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  • Author: David Bell
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Armand-Jean du Plessis, better known to history as Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642), spent most of his career contending for and then exercising control over a deeply divided, indebted, and dysfunctional superpower. His country's politics were vicious, and its government paralyzingly complex. In short, if he were dropped into Washington today, he might feel right at home.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington
  • Author: Michael Mann
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Francis Fukuyama shot to fame with a 1989 essay called "The End of History?" which he expanded into a 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. His thesis was a reworking of the "end of ideology" argument propounded in the 1950s by Daniel Bell and others, with an even more emphatic twist. "What we may be witnessing," Fukuyama declared, "is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the endpoint of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." The argument seemed hubristic, a product of the era's American triumphalism.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Colin Kahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In "Time to Attack Iran" (January/February 2012), Matthew Kroenig takes a page out of the decade-old playbook used by advocates of the Iraq war. He portrays the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran as both grave and imminent, arguing that the United States has little choice but to attack Iran now before it is too late. Then, after offering the caveat that "attacking Iran is hardly an attractive prospect," he goes on to portray military action as preferable to other available alternatives and concludes that the United States can manage all the associated risks. Preventive war, according to Kroenig, is "the least bad option."
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Iran
  • Author: Jack Chow, Shenglan Tang, Enis Baris
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Yanzhong Huang (“The Sick Man of Asia,” November/December 2011) paints a troubling picture of a China that has rapidly industrialized yet lags in modernizing its health-care system. Yet in his cogent history of China's health policy, much of which centers on self-reliance, Huang puzzlingly omits China's success in winning nearly $1 billion in recent years from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. That the country's health officials have had to resort to tapping a fund ostensibly dedicated to helping the world's poorest countries speaks to their inability to persuade the government to pay for public health with its national coªers. Only when the incongruity of a financial giant getting grants at the expense of impoverished African countries was illuminated did China choose to stop taking Global Fund awards.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: David Harris
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After reading the compelling case made by Yosef Kuperwasser and Shalom Lipner in “The Problem Is Palestinian Rejectionism” (November/December 2011), it was quite jarring to read the companion piece, “Israel's Bunker Mentality,” by Ronald Krebs. Krebs' argument boils down to this: Israel was doing quite nicely as a liberal, secular state until 1967, when a war mysteriously descended on it, and since then an illiberal, ethnocentric nationalism has taken over and redefined the country. In the process, Krebs contends, Israel became enamored with the occupation of territories acquired during the Six-Day War, helped along by a growing ultra-Orthodox community and large-scale Russian immigration.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Mark Adomanis
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Nicholas Eberstadt (“The Dying Bear,” November/December 2011) is surely correct that a rapidly depopulating Russia would be confronted with a number of essentially irresolvable economic, military, and political problems. However, data from Russia's Federal State Statistics Service suggest that over the last decade, Russia's demographic indicators have in fact been getting better. Moreover, this improvement has intensified since the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis, confounding a number of Western experts who predicted that the downturn would have a similar eªect within Russia to that of the country's debt default in 1998, when fertility plummeted and mortality skyrocketed.
  • Topic: Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Norman Davies
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Andrew Moravcsik's review of David Marquand's book The End of the West (“Recent Books on International Relations,” September/October 2011) characterized Marquand as both a political turncoat and a weak-kneed, inconsistent thinker who has reversed his position on European integration. These are damaging accusations, and both are manifestly untrue. Marquand has always been a pillar of the United Kingdom's democratic left; he stuck with the Social Democratic Party from start to finish, and he has never wavered in his advocacy of European integration.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Timothy Garton Ash
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After World War II, Europe began a process of peaceful political unification unprecedented there and unmatched anywhere else. But the project began to go wrong in the early 1990s, when western European leaders started moving too quickly toward a flawed monetary union. Now, as Europe faces a still-unresolved debt crisis, its drive toward unification has stalled -- and unless fear or foresight gets it going again, the union could slide toward irrelevance.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The euro's naysayers have it all wrong. True, the continent's powerhouses have yet to agree on a clear plan to save the common currency, as each one is seeking to secure the best deal for itself. But they all also know that the collapse of the eurozone would be a political and economic disaster, so they will ultimately pay whatever price is necessary to keep it together.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Adam Tooze
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With the euro in crisis, Germany has come to seem like a lone island of fiscal stability in Europe. Its debt levels are modest, its government bonds are safe havens for investors around the world, and it has avoided the kinds of private credit booms and housing bubbles that have destabilized the rest of the continent. The German economy, fueled by record exports, has grown steadily, expanding by a quarter over the last decade. But beneath the glowing headlines lies a darker story: Germany's economic position is simply unsustainable. For starters, much of its trade surplus has been earned at the expense of the corresponding current account deficits of the European countries in crisis. At the same time, this outsized surplus goes hand in hand with major imbalances within Germany's domestic economy. German businesses have invested their profits abroad, helping finance foreign imports. Meanwhile, as German money has flowed out of the country, domestic investment has languished at unprecedentedly low levels. Germany, like other rich, polluting, and aging countries, faces enormous long-term challenges. Its work force is shrinking, its energy sector needs to be remade, and its public infrastructure has gone too long without improvement. For all the talk of its financial strength, Germany has so far squandered the opportunity to secure long-term economic growth by addressing these challenges through badly needed domestic investments.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany