American interest in and concerns about India rose sharply after that country carried out underground nuclear tests in May 1998. Clinton administration officials belatedly acknowledged that developing a good working relationship with India should be one of America's top foreign policy priorities. President Clinton's visit to South Asia in March 2000 was an important symbolic step.
International Relations and Foreign Policy
United States, America, South Asia, Washington, and India
Sea-based missile defense is being advocated as an alternative to the Clinton administration\'s limited land-based national missile defense (NMD), which is in the early stages of testing. Proponents of sea-based NMD (which is only a concept, not a program) argue that such a system can be deployed more quickly and will be less expensive than the Clinton administration\'s land-based system. Some argue that the Navy Theater Wide (NTW) system—which is being designed to provide midcourse intercept capability against slower, shorter-range theater ballistic missiles—can be upgraded to attack longrange intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in their boost phase (when under powered flight at the beginning of their trajectories). Interestingly enough, advocates of sea-based NMD include not only traditional supporters of missile defense but also people who were previously opposed to missile defense.
The 1972 Biological Toxins and Weapons Convention—often called the Biological Weapons Convention, or BWC—requires the signatories to renounce the development, employment, transfer, acquisition, production, and possession of all biological weapons listed in the convention.
Traditionally, strategic offensive arms control and ballistic missile defense have been viewed as mutually exclusive. During the Cold War, the general belief was that anti–ballistic missile (ABM) systems would call into question the ability of the superpowers to successfully survive a first nuclear strike and inflict sufficient damage with a second strike. That is, missile defense could allow one superpower to launch a first strike and then use its defenses to intercept a second strike with the other superpower's surviving warheads—thereby undermining deterrence and stability. Furthermore, the thinking was that this situation would result in a dangerous offensive arms race as each side sought to counter the effects of the other's defenses.
Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, and Nuclear Weapons
Not all proposals for deploying a national missile defense live up to their name. Many are for “international” missile defense systems that would also defend U.S. allies and “friends,” even though they are wealthy enough to build their own missile defenses. For example, some policymakers and analysts on both the left and the right advocate sea-based missile defense as a substitute for the Clinton administration's limited land-based system, which is designed to protect only the territory of the United States. Conservatives would like to build a more comprehensive, layered defense consisting of sea- and space-based weapons or land-, sea-, and space-based weapons. George W. Bush, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is clear that he wants a comprehensive defense to defend U.S. allies and seems to favor the latter approach.
One year after NATO ended its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, the Clinton administration's Kosovo policy is a conspicuous failure. Kosovo is now the scene of a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by NATO's erstwhile de facto ally, the Kosovo Liberation Army, an organization profoundly inimical to America's interests and professed values. The KLA is also currently fomenting an insurgency elsewhere in Serbia, which promises to destabilize the Balkans even further.
Foreign Policy and Genocide
United States, America, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, and Balkans
The “anti-globalization coalition” that paraded through the streets of Seattle in November and stormed police barricades in Washington, D.C., in April contends that international trade and investment are “lose-lose” propositions. On the one hand, organized labor argues that low-wage workers in developing countries will gain employment at the expense of American workers. On the other hand, self-appointed advocates of the developing world claim that trade with and investment from Western countries lead only to exploitation and continued poverty abroad. Given that negative view of globalization, it is not surprising that anti-trade activists are calling to “shrink or sink” the World Trade Organization.
Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, and Third World
The U.S. Congress is in the historic position of being able to help pro-reform leaders in China move their country in a market-oriented direction. A vote to grant China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status will bolster the position of those leaders in Beijing who are attempting to deepen and broaden the scope of China's two-decade experiment with economic reform. Granting PNTR and China's subsequent accession to the World Trade Organization will benefit, not only the United States and the world trading community, but most directly the citizens of China, millions of whom are still mired in abject poverty.
International Relations, Foreign Policy, and International Trade and Finance
Since the end of the Cold War, a fundamental shift in national security policy has taken place in the United States. No longer restricting itself to such issues as military alliances, the strategic behavior of other great powers, and nuclear strike capabilities, security policy now tackles environmental degradation, poverty, infectious diseases, drug use, and other problems. Moreover, it increasingly posits them as threats to the national security of the United States.
The tendency of both the Clinton administration and its Republican opponents to frame foreign policy as a compromise between “global policeman” and “isolationism” misses the point entirely. The real issue is what the United States commits itself to defend—and whether it is actually willing to incur the costs and risks required to fulfill such commitments. Structural changes in the international system already greatly limit the options of U.S. policymakers.