George w. Bush's trip to Europe last week offered America's highbrow press something delicious: a big, new foreign policy idea. Europe and the United States, we were told over and over, are drifting apart because of a conflict over values. During the cold war, Europe resented America for what it did; today, Europe resents America for what it believes. Global warming, missile defense, the death penalty, economic policy--each dispute further illustrated this transatlantic cultural gulf. A clash of civilizations! What fun. Too bad it probably isn't true.
Last week’s presidential trip to Africa had been developing a theme. In Nigeria, Bill Clinton discussed democracy—Nigeria's fledgling effort. In Tanzania, he discussed democracy—the crippling of Burundi's by ethnic violence. And then he flew here, where he met with Hosni Mubarak and changed the subject.
In a private conversation with recently resigned Interior Minister Natan Sharansky shortly after becoming prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak said his goal was the creation of a Palestinian state in 50 percent of the West Bank. Until about a month ago, when the Israeli press leaked details of the Stockholm talks, it was widely assumed that no Israeli leader would dare offer Yasir Arafat more than 75 percent. This week, as Barak and the Palestinian leader meet at Camp David, both numbers are far too low to even merit discussion. What was once inconceivable is now inadequate. There are essentia
The decision to send American troops was easy. Sure, the Saudi demonstrators and rioters wanted democracy, but we couldn’t sell out our old ally King Fahd. And what if the insurgents were Iranian pawns? There was too much oil at stake to take a chance. But something funny happened on the way to the counterrevolution. An unknown fundamentalist group, the Campaign for Islamic Democracy (CID), warned that if we didn’t butt out, it would wield the “Secret Sword of Allah.” We laughed.
After weeks of being attacked by Congressional Republicans tot everything from engaging in “high treason” on behalf of China to planning to appear at Tiananmen Square, President Clinton finally defended himself in a speech before the National Geographic Society. “Choosing isolation” of China “over engagement” of it, the president said, “would make [the world] more dangerous.” Yet this caricatures the choices facing the United States.
Over a thousand delegates gathered in early October at the Sheraton Chicago for the fifteenth annual Hispanic leadership conference. The gleaming hotel, towering over the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, seemed emblematic of Hispanics' growing political heft. Speakers at the conference included former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry G. Cisneros, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, and Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman.
This week’s TNR cover story by James Mann deals with the vexing problem that China poses to the community of nations—and to the young Obama administration. Mann observes that, even as China has opened up economically, it has pursued an aggressive foreign policy. Writing in TNR thirteen years ago, Peter Beinart anticipated this situation.