Iran—the same country that took American diplomats hostage twenty-five years ago and whose leaders often refer to the United States as the "Great Satan"—may be on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. How worried should we be? What can the United States do, if anything, to defuse the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran? Is a military response feasible? Or should the United States focus on strengthening the movement for democratic reform within Iran? Peter Robinson speaks with Larry Diamond and Abbas Milani.
On July 1, the Coalition Provisional Authority—the body headed by U.S. ambassador Paul Bremer that has governed Iraq since the end of the Iraq war—will transfer sovereignty to a temporary Iraqi government. The transfer of power raises a number of hard questions. Will our attempts at nation building in this ethnically and religiously divided country succeed? Just what are our responsibilities in ensuring that success? And how long will or should the United States maintain a military presence in Iraq?
It's been nearly twenty-five years since the shah of Iran was overthrown in a popular revolution. The ensuing American hostage crisis marked the beginning of an era of mutual hostility between Iran and the United States—Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini often called the United States "the Great Satan"; more recently President Bush placed Iran on the so-called axis of evil. But an increasingly visible democratic reform movement supported by young Iranians born after the revolution suggests that Iran may be entering a new era of change. Just how powerful is the reform movement in Iran? And what should the United States do, if anything, to help bring about a new Iran?
For forty-five years, the threat of conflict with the Soviet Union brought the United States and Western Europe into a tight partnership, most notably represented by the NATO military alliance. But with the Soviet Union gone and the European Union on the road to possible superpower status in its own right, does the transatlantic alliance have a future? Peter Robinson speaks with Niall Ferguson, Josef Joffe, and Coit Blacker.
Is Saudi Arabia an ally or an adversary? Saudi Arabia remains an autocratic monarchy, where the rights of women and the press are severely restricted. Saudi money is a principal source of funding for the Wahhabi sect, which promotes a militant form of Islam throughout the Muslim world. Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen participants in the attacks of September 11 came from Saudi Arabia. And yet, for more than 50 years, the United States has treated Saudi Arabia as an ally. Why? What role have Saudi oil and Saudi oil money played in shaping our relationship? Is it time to recognize that Saudi Arabia may threaten American national interests? If so, what should U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia be?
More than eighty years ago, President Woodrow Wilson presided over the U.S. entry into the First World War, promising that it would be "the war to end all war." Wilson promoted "peace without victory" and the creation of a League of Nations with the power to enforce the peace thereafter. At that time, Wilson's vision was dismissed by European and American leaders alike as naive idealism. Today, however, Robert S. McNamara, former U.S. secretary of defense, believes that Wilson's vision is essential to reducing the risk of conflict and war in the twenty-first century.
In 2003, the secretary general of the United Nations appointed a 16-member commission to assess the threats to worldwide security in the twenty-first century. The commission came back with a number of recommendations for reforming the UN itself. Is this institution so important that it must be preserved and reformed? Or, given its lack of response to the crisis in Iraq, the ongoing nuclear crises in North Korea and Iran, and the humanitarian crisis in the Sudan, is the UN beyond reform? Perhaps it has outlasted its usefulness. Peter Robinson speaks with Victor Davis Hanson and Jane Wales.
Hoover fellow Peter Berkowitz on the perversion of international law. By Jennifer Rubin.
Over the last quarter century, Latin America appears to have made remarkable political and economic progress—an undeniable shift towards democratic government and free market economics. Yet during the last five years, several Latin American countries have experienced one political and economic crisis after another. Why? Have democratic and free market reforms failed Latin America? Or are enduring problems of governmental structure still to blame? Peter Robinson speaks with Stephen Haber and Alvaro Vargas Llosa.
In 2002, the Bush administration published a new National Security Strategy, which argued that, in the twenty-first century, it was necessary for the United States not merely to defend itself but to use military force to prevent threats such as terrorist attacks and weapons of mass destruction. Is preventive force just? Is it effective? And what can the biggest example of this doctrine in action, the war in Iraq, tell us about the future of preventive force? Peter Robinson speaks with Victor Davis Hanson, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Stephen Stedman.
Recent opinion polls that show that the American public overwhelming wants the United States to avoid taking sides in the conflict in the Middle East. Yet members of Congress have been nearly unanimous in their support of Israel in its actions against the Palestinians. Just why is our government so steadfastly supportive of Israel? Does this support further our legitimate strategic interests in the Middle East? Or is it the result of domestic special interest politics?
The global AIDS pandemic is now in its third decade. Although treatments have improved and infection rates have slowed in the West, AIDS continues to take a staggering toll in Africa. And experts believe that Eurasia, particularly Russia, China, and India, may be next. Is the United States doing enough to combat the global AIDS crisis? Should the United States continue its current policy, which includes an emphasis on getting antiretroviral drugs to millions who can't now afford them? Or does the United States need to focus more on pressuring affected countries to reform their inadequate social and economic institutions? Peter Robinson speaks with Carol Adelman and Greg Behrman.
George W. Bush, during the 2000 presidential campaign said that "America has never been an empire... We may be the only great power in history that had the chance, and refused." Was then-candidate Bush right when he made those remarks? Or has America become an imperial power in all but name? How do America's unique historical circumstances predispose it to handle the unrivaled power it holds in the world today? And what lessons can we draw from our nearest historical antecedent, the British Empire of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries?
Now that the war with Iraq is over, will our strained relations with our longtime European allies and the United Nations return to "normal"? Is that even desirable? Or are we witnessing the emergence of a fundamentally new structure of international relations?
Since the end of the cold war, the United States has been the world's only superpower, accounting for 43 percent of the world's military expenditures. During this time, America has led major interventions into Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Are the United States and the world better off when America follows a unilateral, interventionist foreign policy? Or should the United States reduce its overseas presence and instead emphasize international cooperation? Peter Robinson speaks with Niall Ferguson and Ivan Eland.
Over the past year, the clashes between the Bush administration and European leaders over the best way to handle Saddam Hussein have led many observers to suggest that the half-century-long alliance between Western Europe and the United States is dead. How serious is the rift between Europe and America, and why has it emerged? Is it still in the strategic interest of the United States to maintain tens of thousands of troops in Europe, or should we pull out of NATO altogether?
Throughout the latter half of the Twentieth Century, the United States and Western Europe seemed the staunchest of allies, united in NATO in defense against the common threat of the Soviet Union. With the end of the cold war and the loss of that common enemy, however, signs of emerging tensions have appeared in the friendship between America and Europe. How serious are the spats between Europe and the United States over issues such as the International Criminal Court, the conflict in the Middle East, and the U.S. conduct of the war on terrorism? With the formation of the European Union, Europe has become an economic rival to the United States. Will it become a political and military rival as well?
Is France America's oldest friend or its oldest enemy? Americans are taught that the United States owes its very independence to France—that if the French hadn't helped us during the Revolutionary War, we would still be part of the British Empire. Was this assistance the beginning of a long and close friendship between France and America or an anomaly in an otherwise contentious relationship? Peter Robinson speaks with John Miller and Robert Paxton Mellon.