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REAGAN'S WAR: Who Won the Cold War

with Michael McFaul, Peter Schweizer, Barton Bernsteinvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, November 11, 2002

Did Ronald Reagan win the cold war? It's been a dozen years since its end—time enough to look back on the era with some historical perspective. And one question that historians continue to argue about is the role that Ronald Reagan, the man and his policies, played in bringing the cold war to an end. To what extent did Reagan's cold war strategy build on efforts of previous administrations and to what extent was it new? Did the Soviet Union collapse as a result of external pressure or internal weakness?

WORTH THE FIGHTING FOR: A Conversation with John McCain

with John S. McCain IIIvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, November 7, 2002

John McCain has spent a lifetime in the service of his country, including twenty-two years as a naval aviator, two terms in the House of Representatives, and service in the U.S. Senate since 1986. Following his 2000 presidential campaign and the hard-fought passage of his campaign finance bill, John McCain reflects on a life in politics in his recent memoir Worth the Fighting for. A lifelong Republican, Senator McCain has broken with his party's mainstream on a number of issues in recent years. Does John McCain still consider himself a conservative? And why does McCain so often play the maverick?

Analysis and Commentary

Iraq: The Critics, Then and Now

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, November 4, 2002

That the critics were wrong a decade ago does not automatically make them wrong today. But their arguments are hauntingly similar.

The Provinces

The Mishu Phenomenon: Patron-Client Ties and Coalition-Building Tactics

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

China's ongoing political succession has been filled with paradoxes. Jockeying for power among various factions has been fervent and protracted, but the power struggle has not led to a systemic crisis as it did during the reigns of Mao and Deng. While nepotism and favoritism in elite recruitment have become prevalent, educational credentials and technical expertise are also essential. Regional representation has gained importance in the selection of Central Committee members, but leaders who come from coastal regions will likely dominate the new Politburo. Regulations such as term limits and an age requirement for retirement have been implemented at various levels of the Chinese leadership, but these rules and norms will perhaps not restrain the power of Jiang Zemin, the 76-year-old "new paramount leader." While the military's influence on political succession has declined during the past decade, the Central Military Commission is still very powerful. Not surprisingly, these paradoxical developments have led students of Chinese politics to reach contrasting assessments of the nature of this political succession, the competence of the new leadership, and the implications of these factors for China's future. This diversity of views is particularly evident regarding the ubiquitous role of mishu in the Chinese leadership.

Political Reform

Social Issues Move to Center Stage

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

For the past two decades, economic reform—or, more precisely, economic growth—has been at the center of China's thinking about politics. Party conservatives hoped to avoid social and political cleavages by constraining economic reform. Party reformers hoped to outrun and defuse social and economic challenges by developing the economy rapidly. Today, there is no escaping that reform has created winners and losers. That conclusion is forcing social issues to the center of political consciousness. Some believe that it is already too late to address these issues effectively, while others see them as forcing a process of political reform. For the moment, the political leadership is giving few indications of specific intentions regarding political reform. But it is nevertheless setting a tone and framework that provides space for such issues to be addressed. Although the Sixteenth Party Congress will be important for many reasons, it seems likely that whatever leadership arrangements are made, the pace of political reform will increase. Whether it will increase sufficiently is more difficult to assess.

The Big Show in Bololand

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

In 1921, Herbert Hoover’s American Relief Administration staged a campaign to battle a devastating famine in Soviet Russia. Hoover fellow Bertrand M. Patenaude examines a little-known chapter in the history of American-Soviet relations.

Milton Friedman celebrates his 90th birthday

A Hero of Freedom

by George W. Bushvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

In a ceremony at the White House this past May, President George W. Bush honored Milton Friedman for his lifetime achievements. Herewith the president’s remarks.

Economic Policy

Evening Glow: The Final Maneuvers of Zhu Rongji

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Economic policy reform slowed markedly at the end of 2001 and beginning of 2002. However, since June 2002, Premier Zhu Rongji has assumed a higher profile, and resumed a more authoritative role in policymaking. This increased activity should be regarded primarily as a defensive strategy. It is designed to prevent Zhu from becoming irrelevant at the end of his term and to avoid the problems that might develop if the central government were seen as weak or passive. Presumably, it is also designed to solidify Zhu's position in history. Some of the new policy activity may smooth the return to a more activist policy regime after the 16th Party Congress.

Military Affairs

Cao Gangchuan: A Political Biography

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Cao Gangchuan’s Military Career Cao Gangchuan was born in Wugang, Henan Province, in December 1935. At age 19, he joined the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and was immediately sent to study artillery and ordnance at two entry-level technical schools, at the latter of which he graduated to serve as a teacher for one year. In 1956, he joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and was singled out for Russian language education to prepare him for six years of study at a prestigious artillery engineering school in the Soviet Union. When Cao returned to the PLA in 1963, he began a long career in the equipment and ordnance system within the Beijing staff departments. For 12 years, including the time of the Cultural Revolution, he worked as a low-level officer in the munitions offices of the General Logistics Department. From the mid-1970s, Cao moved over to assume increasing responsibilities in the equipment departments of the General Staff Department (GSD), serving as deputy director of the Military Equipment Department from 1982-89. During this period, sources close to General Cao confirm that he often traveled to Europe and Russia on procurement delegations. After Tiananmen in 1989, General Cao directly oversaw this commerce as director of the Office of Military Trade under the Central Military Commission.

Milton Friedman, George W. Bush and Rose Friedman

Man of the Century

by George F. Willvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

George F. Will pays tribute to “America’s most consequential public intellectual of the twentieth century.”


Military History Working Group

The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict examines how knowledge of past military operations can influence contemporary public policy decisions concerning current conflicts.