Society and Culture
The population of western Europe is aging steadily, and the region's birthrate is well below the replacement level, but Europe's elderly are exceptionally healthy. That means they could be more productive for longer than their predecessors were. If western European governments learn to tap this potential, healthy aging could become the region's next great economic asset.
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Even as Western commentators condemn the Muslim Brotherhood for its Islamism, radicals in the Middle East condemn it for rejecting jihad and embracing democracy. Such relative moderation offers Washington a notable opportunity for engagement -- as long as policymakers recognize the considerable variation between the group's different branches and tendencies.
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While radical Islamist terrorist groups such as al Qaeda grab the headlines, their nonviolent ideological cousins remain little known. But groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir play a crucial role in indoctrinating Muslims with radical ideology. Because they occupy a gray zone of militancy, regulating them is a diffcult challenge for liberal democracies -- but ignoring them is no longer an option.
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Given the atrocities they have suffered in the past and the autonomy they are enjoying now, Kosovo's Albanians will never accept continued Serbian sovereignty. The time has come to give them what they want -- independence.
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Early in the Cold War, American efforts at cultural diplomacy were funded by the CIA as well as the State Department's Division of Cultural Relations. Although CIA sponsorship would be inappropriate and counterproductive today, that history is a useful reminder of how seriously Washington once took the promotion of mutual understanding through cultural exchange. Policymakers understood the link between engagement with foreign audiences and victory over ideological enemies and considered cultural diplomacy vital to U.S. national security.
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