Whatever risks may accompany a policy of containment, the risks of weakness are infinitely greater. China hands both inside and outside the administration will argue that this crisis needs to be put behind us so that the U.S.-China relationship can return to normal. It is past time for everyone to wake up to the fact that the Chinese behavior we have seen this past week is normal.
The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War have fundamentally changed the strategic balance in the Middle East and have had a profound impact on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Carnegie's Shlomo Avineri argues that four facets can be discerned from current Russian attitudes toward the Arab-Israeli conflict that inform Russian policy.
Russia's legal right to prosecute the war in Chechnya is incontestable. But legality and morality are not the same. And morally, the issue of Russia's latest intervention in Chechnya is not so clear.
The Global Control System (GSK, from the Russian translation) demonstrated itself as a useful mechanism permitting involvement of Missile Technology Control Regime non member states in international discussions on missile proliferation and how to better resist it. Need for such a forum will continue in the future, and Moscow conferences have a reasonable chance of being supported to continue.
In a surprise shakeup with some potentially significant implications for US-Russian relations, Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced his Ministers of Defense and Atomic Energy. The moves, coming as part of a broader government shake-up, is seen as a move by Putin to further consolidate his power by replacing holdovers from the previous Yeltsin administration with people directly loyal to him.
European mediators are filling the vacuum left by President George Bush's decision not to pursue talks with North Korea. Appalled at the cold shoulder Bush gave South Korea's president and democracy hero, Kim Dae Jung, European Union President Goran Persson will soon go to the region to expedite ways to defuse the nuclear missile threat posed by the North. This is a new role for the Europeans, and one long overdue.
The situation in Venezuela is cited as an early warning signal of a worldwide backlash against liberal democracy, market reforms and globalization. Yet, a closer look at the Venezuelan case unveils a rather different set of lessons. Venezuela's problem is not too much globalization but too little.