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China's recent antisatellite test, which the military conducted while leaving civilian authorities mostly in the dark, raises a disturbing question: Will Beijing's stovepiped bureaucracies prevent China from becoming a reliable global partner?
Those who worry about the vulnerability of the world's oil shipping lanes should calm down. Oil tankers are more resilient than often presumed, and only the United States has the capability to seriously disrupt maritime traffic -- which it will not do.
Protectionist sentiment on Capitol Hill threatens to scuttle Washington's free-trade agenda. A bipartisan consensus on trade could emerge, but only if the White House and the Democrats can reach a compromise on labor issues.
By rushing into Iraq instead of finishing off the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Washington has unwittingly helped its enemies: al Qaeda has more bases, more partners, and more followers today than it did on the eve of 9/11. Now the group is working to set up networks in the Middle East and Africa -- and may even try to lure the United States into a war with Iran. Washington must focus on attacking al Qaeda's leaders and ideas and altering the local conditions in which they thrive.
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.
Thanks to high oil prices and hefty subsidies, corn-based ethanol is now all the rage in the United States. But it takes so much supply to keep ethanol production going that the price of corn -- and those of other food staples -- is shooting up around the world. To stop this trend, and prevent even more people from going hungry, Washington must conserve more and diversify ethanol's production inputs.
The population of western Europe is aging steadily, and the region's birthrate is well below the replacement level, but Europe's elderly are exceptionally healthy. That means they could be more productive for longer than their predecessors were. If western European governments learn to tap this potential, healthy aging could become the region's next great economic asset.
Russia's imperial ambitions did not end with the fall of the Soviet Union. The Kremlin has returned to expansionism, trying to recapture great-power status at the expense of its neighbors, warns one of Ukraine's most prominent politicians. The United States and Europe must counter with a strong response -- one that keeps Russia in check without sparking a new Cold War.
Global financial instability has sparked a surge in "monetary nationalism" -- the idea that countries must make and control their own currencies. But globalization and monetary nationalism are a dangerous combination, a cause of financial crises and geopolitical tension. The world needs to abandon unwanted currencies, replacing them with dollars, euros, and multinational currencies as yet unborn.
The rift between U.S. military and civilian leaders did not start with George W. Bush, but his administration's meddling and disregard for military expertise have made it worse. The new defense secretary must restore a division of labor that gives soldiers authority over tactics and civilians authority over strategy -- or risk discrediting civilian control of the military even further.
Although women have made large strides professionally over the last century, politics remains a man's world. Significant barriers stand in the way of more women assuming positions of political leadership -- not least women's own attitudes. If serious efforts are not made to break down these barriers, the world will miss out on the benefits that women can bring to policymaking.
Reviews & Responses
Nicolas Sarkozy's Testimony is an unusual work for a French politician in midcampaign: a panegyric to the United States and an unsparing attack on French domestic policy. What kind of a president would Sarkozy be?
Depending on whom you ask, Tariq Ramadan is either a brave Muslim moderate or an apologist for terrorism. Either way, his new book, which rethinks the Prophet Muhammad's life for the modern world, is a step in the right direction.
Little-known heroes of the Holocaust were the rare diplomats who defied their superiors' orders and issued visas to save lives. With Iraqis now scrambling to leave their own country, those examples are as relevant today as ever.
Letter to the EditorJohn L. Eastman
Letter to the EditorRichard Christopher Whalen
Letter to the EditorRonald Weitzer
Letter to the EditorBernard K. Gordon
Letter to the EditorNancy Aossey
Letter to the EditorJoseph Amon
Letter to the EditorSusan L. Erikson