The roots of Argentina's recent crisis go well beyond the current debate about the failings of a particular economic policy or multilateral institution. The principal fault for Argentina's woes lies squarely with the country's political and economic elite.
Rhetoric and missile tests may be flying, but for many Indians nuclear war seems a remote prospect. At the height of tensions between India and Pakistan, people in the bustling city of Bangalore, India's answer to California's Silicon Valley, had decided that they were far more concerned about the dismal state of the IT economy than they were concerned about nuclear Armageddon. Fear of nuclear war in this South Indian city is conspicuous in its absence.
The Bush administration has decided to support plans to dispose of excess weapons-usable plutonium by burning it in nuclear reactors as mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel. This support comes after a year-long review and is a welcome development in efforts to secure, control and dispose of nuclear materials in the United States and in Russia. The U.S. program is part of a bilateral agreement signed with Russia, with each country committed to eliminate 34 tons of plutonium. Nevertheless, a very important question still remains: What will be done with the <i>rest</i> of the excess U.S. plutonium?
What next in the war on terrorism? The mission in Afghanistan is not over and al Qaeda is not finished. But this does not preclude dealing with Iraq. How we act will decisively affect our future security and will shape the emerging world order. Either it will be conducive to our liberal democratic principles or will be one where tyrants can hold democracy and international security hostage.
The Nuclear Posture Review unveiled by the Bush administration in early January continues to reduce the nuclear force from its current levels, down from their high point of some 15,000 deployed strategic warheads in 1987. The review, however, retains the basic concepts that defined the cold war nuclear arsenal and abandons plans for deeper, irreversible reductions envisioned by previous administrations.
Periods of poor U.S.-European relations are nothing new, and times of mutual criticism go back to the beginnings of this country. Even times of predictions that the relationship is on the point of fracture are not all that infrequent. But today's poor relations hold major consequences not only for the transatlantic relationship, but for the world as a whole.
The fierce partisan political warfare that has characterized Washington policy issues since the mid-1990s has now thankfully subsided. All hope that the new spirit will last beyond the current crisis. But principled disagreements on key issues remain, particularly on missile defense. There is no bipartisan consensus.
After a year-long review, the Bush administration has announced plans to continue U.S. efforts to deal with the nonproliferation risks posed by the state of the Russian weapons complex. It remains to be seen how all threat reduction programs will fare in the next budget, but it appears that the administration has overcome its initial skepticism regarding these programs and their benefits for U.S. security.
UN Under-Secretary General Jayantah Dhanapala said January 22, "The terrorist acts of 11 September have shaken the world out of a dangerous complacency. The public, concerned groups, and legislators are now starting to take much more seriously not only the threat of terrorism but also the danger that WMD may actually be used against military or civilian targets." Read excerpts from his speech to the Arms Control Association.
Unless the international community pursues a regional strategy for rebuilding Afghanistan, the security of the Central Asian states and Pakistan will be so compromised that new terrorist groups with global reach soon will be using Eurasia as their launching pad again.