Politics and Strategy

Foreign Affairs Article

The Iraq Syndrome

Author: John Mueller

Public support for the war in Iraq has followed the same course as it did for the wars in Korea and Vietnam: broad enthusiasm at the outset with erosion of support as casualties mount. The experience of those past wars suggests that there is nothing President Bush can do to reverse this deterioration -- or to stave off an "Iraq syndrome" that could inhibit U.S. foreign policy for decades to come.

See more in History and Theory of International Relations; Iraq

Foreign Affairs Article

Base Politics

Author: Alexander Cooley

As the Pentagon prepares to redeploy U.S. forces around the world, it should review its practice of setting up bases in nondemocratic states. Although defense officials claim that having U.S. footholds in repressive countries offers important strategic advantages, the practice rarely helps promote liberalization in host states and sometimes even endangers U.S. security.

See more in Diplomacy and Statecraft; Defense Strategy

Foreign Affairs Article

Iraq: Learning the Lessons of Vietnam

Author: Melvin R. Laird

During Richard Nixon's first term, when I served as secretary of defense, we withdrew most U.S. forces from Vietnam while building up the South's ability to defend itself. The result was a success -- until Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by cutting off funding for our ally in 1975. Washington should follow a similar strategy now, but this time finish the job properly.

See more in History and Theory of International Relations; Iraq

Foreign Affairs Article

Mbeki's South Africa

Author: Jeffrey Herbst

Despite remarkable progress since the end of apartheid, South Africa today is badly wracked by AIDS and severe wealth inequalities, with a leadership still fixated on racial struggle. After more than a decade in power, the ANC has yet to reconcile its various ambitions: curbing racism, promoting political participation, and advancing the interests of all South Africans.

See more in South Africa; Politics and Strategy

Foreign Affairs Article

China's "Peaceful Rise" to Great-Power Status

Author: Zheng Bijian

Despite widespread fears about China's growing economic clout and political stature, Beijing remains committed to a "peaceful rise": bringing its people out of poverty by embracing economic globalization and improving relations with the rest of the world. As it emerges as a great power, China knows that its continued development depends on world peace -- a peace that its development will in turn reinforce.

See more in China; Politics and Strategy

Foreign Affairs Article

Understanding China

Author: Kishore Mahbubani

The United States has done much to enable China's recent growth, but it has also sent mixed signals that have unnerved Beijing. More consistent engagement is in order, because the course of the twenty-first century will be determined by the relationship between the world's greatest power and the world's greatest emerging power.

See more in China; Politics and Strategy

Foreign Affairs Article

Taming American Power

Author: Stephen M. Walt

U.S. policymakers debate how to wield American power; foreigners debate how to deal with it. Some make their peace with Washington and try to manipulate it; others try to oppose and undercut U.S. interests. The challenge for the United States is how to turn its material dominance into legitimate authority.

See more in Diplomacy and Statecraft

Foreign Affairs Article

Can Democracy Stop Terrorism?

The Bush administration contends that the push for democracy in the Muslim world will improve U.S. security. But this premise is faulty: there is no evidence that democracy reduces terrorism. Indeed, a democratic Middle East would probably result in Islamist governments unwilling to cooperate with Washington.

See more in Terrorism; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Foreign Affairs Article

Poll Positions

Author: Daniel Yankelovich

A new survey of public opinion on U.S. foreign policy shows that Americans are split in two along party and religious lines. Still, significant majorities are starting to come together based on discontent with the war in Iraq, U.S. standing in the Muslim world, and illegal immigration. Soon the grumbling may become too loud for policymakers to ignore.

See more in United States; Polls and Opinion Analysis

Foreign Affairs Article

How to Rebuild Africa

Author: Stephen Ellis

Past attempts to fix failed states in Africa have gone nowhere for similar reasons: they have tried to restore good governance to places that have never enjoyed it in the first place. A radical rethinking is needed; in the hardest cases, international trusteeships offer the best chance for success.

See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Politics and Strategy