July/August 2012

July/August 2012
91, 4

Comments

Comment
Kenneth N. Waltz

U.S. and Israeli officials have declared that a nuclear-armed Iran is a uniquely terrifying prospect, even an existential threat. In fact, by creating a more durable balance of military power in the Middle East, a nuclear Iran would yield more stability, not less.

Comment
Sebastian Mallaby

If the eurozone splinters, it will have been an avoidable disaster. After all, the European Central Bank has already gone to great lengths to shore up the continent’s financial system. Now, the choice lies with Germany, which can save the monetary union if it allows for policies aimed at debt relief and growth, not just slashing deficits.

Comment
Graham Allison

Fifty years ago, the Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster. Every president since John F. Kennedy has tried to learn from what happened back then. Today, it can help U.S. policymakers understand what to do -- and what not to do -- about Iran, North Korea, China, and presidential decision-making in general.

Comment
Bernard K. Gordon

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive multilateral trade agreement now in the works that focuses on the Asia-Pacific region, could add billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and solidify Washington's commitment to the Pacific. But if the Obama administration fails to calm critics of the deal, there is a growing possibility that it could collapse.

Essays

Essay
Bjørn Lomborg

Forty years ago, the Club of Rome produced a best-selling report warning humanity that its escalating wants were on a collision course with the world’s finite resources and that the only way to avoid a crash was to stop chasing economic growth. The predictions proved spectacularly wrong. But the environmental alarmism they engendered persists, making it harder for policymakers to respond rationally to real problems today.

Essay
Stephen Hadley and John D. Podesta

As the United States prepares to exit Afghanistan, it is focusing too much on security, overlooking the political elements of the transition, write two former senior U.S. officials. To leave behind a stable government in 2014, Washington needs to push harder for electoral reforms, negotiations with the Taliban, and a regional settlement involving Pakistan.

Essay
Michèle Flournoy and Janine Davidson

Tough economic times are often met in Washington with calls for retrenchment. But for decades, write two former top Pentagon officials, long-term forward deployments of U.S. forces and robust alliances have guaranteed stability and uninterrupted trade, the very conditions the United States needs for economic prosperity. The Obama administration gets it.

Essay
Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Just a few years ago, India seemed on the brink of becoming the world’s next great power. Today, its future appears less certain. Although some have blamed the global economic recession, the real problem is domestic -- namely, the centralized, secretive, and arbitrary political culture that pervades New Delhi.

Essay
Amatzia Baram

Debates about the possibility of containing a nuclear Iran often hinge on judgments of whether the regime there is rational. But as a wealth of recently released Iraqi documents about Saddam Hussein’s tumultuous reign in Iraq show, even an arguably rational leader can be unreasonable -- and very hard to deter.

Essay
Alexander Benard

Unlike other economic powerhouses, the United States does little to help its own companies win business abroad, and that timidity has allowed China to devour market share in emerging economies. It is time for Washington to shed its hang-ups about lobbying on behalf of American firms and start taking commercial diplomacy seriously.

Essay
Richard K. Morse

Coal combustion is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions on the planet. But the fuel isn’t going away anytime soon, since demand for it is ballooning in the developing world. So instead of indulging in quixotic visions of a coal-free world, policymakers should focus on supporting new technologies that can reduce how much carbon coal emits.

July/August 2012

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Reviews & Responses

Review Essay
Robert O. Keohane

Yet another bout of worry about long-term U.S. decline has generated yet another countersurge of defensive optimism. What new books by Robert Kagan and Robert Lieber miss, however, is the critical role played by multilateral institutions in the perpetuation of the United States’ global leadership.

Review Essay
Gillian Tett

As the global financial sector has swelled, the gap between the rich and the poor has grown. Three new books -- by James Galbraith, Robert Shiller, and Charles Ferguson -- come down differently on how much banks are to blame for inequality and what the government should do about it. Pushing for more accountability would be a good place to start.

Review Essay
Joshua Yaffa

With Vladimir Putin back in power in Russia, understanding him is more important than ever. Two recent books attempt to unravel the mystery, adding new insight into the Russian leader's life and rule. But by trying to comprehend Putin through his personal history, they miss the true heart of the story: the state he built.

Review Essay
Andrew J. Nathan

A new book aims to settle the long-running debate over democracy and "Asian values," arguing that culture is not to blame for the fact that only six of the 16 countries of East and Southeast Asia are functioning democracies.

 

Review Essay
Patrice L. R. Higonnet

Democratic revolutionaries always confront the same problem: how to replace the old order without replicating its flaws. A new biography of the French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre's reveals that today's radicals might learn from Robespierre's failure to resolve that dilemma. 

 

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