| WORLD POLICY JOURNAL
ARTICLE EXTRACTS: Volume XV, No 1, SPRING 1998
Churchill’s Way: The Great Convergence of Britain and the United States
In “Churchill’s Way,” the noted author David Fromkin writes that the time may have come for the fulfillment of Winston Churchill’s “spacious and attractive vision” of the English-speaking peoples as one. The wartime British prime minister believed that the United States and Great Britain ought to aim for some sort of unity, that “an England that no longer could be supreme on her own could retain her greatness in a close partnership with the United States.” But, as the author notes, this was not possible in Churchill’s time because certain issues, particularly the question of empire, divided the two nations. Now, however, “America’s and England’s ways have converged. Bill Clinton’s United States and Tony Blair’s United Kingdom share ideals as well as national interests and strategic situation. Surely there now is a strong case for also defining goals together, and moving toward achieving them in partnership.”
The Door of Opportunity: Creating a Permanent Peacekeeping Force
Lionel Rosenblatt and Larry Thompson, President and Senior Associate, respectively, of Refugees International, make the case for the creation of a permanent U.N. peacekeeping force. Taking on the “anti-United Nations, anti-intervention theorists,” the authors nonetheless acknowledge that “the present system of peacekeeping is too slow, too cumbersome, too inefficient, too prone to failure, too ad hoc to meet the necessities of the confusing, nameless era that has followed in the wake of the Cold War.” They advocate the establishment of a 15,000-member rapid reaction force to deal with crises in countries that do not engage the urgent political concerns of the big powersóto prevent the chaos, ethnic conflict, or threats of strife in such countries from turning into wider, long-lasting conflicts. Rosenblatt and Thompson describe how such a force could be created, what its mission would be, and how much it would cost.
Clinton’s Warriors: The Interventionists
“For better or worse,” writes Robert Worth in “Clinton’s Warriors: The Interventionists,” “the United States has become a global hegemon, supporting civic order in a world of rogue states and nuclear proliferation, ready to launch a devastating attack on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to achieve compliance with U.N. inspection goals. This will require a new and delicate balance between diplomacy and force, and the last thing any president needs, in such circumstances, is a rebellious Pentagon.” Worth shows how President Clinton went about revamping the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the result that America’s current military leaders, in contrast to their immediate predecessors, are well disposed toward the use of American troops for such “nontraditional missions” as the deployments in Haiti and Bosnia. However, the author worries that the president may have paid too high a price for the military’s cooperation.
The Other Africa: An End to Afro-Pessimism
The only thing more remarkable than the quiet renaissance that is slowly transforming the African continent, note David F. Gordon of the Overseas Development Council and Howard Wolpe, Presidential Special Envoy to Africa’s Great Lakes Region, in “The Other Africa: An End to Afro-Pessimism,” is its invisibility. “By substituting caricature for analysis,” Gordon and Wolpe assert, “Afro-pessimists have offered up a simplistic and distorted portrayal of Africa, which only serves to reinforce deeply held racial stereotypes, perpetuate a distinctly distorted view of contemporary African realities, and deepen America’s reluctance to become more engaged there.” If Americans continue to believe that what happens in Africa is of little consequence to us, the authors warn, we will miss our chance to help sustain this renewal and to advance America’s interests in the emerging markets of a dynamic new Africa.
Improving Turkey’s “Bad Neighborhood”:
Among those countries routinely considered to be stalwart U.S. allies, Turkey has the worst human rights record. It has been persecuting its large Kurdish minority for decades. Freedom of speech, association, and religion are sharply curtailed for non-Kurdish Turks as well. “Washington’s response to this discomfiting fact is to ignore it,” notes John Tirman, Executive Director of the Winston Foundation for World Peace, in “Improving Turkey’s ‘Bad Neighborhood’: Pressing Ankara for Rights and Democracy.” Recognizing Ankara’s resentment of outside interference in Turkey’s internal affairs, the author proposes three initiatives that Washington could undertakeóone of which would include a role for America’s military leadersóto encourage Turkey to undertake democratic reforms and resolve the Kurdish conflict by means of political compromise. Among other things, the proposed initiatives would “allow Turks to stop thinking of their country as the West’s sentry on a dangerous frontier, [which] might also have a positive effect on Turkey’s internal political discourse.”
Embracing Pop Culture: The Catholic Church in the World Market
“Ours are strange times indeed,” writes political scientist Michael L. Budde of DePaul University, in “Embracing Pop Culture: The Catholic Church in the World Market.” “The Pope makes multimillion-dollar publishing deals, enjoys cross-media promotions that exemplify the corporate dreams of ‘synergy,’ signs off on joint ventures with information behemoths like IBM and Digital, andójust like Mickey Mouse, Batman, and the Rolling Stonesóhas his image licensed to makers of hats, mugs, and T-shirts. . . . Whether the Church (or any other religious tradition, for that matter) will have any significant role to play in the future depends on how it is affected by the for-profit global culture industries. For those interested in maintaining Christianity as an independent, critical voice, the prospects are not encouraging.”
Netanyahu and the American Jews
In “Netanyahu and American Jews,” Jonathan Broder, Washington correspondent for The Jerusalem Report, illuminates the widening cracks in American Jewry’s emotional bond with Israel. American Jewish leaders, reflecting the opinion of four out of five American Jews, have expressed acute disappointment with the leadership of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose “endless series of blunders, provocations, and self-inflicted wounds” have brought the once-promising Oslo peace process to its knees. Moreover, American Jews, 85 percent of whom belong to the Reform and Conservative denominations, are deeply troubled by Netanyahu’s declared support for his Orthodox coalition partners’ desire to delegitimize Reform and Conservative Jews in Israel. “For many Jews, their anger over the religious issue has combined with their doubts about Netanyahu’s peace policies, producing a potent brew of hurt and hostility.”
Reviving the State?
In his review of the World Bank’s World Development Report 1997, Ethan B. Kapstein, Stassen Professor of International Peace at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota, draws a picture of a stagnant organization unable to address effectively the developmental problems it was created to solve. Partly, this is because the Bank,”with its crippling bureaucracy, duplicative functions, and many agencies, seems to spend more time on internal reorganization than any other activity.” But it is also due to the Bank’s continued reliance on the nation-state as the organizational form best suited to confronting the issues of the contemporary global environment. “Why not focus instead on possible alternative institutional arrangements,” Kapstein asks, “including, for example, a greater role for the World Bank in international economic management?” Thus far the Bank has not done so, however, for the simple reason that it is a creature of the states. Therefore, the Bank cannot do much to alter the international system for good or ill; all it can do is to provide its clients with a set of “best practices.”
“Marooned in the Cold War”
Mark Danner’s article, “Marooned in the Cold War: America, the Alliance, and the Quest for a Vanished World,” which was published in the fall 1997 issue of World Policy Journal, elicited a strong response from prominent writers in government and out. An exchange of letters between Richard Holbrooke, former Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, and Mr. Danner appeared in the winter 1997/98 issue of the journal. In this issue, we publish letters in response to “Marooned in the Cold War” addressed to Mr. Danner by the eminent historian and diplomat George F. Kennan, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, and Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, ranking Democratic member of the House Committee on International Relations, along with Mr. Danner’s replies. Among other things, Mr. Kennan writes: “I have seen no finer treatment than this one, both as a summary of the salient features of the conduct of American policy in the earlier decades of this century, and as a treatment of the bewilderments into which we are now heading.”
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