The bilateral relationship has not benefited from the Iraq crisis, and despite common interests like terrorism and proliferation, the U.S.-Russian partnership is likely to remain shallow in the future. The failure of Putin to support the U.S. make it less likely that Bush will spend a lot of his political capital on Russia. Now the question is how much political capital Moscow is ready to invest.
Coming out of the war in Iraq, however, the Bush team appears to be in danger of losing a workable balance between the security and democracy imperatives. The administration's recent scramble to reconfigure U.S. policy on free trade agreements is a case in point.
The Pentagon's proposal to sell missiles to Taiwan must rank in a league of most ill-considered policy initiatives by itself. Obviously, the timing for pressuring Taiwan to purchase these systems is awkward. The US should seek all the diplomatic and strategic help it can get from China, and clearly it is no time to slap Beijing in the face.
The most important question now facing the world is the use the Bush Administration will make of its military dominance, especially in the Middle East. The next question is when and in what form resistance to US domination over the Middle East will arise. That there will be resistance is certain.
If the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia can reach a basic understanding on how to handle North Korea, the effort to convince Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program and accept a reasonable "more-for-more" agreement, while not easy, should enjoy a reasonable chance of success.
Following internal maneuvering and international pressure, Yasser Arafat has agreed to a new government proposed by Prime Minister-designate Mahmud Abbas, paving the way for Washington's ‘road map’ for an independent, democratic Palestinian state. But can Abbas implement reform? How do Palestinians view the issue of reform? And, what is the relationship between reform and Arab-Israeli peace?
When the end of the Cold War largely eliminated the likelihood of a global thermonuclear war, policymakers turned their attention to the very real danger that weapons of mass destruction could be used in smaller, but still horrifically deadly numbers. Ballistic missiles garnered the most of the attention, though they are only one-and perhaps the most difficult-method of delivery of these weapons.
The latest invasion of Iraq will unleash a new cycle of hatred—unless the United States can find ways to bolster the credibility of moderate Islamic thinkers.