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A climate of fear and a sense of powerlessness caused by the threats of terrorism and natural disasters are undermining American ideals and fueling political demagoguery. Rebuilding the resilience of American society is the way to reverse this and respond to today's challenges.
Despite international calls for reform, the North Korean government is doing its best to maintain the domestic status quo -- and with good reason, at least from its perspective. Still, change is coming in very slow motion thanks to international aid and illegal exchanges with the outside world, which are eroding Pyongyang's legitimacy.
Americans generally belittle the role of ethnic nationalism in politics. But in fact, it corresponds to some enduring propensities of the human spirit, it is galvanized by modernization, and in one form or another, it will drive global politics for generations to come. Once ethnic nationalism has captured the imagination of groups in a multiethnic society, ethnic disaggregation or partition is often the least bad answer.
After decades of historic gains, the world has slipped into a democratic recession. Predatory states are on the rise, threatening both nascent and established democracies throughout the world. But this trend can be reversed with the development of good governance and strict accountability and the help of conditional aid from the West.
Even critics of Hugo Chávez tend to concede that he has made helping the poor his top priority. But in fact, Chávez's government has not done any more to fight poverty than past Venezuelan governments, and his much-heralded social programs have had little effect. A close look at the evidence reveals just how much Chávez's "revolution" has hurt Venezuela's economy -- and that the poor are hurting most of all.
Thanks to global warming, the Arctic icecap is rapidly melting, opening up access to massive natural resources and creating shipping shortcuts that could save billions of dollars a year. But there are currently no clear rules governing this economically and strategically vital region. Unless Washington leads the way toward a multilateral diplomatic solution, the Arctic could descend into armed conflict.
Denmark has forged a social and economic model that couples the best of the free market with the best of the welfare state, transcending tradeoffs between dynamism and security, efficiency and equality. Other countries may not be able to simply copy the Danish model of social democracy, but it nonetheless offers important lessons for governments confronting the dilemmas of globalization.
Economic activity between Africa and Asia, especially China and India, is booming like never before. If the problems and imbalances this sometimes creates are managed well, this expanding engagement could be an unprecedented opportunity for Africa's growth and for its integration into the global economy.
The United States has failed to understand the global resurgence of religiosity. Washington should put the promotion of religious freedom at the center of U.S. foreign policy -- recognizing that it is vital not only to liberty and stability abroad but also to U.S. national security.
Reviews & Responses
Two new books on intelligence reform -- Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes and Amy Zegart's Spying Blind -- distort the historical record. A third, by Richard Betts, rightly observes that no matter how good the spies, failures are inevitable.
Letter to the EditorVictor Cha and James Kelly
Letter to the EditorRajiv Sikri
Letter to the EditorHarold Brown
Letter to the EditorHarry C. Blaney III
Letter to the EditorDavid Anthony Abruzzi and Stephanie London