold War playbook.
The world today faces not only a clash of civilizations but a clash of emotions as well. The West displays -- and is divided by -- a culture of fear, while the Arab and Muslim worlds are trapped in a culture of humiliation and much of Asia displays a culture of hope.
Thanks to a recent extraordinary rise in public and private giving, today more money is being directed toward the world's poor and sick than ever before. But unless these efforts start tackling public health in general instead of narrow, disease-specific problems -- and unless the brain drain from the developing world can be stopped -- poor countries could be pushed even further into trouble, in yet another tale of well-intended foreign meddling gone awry.
The smooth transfer of power from Fidel Castro to his successors is exposing the willful ignorance and wishful thinking of U.S. policy toward Cuba. The post-Fidel transition is already well under way, and change in Cuba will come only gradually from here on out. With or without Fidel, renewed U.S. efforts to topple the revolutionary regime in Havana can do no good -- and have the potential to do considerable harm.
With the Taliban resurgent, reconstruction faltering, and opium poppy cultivation at an all-time high, Afghanistan is at risk of collapsing into chaos. If Washington wants to save the international effort there, it must increase its commitment to the area and rethink its strategy -- especially its approach to Pakistan, which continues to give sanctuary to insurgents on its tribal frontier.
The war on terrorism is not just about security or military tactics. It is a battle of values, and one that can only be won by the triumph of tolerance and liberty. Afghanistan and Iraq have been the necessary starting points of this battle. Success there, however, must be coupled with a bolder, more consistent, and more thorough application of global values, with Washington leading the way.
The massive growth of hedge funds has sparked warnings of instability and demands that the industry be regulated. But the fear of hedge funds is overblown, based on a misunderstanding of their role in the international financial system. In reality, hedge funds do not increase risk; they manage it -- and policymakers, rather than clamping down, should make sure hedge funds have the tools to perform this function well.
Not long ago, the expansion of free trade worldwide seemed inevitable. Over the last few years, however, economic barriers have started to rise once more. The forecast for the future looks mixed: some integration will probably continue even as a new economic nationalism takes hold. Managing this new, muddled world will take deft handling, in Washington, Brussels, and Beijing.
Accurately assessing the rise of China is a critical task. Yet U.S. policymakers often overestimate China's military might. And if they continue to view China's power in substantially coercive terms when it is actually growing most rapidly in the economic and intellectual domains, they will be playing the wrong game, on the wrong Þeld, with the wrong team.
Although many governments say that they will not negotiate with terrorists, in practice they often do. And their rhetoric has prevented the systematic analysis of how to do so best. The goal should be to buttress moderates among the terrorists without strengthening hard-liners -- by promising legitimate political involvement, but only if the terrorists eschew violence and accept democratic principles.
Reviews & Responses
Rumsfeld's mishandling of the Iraqi occupation has given the "revolution in military affairs" a bad name. But as Max Boot and Frederick Kagan point out in two new books, transformation is vital to any military's success -- and more important now than ever.
Three new books, one by a Bush administration insider, two not, differ greatly in how they assess the costs and the benefits that the war on terrorism has had for the White House, the Constitution, and the American public.
Letter to the EditorMartin Gross
Letter to the EditorMurray Weidenbaum
Letter to the EditorMuhammad A. Faour
Letter to the EditorPhilippe De Shoutheete
Letter to the EditorJonathan Paris
Letter to the EditorAlan Khatib