The pattern of international engagement in Afghanistan has long been a piecemeal one. The international community moves from relief to reconstruction with a logic that is apparent to those who administer developmental assistance professionally, but its slow pace is often interpreted as indifference by communities that are the target of its efforts.
When diplomatic historians look back on the 1990s, they should describe it as the era of European integration. They will do so, however, only if the project is completed. As the Bush administration begins the process of promoting democratic regime change along a new frontier in the Muslim world, it must also finish the job on the European frontier.
Given the emphasis on democracy promotion as part of the war on terrorism, why does the U.S. ignore the view of the vast majority of Arabs? The U.S. would do well to listen to the voices of its Arab allies and pursue peace and economic development in the Middle East, instead of waging war on Iraq.
We must continue to focus on the control and reduction of nuclear weapons. This issue is not the highest agenda item in U.S.-Russian relations any more, however, we need continued high-level interactions that result in policy tools to effect control and reductions, in the first instance legally-binding treaties and agreements like the Moscow Treaty.
The Bush administration, the U.S. security establishment and America as a whole, were profoundly affected by the Cold War. It was inevitable, then, that the U.S. approach to the war against terrorism would be shaped by its legacy. Unfortunately, the hawks in the administration have chosen to rely on a few disputed lessons from the Cold War while turning their backs on its more valuable examples.