Several factors explain why a growing number of regimes are adopting outwardly more democratic political systems: the loss of appeal of socialist systems during the 1990s, the creation of newly independent states, and the corresponding need felt by an increasing number of governments to legitimize themselves in the eyes of their citizens and of the international community.
After the 9/11 attacks and the rash of anthrax mailings, renewed attention is being paid to the risks posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) falling into the hands of additional states and nonstate actors. The vast majority of scenarios involving WMD proliferation invariably stems from the current insecurity characterizing the state of the Russian WMD complex, particularly its nuclear complex.
The threatened test of North Korea’s long-range Taepo-Dong II missile has apparently been averted¾ for now. Talks between U.S. and North Korean officials have resulted in a loose pledge from the North not to take any actions that would disrupt improving relations as long as talks continue.
A newly released intelligence assessment presents a sober, balanced view of the ballistic missile threats to the United States, but contains important findings that may be overlooked in the rush to use the report to push narrow political agendas.
Western aid for civil-society development in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union needs to be evaluated from a past-present-future standpoint. It is also important to place the aid in the context of developments in the region.
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