Since the end of the cold war, the world has watched as the United States became, not merely the world's only superpower but what the French began calling a "hyperpower." Now, with the United States asserting its will and power on such issues as Iraq and the war on terror while rejecting contraints that the international community tries to place on it, some suggest that the term American empire is more appropriate. If America does have an empire, it is not based on territorial expansion as in past empires. So what is it based on? And would taking on the role of imperial hegemon be good for America and the world?
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?
Will the recent presidential crisis have a long-term impact on the nation and its government or just on the legacy of one man? Which party will emerge victorious in the elections of the year 2000? Richard Brody, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Stanford University, Morris Fiorina, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, Professor, Department of Political Science, Stanford University, and Nelson Polsby, Director, Institute of Governmental Studies, and Heller Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley discuss American politics today.
Hoover fellow Jerry Dorfman and Kenneth Garcia, Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle discuss the Labor Party's victory in the national election. What does a Labor Party victory mean for Great Britain, and do British domestic politics matter to the United States?
To what extent are government leaders personally responsible for the outcomes of foreign policy and war? We review the career of Henry Kissinger, one of the most colorful statesmen of the twentieth century. Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Kissinger served as national security adviser and secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford during two pivotal events in American history, the cold war and the Vietnam War. Is Kissinger guilty, as some have charged, of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his conduct during that era? Or should he be regarded as a bold defender of American freedom during a time of crisis?
Are peacekeeping missions undertaken by the United Nations a good idea? Is there a difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking? What sort of conflicts should the UN become involved in and which should it avoid? What are the alternatives to UN peacekeeping missions? Why have the number of UN missions increased so dramatically since the beginning of the 1990s?
Donald Aiken, senior scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists; David Goldstein, senior scientist, energy, National Resources Defense Council; and Henry Rowen, senior fellow, Hoover Institution, and director, Asia/Pacific Research Center, discuss the effects of the December 1997 treaty agreeing to cut its greenhouse gas emissions seven percent below 1990 levels by the year 2012.
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.
As required by the Constitution, the president of the United States is elected not by the national popular vote but by the vote of the Electoral College. In the Electoral College, each state receives as many votes as it has members of Congress. Because every state has two senators and is guaranteed at least one House member, votes of small states count more heavily than votes of large states. Has the Electoral College served the nation well? Or should it be abolished and replaced by a system in which every vote counts the same? Peter Robinson speaks with Jack Rakove and Tara Ross
Lance Izumi, Pacific Research Institute and Hoover fellow Joe McNamara debate the following questions: Are states failing to lock up enough criminals for long enough? Is prison incarceration a cost-effective strategy for fighting crime? Does a higher incarceration rate deter crime?
Many petroleum experts predict that world oil production will peak by the end of the decade. Will the United States soon be entering a period of worsening energy shortages and soaring energy costs? And, if so, what should the government to do about it? Or will the ever-improving technological efficiencies of the free market provide access to virtually endless sources of new energy? Peter Robinson speaks with Peter Huber and Jonathan Koomey.
Following World War II, Japan reinvented itself both politically, as it adopted the institutions of democratic government, and economically, as it became a dominant producer and exporter of consumer goods. These reforms were so successful that, ten years ago, experts were predicting that Japan would overtake the United States as an economic superpower. Instead, Japan experienced a decade of recession and economic stagnation that continues still. What happened? Is this a sign of serious structural problems in Japan's political and economic institutions? In other words, is it time for Japan to reinvent itself once again? If so, how should the United States alter its relationship with a new Japan?
How is Mexican immigration changing the United States in the twenty-first century? In the past several decades, the United States has seen an explosion in the number of Hispanic immigrants to this country, most of them from Mexico. And most of them go to California. Today nearly half of all Californians are immigrants or the children of immigrants—most of them coming originally from Mexico. What is the economic and social impact of this influx on California, and what does it bode for the rest of the country? What makes Mexican immigration different than immigration from other countries? And what, if anything, should we do about it?
In a 2002 Gallup poll conducted in ten Muslim nations, only 22 percent of the people questioned viewed the United States favorably. Why does the United States foster such hatred in the Islamic world in particular? Is it our foreign policy—our support of Israel and of repressive Arab regimes in the Middle East? Or is it our culture? Does globalization spread American values that are simply antithetical, thus disruptive, to the traditional Islamic view of society? Just what should we do to win this struggle for the hearts and minds of those who despise us around the world?
Is our strategic weapons policy in line with Ronald Reagan's proclamation that "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought"? Michael McFaul, Peter and Helen Bing Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, and Brian Hall, Contributor, New York Times Magazine pose the question: Is the Cold War really over?
The traditional notion of marriage, that of a union between one man and one woman, goes back thousands of years in cultures from around the world. But at the beginning of the 21st century, a debate is building in this country over the definition of marriage, specifically over the issue of same sex marriage. Are two men, or two women, in a committed relationship entitled to the sanctions and legal benefits of marriage? What roles will popular sentiment and judicial activism have in the struggle to redefine marriage?
For decades, Western Europe has been known for its social democracies—large welfare states governed by a coalition of the political left and center. In recent years however, this center-left coalition seems to have broken down. Conservative parties have come to power in a number of European countries, including Spain, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. Why has Europe moved to the right? Have a few specific issues, such as immigration and crime, driven European voters to the right? Are voters merely expressing a temporary frustration with the center-left coalition, or is the new conservative Europe here to stay?
In 1986, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met in Reykjavik, Iceland, to discuss nuclear arms control. The American and Russian leaders negotiated boldly, pushing each other far past the limits of previous arms control agreements. Reagan and Gorbachev were soon close to an agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons. The stopping point: Gorbachev insisted that America's Strategic Defensive Initiative, or "Star Wars" be scrapped. Reagan refused, and no agreements were reached. What is the legacy of the Reykjavik Summit? Was it a failure, a historic opportunity squandered? Or was it the beginning of the end of the Cold War?
Does outsourcing—whether it means the transfer of customer service and high-tech jobs to India or of manufacturing jobs to China—benefit the American economy or harm it? And if American workers are being harmed by outsourcing, what should be done about it? Do we need legislation to prevent corporations from sending jobs overseas? Or should we focus our attention on creating new opportunities for the American labor force through education and job training?
George Shultz, former secretary of state and distinguished fellow, Hoover Institution, and William Perry, former secretary of defense and senior fellow, Hoover Institution, discuss the threats we face as a nation and what should be done about them.