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Is Democracy
MAY/JUNE 2018 • VOLUME 97 • NUMBER 3 •

A Global

F O R E I G N A F F A I R S .C O M

Volume 97, Number 3

The Big Shift 10
How American Democracy Fails Its Way to Success
Walter Russell Mead

The Age of Insecurity 20
Can Democracy Save Itself?
Ronald Inglehart

The End of the Democratic Century 29
Autocracy’s Global Ascendance
Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa

Autocracy With Chinese Characteristics 39
Beijing’s Behind-the-Scenes Reforms
Yuen Yuen Ang

Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Revolution 49
The Long Road to Democratic Decline
Ivan Krastev

May/June 2018


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Jonathan P. and Vanda Felbab-Brown Globalization Is Not in Retreat 130 Digital Technology and the Future of Trade Susan Lund and Laura Tyson Where Myanmar Went Wrong 141 From Democratic Awakening to Ethnic Cleansing Zoltan Barany ON FOREIGNAFFAIRS. Economy Fresh Prince 75 The Schemes and Dreams of Saudi Arabia’s Next King F. Caulkins. May/June 2018 . defense strategy.COM John Garnaut on Pardis Mahdavi on Susanna Blume on the China’s influence how #MeToo became a Trump administration’s operations in Australia. Gregory Gause III The Right Way to Coerce North Korea 87 Ending the Threat Without Going to War Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz Perception and Misperception on the Korean Peninsula 103 How Unwanted Wars Begin Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper Opioids of the Masses 118 Stopping an American Epidemic From Going Global Keith Humphreys. global movement.ESSAYS China’s New Revolution 60 The Reign of Xi Jinping Elizabeth C.

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which appear in its pages. What it does accept is the responsibility for giving them a chance to appear. Number 1 • September 1922 May/June 2018 . Its articles will not represent any consensus of beliefs. THE GENE-EDITING REVOLUTION The Ultimate Life Hacker 158 A Conversation With Jennifer Doudna Gene Editing for Good 166 How CRISPR Could Transform Global Development Bill Gates Keep CRISPR Safe 171 Regulating a Genetic Revolution Amy Gutmann and Jonathan D. . It does not accept responsibility for the views in any articles. .” Archibald Cary Coolidge. will tolerate wide differences of opinion. Moreno The New Killer Pathogens 178 Countering the Coming Bioweapons Threat Kate Charlet REVIEWS & RESPONSES The Long Arc of Human Rights 186 A Case for Optimism Caroline Bettinger-López Recent Books 191 “Foreign Affairs . . signed or unsigned. . . What is demanded of them is that they shall be competent and well informed. representing honest opinions seriously held and convincingly expressed. Founding Editor Volume 1.

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Ang explains how a richer China is resisting the pressures of democratiza- tion—and questions whether it can do so indefinitely. In 2008. global development. Bettinger-López was the White House adviser on violence against women.” which mixes top- down orders with bottom-up experimentation. Now chair of the Centre for Liberal Strategies.CONTRIBUTORS The political scientist YUEN YUEN ANG ’s work focuses on a seeming paradox: How does a country without good governance achieve rapid economic growth? Her prize- winning 2016 book. the foundation has given over $40 billion to a variety of programs in education. Born in Communist-ruled Bulgaria. and public health.S.-style presidential primaries in Bulgaria. in Sofia. Poland. . From 2015 to 2017. In “The Long Arc of Human Rights” (page 186). Gates explains how CRISPR and related technologies can transform the global fight against poverty and disease. and he went on to become executive director of the International Commission on the Balkans. and elsewhere offer a glimpse at how authoritarianism could come to the West. in “Autocracy With Chinese Characteristics” (page 39). In 1996. found the answer to that question in an approach that she called “directed improvisation. BILL GATES left the company to work full time at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In “Gene Editing for Good” (page 166). she also served as the lead counsel in the first case brought before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by a domestic violence survivor from the United States. and she now teaches at the University of Miami School of Law. A profes- sor at the University of Michigan. Bettinger-López reviews Kathryn Sikkink’s book about global activist movements and argues that there is good reason to be optimistic. 33 years after he co-founded Microsoft. he headed a research project that led to the introduction of U. How China Escaped the Poverty Trap. an independent panel of experts. Since its launch in 2000. Krastev argues in “Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Revolution” (page 49) that autocratic rulers in Hungary. IVAN KRASTEV is a leading authority on eastern Europe’s postcommunist transition. CAROLINE BETTINGER-LÓPEZ is not just a legal scholar.

are not external but internal. The most pressing dangers for the Some say that global democracy is world’s leading democracies. The only struggle for global ideological supremacy. As a Latin American friend put it finally. Democracies in not much has changed. fascist predecessors. it can happen here. The United States has turned out to At least today’s enemies of democracy be less exceptional than many thought. “We’ve seen this movie before. have proved remarkably resilient over time. and opportunity to turn unless rich countries find ways to reduce things around are there. revolution. respectively. “Well. Doctor. As Benjamin Franklin walked out of the Pessimists fear the game is already over. The 1930s and that it will continue to retreat time. so war is unlikely. in other experiencing its worst setback since the words. and it is dent media. international perspective.IS DEMOCRACY DYING? C entralization of power in the economic might of authoritarian powers executive. resurgence is playing out on the ground just never in English. surprising thing is where they’ve turned Yuen Yuen Ang and Ivan Krastev. attacks on indepen. the only things inequality and manage the information missing are political will and leadership. the ques. explore how the authoritarian ruefully. To find an And in China. have we got. They have faced great challenges. Constitutional Convention in 1787. politicization of the now outweighs that of advanced liberal judiciary. “A republic. a that democratic dominance has ended woman asked him. Inglehart uses theory. up.” Two and a quarter centuries on. but they have also found ways of rising to those challenges and renewing themselves. the articles in this issue’s lead aged to reform their bureaucracy enough package zoom out. Editor particular. democracies. and Ronald keep it. general. a republic or a monarchy?” To counsel against despair. are less violent and aggressive than their Clearly. if you can Russell Mead uses history. Those are the optimists. the use of public office for probable that the future will look less private gain—the signs of democratic like the end of history than a renewed regression are well known. and American democracy in —Gideon Rose. resources. There is no reason they can’t do so once again—if they can somehow get their act together. Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa offer a bleaker view. The collective . Walter Franklin replied. putting the country’s to keep the economy moving forward— current troubles into historical and for now. the autocrats have man- answer. tion now is whether it will. they point out. what for good.” in China and eastern Europe.

There is now a pervasive sense of despair about American democracy—a fear that it has reached a point of dysfunction and decay from which it will never recover. —Walter Russell Mead The Big Shift Autocracy With Chinese Walter Russell Mead 10 Characteristics Yuen Yuen Ang 39 The Age of Insecurity JAM ES G ILLEARD Ronald Inglehart 20 Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Revolution Ivan Krastev 49 The End of the Democratic Century Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa 29 .

and that of President William substance of no commercial importance McKinley. campaign chant referring to President frequent scandals. States overtook the United Kingdom as 10 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .S. The WALTER RUSSELL MEAD is James Clark Industrial Revolution began. politics. but its full Humanities at Bard College. aston- That. rising inequal. development. Ma. Almost no one not professionally engaged Walter Russell Mead in the study of U. as the United Distinguished Fellow at the Hudson Institute. racial backsliding. Wash. As transcontinental railroads ity. Return to Table of Contents Not many Americans can name the The Big Shift IS DEMOCRACY DYING? drab presidents who drifted ineffectu- ally through the corridors of the White House during those years. populists spouting quack economic rem. growing suspicion of elites and in the annals of American governance. and his imitators and rivals. John D. anti-immigrant agitation. than for any substantive accomplishment. and the appearance of a new class of created a national market and massive super-empowered billionaires in finance industrial development created new and technology-heavy industries. industries and new technologies. declin. in 1901. experts. is a description of ishing inventions poured out steadily American life in the 35 years after the from the workshops of Thomas Edison Civil War. Chace Professor of Foreign Policy and the well before the Civil War. The years between the assas. and panics roiled the economy. it is more often for scandal political developments. frightening outbreaks of violence. where’s my Pa?” went the picture emerges: of ineffective politicians. they were years of extraordinary impor- major job losses. giant corporations the largest and most advanced economy dominating the economy. fewer still How American Democracy know the names of the senators and Fails Its Way to Success representatives with whom they worked. and a effects were felt only later. foreign policy can remember a diplomatic accomplishment between the purchase of Alaska and the A s Americans struggle to make construction of the Panama Canal. When sense of a series of uncomfortable the politicians of those days are dimly economic changes and disturbing remembered. of course. This was the attacks. the Global View columnist at The Wall Street Journal. Rockefeller turned petroleum from a in 1865. a worrying (“Ma. But if these were disappointing years edies. were among the least into the foundation of global economic inspiring in the history of U. sination of President Abraham Lincoln.S. of course. in the world. The United States’ finan- As Reconstruction proved unsuccessful cial system became as sophisticated and and a series of devastating depressions powerful as that of the United Kingdom. period in which the United States became ing social mobility. high-profile terrorist tance in American history. In hindsight. it was a period in which ington failed miserably to rise to the the United States failed its way to success challenges of the day. Grover Cleveland’s illegitimate child) polarized and irresponsible news media. as the consequences of the Industrial Revolution made themselves felt.

too wedded to paradigms that no longer and economic changes that the Industrial work. The remains one of the United States’ great- ideologies and policies that fit American est sources of strength. in the a fear that it has reached a point of North. parties and most of its political leaders Today. In the nine- society a generation ago are becoming teenth century. Yet its most urgent problems. for the most part. KEAN COLLEC TION / G ET TY IMAG ES social and economic order as profoundly Indeed. The information transformation is one of growth and revolution is disrupting the country’s development. a stressful States since the American Revolution. the ability to cope with change as the Industrial Revolution did. my old friend: the Panic of 1873 the greatest manufacturing power in the and policy elites. The Big Shift Hello darkness. and anxious time to be alive. of despair about American democracy— evant in the wake of the war. The rapid technological. in many ways. It is. the political ideals and the dysfunction and decay from which it governing institutions of the antebellum will never recover. people often compared steadily less applicable to the problems it the United States unfavorably with the faces today. world no longer sufficed. the contrast often drawn is with lack the vision and ideas that could solve China’s efficient modernization. The effects of rapid change are The United States is passing through often unwelcome. too. social. not of decline and fall. are world. Intellectual there is resilience and flexibility in the May/June 2018 11 . but the populists who seek to Revolution brought overwhelmed the replace them don’t have real answers. The United States’ political orderly Prussian-led German empire. And that It was not just the South that found its anxiety has prompted a pervasive sense old political structures and ideas irrel. but the process of something similar today. institutions that had guided the United either.

there was much less poverty federal government invited pioneers to in the United States then than in most settle on increasingly marginal lands of the rest of the world. abysmal public health services. Before the farm and the rise of large cities filled 12 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . The but overall. There Civil War. There had been rich and inadequate schooling—all blighted urban poor Americans in 1800—and nearly life in the United States. society was divided all levels failed to address the resulting between workers and owners. were undermining the security of what destroying once flourishing businesses. that was no longer possible. in the United States. living through farming. entrepreneurs and factory owners chinery and artificial fertilizers raised emerged. further apart. in workshops. Civil War years. and today. many Americans were haunted by it has hit two percent. many lost War. a revolution in how people jobless at a time when no social safety earned their livings. By 1900. dystopian visions of a future spinning The Industrial Revolution also led to out of control. land after the passage of the Homestead Financial markets were so poorly Act. the classes grew even crime. that By the end of the nineteenth cen- figure had fallen to 38 percent. for centuries had been the foundation driving once prosperous families from of American society: the family farm. Back home. After the Civil west of the 100th meridian. In 1850. A class of superrich everything they had. this changed. rampant pollution. high harder to cross. crossing the Atlantic to scour agricultural productivity. 64 percent net existed to mitigate the horrors of of the American population earned its unemployment. As the LIFE COMES AT YOU FAST small workshop was replaced with larger Transitions are painful. tury. among life savings. the failure of politics had Horatio Alger wrote novels about plucky grave consequences for American life. often working 12 or 14 hours land-grant colleges to promote scientific a day. The use of ma. Poor housing. obliterating The Industrial Revolution was.Walter Russell Mead creative disorder of a free society. but small Europe for art treasures. nor the subsidizing of railroads regulated that panics and crashes periodi- could change the economic forces that cally erupted with astonishing ferocity. and swelling the ranks of the other things. The decline of the family a decline in social mobility. seven days a week. one million Americans were slaves— Farm policy was also a disaster. the and employer was more permeable than United States can find a path to an open it later became. Neither the establishment of tence wages. Young people without and humane society that capitalizes on the capital naturally went to work as artisans riches that the new economy will produce. once again. shoeshine boys who rose out of poverty These were years of mass urbanization through hard work and good character. problems. the line between employee are reasons to believe that. their homes into the streets. dangerously As those dividing lines became bad food quality. in noisy and farming. In the post– factories. nor the distribution of free dangerous factories. but many of them would soon start their own businesses. family farms were poorly placed to industrial workers labored for subsis- compete. and government at but increasingly.

such as Prohibition. and Drug Administration. Americans were learning than ever before. Often. fly bursting from its cocoon. Civil the United States. Americans struggled to grapple with the introduction of the income tax. The bimetal far-reaching New Deal that followed it monetary standard of the politician solved the problems of industrial society. Only then could the from their failures and deepening their United States harness the full potential understanding of the new conditions. of its industrial productivity and create Economists developed better statistics the stable and prosperous society that and sharpened their analysis of such appeared to have fixed the most basic May/June 2018 13 .S. thus beginning the second stage of adjustment. with industrialization. ing their society more comprehensively Still. the crisis of industrialization to build The postbellum generation did not a new kind of economy that ultimately solve the new problems that sprang up to brought prosperity and freedom to the confront them. tion. but they laid the founda- overwhelming majority of the popula. Americans with a template for organiz- and urban poverty. Socialists and service reform improved the quality of anarchists agitated for revolutionary government personnel. the death throes of the American more successful set of policies in what experiment but the struggle of a butter. NO PAIN. The Federal Reserve System. and the forces reshaping their society. The Big Shift with masses of immigrants led many problems as the business cycle and the to predict the end of democracy in instabilities of the banking system. conservatives feared for the and private philanthropists experimented future and saw American values and with new methods and new ideas. New and Yet beginning in the early twentieth more forward-looking coalitions began century. neither the people brought into the arena often fell Progressive era nor the more radical and short of what was required. racial inequality. the United States emerged from to take shape in American politics. women’s suffrage. An intellectual. and reforms In the first. Theo- culture being swamped by immigrants logians rethought the relationship of and unfamiliar ideas. NO GAIN regulatory agencies such as the Food The adjustment came in three stages. tions for future success. The new ideas that well-intentioned Yet for all these successes. could not solve the problems of the The rapid development of the wartime day—but neither could the prophets economy and the large-scale planning of orthodoxy solve the problems of necessary to win the war provided agricultural decline. social problems to the Gospel. Social activists change. William Jennings Bryan and the “single It would take World War II to launch tax” of the economist Henry George the third and final stage of adjustment. as many feared at the came together that would support a time. The postbellum generation was social. and political structure gradually witnessing not. the popular election of U. became known as the Progressive era. senators the government was too weak or too testified to the growing confidence of a poorly organized to undertake the new generation better equipped to deal complex tasks that the times demanded. from 1865 through 1901.

they In the United States. a end. or mines. environmental damage of the Industrial The rise of the European Union and Revolution was being addressed. The passions the oil. gas. Regulated monopolies and ment followed a predictable path. Wages and benefits use the enormous wealth that industri. By the 1970s. and in subsequent benefit pension plans in addition to decades. gradually mellowed. a rural nation of mostly living than its predecessor. 14 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . such as banking. the bitter class conflicts Children went to school.and white-collar workers. and cies. the worst of the and Japan no longer disturbed the peace. AT&T operated the passed through a kind of adolescence. saw the development oping world. the pattern seems clear: These employers offered their employees the post–Civil War years transformed stable jobs with good benefits. it form of regulated capitalism closely aligned appeared that human political develop- with the state. NATO pointed to a new era of deep peace ally. the water and the air were getting within Europe and in the Atlantic cleaner. but telephone system as a monopoly. prosperous small farmers had become an This transformation was not confined urban and suburban nation of mostly to the United States. and the slow work of assessing world more generally. and steel and errors of youth burned away. In hindsight. Educational alization created to address the problems opportunity widened. On the whole. elderly. international tensions persisted. airline. were oligopolies delusional fantasies from fascism to dominated by a few large producers. and over time. Throughout the prosperous blue. both capitalists and been moderated so that the depressions workers came to prefer compromise that shook the industrializing world over struggle. and market-oriented safety net protected employees. In the In other industries.Walter Russell Mead problems of economic and social life in large number of firms operated under the modern world. gradu. Cities stable among the industrial democra- had reliable sources of water. The peak years of industrial society. centuries. they matured. and repairing past environmental damage Beyond the frontiers of the industrial- was under way. gradually rose in real terms. As oligopolies dominated many industries. By the end of generation enjoyed a higher standard of World War II. The financial upheavals of in the nineteenth and early twentieth earlier eras had been largely tamed. industrial world. and the infirm from the vicissi. Socialist parties became became a thing of the past. But given the peaceful track in many countries of an unusually stable record of industrial democracies. The restless ambitions of Germany electricity. had World War II. not to factories of the early decades of industrialization. among others. After The business cycle. with the Soviet bloc and across the devel- from 1945 to 1990. automobile. and industries. each that it also brought. increasing the United States into the world’s leading numbers of workers received defined- industrial economy. the parties became more socially conscious. if not abolished. International life also became more tudes of life in a market society. The social more gradualistic. agrarian societies industrialized. regulations that limited competition. like most well-brought-up youth. Americans would learn how to Social Security. communism lost their appeal. ized West.

.S.’ a well-done partial inexorably to both social peace at home history of the WTO and EU. but also to come to grips with nuclear weapons Alexander Rüstow.00 uncomfortable situation of the postbellum HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS | www.00 mature industrial economies turned out not to be the end of generation: facing problems whose 15 . Marginal Revolution plans.. and Michael Heilperin. policy in new directions..[Frampton’s] book fills a crucial could find the right answers to eco.” Providence. Röpke. Zbigniew as geopolitical and ideological rivals Brzezinski America’s Grand Strategist have undermined the foundations of the liberal world order in recent years.00 to crumble. Brotherhood and No longer were liberal democracies the West the custodians of a fully developed and A History of Enmity and Engagement stable social system. even as the architects of world order sought to place the finish. In many relationship between religion and politics in today’s Middle East.harvard. Financial Times the world today find themselves in the Belknap Press | $35.” to take U. and Italy. a president’s agenda. that industrial development was leading here relabeled the ‘Geneva School. Much remained to be done. citizens of democracies around —Malise Ruthven. — Edward Luce.. Liberal democracy in a world of $35. And the idea post-war Austrian School.these societies grew to become responsible stakeholders in a prosperous world. Increasingly.hup. Apart from Kissinger. however. no followed election returns in the United adviser so dominated Kingdom. and life in the United States and the other mature industrial societies of the late twentieth Globalists century was far from perfect. and international peace abroad was and a book where the central supremely comforting to an era struggling characters are not only Mises and Hayek. They led regular lives. Hungary. after all. had other —Tyler Cowen. the Martyn Frampton masses no longer believed that technocrats “Rigorous yet absorbing. The Muslim ing touches on the cathedral of peace. Wilhelm and intercontinental ballistic missiles. But their The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism achievements were impressive enough to Quinn Slobodian inspire political scientists to hail liberal.” cases.. and as the Trump administration sought [Brzezinski’s] intellect was as sharp as his tongue. Poland. Justin Vaïsse As horrified EU officials in Brussels “A long-awaited biography. “Imagine a novel and industrial capitalism as the highest and interesting coverage of the final form of human society. the foundations of the building seemed Financial Times $35.. gap in the literature and will be essential reading.for nomic and social questions by following anyone seeking to understand the ever-problematic the established procedures.

lifetime employment is becoming harder 16 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . yet clear. new political ture in the U. as a result one. Political parties shatter and of work. in preparation. than anything ever known. and freedom than anyone Meanwhile. first to understand and then to master the It appears that these historic shifts rules of the emerging information society. the journey on which rise of automation is expected to destroy the country has embarked leads not to millions of jobs. some of them extreme. From the family to the state. perity. The much-feared On the other hand. In the contemporary world. and to make that does not yet exist.Walter Russell Mead origins cannot be fully understood. the nature of employ- has enjoyed since humanity emerged from ment has changed for many of the jobs the prehistoric mists. Such processes alter society even the patterns of the new world are not more profoundly than political revolu. so can one reasonably that survive. the country could of automation and globalization. from social order can offer valuable insights. Just as the might appear to take their place. perhaps decades. Lifetime employment was hope that the creative forces unleashed by often the norm in the mature industrial the information revolution will give rise economy. and The information revolution is likely whose solutions will ultimately require to be even more disruptive than the intellectual and political architecture Industrial Revolution was. from between two forms of economic and the corporation to the classroom. it is unfolding in an unstable world awash in nuclear weap- INFORMATION. Together. in to a new kind of society that will be more which companies can spring up overnight conducive to human dignity and freedom and then disappear almost as quickly. emerge the Industrial Revolution has its con- from the chaos to command widespread temporary counterpart in the collapse support. The rapid decline of agricul- are rebuilt along new lines. Although new ones decline but to achievement. these face years.S. work force caused by ideologies. matters worse. the altar to the throne. this is both a nearly half the jobs in the American pessimistic diagnosis and an optimistic economy as recently as 1980. Yet as one thinks about how to that they have come to conceal the very manage the dangerous period in which scale of change they were once meant to the old ways are no longer adequate but highlight. On the one hand. PLEASE ons. It is this kind of change that of employment in both factory and swept the world during the Industrial routine clerical work. these Revolution and is sweeping it now. no one mature industrial society of the second knows what these jobs will be—or what half of the twentieth century offered the kind of education to give young people vast majority of Americans greater pros. no social institution emerges revolutions are first felt: in the world unchanged. of upheaval two categories accounted for only 15 and dysfunction as Americans struggle percent of American jobs in 2016. from gender to The place to begin is where these finance. are only beginning. reflecting on the last big shift tions. health. History cannot reveal everything “Industrial revolution” and “information one needs to know about the challenges revolution”—the phrases are so hackneyed ahead. two categories of labor accounted for For the United States.

the information “flying machines” they could perhaps revolution has increased the earnings of have imagined. If people in the of information-based services that today 1860s and 1870s had been told that only are available only to the very rich. and the ideas and institutions it made it possible for ordinary people suitable to it will emerge as the rising to live lives of affluence and security generations learn to use the resources that would have astounded the court of and wealth that an information society May/June 2018 17 . many be tasked with writing letters to certify of today’s learned professionals risk being that certain household pets should be replaced by machines in much the same designated as “emotional support animals” way. vacuum defined-benefit pension plans have cleaners. radios. At the industries over the course of their same time. but would they have been many knowledge workers. televisions. Automobiles. That there would machines and sophisticated software. The Big Shift to find. one day be “horseless carriages” and even In its early stages. Spinners. they would not have been able career and professional consulting will to imagine what jobs the displaced be near universal in an age of smart farmers could find. but millions of workers also brought a multitude of diseases under move in and out of the “gig economy. owners on the flying machines? The full consequences of the informa- The Industrial Revolution and the tion revolution will only gradually come scientific revolution that accompanied into view. This is likely able to predict that people would get jobs to change. driving passengers for Uber. likely have a similar effect on services as cheap information processing continues TIME CHANGE to bring sophisticated offerings within It will be a very long time before it the price range of the ordinary consumer. becomes clear what a mature information The average person will enjoy the kind economy might look like. weavers. better software and more power- Or that health-care professionals would ful computers continue to develop. selling surgery and childbirth. the revolution in health care careers. century. two percent of the population would earn Individualized medicine. Louis XIV. Not only must formed the material existence of the many workers change jobs and even masses as well as of the elites. as seems compartments of the flying machines? likely. and so on trans- largely disappeared. Outside the government sector. extended life spans by decades. If. It was the guild members and making stickers saying “Baby on Board” tradesmen who suffered the most from the that proud parents could place in the Industrial Revolution. renting and found new ways to dull the pain of out rooms through Airbnb. rear windows of those carriages? Or that and ironworkers saw their once prestigious factories would one day grow up to make and highly paid jobs lose status and “travel-size” suitcases that passengers income as machines enabled less skilled could place in the overhead baggage workers to match their output. and taking on various The information revolution will part-time and temporary assignments. Bureaucrats and managers face so that they could accompany their similar threats.” control. first-class legal its living in agriculture in the twentieth and financial advice and representation. goods on eBay.

Walter Russell Mead

creates to address the problems it also today’s educational system socializes
brings. It is likely that before the adjust- young people into a world that no
ment is finished, every institution—from longer exists.
the state to the family to the corporation— The rise of large and stable employ-
will have changed in fundamental ways. ers made them central to social policy.
In the meantime, people must learn to The corporation collected taxes on
live in a world of forces that they do not behalf of the state, but it also served
always understand, much less control. as the point of intervention for many
“We do not ride on the railroad; it rides social goals. Society looked to employ-
upon us,” wrote Henry David Thoreau ers to provide pensions, health insur-
in 1854. Today, one might say that we ance, and a host of other benefits. If, as
do not so much surf the Web as the Web seems likely, the great firms of the new
surfs us. economy, such as Facebook and Google,
will employ fewer people directly than
HOW TO GET THROUGH IT such companies as AT&T and U.S.
To the extent that the experience of the Steel did in their heyday, and if many
last great transition offers some useful firms will hire and fire workers more
lessons, the first would be to remember rapidly than in the past, then it is time
that however difficult this one may appear, to rethink the close relationship between
what is happening now is an opportunity, employers and the state.
not a disaster. While one can mourn the Especially during the transition
loss of the stable livelihoods, assembly- period, it is likely that many Americans
line work is not, on the whole, an enrich- will be self-employed or work for very
ing or fulfilling pursuit. That humanity small enterprises, perhaps on a part-time
may soon be able to provide for its or freelance basis. Ensuring that these
material needs without conscripting companies, on the one hand, have access
millions of people into lives of repetitive to credit and other necessary services
toil is cause for celebration. and, on the other hand, are not crushed
Beyond that lesson, it seems clear by paperwork and compliance burdens
that many existing social institutions and designed for larger enterprises will require
policies, however well they used to work, many policy changes. Everything from
need to be changed. The contemporary zoning laws (to allow people to run small
approach to schooling was developed in businesses out of their homes) to rules
response to the needs of the Industrial about employer benefits will need to
Revolution: it provided basic literacy be reviewed.
to the whole work force, offered more One of the most important ways that
advanced schooling to a percentage of it, the information revolution can radically
and socialized children into the unique improve the lives of most Americans
working environment of the industrial involves health care. In the future, the
age. Whether toiling on the factory floor human physician may well be a worse
or in corporate or government bureauc- diagnostician than a computer program,
racies, the employees of the industrial era much as the folk hero John Henry was
worked in hierarchical organizations that defeated by the steam drill, or the chess
valued order and patience. Increasingly, master Garry Kasparov was beaten by

18 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S

The Big Shift

IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue. The data,” the power that information will
characteristic effect of the information give to states is only going to grow. This
revolution on a particular industry is a raises fundamental questions of sover-
radical reduction in costs accompanied eignty, security, and, of course, civil
by a radical enhancement in quality. liberties that will need to be answered.
In health care, then, the primary focus The challenge is immense. The
of reform ought to be a shift away foundations of societies are quaking at
from providing a uniform bureaucratic home, even as the international order
experience to the entire population and threatens to splinter. In the United
toward encouraging the innovation that States, policymakers and politicians
could someday give every individual now find themselves accountable to a
American significantly better health care. public that may become defensive and
Government should also be trans- antagonistic under the stress of eco-
formed. The modern civil service is, nomic and cultural change. The old
above all, a product of the Industrial answers in the old textbooks don’t seem
Revolution; the information revolution to work anymore, the new answers
makes it possible, and perhaps neces- haven’t been discovered yet, and those
sary, for government to become much who will someday write the new text-
more responsive and effective. Industrial books are still in primary school. To
bureaucracies aimed for uniformity: reflect on the upheavals that accompa-
every person who contacted the bureauc- nied the Industrial Revolution—the
racy would ideally be treated in the most destructive wars and the most
same way. This works reasonably well unspeakable tyrannies in the history
when it comes to processes such as of our species—is to realize just how
granting driver’s licenses, but it works much peril we face.
much less well when it comes to deliv- Yet humans are problem-solving
ering complex services. In the future, a animals. We thrive on challenges.
worker who loses a job may receive a Americans, for their part, are the heirs
voucher for unemployment benefits and to a system of mixed government and
retraining, and be able to choose among popular power that has allowed them
competing firms that offer the kinds of to manage great upheavals in the past.
specialized services that a conventional The good news and the bad news are
bureaucracy simply cannot provide. perhaps the same: the American people,
Finally, it is becoming increasingly in common with others around the
clear that information is one element, world, have the opportunity to reach
and perhaps the most important, of unimaginable levels of affluence and
state power. The “revolution in military freedom, but to realize that opportu-
affairs” that defense analysts spoke of in nity, they must overcome some of the
the early 1990s—the idea that in battle, hardest challenges humanity has ever
the advantage goes to the military that known. The treasure in the mountain is
can command the “infospace”—was priceless, but the dragon who guards it
merely a foretaste of what is to come. is fierce.∂
Given the increasing importance of
signals intelligence, cyberwar, and “big

May/June 2018 19

Return to Table of Contents

immigration (and, in the United States,
The Age of

rising racial equality). That reaction has
been intensified by the rapid cultural
Insecurity change and declining job security experi-
enced by many in the developed world.
Cultural and demographic shifts are
Can Democracy Save Itself ? making older voters feel as though they
no longer live in the country where they
Ronald Inglehart were born. And high-income countries
are adopting job-replacing technology,
such as artificial intelligence, that has

ver the past decade, many the potential to make people richer and
marginally democratic countries healthier but also tends to result in a
have become increasingly author- winner-take-all economy.
itarian. And authoritarian, xenophobic But there is nothing inevitable about
populist movements have grown strong democratic decline. Rising prosperity
enough to threaten democracy’s long- continues to move most developing
term health in several rich, established countries toward democracy—although,
democracies, including France, Germany, as always, the trajectory is not a linear
the Netherlands, Sweden, the United one. And in the developed world, the
Kingdom, and the United States. How current wave of authoritarianism will
worried should we be about the outlook persist only if societies and governments
for democracy? fail to address the underlying drivers.
The good news is that ever since If new political coalitions emerge to
representative democracy first emerged, reverse the trend toward inequality and
it has been spreading, pushed forward by ensure that the benefits of automation
the forces of modernization. The pattern are widely shared, they can put democ-
has been one of advances followed by racy back on track. But if the developed
setbacks, but the net result has been an world continues on its current course,
increasing number of democracies, from democracy could wither away. If there
a bare handful in the nineteenth century is nothing inevitable about democratic
to about 90 today. The bad news is that decline, there is also nothing inevitable
the world is experiencing the most severe about democratic resurgence.
democratic setback since the rise of
fascism in the 1930s. BY POPULAR DEMAND
The immediate cause of rising support Over the past two centuries, the spread
for authoritarian, xenophobic populist of democracy has been driven by the
movements is a reaction against forces of modernization. As countries
urbanized and industrialized, people who
RONALD INGLEHART is Amy and Alan were once scattered over the country-
Lowenstein Professor of Democracy, Democra- side moved into towns and cities and
tization, and Human Rights at the University of began working together in factories.
Michigan. He is the author of Cultural Evolution:
People’s Motivations Are Changing, and That allowed them to communicate
Reshaping the World. and organize, and the economic growth

20 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S

The Age of Insecurity

Power to the populist: Trump at a rally in Florida, December 2017
driven by industrialization made them tions do not guarantee that the people
healthier and wealthier. Greater eco- will elect wise and benevolent rulers, but
nomic and physical security led succes- they do provide a regular and nonviolent
sive generations to place less emphasis way to replace unwise and malevolent
on survival and more on intangible ones. Nondemocratic leadership succes-
values, such as freedom of expression, sions can be costly and bloody. And since
making them more likely to want de- democracy enables people to choose their
mocracy. Economic growth also went leaders, it reduces the need for repres-
hand in hand with more education, sive rule. Both these advantages have
which made people better informed, helped democracy survive and spread.
more articulate, more skilled at organiz- For the past few decades, the most
ing, and therefore more effective at striking alternative to the democratic
pushing for democracy. Finally, as path has come in China. Since its disas-
industrial societies matured, jobs shifted trous experience under Mao Zedong,
from manufacturing to knowledge sectors. the country has been governed by an
Those new occupations involved less exceptionally competent authoritarian

routine and more independence. Work- elite. That reflects the political genius
ers had to think for themselves, and that of Mao’s successor, Deng Xiaoping.
spilled over into their political behavior. In addition to guiding China toward a
Moreover, democracy has a major market economy, Deng established
advantage over other political systems: norms that limited top leaders to two
it provides a nonviolent way to replace five-year terms in office and mandated
a country’s leaders. Democratic institu- retirement at age 70. He then selected

May/June 2018 21

the Nazis won 37 percent of the had selected. start of the twentieth century. as the unprec- edented prosperity of the postwar era FITS AND STARTS took hold. however. bureaucratic nonviolent successions. In 2012. ment. In Denmark. the a platform of xenophobia and sympathy 22 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . party. fascism. By 2015. Most authoritarian countries. with another surge 32 democracies. they won control of govern- Democracy’s most dramatic setback. Then. was partially U.candidate Donald Trump campaigned on tively secure conditions in 1928. Despite the Reichstag. when fascism stronger in some countries. world: from 1945 to 1959. not full democracies by today’s stan. each surge was followed largest political bloc. For roughly tional elections that year. only a few After 1980. Under rela. and even they were authoritarian parties surged. they have grown even which came in the 1930s. The number increased sharply than 12 percent of the vote across those after World War I. they drew but knowledge economies flourish best an average of about seven percent of in open societies. Each period group also seems competent. If Xi succeeds. Xi Jinping. In the 2016 spread over much of Europe. giving it less installed a carefully chosen group of than three percent of the vote in na- 50-year-olds below them. At the low during the 1970s. cies never fell back to its original level. communism. In Hungary and by a decline. But the number of democra- less effective. the vote across the 32 Western democra- democracy seems to be the best way to cies that contained at least one such govern developed countries. they were drawing an average of more dards. contemporary China (nor was China The defeat of the Axis powers in under Mao).Ronald Inglehart some of the country’s most competent German electorate viewed the Nazi 60-year-olds to run the government and Party as a lunatic fringe. in the 1960s. with the onset of the Great Depres- China was governed by the people he sion. authoritarian the end of the Cold War. During the early stages of World War II largely discredited industrialization. The long-term trend toward democracy to about five percent. presidential election. becoming the largest party in a new generation of leaders. had ended and that some other system— abandoning Deng’s system of predictable. however. support for democracies existed. before taking over the growing cronyism and corruption. Poland. but its of democratic decline brought a wide- leader. however. authoritarian states canauthoritarian parties in the developed attain high rates of economic growth. and it remained has always had ups and downs. 1932. In the long run. the Neth- following World War II and a third at erlands. Sooner or parties became the largest or second- later. and Switzerland.S. But in July two decades after Deng’s retirement. the Republican driven by economic decline. and each decline was eventually followed are not governed nearly as effectively as by a resurgence. this government the next year. is maneuvering to spread belief that democracy’s spread establish himself as dictator for life. that group chose vote. authoritarianism—would be the wave of China’s government is likely to become the future. their support fell even further. Since then.

private. 2019 .2429 AND JANUARY 7. all while continuing to work full time. “Through GMAP I was able to pursue my master’s degree and join a network of accomplished international professionals.617. Department of Defense Global Master of Arts Program GMAP CLASS AT A GLANCE (GMAP) NON-US STUDENTS: 50% • One-year master’s degree in international affairs COUNTRIES REPRESENTED: 20+ without interrupting your career or relocating AV E R A G E A G E : 40 • Hybrid program structure of 3 two-week residencies and 33 weeks of internet-mediated learning 30% International Organizations/NGO • Diverse cohort of approximately 50 mid-career and senior-level professionals working around the globe in the public. GMAP 2017 G3. CLASSES START JULY • +1. Army.627. and non-profit sectors 30% Public Sector 40% • Professional network of 9500 Fletcher alumni Private Sector (including 1000 GMAP alumni) fletcher. Director of Operations. 2018 fletcher-gmap@tufts.tufts.” –Paul Vamasiri.S.

In France.” who take that behind strong leaders. Under these economic and physical security. won 34 percent of the great a need to conform to group norms. the His- explained by the extent to which people panic population of the United States feel that their existence is secure. people tend to close ranks “postmaterialists. now levels rose with them. yet he won thanks to unprecedented economic 46 percent of the vote (and the Electoral growth. becoming less secure positions in society (the less Germany’s third-largest party. realistic strategy: when a tribe’s territory surveys in the United States and other produced just enough food to sustain it. narrowly lost shift in values. most of history. it is 25 percent. In Austria’s 2016 presidential peace between the world’s major powers. They could do so required choosing which of two goals 24 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . the less well off) who felt threatened by the erosion of familiar THE ERA OF NOT-SO-GOOD values. population almost entirely by ethnic Swedes. xenophobic parties. In both percent. respondents were World War II grew up taking their asked a list of six questions. Germans have changes: the rise of antiwar movements. the shifts between pounded by an influx of immigrants and democracy and authoritarianism can be refugees. which in 1970 was inhabited When food supplies rose. had a strong aversion to authoritarian. FEELINGS that sense of alienation has been com- To a large degree. When food grew has a foreign-born population of 19 scarce. For rose from five percent to 18 percent. During All this dislocation has polarized extreme scarcity. xenophobia was a modern societies. advances in racial and gender equality. many people after World Values Survey. That sparked radical cultural Ever since World War II. educated. the leader of the physical security and no longer felt as National Front. they emphasized individual almost double her party’s previous high. countries have revealed a split between another tribe moving in could spell death “materialists. as many people no longer with 46 percent of the vote. Norbert Hofer.Ronald Inglehart toward authoritarianism. lean and fat times. survival was precarious. populations shrank. vote in last year’s presidential election. just above the starvation level. Since the 1970s. each of which survival for granted. component of the 2017 In rich countries. a reflex that in security for granted and emphasize less modern times leads to support for tangible values.S. election. the far-right That security led to an intergenerational Freedom Party candidate. the authoritarian. authoritarian.” who stress the need for for the original inhabitants. community and other traditional old required for representation in the out-groups. strong welfare states. and College). xenophobic parties. In the U. most people lived And in Switzerland. Bundestag. free choice. Instead. Those shifts provoked a reaction xenophobic Alternative for Germany among older people and those holding won 13 percent of the vote. From 1970 to 2015. Germany’s is 23 percent. gave top priority to economic and Marine Le Pen. But in 2017. Sweden. During the past three decades. which for decades and greater tolerance of the LGBTQ never surpassed the five percent thresh. and conditions.

According to data compiled by the sexist. maintaining order. such as social Economic insecurity need not take the class.3 times 1970. things had gotten better. The Age of Insecurity was most important for their country. By People’s Party won 14 percent of the vote. ran against Hillary Clinton. in the wake of the Great things such as protecting freedom of Recession. Barack inequality is incompatible with democ- Obama. and the a liberal and cosmopolitan one. however. who was United Kingdom. France. In 2006. this split has had a major influence on voting patterns. roughly parallels the rise in inequality This relationship grew even stronger over the same period. dwarfing the effects of FOR RICHER. they were for Clinton. party’s support. presidential elections. researchers disagree as likely to have voted for the Republican on many issues. Islamophobic backlash in Denmark. and pure post. and xenophobic economist Thomas Piketty. Pure materialists were now 40 to 47 percent of total income before 3. In all Muslim-majority countries in response but one of the countries in the Organiza- to a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad tion for Economic Cooperation and May/June 2018 25 . the figure was 41 percent. but one point draws candidate. it is not surprising that postmaterialist values in all six choices the rise in support for authoritarian were 8. and having backlash against the European migrant greater autonomy in their own jobs were crisis was the immediate cause of the designated postmaterialists. contrast. Indeed. FOR POORER other demographic traits. the anti-Muslim Danish crime were defined as materialists. but rising economic In recent U. insecurity strengthened the reaction. the top ten percent now takes home ers burned Danish embassies in several almost half of the national income. was remarkably tolerant when protest. Mitt Romney. in candidate. A tant government decisions.S. Germany. fighting rising prices. the wealthiest ten also the first woman nominated by a percent of the population took home major party. At Those who chose things such as spurring the height of the crisis. those who gave top priority to But in 2015. as they were almost unanimous acceptance: extreme for the Democratic candidate. when Trump. an openly racist. In the United States. in 1900. In the United States. it won 21 percent. these cultural pressures toward authori. there was no economic growth. published by a Danish newspaper. and the as likely to vote for Clinton as they share going to the top ten percent in all were for Trump. income inequality has risen in tarianism. in 2016. becoming speech. the Danish public all five countries. authoritarian. Denmark’s second-largest party. giving people more say in impor.8 times as likely to vote for Trump as taxes and transfers. Since 1980.2 times democratization.6 times as likely to have voted parties over the last three decades for Obama as they were for Romney. By around materialists were a stunning 14. five countries fell to levels ranging from Economic insecurity can exacerbate 25 percent to 35 percent. In the vast literature on in all six of their choices were 2. Sweden. and those who gave priority to racy. and cracking down on The next year. Consider the 2012 election: those form of absolute hardship to undermine who gave priority to materialist values democracy.

Ronald Inglehart

Development for which data are available, benefits of growth, which have over-
income inequality rose from 1980 to 2009. whelmingly gone to those above them.
Although inequality in almost all Rising inequality and a stagnant
developed countries has followed a working class are not the inevitable
U-shaped pattern, there are striking results of capitalism, as Piketty claims.
differences between them that reflect Instead, they reflect a society’s stage of
the effects of varying political systems. development. The transition from an
Sweden stands out: although it had agrarian to an industrial economy creates
substantially higher levels of inequality a demand for large numbers of workers,
than the United States in the early increasing their bargaining power. Mov-
twentieth century, by the 1920s, it had ing to a service economy has the oppo-
lower income inequality than the other site effect, undermining the power of
four countries in Piketty’s study, and it organized labor as automation replaces
has maintained that to this day. The humans. This first reduces the bargain-
advanced welfare state introduced by ing power of industrial workers and
Sweden’s long-dominant Social Demo- then, with the transition to a society
crats is largely responsible for the coun- dominated by artificial intelligence,
try’s low inequality. Conversely, the that of highly educated professionals.
conservative policies implemented by
U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British THE MACHINE AGE
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The problems of cultural change and
the 1980s weakened labor unions and inequality in rich democracies are being
sharply cut back state regulation, leading compounded by the rise of automation,
to higher levels of income inequality which threatens to create an economy
in the United States and the United in which almost all the gains go to the
Kingdom than in most developed very top. Because most goods in a
countries. knowledge economy, such as software,
As long as everyone was getting richer, cost almost nothing to replicate and
rising inequality did not seem to matter distribute, high-quality products can
much. Some people might have been sell for the same price as lower-quality
rising faster than others, but everyone ones. As a result, there is no need to
was going in the right direction. Today, buy anything but the top product,
however, everyone isn’t getting richer. which can take over the entire market,
For decades, the real income of the producing enormous rewards for those
developed world’s working classes has making the top product but nothing
been declining. Fifty years ago, the for anyone else.
largest employer in the United States It is often assumed that the most
was General Motors, where workers important part of the knowledge economy,
earned an average of around $30 an hour the high-tech sector, will create large
in 2016 dollars. Today, the country’s numbers of well-paid jobs. But that
largest employer is Walmart, which in sector’s share of all jobs in the United
2016 paid around $8 an hour. Less States has remained flat since statistics
educated people now have precarious first became available about three
job prospects and are shut out from the decades ago. Canada, France, Germany,

26 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S

The Age of Insecurity

Sweden, and the United Kingdom show nor looking for work. Work rates for
the same pattern in their high-tech women rose steadily until 2000; since
sectors. Unlike the transitions from an then, those have also declined.
agrarian economy to an industrial Life as a labor-force dropout is not
economy and then to a knowledge easy. Working-age men who are out of
economy, the move toward artificial the labor force report low levels of
intelligence is not generating large emotional well-being, and a 2016 study
numbers of secure, well-paid jobs. by the National Bureau of Economic
That is because computers are fast Research found that nearly half of all
reaching the point where they can replace working-age male labor-force dropouts—
even highly educated professionals. roughly 3.5 million men—took pain
Artificial intelligence has already made medication on a daily basis. Not sur-
huge strides toward replacing human prisingly, they tend to die early. From
labor in analyzing legal documents, 1999 to 2013, death rates rose sharply
diagnosing patients, and even writing for non-Hispanic white American men
computer programs. As a result, although with high school degrees or less, the
U.S. politicians and voters often blame group most likely to have left the labor
global trade and offshoring for their force recently. So-called deaths of
country’s economic difficulties, between despair—suicides, liver cirrhosis, and
2000 and 2010, over 85 percent of U.S. drug overdoses—accounted for most
manufacturing jobs were eliminated by of the increase. From 1900 to 2012,
technological advances, whereas only 13 U.S. life expectancy at birth rose from
percent were lost to trade. 47 to 79 years but then leveled off,
Although artificial intelligence is and in both 2015 and 2016, life expec-
rapidly replacing large numbers of jobs, tancy at birth for all Americans
its effects are not immediately visible: declined slightly.
the global economy is growing, and
unemployment is low. But these reassur- GETTING DEMOCRACY RIGHT
ing statistics conceal the fact that in the Whether this latest democratic set-
United States, 94 percent of the job back proves permanent will depend on
growth from 2005 to 2015 was among whether societies address these prob-
low-paid security guards, housekeepers, lems, which will require government
janitors, and others who report to subcon- intervention. Unless new political coali-
tractors. Moreover, the top-line unem- tions emerge in developed countries that
ployment figure hides the large numbers represent the 99 percent, their economies
of people who have been driven by dismal will continue to hollow out and most
job prospects to drop out of the work people’s economic security will carry on
force altogether. The U.S. unemployment declining. The political stability and
rate is 4.1 percent. But the percentage of economic health of high-income societies
adults either working or actively seeking a require greater emphasis on the redis-
job is near its lowest level in more than tributive policies that dominated much of
30 years. In 2017, for every unemployed the twentieth century. The social base of
American man between 25 and 55 years the New Deal coalition and its European
old, another three were neither working counterparts is gone, but the reappearance

May/June 2018 27

Ronald Inglehart

of extreme wealth concentrated in the intervene and reallocate some of the
top one percent has created the potential new resources to create meaningful
for new coalitions. jobs that require a human touch in
In the United States, taking a punitive health care, education, infrastructure,
approach to the top one percent would environmental protection, research and
be counterproductive, as it includes many development, and the arts and humani-
of the country’s most valuable people. ties. Governments’ top priority should
But moving toward a more progressive be improving the quality of life for
income tax would be perfectly reason- society as a whole, rather than maxi-
able. In the 1950s and 1960s, the top mizing corporate profits. Finding
one percent of Americans paid a much effective ways to achieve this will be
higher share of their income in taxes one of the central challenges of the
than they do today. That did not coming years.
strangle growth, which was stronger Democracy has retreated before, only
then than now. Two of today’s wealthiest to recover. But today’s retreat will be
Americans, Warren Buffett and Bill reversed only if rich countries address
Gates, advocate higher taxes for the the growing inequality of recent decades
very rich. They also argue that the and manage the transition to the auto-
inheritance tax is a relatively painless mated economy. If citizens can build
way to raise badly needed funds for political coalitions to reverse the trend
education, health care, research and toward inequality and preserve the
development, and infrastructure. But possibility of widespread, meaningful
powerful conservative interests are employment, there is every reason to
moving the United States in the opposite expect that democracy will resume its
direction, sharply reducing taxes on the onward march.∂
rich and cutting government spending.
From 1989 to 2014, as part of the
World Values Survey, pollsters asked
respondents around the world which
statement better reflected their views:
“Incomes should be made more equal”
or “Income differences should be larger
to provide incentives for individual
effort.” In the earliest surveys, majorities
in 52 of the 65 countries polled at least
twice supported greater incentives for
individual effort. But over the next 25
years, the situation reversed itself. In the
most recent available survey, majori-
ties in 51 of the 65 countries, including
the United States, favored making
incomes more equal.
The rise of automation is making
societies richer, but governments must

28 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S

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dominance to its inherent appeal. If
The End of the

citizens in India, Italy, or Venezuela
seemed loyal to their political system,
Democratic it must have been because they had
developed a deep commitment to both
Century individual rights and collective self-
determination. And if Poles and Filipinos
began to make the transition from dicta-
Autocracy’s Global torship to democracy, it must have been
Ascendance because they, too, shared in the universal
human desire for liberal democracy.
Yascha Mounk and Roberto But the events of the second half of
Stefan Foa the twentieth century can also be inter-
preted in a very different way. Citizens
across the world were attracted to liberal
democracy not simply because of its

t the height of World War II, norms and values but also because it
Henry Luce, the founder of offered the most salient model of eco-
Time magazine, argued that the nomic and geopolitical success. Civic
United States had amassed such wealth ideals may have played their part in
and power that the twentieth century converting the citizens of formerly
would come to be known simply as “the authoritarian regimes into convinced
American Century.” His prediction democrats, but the astounding economic
proved prescient: despite being chal- growth of western Europe in the 1950s
lenged for supremacy by Nazi Germany and 1960s, the victory of democratic
and, later, the Soviet Union, the United countries in the Cold War, and the defeat
States prevailed against its adversaries. or collapse of democracy’s most powerful
By the turn of the millennium, its posi- autocratic rivals were just as important.
tion as the most powerful and influential Taking the material foundations of
state in the world appeared unimpeach- democratic hegemony seriously casts the
able. As a result, the twentieth century story of democracy’s greatest successes
was marked by the dominance not just in a different light, and it also changes
of a particular country but also of the how one thinks about its current crisis.
political system it helped spread:liberal As liberal democracies have become
democracy. worse at improving their citizens’ living
As democracy flourished across the standards, populist movements that
world, it was tempting to ascribe its disavow liberalism are emerging from
Brussels to Brasília and from Warsaw
YASCHA MOUNK is a Lecturer on Govern- to Washington. A striking number of
ment at Harvard University and the author of citizens have started to ascribe less
The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is
in Danger and How to Save It.
importance to living in a democracy:
whereas two-thirds of Americans above
ROBERTO STEFAN FOA is a Lecturer in
Political Science at the University of Melbourne the age of 65 say it is absolutely impor-
and a Fellow at the Electoral Integrity Project. tant to them to live in a democracy, for

May/June 2018 29

authoritarian populists In 1990. In the second half of the can regain their erstwhile supremacy. dates. liberal democracies formed the West’s Cold War alliance have gone from a position of unprec- against the Soviet Union—in North edented economic strength to a posi- America. countries rated “not free” by who disrespect some of the most basic Freedom House (the lowest category. Australasia. developments? As a result. as the long-standing dominance five years. forecasts by the International Monetary As recent elections around the Fund. authoritarian they are responsible for 33 percent. less than one-third of those States expanded to include Japan and below the age of 35 say the same thing. for the first time in 2017. In the It is looking less and less likely that late nineteenth century. the democracies that quarter century.Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa example. its share of global Italians who favored military rule more GDP has fallen below half. the share of global income of a set of consolidated democracies with held by countries considered “not free”— developed economies and a common such as China. liberal democracies. two decades. it will slump to a third within world indicate. the power of this liberal A growing minority is even open to democratic alliance became even more authoritarian alternatives: from 1995 to crushing. western Europe. will surpass the share held by Western Ever since the last decade of the nine. the sentiment that can be easily mobilized share of economic output coming from by extremist political parties and candi. and surpassing the heights of economic and military power in the they reached in the Cold War when world help explain these unforeseen Soviet power was at its apex. just abstract preferences. and over a hundred years. In the span of a teenth century. Russia. So the 30 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . tion of unprecedented economic and postwar Japan—have commanded a weakness. Meanwhile. As a result. twentieth century. Germans. the world is now approach- That question is all the more pressing ing a striking milestone: within the next today. Could the changing balance in Europe. these opinions aren’t the next decade. But now. Now. strongmen are rolling back democratic matching the level they achieved in the advances across much of Asia and eastern early 1930s. According to than tripled. Germany. the share of French. they reflect a At the same time that the domi- deep groundswell of antiestablishment nance of democracies has faded. and Saudi Arabia— alliance structure is coming to an end. majority of the world’s income. as the geographic with their democratic systems embattled span of both democratic rule and the at home and their share of the world alliance structure headed by the United economy continuing to shrink. authoritarian states has grown rapidly. during the rise of fascism Europe. established the countries in North America and democracies such as the United Kingdom western Europe that made up the tradi- and the United States made up the bulk tional heartland of liberal democracy of global GDP. rules and norms of the democratic system which excludes “partially free” coun- have made rapid advances across western tries such as Singapore) accounted for Europe and North America over the past just 12 percent of global income.

and the most presti- is that it creates stability at home. Kazakhstan. or the period of demo. economic might also endows them with a cratic dominance that was expected to number of tools to influence the develop- last forever will prove no more than an ment of other countries. and cultural prestige facilitated a great May/June 2018 31 . perhaps the most important advanced industries. western THE WAGES OF WEALTH Europe—was home to the most famous Of all the ways in which economic writers and musicians. the most watched prosperity buys a country power and television shows and movies. all these things seemed poor democracies often collapse. of Western liberal democracy. It is to be of a piece: the desire to share in the only rich democracies—those with a unfathomable wealth of the West was GDP per capita above $14. As gious universities. Asia in the 1990s. to a lesser extent. the most influence.000 in today’s also a desire to adopt its lifestyle. according to their findings—that the desire to adopt its lifestyle seemed to are reliably secure. During the apogee between mutually hostile political systems. Since the formation of require emulating its political system. and terms. liberal democracy. the postwar alliance binding the United This combination of economic power States to its allies in western Europe. September 2016 future promises two realistic scenarios: no affluent member has experienced a either some of the most powerful autocratic breakdown of democratic rule. The End of the Democratic Century The dictator’s dividend: a monument in Astana. In the minds of many the political scientists Adam Przeworski young people coming of age in Africa or S HAM I L Z H U MAT OV / R E U T E R S and Fernando Limongi have shown. Chief among interlude before a new era of struggle these is cultural clout. countries in the world will transition to Beyond keeping democracies stable. the United States—and.

not Soviet emulated the political systems of their citizens’ idealism but rather “good old. he claimed. it is impossible to under- from it. It was. the prospect of member. sible to make informed predictions about and parts of Asia. Soviet citizens naturally con. economic power could easily western Europe. one of its leading stars. Meanwhile. without taking seriously the role that ship in organizations from the European economic power played in spreading the Union to the World Trade Organization ideals of liberal democracy around the provided powerful incentives for demo. were were directly or indirectly responsible deeply influenced by the greater mate- for the fall of the [Soviet] empire. where the institutions be converted into military might. of liberal democracy have traditionally too. including Thailand the future of liberal democracy without and South Korea. And in democracies could also take on a harder at least two major cases—Germany and edge. Countries that were physi- America with their own material depriva. This. well for the future of North America and Finally. leverage and the presence of boots on trasted the impossible wealth of suburban the ground.Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa degree of political influence. Turkey. Former colonies years later. “We power. such as Poland and Ukraine. Saddam Hussein in the years following the Gulf War. boasted alliance with the West. world. After all. They could influence political Japan—Western military occupation events in other countries by promising paved the way for the introduction of to include them in the global economic a model democratic constitution. American soap opera Dallas began airing At the same time. the conclusion that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic affluence breeds stability seems to bode after the war in Kosovo. leaving parliamentary democ- question their authority.” racies from the islands of the Caribbean The economic prowess of Western to the highlands of East Africa. it encouraged the in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. did much to enhance the global been most firmly established. In the 1990s and the first decade stand the story of the democratic century of this century. standing of liberal democracies. This also means that it is impos- cratic reforms in eastern Europe. system or threatening to exclude them In short.” Larry rial and military benefits offered by an Hagman. It ensured even if their relative power declines. erstwhile rulers when they gained inde- fashioned greed” that “got them to pendence. Western reflecting on the effects that the decline sanctions that prevented countries from in the relative economic clout of the participating in the global economy may democratic alliance might have in the have helped contain Iraqi President years and decades to come. cally located between a major demo- tion and wondered why their economic cratic power and a major authoritarian system had fallen so far behind. for spread of democracy though diplomatic example. When the by making military humiliation a rarity. and they were arguably THE DANGERS OF DECLINE instrumental in bringing about the fall of At first glance. the that other countries could not topple absolute level of wealth in Canada or democratic regimes by force and raised France is very unlikely to fall below the the domestic legitimacy of such regimes threshold at which democracies tend to 32 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .

S. The ability of autocratic regimes to compete with the economic performance of liberal democracies is a particularly important and novel development. But absolute levels of wealth may have been just one of many economic features that kept Western democracies stable after World War II.95 $45 for Foreign Affairs readers! in the mid-1950s. heard either the problems of democratic politics or the income. the stable democracies of that period also shared three other economic attributes that can plausibly help explain their past success: relative equality. today. Indeed. ACKERMAN. the share of global orientation towards biosecurity. 2018-May-June-FA-2books-Vtl_Foreign Affairs 3/20/18 11:19 AM Pag fail. if ever. the U.” income produced by the Soviet Union —GARY A. Nature and its satellite states peaked at 13 percent hc $89. Indeed. And throughout the Cold War. But even then. communism managed to rival the ideological appeal of liberal democracy across large parts of the developing world. now.50 for the past 30 years. inflation-adjusted wages roughly —GARETH EVANS. it is one-sixth smaller than China’s. remained two to three times as large as the Soviet with a lifestyle that would rival the 33 . All these factors have begun to erode in recent years. “A fascinating reflection of the complex web of interests and institutions that it offered a weak economic alternative have converged to drive Russia’s current to capitalism. rapidly growing incomes for most citizens. as measured by GDP based on purchasing power parity. hc $32. the top one percent of income earners commanded eight percent of pretax “ I have rarely. they command over 20 kind of solutions we need to find for them percent. economy. and the fact that authoritarian rivals to democracy were much less wealthy. In the 1970s. it declined steadily.” century. falling to ten percent by 1989. Communist coun- tries also could not provide their citizens TEL: 303-444-6684 • www. Australian National University doubled from generation to generation.rienner. For much of the twentieth better articulated than in this book. Consider what has hap- pened in the United States. they have essentially remained flat. At the height of its influence. Over the following decades.

The answer is almost certainly no: two decades ago.Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa comfort of the capitalist West. Indeed. China. is rapidly starting to its campaigns have proved that outside catch up. ian states. deeply divided democracies is relatively the country has proved that it can easy and strikingly effective.000. ing influential Confucius Institutes in hundreds of millions of people can major centers of learning.S. But talism may eventually suffer similar the country has long had an even greater types of economic stagnation. Russia’s attempts to influ- ism proved to be “the highest stage of ence the 2016 U. Even Gerhard Schröder and former Austrian comparatively unsuccessful authoritar. Kazakhstan. influence on politics across western however. Of the remarkable success in recruiting retired 15 countries in the world with the political leaders to lobby on its behalf. In other European kets and reasonably secure property countries. And over the now be said to live under conditions past two years. playing off the it. for exam- capitalism that has emerged in Arab ple. Soviet social. per capita income in the One of the results of this transforma- Soviet Union fell from two-thirds to less tion has been a much greater degree than half of the western European level. their remarkable of registered foreign agents working on prosperity serves as a testament to its behalf from 25 to 145. Russia has enjoyed even more rights—is having a good run. of ideological self-confidence among As the German writer Hans Magnus autocratic regimes—and. Russia has helped finance extremist Gulf states and East Asia—combining parties on both sides of the political a strong state with relatively free mar. The big question now is whether and Russia. the fact that the road to prosperity no If the changing balance of economic longer needs to run through liberal and technological power between Western democracy. lobbyists. So far. attention over the past two years. can boast per capita incomes Russia will remain alone in its attempt to above $20. almost including former German Chancellor two-thirds are nondemocracies. highest per capita incomes. whose per capita influence the politics of liberal democ- income was vastly lower as recently as racies. along with Enzensberger put it. democracies. Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer. a willingness to meddle in Western title of an essay by Lenin. increasing the number around the world.S. divide for decades. with an average income on its overseas residents and establish- of $23. making it offer a higher level of wealth in its very tempting for Russia’s authoritarian more urban areas: the coastal region peers to follow suit. Saudi Arabia has dramati- of “authoritarian modernity. From AUTHORITARIAN SOFT POWER 1950 to 1989. such as Iran. Although average incomes meddling by authoritarian powers in in its rural hinterlands remain low. China is of China now comprises some 420 already stepping up ideological pressure million people. presidential election underdevelopment. democracies and authoritarian countries 34 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . In other words. the form of authoritarian Europe.” In the cally upped its payments to registered eyes of their less affluent imitators U.000 and growing. In Italy and France.” have understandably drawn the most New forms of authoritarian capi.

including academia. and outright auto- racies once enjoyed over the reporting crats are offering their citizens a standard and dissemination of news. income from fossil fuels. however. the rise of authoritarian also the more prosaic prospect of a vastly soft power is already apparent across a wealthier life. the residual effects of the Great Reces- petitors such as the Soviet Union quickly sion wear off and European and North stagnated economically and became American economies roar back to life. At the same time that Saudi Arabia. illiberal democracy. As and economically. for example. and economic powers may now be draw- democracies. these bastions of liberal democracy May/June 2018 35 . China’s CCTV. including China. There were even leading universities were situated in plausible grounds to hope that an ever- liberal democracies. all of the world’s traditional strongholds. China’s recent as well as an end to its ability to main. may populists are starting to develop an be the growing ability of dictatorial ideological alternative in the form of regimes to soften the hold that democ. the United States was the the economic performance of developed dominant superpower. Until a few years racy would continue to be safe in its ago. Russia. success of authoritarian countries could regularly find millions of American prove to be short lived. and Russia’s RT. and it may end up being difficult to sustain once the country is forced to THE BEGINNING OF THE END? deleverage and the effects of an aging During the long period of democratic population hit home. growth has been fueled by a soaring tain a civic space untainted by foreign debt bubble and favorable demographics. As long as these back- variety of domains. Russia and viewers. to be good reason to assume that democ- and development aid. The result is the end of the Saudi Arabia remain overly reliant on West’s monopoly over media narratives. Indeed. both culturally Western economies could improve. One path toward that end news channels. At the same time. authoritarian authoritarian soft power. 16 of the world’s top democracies were the world’s top cultural 250 institutions can be found in non. Whereas of living that increasingly rivals that of the Soviet mouthpiece Pravda could the richest countries in the West. ground conditions held. stability. including Qatar’s Al would be economic. ing to a close. foreign investment. it also makes it a greater degree of individual freedom easier for the latter to spread their and collective self-determination but values. The End of the Democratic Century makes the former more susceptible to democracy seemed to promise not only outside interference. According to the latest Times Higher But the era in which Western liberal Education survey. The recent economic Jazeera. discredited ideologically. liberal democracies are showing strong Perhaps the most important form of signs of institutional decay. governments. there seemed popular culture. never have dreamed of attracting a mass It is tempting to hope that Western readership in the United States. the liberal democracies could regain their clips produced today by state-funded dominance. but authoritarian growing number of autocratic countries countries are starting to close the gap. As a result. Authoritarian com. would join the democratic column. and Singapore.

remaining question now is whether And they have tended to side with democracy will transcend its once firm autocratic regimes in seeking a greater anchoring in the West.Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa could once again outpace the modern. If China were to cant component of their foreign policies. create the conditions for a truly global To make things worse. Western autocratic powers. recent democratic backsliding ized autocracies. It’s conceivable. and demographically declining corner western Europe. for example. be boosted significantly.” do so. in Turkey. which is that democracies will come to look suggests that these countries can continue less and less attractive as they cease to to make considerable gains by following be associated with wealth and power their current growth model. due to demographic decline countries may choose to align with and low productivity growth. The only also opposed sanctions against Russia. some of these shows that. it would end the era of authoritar- Following the Russian annexation of ian resurgence in a single stroke. that the racies such as Brazil. Russia. experience catch-up development. If large authoritarian countries change in course. And yet authoritarian rule—in the coming decades. Crimea. a shift that would role for states in regulating the Internet. and degree of the shifting power bal. then. But this would require a radical of living. China cratic countries could somehow regain and many other emerging economies their erstwhile global position are prob- have large hinterlands that have yet to ably vain. The most likely scenario. raises the possibility ance between democratic and authori. Indeed. the have not historically thought of “the aggregate power of democracies would defense of liberal democracy as a signifi. a cursory glance at Western GDP growth Instead of shoring up the dwindling rates for the past three to four decades forces of democracy. India. economies were stagnating long before Hopes that the current set of demo- the financial crisis. Indonesia. emerging democratic century—or whether democ- democracies have historically been much racy will become. and the Philippines. however. the lingering less stable than the supposedly consoli. and But that is just another way of saying South Africa abstained from voting on a that the long century during which resolution in the UN General Assembly Western liberal democracies dominated that condemned the move.∂ 36 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . these countries undertook democratic reforms. that some of these countries may become tarian countries should therefore be flawed democracies—or revert to outright taken with a large grain of salt. of the world. form of government in an economically dated democracies of North America. Meanwhile. and fail to address their own challenges. and Indonesia animating principles of liberal democracy may come to play a more active role in will prove deeply appealing to the inhab- upholding an alliance of liberal democ. and parts of East Asia. They have the globe has ended for good. Another hope is that emerging democ. India. As the political scientist such as Iran. Mexico. as well as signs of democratic Projections about the exact speed slippage in Argentina. and Saudi Arabia Marc Plattner has argued. at best. Brazil. itants of authoritarian countries even once racies and diffusing their values around those peoples enjoy a comparable standard the world.

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some inescapably. as Friedman worried. just a few Mohamad put it in 1992. democracy has brought “chaos and China’s economic ascent under authoritar. YUEN YUEN ANG is Associate Professor of and partial limits on power—without Political Science at the University of Michigan and the author of How China Escaped the giving up single-party control. competition. because of a lack expected. Most Western observers have long Characteristics believed that democracy and capitalism go hand in hand. When China’s 900 million racies are just as good as democracies villagers get phones. establishing formal tions technology rapidly spread—today.are utterly disastrous. incorrectly predicting the imminent nist Thomas Friedman declared collapse of the Chinese Communist of China in 1998. Although Poverty Trap. and start calling each at promoting growth—if not better. The other camp when China will need a government that sees China’s success as proof that autoc- is legitimate. elections. or 600 million Chinese citizens own smart. “authoritarian years after the fall of the Soviet Union. other. of the benefits of democratization—in particular. and deliver economic success. under the current regime Autocracy IS DEMOCRACY DYING? of President Xi Jinping. Return to Table of Contents If anything. . eventually. . these changes may appear dry and May/June 2018 39 . stability” has enabled prosperity. In fact. . the CCP has phones and 750 million use the Internet— made changes below the surface. With Chinese not less. under Mao.increased misery. allowing free expression. the Chinese government appears more authoritarian. Instead of instituting multi- of “real regulatory systems”). this will inevitably become a more As Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir open country. Communica. protections for individual rights.” the New York Times colum. further economic develop. But this is mostly S “ ooner or later this economy will speculation. He continued: “That’s Party (CCP) for decades. China has morphed into the a crucial reality: since opening its mar- world’s second-largest economy. whereas Friedman’s certainty was broadly shared. Twenty years after Friedman’s Both of these explanations overlook prophecy. but only because it leveled off significant political reforms—just not when China reached middle-income status in the manner that Western observers (not. including China ment would bring about democratization. these analysts have been slow. One camp insists that China represents a Yuen Yuen Ang temporary aberration and that liberaliza- tion will come soon. Growth kets in 1978. reform- but the much-anticipated tsunami of ing its vast bureaucracy to realize many political liberalization has not arrived.” But not all autocracies ian rule could not last. that economic liberalization Beijing’s Behind-the-Scenes both requires and propels political liberal- ization. China has in fact pursued has slowed.” At the time. China’s apparent defiance of this Reforms logic has led to two opposite conclusions.

and health-care workers. In China. the party and state (second in command). These and public administration. a highly adaptive capitalist machine. in fact. is political. such as inspectors.” The top one percent of the In the Chinese communist regime. Among these. These crisscrossing the leading one percent and the remaining lines of authority produce what the 99 percent. and township. “The bureaucracy officers. provincial.Yuen Yuen Ang apolitical.individuals are directly appointed by ing Chinese politics. however. with Xi of an elite party committee. state—replicated across the five levels Within each level of government. the (excluding the military and state-owned limits of this approach are beginning enterprises) consist of over 50 million to loom large. currently has seven members. level public employees who interact with the opposite is true. people. The premier is also a public security. requires the party. politics are excit. Notably. although elites tend to be vertical hierarchies—the party and the CCP members. management roles.000 people— is no separation between political power make up China’s political elite. therefore. For instance. which are permanently stationed in one location. roughly the size of South Korea’s entire population. and members the state are separate entities. the party’s top body. bership is not a prerequisite for public That bureaucracy is composed of two employment. In practice. Moreover. bureaucracy is similarly disaggregated into city. The state and party organs alone demands on the bureaucracy grow. In formal secretary (first in command). who heads the admin- characteristics. the two appointing personnel and maintaining are intertwined. tweaks to istration of a municipality. Understand. police once explained to me. and politics are bureaucratized. The rest are street- ing and bureaucracy is boring. In the second category are member of the Politburo Standing civil servants and frontline workers who Committee. officials frequently an ossified communist bureaucracy into move between the party and the state. the chief of organizational charts. which comprises the party termed a “matrix” structure. the of government: central. And at the Managing a public administration the local level. is usually rules and incentives within China’s public also the municipality’s deputy chief of administration have quietly transformed party. officials often simultaneously size of a midsize country is a gargantuan 40 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . As The Chinese public administration is prosperity continues to increase and massive. mayors may become party But bureaucratic reforms cannot substi. tute for political reforms forever. there bureaucracy—roughly 500. In practice. county. In the first category is the China scholar Kenneth Lieberthal has leadership. As a senior official citizens directly. 20 CHINESE BUREAUCRACY 101 percent are civil servants who perform In the United States. For unique hybrid: autocracy with democratic example. and they rotate through offices first and foremost an appreciation of across the country. a mayor. who simulta- leading the party and Premier Li Keqiang neously head key party or state offices heading up the administration and its that perform strategic functions such as ministries. they have created a hold positions in both hierarchies. secretaries and vice versa. CCP mem- China’s bureaucracy.

Perhaps the most significant of Deng’s reforms was a shift in the bureaucracy REFORM AT THE TOP away from one-man rule toward collective When Mao’s successor. since the introducing Western-style democracy. competition. Instead of for elite officials. These changes con- May/June 2018 41 . leadership and the introduction of term unleashed reforms. he focused on transforming the Chinese racy to govern the country and run the bureaucracy into a driver of economic economy. he injected demo- implement policies and laws. China. It is also a critical one. Not only do bureaucrats growth. Deng Xiaoping. accountability. CHANCE CHAN / REUTE RS by experimenting with local initiatives. Autocracy With Chinese Characteristics Work in progress: repainting in Jiaxing. they also cratic characteristics into the bureaucracy. Chinese leadership relies on the bureauc. and mandates for local implementation and partial limits on power. he maintained the limits and a mandatory retirement age CCP’s monopoly on power. May 2014 task. formulate them by tailoring central namely. To achieve this.

racies. Another. Reformers reinforced this gear by making the bureaucracy results- stark redefinition of bureaucratic success oriented. Deng’s could cause leaders to flunk their entire reforms emphasized brute capital test in a given year. Since Chinese officials are and honorary titles. and other instructed local leaders to achieve rapid social problems. focused primarily the creation of “land quota markets” in on the economy and revenue generation. they undoubtedly economic growth without causing politi. From the 1980s onward. which led to environmen- reform. relief. with the highest performers sometimes the reformist leadership changed the receiving many times more than the lower incentives of local leaders by updating performers. Officials local leaders according to performance from the winning ones earned prestige targets. 1980s and 1990s are township and village ever the pragmatist. requisite: maintaining political stability. sible for the economic development of allowing a mass protest to break out) their jurisdictions. companies that circumvented turn local leaders into more productive restrictions on private ownership by economic agents. the CCP priority or not mentioned at all. at the bottom lost face in their community. local leaders dove cadres redefined the bureaucracy’s goals. nobody wanted to be left behind. qualities the prospects of promotion. used this system to enterprises. headlong into promoting industrializa- making clear to millions of officials what tion and growth. Local leaders were power and rejuvenated the party-state also entitled to performance-based bonuses. inequality. these report cards serve an accountability In this culture of hypercompetition. or at least that are normally associated with the chances of being laterally transferred democracies. Still. they they were expected to deliver. Although no ballots were cast. the new performance criteria tal degradation. Lower down. 42 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . kicked China’s growth machine into cal instability. Chengdu and Chongqing. Mean. The government also began the cadre evaluation system. the goal of economic growth was and competition within single-party always paired with an indispensable rule. fiercely competitive. were either relegated to a lower Through these reforms. function similar to elections in democ. and with incentives. accumulation rather than holistic In short. which allow Tasks unrelated to the economy. High scores improved responsive to business needs. officials from those appointed rather than popularly elected. more recent example is quantifiable deliverables. Deng. which assesses publicly ranking localities. during the early decades of development. lower-level officials were held respon- Failing this requirement (for instance. To be sure.Yuen Yuen Ang strained the accumulation of personal to a favorable office. A famous example from the background and ideological fervor. even party bosses in Beijing had not Breaking from Mao’s fixation on class conceived. Along the way. operating as collectively owned enter- officials were assigned a narrow list of prises. such as developers to buy quotas of land from environmental protection and poverty villages for urban use. Changing the targets for evaluating Newly incentivized. with younger officials. achieved some measure of accountability while. as well as devised strategies and solutions that the accompanying rewards and penalties.

as there gifts. These changes themselves through the prerogatives of fueled a results-oriented culture in the office—for example. many traditional practices. So 1990s on. and employees were standardized at abys- even teachers are not merely providers mally low rates. although results in the of fees and taxes for themselves. crats who run the daily machinery of Within the vast Chinese bureaucracy. For example. sociologist Max Weber noted. most civil servants do not countries. Modern Chinese context were measured purely in observers may frown on such practices. the equivalent of only about $1. Autocracy With Chinese Characteristics STREET-LEVEL REFORMS when Chinese markets opened up. rank-and-file public employees. The more tax revenue a individual remuneration. and free vacations and meals. of course. the more compensation they premodern state administration. governance. but with a Below them are the street-level bureau. reformers rolled out a suite May/June 2018 43 . But in practice. economic terms. Chinese complained traditional practices and personal rela. President of public services but also potential Hu Jintao’s official salary in 2012 was agents of economic change. supplemental compensation dream of becoming mayors. formal salaries for officials and public racy. in China’s bureaucracy was pegged to the government has relied on financial financial performance: the central incentives. is little chance of being promoted to And unlike in other developing the elite level. An entry-level civil servant recruit investors to their locales or use received far less. and throughout technocratic. twentieth-century capitalist twist. inserted into a Leninist profiteering. these low salaries were cial services as state-affiliated agencies. Instead. endlessly about arbitrary payments and tionships. For instance. before What emerged was essentially a the onset of modernization. most public agents financed by their organizations.000 a they might use personal connections to month. these inspectors. it is not new to profits) that party and state offices China’s bureaucracy or. about $150 a month. skimming off a share bureaucracy. bonuses. through an uncodified system government granted local authorities of internal profit sharing that links the partial autonomy to spend the funds bureaucracy’s financial performance to they earned. but they do propelled the bureaucracy to help transi- have some benefits. Although local government generated and the profit sharing is usually associated with more nontax revenue (such as fees and capitalist corporations. to any earned. it was a mishmash of the 1980s and 1990s. Bureaucratic reforms among local bureaucratic agents naturally revived leaders were critical but not sufficient. supplemented by an array of additional Career incentives do not apply to perks. tion the economy toward capitalism. In response. Before Deng’s reforms. As the could provide to their staff members. officers. stable salaries from ees took a cut of the revenue produced state budgets. These strong incentives considering them corrupt. the Chinese A profit-oriented public bureaucracy bureaucracy was far from modern or has drawbacks. indeed. their departments to provide commer. instead of variant of profit sharing: public employ- receiving sufficient. And in the Chinese bureauc. from the late structure of top-down commands. such as allowances.

middle-income economy with an increas- are now far less likely to extort citizens ingly educated. entrepreneurial and adaptive functions. they are now constrained by have incentivized economic performance. If Xi intends 44 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . multiple constituents and competing allowing the CCP to enjoy the benefits of demands. their effects are political. for example. Central authorities abolished cash pay. who was as ruthless and corrupt as the bureaucracy to act as the agent of he was bold in transforming the western change paid off. Whereas officials used to be empowered introduced competition. in fact. steadily crept upward. But but the most significant issue is collusion today. Above all. 64 percent in Nigeria. Corrupt dealings aside. theygrowth. But can this approach backwater of Chongqing into a thriving forestall pressure for individual rights industrial hub. Over time. officials were evaluated like CEOs. through banks. bribe in the past year. In past decades. connected. have changed the priorities of government. 1990s. These reforms. yet their impact was country’s development. on their economic performance alone. enforce party discipline. Substituting bureaucratic reform for assertive leadership and corruption were political reform has bought the CCP often two sides of the same coin. the limits ments of fees and fines and allowed of bureaucratic reform have become citizens to make payments directly increasingly clear. Over time. all innovative policies and unpopular there are increasing signs that the bureauc. protect the environment. mony. Since Xi took office in 2012. For the first few decades of China’s sider the disgraced party secretary Bo market transition. China has a serious corruption problem. Xi’s sweeping anticorruption cam- paign. Police officers. among political and business elites. To be sure. Con- time. And the political pressures that these reforms have made the Chinese have come with prosperity are. In 2011. people less vulnerable to petty abuses beginning to undermine the reforms that of power. national found that only nine percent of The cadre evaluation system has Chinese citizens reported having paid a come under particular stress.decisions entail political risk. not leaders must also maintain social har- petty predation. compared with 54 the targets assigned to local leaders have percent in India. These technical reforms The Xi era marks a new stage in the were not flashy. and altered how to do whatever it took to achieve rapid citizens encounter the state. Transparency Inter. reforms fits the bill of traditional political and even promote happiness. the party’s reliance on Xilai. In the 1980s and and 84 percent in Cambodia. supply Although none of these bureaucratic public services. and demanding and privately pocket fines. which has led to the arrest of an THE LIMITS OF BUREAUCRATIC unprecedented number of officials. has REFORM only made this worse. in addition to economic growth. and democratic freedoms forever? Today. propelled China’s rapid growth. not unlike democratically continued growth while evading the elected politicians. They changes have paralyzed local leaders. citizenry.Yuen Yuen Ang of measures aimed at combating petty racy has come close to exhausting its corruption and the theft of public funds. pressures of political liberalization. China is now a significant.

this need not as much as it has in the past. tor. It demands fresh ideas. in bottle. this could be innovations. take the form of multiparty elections. tend to assume that the state impoverished. democracy is best introduced by graft- pragmatic and committed to reform. more public to move beyond the narrow conception of participation. such developments. import something wholly foreign. it is better to create a nationwide catastrophe. the Xi administration can be achieved under single-party rule. inevitable and necessary for China’s necessary to contain the political threats continued prosperity and its desire to to CCP rule—then he cannot expect the partake in global leadership. enough to drive innovation and growth where tend to have no idea how to drive for at least another generation. become imperative for continued some of the benefits of democratization economic growth. China today is no longer the particular. But regardless of his predilections. China will always should create internal pressure for mean- be susceptible to what the political scien. sensitivity to leadership idiosyncrasies. As China has shown. Moreover. and cutting-edge bottom-up improvisation. society and directs. So long as the CCP remains that the bureaucratic reforms generate the only party in power. Put simply. which would necessitate be drawn from China? One is the need greater freedom of expression. sustaining growth in a China still has tremendous untapped high-income economy requires more than room for political liberalization on the merely constructing industrial parks and margins. Further liberalization is both must be empowered to combat it. ingful political reform. is backpedaling. cloistered society of the is a potential oppressor and so society 1970s. a Leninist absolutist and narcissistic leader could bureaucracy. China’s experience shows that This means that under a leader like Deng. promote political change by building on Xi has been variously described as an what is already there than by trying to aspiring reformer and an absolute dicta. Most worrying is the Allowing bureaucratic reforms to unfold party leadership’s decision to remove term can work better than trying to impose limits among the top brass. technology. American observers. rather than commands. a change that political change from the outside. But contrary bureaucracy to innovate or accomplish to Friedman’s prediction. Government officials every. But a more institutions—in China’s case. Autocracy With Chinese Characteristics to impose strict discipline—in his eyes. and less state intervention. services. Rather. since will allow Xi to stay in office for the rest over time. A second lesson is that the presumed Xi cannot force the genie of economic dichotomy between the state and society and social transformation back into the is a false one. This May/June 2018 45 . To achieve this kind of growth. the government must release and CHINA AND DEMOCRACY channel the immense creative potential What broader lessons on democracy can of civil society. ing reforms onto existing traditions and China will prosper and rise. This is not to tist Francis Fukuyama has called “the say that states must delay democracy in bad emperor problem”—that is. democratization as the introduction of Yet just as political freedoms have multiparty elections. the economic improvements of his life. extreme order to experience economic growth. If the party loosens its grip on building roads.

overlapping identities are the norm. whether officials are embedded in their networks or communities can sometimes matter more than formal checks and electoral competition in holding them accountable. Additionally. For example. their China. Everyone every- where wants the benefits of democracy.Yuen Yuen Ang worldview arises from the United States’ only by transplanting the U. Challenging these unspoken assump- tions sheds light on why China has repeat- edly defied expectations. The country’s fails. In ancient China. opposite: the disastrous decades under ties. ensure bureaucratic accountability. In fact.S. profit-sharing practices within China’s bureaucracy gave its millions of public employees a personal stake in their country’s capitalist success. the edu. the CCP managed a bureaucratic reforms were successful capitalist revolution only insofar as it because they freed up space for these introduced democratizing reforms to intermediate actors to try new initiatives. observers should drop promote competition. China’s civil service occupies a Mao proved that this kind of leadership similar position today. shared in many other parts of the world. not proof that relying on top-down cated. The rent Chinese leadership should heed American notion of the separation of this lesson. But this doesn’t hold in China or in most tradi- tional societies. where fluid. and limit the the false dichotomy between the party power of individual leaders. As for other authoritarian govern- In nondemocratic societies such as ments keen to emulate China.∂ powers is premised on the assumption that officeholders possess only one identity. there has always been an interme. In these settings. landholding elite filled this role. it’s the exact but were still rooted in their communi. political distinct political philosophy. leaders should not pick up the wrong diate layer of actors between the state lessons. but policymakers would be dearly mis- taken to think that these can be achieved 46 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . China’s economic success is and society. commands and suppressing bottom-up They had direct access to those in power initiative work. belonging either to one branch of government or another. It should also prompt the United States to rethink its desire to export democracy around the world and its state-building efforts in traditional societies. too. In Deng’s era. but it is not system wholesale. The cur- and the state when reading China.

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when the states IVAN KRASTEV is Chair of the Centre for Liberal Strategies. outlined his position on followed by “reverse waves. but also in the West’s most established democracies. it still can be a democracy. scapegoating Huntington issued a warning against minorities. seem poised to follow. Ivan Krastev Perhaps the most alarming develop- ment has been the change of heart in eastern Europe. Hungarian Prime Minister and from 1945 to the 1960s.” Huntington pointed out lic and Romania. have War and the apparent spread of seen conservative populists win sweep- liberal democracy to all corners of the ing electoral victories while demonizing world. Unlike previous May/June 2018 49 .” in which liberalism: “A democracy is not neces- “democratic systems were replaced . one of the new ratization. in Sofia. and foreign adventurism and domestic The Long Road to political polarization have dramatically Democratic Decline damaged the United States’ global influ- ence and prestige. Other countries in Journal of Democracy titled “Democracy’s the region.” long a beacon of sents is of global importance. In the West. if new authoritarian great he went on to say. that the two previous waves of democ. surprised to see that liberal democracy Why has democracy declared war on is now under threat not only in coun.” his style of illiberal democracy is likely Huntington died in 2008. when the West was busy poster children for postcommunist democ- celebrating its victory in the Cold ratization. Return to Table of Contents transitions in recent decades. . meanwhile. the movement he repre- the United States. by sarily liberal. “we have to abandon powers could demonstrate the continued liberal methods and principles of organiz- viability of nondemocratic rule or “if ing a society. he suggested. even he would probably have been in the coming decades. . and undermining liberal excessive optimism. has reemerged in Russia and been strengthened in China. but had he to be the major alternative to liberalism lived.” Although Orban governs people around the world come to see a small country. In a speech in 2014. To maintain global competitiveness. Authori- Illiberal Revolution tarianism. such as Eastern Europe’s IS DEMOCRACY DYING? Brazil and Turkey.” A third reverse wave was possible. and the author of of eastern Europe freed themselves from After Europe. democracy. Hungary and Poland. economic inefficiency. In an article for the checks and balances. Just because something is historically new forms of authoritarian not liberal. had been Viktor Orban.” rule. the main source of political legitimacy. the political scientist Samuel the political opposition. from the 1820s to the 1920s populists. liberalism most openly in eastern Europe? tries that went through democratic The answer lies in the peculiar nature of the revolutions of 1989. including the Czech Repub- Third Wave. and social chaos. the Soviet empire. “as a fading power beset by where the will of the people remains political stagnation. Two of the region’s I n 1991.

which enjoys more on the moral reeducation of the one of the lowest unemployment rates nation. But similar troubles cannot explain omy or creating a loyal middle class and why the Czech Republic. In Many have found the rise of eastern Hungary. elections. of normal life already available to people Poland is the most puzzling case. This set the shared in their country’s prosperity. In a March 2017 article for goes to bed with a bastard. stage for the nationalist revolt against The details of eastern Europe’s liberalism seizing the region today. the words of the sociologist Kim Lane try’s liberal icons. power to persecute the innocent. country’s electoral system has turned PiS) won a parliamentary majority in his “plurality to a supermajority. Corruption. The the United States became the face of lib.6 percent in are centered less on controlling the econ- 2009. it is basically clean was elected in 2010. “Sometimes Scheppele. after Hungary’s when it comes to corruption. especially seems intent on marrying the bastard.Ivan Krastev revolutions. are not a mystifying quoted an anonymous observer who one-off but a conscious and repeated said of Fidesz’s system: “The benefit choice: the right-wing populist party of controlling a modern state is less the Fidesz has won two consecutive parlia. The in western Europe. through its changes to the constitutional Some populist successes can be court. on whether they individually benefited international actors such as the EU and from the postcommunist transition. The Polish government has tried 50 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . lamented. Once the Berlin Wall country had the fastest-growing econ- fell. Fidesz has used its constitu- European populism difficult to explain. In contrast to the Hungarian attributed to economic troubles: Orban government.” in 2015. the most educated and liberal eastern omy in Europe between 2007 and 2017. however.” opinion polls.” Populist The Atlantic. Europeans became the first to leave their and it has seen social mobility improve countries. one of the coun. more mentary elections in Hungary. Its policies economy had shrunk by 6. Research by the Polish and identity crises in the region. and in the power to protect the guilty. however. provoking major demographic in recent years. as do the character and policies PEOPLE POWER of individual populist governments. or why intolerance is on rise aries expressed a desire to lead the type in economically successful Slovakia. PiS maintains a towering Poland’s government has also sought to lead over its rivals. ruling party’s base includes many who eralism in eastern Europe. is a beautiful woman loses her mind and pervasive. tional majority to rewrite the rules of After Poland’s populist Law and Justice the game: Orban’s tinkering with the party (known by its Polish abbreviation. just as their are satisfied with their lives and have own influence was waning. voted for a slew of populist concerned not with utopia but with the parties in last year’s parliamentary idea of normality—that is. the writer David Frum victories. populist turn vary from country to country. Eastern Europe dismantle checks and balances. moreover. And as sociologist Maciej Gdula has shown that the domestic constituencies for liberal Poles’ political attitudes do not depend democracy immigrated to the West. the ones in 1989 were in Europe. Adam Michnik. the revolution.

telling commonalities. Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Revolution Rally ’round the flag: at a far-right march in Warsaw. As the political scientist Jan- of the majority. Werner Müller has argued. secretly plans to flood Hungary pectedly. religious. and sexual minorities. age after the demise of communism. conservative claim that they and they alone represent populists use the government to deepen the people. that the 2010 Andrej Babis led his party to victory plane crash that killed President Lech last year by promising to run the state Kaczynski—the brother of the PiS leader like a company.” Fidesz champion what the American historian and PiS do not pretend to stand for all May/June 2018 51 . such as the belief. by young people who came of with migrants. November 2017 to rewrite history. Prime Minister shared by many PiS voters. Soros. If Eastern Europe’s populists also deploy the liberals who dominated in the 1990s a similar political vocabulary. Jaroslaw Kaczysnki—was the product of Yet beneath these differences lie an assassination rather than an accident. In the Czech in conspiracy theories. aided by the emerging. marked by xenophobic nation. most notably through Richard Hofstadter termed “the paranoid a recent law making it illegal to blame style” in politics.” a claim that is not empirical cultural and political polarization and but “always distinctly moral. meanwhile. somewhat unex. a new illiberal consensus is assertions that Brussels. Hungarian-born billionaire George alism and supported. Across eastern This paranoia also surfaces in Fidesz’s Europe. This style traffics heavily Poland for the Holocaust. nation against its internal and external this new consensus is about the rights enemies. Republic. casting were preoccupied with the rights of themselves as the authentic voice of the AG E NC JA GA Z E TA / R E U T E R S ethnic. “Populists Wherever they take power.

and opposition to this threat forms the core of the new LIBERTY. crisis of the EU. combined immigrants from Romania. FRATERNITY. in turn. the threat of vanishing. Opinion polls indicate that they stand for all true Hungarians that the vast majority of eastern Europeans and all true Poles. make up 15 percent. delegitimizing that only five percent of Hungarians nonmajoritarian institutions by casting and 15 percent of Poles believe that them as obstacles to the will of the people. that set in motion the cultural and ethnic diversity are seen as populist explosion of today. Compare Austria economic development in the EU’s less and Hungary. such as of the current decade. immigration has had a positive impact Another common feature of eastern on their country and that 67 percent of European populism is a Janus-faced attitude Hungarians and 51 percent of Poles toward the EU. in Austria. eastern Europeans be closed to refugees entirely. A racy from an instrument of inclusion September 2017 study by Ipsos revealed into one of exclusion. Only six percent of ing the history of the region in the decades Hungarians are foreign-born. Although eastern European populism Some of this fear of diversity may was already on the rise by the beginning be rooted in historical traumas. According to the latest think their countries’ borders should Eurobarometer polls. rather than wealth. The region today ian economy grew by 4. but they do insist force in the region. an existential threat. a demographic panic across eastern These governments. They transform democ. which promote western Europe today. yet a study by KPMG and homogeneous societies—for example. ethnically 2006 and 2015. is of money from the European Structural the primary difference between eastern and and Investment Funds. In fact. it were born outside the country. neighboring countries of developed countries.8 percent.6 percent between is made up of small. the Hungarian economic research firm only 1. In Austria.S. similar size that were once unified under Support for illiberal populism has the Habsburg empire. aging. the refugee crisis the disintegration of the multicultural of 2015–16 made it the dominant political Habsburg empire after World War I and 52 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . are wary of migrants and refugees. The Hungar. and only would have shrunk by 1. that their national cultures were under ing from its financial largess. with the more recent shocks delivered the equivalent figure is 16 percent. but understanding its outsize Hungarian population. And 0. power and the eastern European political imagination. It is the are overwhelmingly ethnic Hungarian legacy of the 1989 revolutions. NORMALITY illiberalism.Ivan Krastev Hungarians or all Poles.6 percent of those living in Poland GKI estimated that without EU funds. and these since the end of communism. where people began to imagine as a rhetorical punching bag while benefit. In the by the decline of U. yet they vote for some of migrants streaming into Europe sparked the most Euroskeptical governments. images of the continent. Foreign citizens been growing across the continent for make up a little under two percent of the years now. are among the most pro-EU publics on During the refugee crisis. use Brussels Europe. cultural Poland is the continent’s biggest recipient and ethnic diversity.1 percent are Muslim. they appeal in eastern Europe requires rethink.

These days. classes once had. of articles from the foremost scholars in failing that. eastern Europeans realized during the course of the refugee crisis that they were facing a new global revolution. Raymond Aron was right when he observed. five decades eastern Europe today is reacting with panic to mass migration. cyberwarfare cally secure life for your children. mitpressjournals. Stay on top of the latest in gies. explored a range of inequality between peoples takes on fascinating topics. The French liberal philosopher contemporary security issues. or Sweden—or. international relations and security studies. not your government. that “with Recent issues have humanity on the way to unification. people in the poorer parts of the world rarely compare their lives with those of their neighbors. Rather. they compare them instead with those of the most prosperous International inhabitants of the planet. they are born in a rich country.” If you are a poor the causes of nuclear person in Africa who seeks an economi. But the political shock of the refugee crisis cannot be explained by the region’s history alone. plus access to the journal’s online archive. the significance that inequality between including the future of U. Germany. the revolutions of 1989 were the first in which the desire to exit one’s country. Change increasingly means changing Image © Yuri Samoilov.S. whose wealth is on full display thanks to the global Security diffusion of communications technolo. and best you can do for them is to make sure terrorism. The great irony is that although Subscribe now. it has also subjected it to the tyranny of global comparisons. rather than to gain 53 . you’ll receive a year’s worth Denmark. the Czech Republic or Poland. This was not a revolution of the masses but one of migrants. it was inspired not by ideological visions of the future but by images of real life on the other side of a border.the Soviet occupation of eastern Europe after World War II. And eastern Europeans have felt threatened by this your country. proliferation. the and cybersecurity. such as As a subscriber. bit. If global- ization has made the world a village.-China relations.

and identity is under threat. by self-assertion has also caused eastern contrast. In 1989. eager to the first to leave. join NATO and the EU. Hungarians. If there was a lost nearly three percent of its popula- utopia shared by both the left and the tion in just the last ten years. And in 2016. the region’s politicians. a rising desire for country. they were dreaming of a normal Bulgaria almost 21 percent. After the fall of the emigration a logical and legitimate choice. Berlin Wall. gration of the young and talented was Czech Finance Minister Vaclav Klaus occurring in countries that already had (who later became prime minister and aging populations and low birthrates. Although during the see their countries change. many in the former com. who of the mass exodus of young people were issued German passports over. the United Kingdom alone. When the equivalent to rising in social status. many Czechs. many as a result. eastern 1989 to 2017. But in behind. As a result. would proceed along the same lines as The success of nationalist populism. it was those most eager to live Europeans to chafe at taking orders in the West. and French Revolution broke out.” Eastern Europeans fear of immigration that best explain dreamed that European unification the rise of populism in eastern Europe.Ivan Krastev a greater voice within it. feeling like losers who had been left millions of Russians fled. had been willing minded eastern Europeans. For many liberal. a demographic panic. today. then president) said of finding a middle Together. Hungary life in a normal country. German reunification. a mistrust to follow the liberal playbook. is the outcome Poles envied the East Germans. In countries where most young those cases. After the 1989 revolutions. From in democratic politics. their futures as being outside their own In recent years. Moving to the West was demographic disruptions. the eastern Europeans who of its opponents ran away. which together set demographic alarm Revolutions as a rule cause major bells ringing. and world. This emi- Experiments were forbidden. who were 1990s. it was the defeated. success back enemies of the revolution. from the region combined with the night and could spend the deutsche prospect of large-scale immigration. right during the region’s postcommunist around one million Poles were living in transition. the revolutions of 1989 munist bloc expressed their wish for had the perverse effect of accelerating change by immigrating to the West population decline in the newly liber- rather than staying home to participate ated countries of eastern Europe. “The third way is the fastest way to It is thus both emigration and the the Third World. mark immediately. these trends set the stage for ground between capitalism and socialism. and in the early which feeds off a sense that a country’s 1990s. Latvia lost 27 percent of Europeans were not dreaming of a perfect its population. Lithuania 23 percent. it was the utopia of normality. was the primary of joining the modern world made agent of change. who saw home is devalued. When the stayed in their own countries started Bolsheviks took power in Russia. the people dream of leaving. of nationalist loyalties and the prospect they wish to assert their full rights as 54 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . In 1990. those most impatient to from Brussels.

ties in the region. As a result. May/June 2018 55 . not yet perished. or Marxist inter- fear being treated as second-class citizens nationalism. In it. Many people in those countries moment. secured these countries in at a national level the experience of the belief that “the advance of freedom integration familiar from the stories of threatens the national cause. second-generation Catholic Church. The Czech writer and and often rediscover an interest in the dissident Milan Kundera captured this traditions and values of their parents’ sense of insecurity well when he defined culture. rules. real constraints on the power of majori- for instance. equally important effect was to afflicted the region. And the EU’s eligibility of its territory and one-half of its popu. The Polish anthem how- it as an intolerable affront to their ever. Eastern and resent external powers. geopolitical insecurity that has always another. Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Revolution members of the European club. meanwhile. and Russia in the late responsible for its decision to resolve eighteenth century.” They have immigrants around the world. ceased to exist as an inde. most of them related such as the EU and the United States. Hungary. In 1946. their domestic politics as benevolent. was primarily Austria. they also. ria. deprive countries in the region of the garian intellectual Istvan Bibo published citizens who were most likely to become a pamphlet called The Misery of the Small domestic defenders of liberal democ- States of Eastern Europe. Europe’s integration into the EU mirrors Bibo argued. First. “His anthems speak only of grandeur Over time. he argued racy. Bucharest’s desire to pendent state following its partition by join the EU. born in the new country. the Hun. the liberalism of the immigrants.” A citizen of a large country used to view Brussels’ interference in takes his nation’s survival for granted. they have started to see and eternity.’” If one effect of eastern Europe’s THE RETURN OF GEOPOLITICS post-1989 emigration was to kick-start The final ingredient in eastern Europe’s the demographic panic that would later illiberal turn is the deep current of take full form during the refugee crisis. before losing more than two-thirds in Romania. known as the Copenhagen crite- lation in the 1920 Treaty of Trianon. make legal protections for minori- Not only did these historical traumas ties a precondition for membership in make eastern European societies fear the union. Something similar happened to a small nation as “one whose very exis- eastern European societies after joining tence may be put in question at any the EU. late Habsburg empire. Prussia. to eastern European states’ history of which over time came to be seen as the domination by outside powers. a long-running dispute with Hungary saw a nationalist revolution crushed in about the rights of ethnic Hungarians 1849. learned to be suspicious of any cosmopol- generation immigrants wish to gain itan ideology that crosses their borders. starts with the verse: ‘Poland has nations’ sovereignty. for instance. Poland. acceptance by internalizing the values whether it be the universalism of the of their host country. liberal democracy in that democracy in the region would always eastern Europe came to rely more and be held hostage to the lingering effects more on the support of external actors of historical traumas.

Putin’s combination of into conflict with Brussels and probe authoritarian rule and anti-Western the limits of the EU’s power. meanwhile. seizing Crimea from and balances and do not see the need Ukraine in 2014 and backing a seces. “The worrying Washington in Europe was unquestioned. the return of Eventually. already fed up with illiberalism. The main strong. As more them. the return of geopolitical insecurity has contributed to the fading attractive- ness of liberal democracy. was beginning to reassert itself as a But they are indifferent to liberal checks regional power. Russia has simply acted as a spoiler by attempting to spread disinformation. populism is therefore not to the existence cies of eastern Europe. nearly as repressive as the fascists were. makes it particularly dangerous is that In Europe. is that “its end had already been hobbled by expensive cannot be foreseen.∂ that could protect the nation. illiberal foreign wars and the financial crisis before democracy has become the new form of the election of Donald Trump as its authoritarianism that Huntington warned president raised serious questions about about more than two decades ago. In other eastern European countries. but it has deep roots in those democracies remained safe only the region’s politics and is unlikely to so long as the dominance of Brussels and go away anytime soon. the risk is that the EU could the Russian threat was one more argu. the refugee framework of democracy itself. For eastern European leaders countries in the region turn toward such as Orban. power of the majority—constraints that Huntington predicted in 1991 that a form a central part of EU law. Across the region. and Brexit have called the future The new populists are not fascists. such as the Baltic states. For many Poles. The United States journalist Paul Lendvai. What Washington’s commitment to its allies. and they are not government of President Vladimir Putin. of the EU itself into question. thing about Orban’s ‘illiberal democracy. the geopolitical according to the Hungarian-born Austrian situation has changed. nondemocratic Russia would challenge posed by eastern European pose problems for the liberal democra. crisis. disintegrate. emulate.Ivan Krastev The central role of the EU and the AN ILLIBERAL EUROPE? United States in consolidating eastern Eastern European populism is a recent Europe’s liberal democracies meant that phenomenon.” Indeed. they will continue to come liberalism. under the authoritarian tive power of violence. the consecutive it is an authoritarianism born within the shocks of the debt crisis. This came They do not believe in the transforma- just as Russia. and the rise of of democracy at the level of the nation Putin’s Russia has in fact undermined but to the cohesion of the EU. and Europe could become ment to vote for an illiberal government a continent divided and unfree.’” Yet over the last decade. 56 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . for constitutional constraints on the sionist insurgency in the country’s east. as Poland ideology has served as a model to has already done with its judicial reforms.

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edu/summer18 . and that leaders are those who inspire. not those who inflame. that history cannot be rewritten to suit today’s preferences. AND MORE sais-jhu.” — ELIOT COHEN. STUDY WITH PURPOSE “It’s never been more important to study international relations at a school that understands that truth is elusive but real. that tradeoffs are inescapable facts of economic life. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SUMMER COURSES AND CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS. PhD Director of the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and Robert E. INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. INTERNATIONAL STUDIES.

ESSAYS Xi has matched the dramatic growth of his personal power with an equally dramatic intensification of the Chinese Communist Party’s power in society and the economy. and Vanda Felbab-Brown 118 Fresh Prince F. Jonathan P. Economy 60 Keith Humphreys. Gregory Gause III 75 Globalization Is Not in Retreat Susan Lund and Laura Tyson 130 DAMI R SAGO LJ / REUT E RS The Right Way to Coerce North Korea Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz 87 Where Myanmar Went Wrong Zoltan Barany 141 Perception and Misperception on the Korean Peninsula Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper 103 . —Elizabeth Economy China’s New Revolution Opioids of the Masses Elizabeth C. Caulkins.

” He acknowledged that the party and the country still confronted chal- lenges. grown rich. In his three-and-a-half-hour speech. such as official corruption. Return to Table of Contents China’s New Revolution The Reign of Xi Jinping Elizabeth C. and it has steadily eroded the autonomy of Hong Kong through a series of political and legal ELIZABETH C. and become strong. inequality in living standards. It was October 2017. Xi Jinping sounded a triumphant note. Xi. the Chinese leadership has made notable progress on a number of its pri- orities. In the past five years. from which this essay is adapted.000 in 2012 to more than 400. Its much-heralded anticorruption campaign has accelerated. In the South China Sea. the latest of the gatherings of Chinese Communist Party elites held every five years. Beijing has successfully advanced its sovereignty claims by milita- rizing existing islands and creating new ones outright. China was headed in the right direction—so much so. with the number of officials disciplined for graft increasing from some 150. declared his first term a “truly remarkable five years in the course of the development of the party and the country. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State (Oxford University Press. and what he called “erroneous viewpoints. he insisted.” a time in which China had “stood up. who was appointed the CCP’s general secretary in 2012. against a backdrop of a stylized hammer and sickle. Xi’s confidence is not without grounds.000 in 2016. in fact. ECONOMY is C.” Not since Mao Zedong had a Chinese leader so directly suggested that others should emulate his country’s model. that he recom- mended that other countries draw on “Chinese wisdom” and follow “a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind. Economy S tanding onstage in the auditorium of Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.” But overall. 60 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . and the Chinese leader was addressing the 19th Party Congress. 2018). Air quality in many of China’s famously smoggy cities has improved measurably.

Moreover. the government eliminated the constitutional provision limiting the president to two terms. For more than three decades. and in 2017. the Chinese economy has continued to expand. China’s New Revolution Party of one: Xi at the 19th Party Congress. oversaw a self-proclaimed “second revolution.9 percent. Mao led the communist revolution that created the contemporary Chinese party-state. the Chinese political system had been run by a process of May/June 2018 61 . Not only has he slowed. Deng Xiaoping.” in which he ushered in economic reforms and the low- profile foreign policy that produced China’s economic miracle. his successor. For the first time. Across Asia. Beijing. reversed. in a striking move made in March. a massive regional infrastructure plan. Now. Xi has launched a third revolution. Beginning in the late 1970s. GDP grew by 6. But Xi’s ambitions extend beyond these areas to something more fundamental. but he has also sought to advance the principles of this new China on the global stage. October 2017 maneuvers. it has enhanced its influence through the Belt and Road Initiative. All the while. the process of “reform and opening up” set in motion by Deng. in many cases. the first time the growth rate had gone up in seven years. In the 1940s. China is an illiberal state seeking leadership in a liberal world order. and. allowing Xi to serve as president THOMAS PETE R / REUTE RS for life. THE REVOLUTION BEGINS Xi began his revolution as soon as he took power.

The China scholar David Shambaugh once noted.” Now. a senior official announced that Sun had plotted with others to overthrow Xi. as well as from the leadership in a liberal media. was charged with corruption and removed from office. And he has used an anticorrup- world order. China Liberation Army generals and provincial is an illiberal state seeking party secretaries. More allies of his were added to the CCP’s 25-member Politburo and its seven-member Standing Committee. In July 2017. China’s top ruling body. he assumed leadership of all the most important committees overseeing policy. such as People’s For the first time. sharply diminishing the vibrancy of China’s virtual public square. But Xi quickly moved to centralize political authority in his own hands.Elizabeth C. the pendulum has swung back toward a greater role for the party. No element of political and economic life has remained untouched. such that more than half of each group is now composed of Xi loyalists. such as those concerning cyber issues. Sun Zhengcai. Xi has matched the dramatic growth of his personal power with an equally dramatic intensification of the CCP’s power in society and the economy. Economy collective leadership. a rising star within the CCP who served as party secretary of the municipality of Chongqing. Within the first few years of his tenure. whereby decision-making authority was shared among officials in the Politburo Standing Committee. In the political sphere. an honor previously granted only to Mao. under Xi. Then came the change that left open the possibility that Xi could serve as president indefinitely. Xi further cemented his hold on CCP institutions and consolidated his personal power. economic reform. for example. the CCP has taken advantage of new technology and put greater pressure on the private sector to restrict access to for- bidden content online. At the 19th Party Congress. He secured public pronouncements of loy- alty from top officials. authorities detained a man for five days 62 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . “If one of the hallmarks of the Maoist state was the penetration of society. His name and his ideology—“Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism With Chinese Character- istics for a New Era”—were enshrined in the party’s constitution. Even privately shared humor can trigger police action. In September 2017. and national security. then the Dengist state was noticeable for its withdrawal. months later. tion campaign to root out not just self- serving officials but also his political enemies.

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Beijing plans to have rolled out a national system of “social credit. but thanks to a new requirement under Xi. on the international stage. The CCP has called for similar rules to apply in joint ventures with multinational corporations.” Such rhetoric is misleading. On the economic front. those committees had only ill-defined roles. in some cases. for example. Economy after he sent a joke about a rumored love triangle involving a govern- ment official to a group over the messaging app WeChat. Xi has defied expectations that he would accelerate market-based reforms. Even private companies are no longer outside the party’s purview. could be married to its vast telephone and video surveillance network and used to identify and retaliate against party critics. “Opening up will bring progress. At a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in November 2017.Elizabeth C. and those who close down will inevitably lag behind. and receives a degree of decision-making power. even wasting too much time playing video games—will face a range of consequences. man- agement must seek their advice—and. he proclaimed. In recent years. The government might slow their Internet connections or restrict their access to every- thing from restaurants to travel to jobs. including such giants as Alibaba and Tencent. He has strengthened the position of state-owned enterprises. In fact. one of the most distinctive elements of Xi’s rule has been his creation of a wall of regulations designed to control the flow of ideas.” integrating infor- mation from online payment and social media apps into a database that would allow it to punish or reward citizens based on their supposed trustworthiness. he has sought to position himself as globalizer in chief. AMBITIONS ABROAD While Xi has limited political and economic openness at home. and he has empowered the party committees that sit inside every Chinese firm. assigning them a leading role in economic development campaigns.and facial-recognition technologies. and even capital between China and the rest of the world. In 2017. culture. By 2020. 64 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Beijing announced plans to expand an experiment in which the party takes small stakes in media and technology companies. thanks to state-of-the-art voice. Those whose behavior falls short—defaulting on a loan. participating in a protest. their approval—for all major decisions. while giving preferred access to those who abide by the CCP’s rules. The govern- ment is also developing a massive biometric database that.

Under Xi. In Pakistan. highways. Beijing has begun the process of formally blocking foreign-owned virtual private networks that allow users to circumvent China’s so-called Great Firewall. China’s New Revolution Although restrictions on foreign influence are nothing new in China. Beijing placed strict controls on Chinese citizens’ and corporations’ ability to move foreign currency out of the country. the undertaking now encompasses as many as 900 projects. A similar pattern has emerged in the economic realm. Xi has moved China further away from its traditional commitment to a low-profile foreign policy. about four percent of the total that had been operating in China before the law. from materials to artificial intelligence. Launched in 2013. To ensure that Chinese companies dominate. In the electric car industry. the government launched its “Made in China 2025” program. a modern incarnation of the ancient Silk Road and maritime spice routes. and dams but also a proposal to develop a system of video and Internet surveillance similar to that in Beijing and a partnership with a Pakistani television May/June 2018 65 . a self-sufficiency drive that sets out ten key industries. for example. Meanwhile. the government not only provides large subsidies but also puts in place a variety of barriers to foreign competition. and refrain from fundraising within China. in which Chinese firms are expected to control as much as 80 percent of the domestic market by 2025. effectively eliminating the major Japanese and South Korean competitors. Xi’s most notable gambit on this front is his Belt and Road Initiative. In 2015. only 330-odd groups had registered. in order to prevent China’s currency from depreciating and its foreign reserves from plummeting. obtain permission for every activity they engage in. As Xi colorfully put it in a 2014 speech. In January 2017. Meanwhile. for example. accelerating a shift begun by his predecessor. China now actively seeks to shape international norms and institutions and forcefully asserts its presence on the global stage. By March 2018. Hu Jintao. China should be capable of “constructing international playgrounds”— and “creating the rules” of the games played on them. But the effort goes far beyond mere infrastructure. it has required Chinese automakers to use batteries made in Chinese factories that have been operating for more than a year. more than 80 percent of which are contracted to Chinese firms. they have proliferated under Xi. Beijing enacted a stringent new law requiring nongovernmental organizations in China to register with the Ministry of Public Security. the plan includes not only railroads. That same year.

for all the talk of sovereignty. to protest visits by the Dalai Lama. model of cyber regulation and Internet public policies. Indeed. for example. Beijing has also announced that it will be establishing special arbitration courts for Belt and Road Initiative projects. Ironically. China also dangles access to its massive domestic market to coerce corporations to play by its rules. although they probably pose a lesser threat to U.” Beijing has promulgated the idea that countries should be allowed to.” It has pushed for negotiations about Internet governance that would privilege states and exclude represen- tatives from civil society and the private sector. particularly students. and Sri Lanka. and in Greece. In Ethiopia and Sudan. thereby using the plan to promote an alternative legal system underpinned by Chinese rules. Chinese state-owned enterprises now run at least 76 ports and terminals out of 34 countries. and it hosts an annual conference to convince foreign officials and businesspeople of its view of the Internet. interests than is commonly thought. Apple was convinced to open a data center in China in order to comply with new rules requiring foreign firms to store certain data inside the country (where it will presumably be easier to monitor). part of Xi’s more assertive foreign policy involves unquestionable violations of it. have come under increasing scrutiny in the United States and elsewhere for spreading CCP propa- ganda. The Belt and Road Initiative has also given China an opportunity to advance its military objectives. for example. Chinese investment in ports has been followed by high-profile visits from Chinese naval vessels. That same year. Under the banner of “cyber-sovereignty. More challenging is China’s effort to mobilize its overseas communities. Perhaps the most noteworthy effort is China’s campaign to promote its vision of a closed Internet. the company removed from its app store hundreds of programs that helped people get around the Great Firewall. Economy channel to disseminate Chinese media content. offering advice on what legislation to pass and which monitoring and surveillance technologies to use. inform on Chinese studying abroad who do not 66 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . China is increasingly seeking to export its political values across the globe. The govern- ment’s Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms. “choose their own path of cyber development.S. the CCP is training officials on how to manage public opinion and the media. which purvey Chinese language and culture abroad. Pakistan. In 2017.Elizabeth C. as one official document explained.

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such as railway track gauges or types of satellite navigation systems.Elizabeth C. Yet such policies have a long-term payoff. which in turn has led to paralysis at local levels of governance and lower rates of economic growth. Economy follow the CCP line. This effort contributes to a climate of intimidation and fear within the Chinese overseas student community (not to mention the broader university community). the state-supported Global Times editorialized. In fact. After a Chinese Swedish bookseller was snatched from a train in China and detained earlier this year. Decisions that may appear immediately irrational in the context of a liberal political 68 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . as the best hope for positive global leadership. “European countries and the U. in order to gain con- trolling stakes in strategic ports or set technical standards. For example. and it threatens to tar all Chinese students as representatives of the Chinese government. and as committed to stability abroad in order to focus on affairs at home.S. for example. as overwhelmingly popular among the Chinese people. the government encourages state-owned enterprises to invest in high-risk economies in support of the Belt and Road Initiative. should educate their newly naturalized citizens that the new passport cannot be their amulet in China. Chinese security officials have on several occasions abducted former Chinese nationals who are now citizens of other countries. First. Of even greater con- cern. such assessments miss four fundamental truths about him. and vociferously represent the government’s position on sensitive issues such as Hong Kong and Taiwan. for the next wave of global economic development. His preference for control over competition often leads to policies that appear suboptimal in the short run.” RETHINKING XI Many observers view Xi as an economic reformer who has been thwarted by powerful opposition. Xi is playing a long game. his centralization of power and anti- corruption campaign have slowed decision-making at the top of the Chinese political system. slow Internet connections or money-losing state-owned enterprises— not only because the policies enhance their own political power but also because they afford them the luxury of making longer- term strategic investments. Chinese leaders tolerate the inefficiencies that come with nonmarket policies—say. Thus.

have moved their money and families abroad. China’s New Revolution system and a market economy often have a longer-term strategic logic within China.pushback against Xi than creasingly seeking to ignore established is commonly thought. Second. Chinese lawyers and others have condemned many of Xi’s initiatives. There may have been a time when the political and economic implications of China’s authoritarian system were confined largely to its own society. to buttress other authoritarian-leaning leaders. and in others. Many of China’s wealthiest and most talented citizens. Xi’s centralization of power and growing control over infor- mation make it hard to assess how much consensus there really is in China about the direction in which he and the rest of the Chinese leader- ship are taking the country. in the sense of showing a willingness to align his country’s interests with—or even subordinate them to—those of the broader international community. With a few exceptions. There may be more pushback against Xi than is commonly thought. such as when it comes to UN peacekeeping contributions. concerned about the state’s heavier hand. But now that the country is exporting its political values—in some cases. May/June 2018 69 . including the recent move to eliminate term limits. Xi has only rarely demonstrated true global leadership. Beijing simply dismissed the ruling and carried on with its land-reclamation and militarization efforts there. it is in. In 2016. Moreover. Third. norms and set its own rules of the road. Finally. Xi has eliminated the dividing line between domestic and foreign policy. Even his signature Belt and Road Initiative has generated criticism from scholars and business leaders. even if it is less robust than during previous times. a wide- ranging debate over the merits of many of the regime’s policies rages. In academic and official circles. to undermine international law and threaten other states’ sovereignty—China’s governance model is front and center in its foreign policy. who argue that many of the proposed investments have no economic rationale. when the International Court of Arbitration rejected Chinese claims to wide swaths of the South China Sea. China steps up to provide global public goods only when doing so serves its own short-term interests or when it has been There may be more pressured to do so. although he harbors ambitions on the global stage.

At the other extreme.S. officials to sound alarm bells and press Djibouti to reverse course. the United States must mount a vigorous defense at home. Yet the United States offered no constructive alternative. reports that Djibouti—home of the U. Despite U. there is no reason the United States shouldn’t adopt more restrictive policies toward China. Djibouti awarded management of the port to a Singaporean company. The Trump adminis- tration must now advance an equivalent challenge to China—one that begins with a forceful assertion of enduring American princi- ples. it should stop sacrificing its own economic and political security. strategy to address China’s ambitions in Africa and other places covered by its Belt and Road Initiative.) Such a reactive and piecemeal approach will do little to respond to the longer-term challenge posed by Xi’s revo- lution.S. what is actually required is not an out- right rejection of the past four decades of U. such as an economic development package. More important. Keeping up with Xi’s many new initiatives is not easy. policy but a careful rethinking of that policy so as to incorporate what works and reevaluate what does not. President Donald Trump’s protectionist impulses and praise for au- tocrats.S. An effective China policy must rest on a robust demonstration of the United States’ commitment to its own principles. Economy CHALLENGE AND RESPONSE At the heart of Xi’s revolution is a values-based challenge to the inter- national norms promoted by the United States. With that logic off the table. Because it can no longer count on China to continue the process of reform and opening up. nor did it put forth a broader U. for example. Washington tolerated a degree of intellectual property theft and unequal market access because it believed that China was making some progress toward market principles and the rule of law. and it is tempting to respond to each one as it arrives. On his trip to the 70 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .S. although it may be tempting to react to Xi’s changes by demanding that Washington come up with an entirely new China strategy. This means not only maintaining a strong military presence in the Asia-Pacific but also demonstrating a continued commitment to free trade and democracy. military’s only permanent base in Africa—was planning to give China control over a port prompted senior U. recent moves suggest that the White House has not entirely forsaken its commitment to liberal values in Asia. At the same time. In March.Elizabeth C.S. (As events played out. In the past.

S. and Japan. the adminis- tration should elaborate on the substance of the renewed quadrilateral partnership and establish how it will work in conjunction with other U. China’s push to shape other countries’ political systems underscores the need for the Trump administration to support U. and e-commerce systems. firms’ technology. Trump should also reopen discussions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. institutions that May/June 2018 71 . China’s New Revolution region in November 2017. which would give the country a global platform for censorship and economic espionage. when it worked with India on an ambitious program to upgrade that country’s urban infrastructure. In the field of “smart cities. Washington should partner with developing countries on urban planning for smart cities and help fi- nance the deployment of U. he has expressed a will- ingness to consider a modified version of it. Part of this endeavor should include support for companies from the United States—or from U. a dormant grouping of like-minded Pacific democracies that could start pushing back against Chinese aggression in the region. Indeed. the president articulated his support for a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and revived the quadrilateral partnership with Australia. more recently. Although he withdrew the United States from the deal days after his inauguration. such as Vietnam.” As a useful first step toward making good on its word. That could mean under- taking joint freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea. One potential area of collabora- tion centers on high-stakes security issues. or supporting Taiwan in the face of Beijing’s increasingly coercive strategy.S. the United States should draw on its strengths in urban planning and technology. A revived agreement would not only promote market-based reforms in countries with largely state-dominated economies.S.S. providing alternative sources of investment for countries with strategically important ports. GPS. India.” many of the world’s top corporations and most innovative start-ups are American. allies— to help build up developing countries’ fiber-optic cables. the administration’s National Defense Strategy calls for placing a renewed emphasis on alliances to counter “revisionist powers. but also pro- vide a beachhead from which the United States could advance its own economic interests over the long term. partners in Asia and elsewhere. To compete with the Belt and Road Initiative. Doing that would undercut China’s attempt to control much of the world’s digital infrastructure. just as it did in 2014.

there are fewer than 30 such centers in China and more than a hundred Confucius Institutes and over 500 Confucius Class- rooms in the United States. Reciprocity could take a number of forms. even as it advances its own such interests outside China. Economy promote political liberalization abroad. In some cases. universities. China’s willingness to subordinate its short-term economic interests for longer- term strategic gains means that Washington must redouble its invest- ment in science and technology. and in some respects reversed. Xi has upended this understanding because he has stalled. Legal. U. companies will be no match for better- funded Chinese ones. U. the International Republican Institute. Japan. educational. and South Korea. Accordingly. These institutions can partner with Australia. they have acted under the assumption that if the United States remains true to its democratic values and demonstrates what responsible behavior looks like. For example. Without such support. such as the National Endowment for Democracy.S. government on Chinese university campuses. firms. and the Asia Foundation. U. Currently. and fund the development and deployment of new technologies by U. and structural reform programs can provide a critical bulwark against Chinese efforts to project authoritarian values abroad. along with Euro- pean allies. the pun- ishment should be relatively light. could refuse to host Confucius Institutes or forge other partnerships with Chinese 72 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . strength abroad begins with strength at home. Of course.S. it’s time for the Trump administration to take a fresh look at the notion of reciprocity— and do unto China as China does unto the United States. policy- makers have long considered reciprocity a lose-lose proposition that harms relations with China without changing its behavior.S. China is eager to restrict opportunities for outsiders to pursue their political and economic interests within its borders. backed by Beijing’s long-term vision.Elizabeth C. the political and economic reforms begun under Deng and has transformed the United States’ openness into a vulnerability. organizations funded by the U. China will eventually follow its lead. the National Democratic Institute.S. support the universities and national labs that serve as a wellspring of American innovation. to help build the rule of law in quasi-authoritarian states and buttress nascent democracies. Instead.S. the Trump adminis- tration could bar China from establishing additional Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in the United States unless China permits more American Centers for Cultural Exchange. for their part.

focusing more on protecting Belt and Road Initiative projects from the violence in Myanmar. such as telecommunications. More provocatively. in fact. the Obama administration achieved some success in leveraging Xi’s ambitions when it pressured China to adopt limits on its carbon emissions and to increase substantially the amount of assistance it provided African countries struck by the Ebola crisis. In bordering Myanmar. more than 650. While Xi poses new challenges for the United States. he also offers a distinct new opportunity: the chance for Washington to hold him publicly accountable for his claim that China is prepared to assume greater global leadership.S. Ideally. Washington should also consider constraining Chinese investment in the United States in areas that are out of bounds for U. China has offered to serve as a mediator between the two countries. the Trump administration successfully pushed China to adopt tougher sanctions to try to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program. Reciprocity need not be an end in itself. That might take the form of limiting Chinese stakes in U. In 2014.S. transportation. over- whelming that impoverished country. Similarly. China’s New Revolution institutions if any member of their faculty is banned from travel to China—a punishment Beijing has often meted out to critical scholars. companies to the same level that Beijing permits foreign firms to have in Chinese companies. and media. More such moves should follow. a reciprocal action (or even just the threat of one) would bring China to the negotiating table. construction. businesses in China. particularly the part of it taking place in the country’s own backyard. the United States could tacitly or explicitly support other Asian countries’ efforts to mil- itarize islands in the South China Sea in an effort to raise the costs for China of doing the same. The administration should call on China to play a bigger role in addressing the global refugee crisis. where a better outcome could be reached. But it also blocked a UN Security Council resolution to appoint a special envoy to Myanmar and has downplayed concerns about the plight of the Rohingya. The United States and others should say it loud and clear: with global leadership comes greater global responsibility. WILL XI SUCCEED? Does China’s third revolution have staying power? History is certainly not on Xi’s side. Despite a weakening of democratic institutions in some May/June 2018 73 .000 refugees from the Rohingya ethnic minority have fled to Bangladesh.

although often forgotten in China’s current political environment. The good news is that Xi has made his revolutionary intentions clear. Kenya. Kazakhstan. Some Chinese economists argue that the country faces a sizable challenge from its rapidly aging population and massively underfunded pension system. For the foreseeable future. At home. all the major economies—save China—are democracies. his consolidation of institutional power and mandate for change were only strengthened. Abroad. corporate. the United States will have to deal with China as it is: an illiberal state seeking to reshape the international system in its own image. There is no excuse now for the United States not to respond in equally unambiguous terms. more such instances will undoubtedly crop up. raising the prospect that Xi will been seen as failing abroad. the country is not without its champions of democracy. One route is through an economic crisis. Moreover. potential paths to a Chinese democratic transition. and Sri Lanka. As China presses forward with its more ambitious foreign policy. such as a major stock market crash in 2015. Economy parts of the world. Many of his accomplishments have earned him widespread popular support.Elizabeth C. journalists. The number of labor protests has more than doubled during his tenure. and wealthy entrepreneurs have all spoken out in favor of democratic reform in the recent past. coupled with its persistently low birthrate. there have even been coup and assassination attempts against Xi. and government debt as a proportion of GDP all having sky- rocketed since the 2008 global financial crisis. then. China’s economy is showing signs of strain. and at the 19th Party Congress. Nonetheless. as many scholars have. discontent with his repressive policies has spread within large parts of China’s business and intellectual communities. He has survived past crises. activists. Xi’s move to eliminate term limits stirred a great deal of controversy within top political circles. there is little compelling evidence that Xi’s revolution is in danger of being reversed. As Chinese officials have admitted to the press. thus undermining his authority at home. which could produce a demand for change. In just the past year.∂ 74 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Prominent scholars. retired officials. with Chinese household. Beijing’s aggressive efforts to expand its influence have been met with frequent backlashes. At the same time. widespread protests against Chinese investments have erupted in Bangladesh. It’s also conceivable that Xi could overreach. And it is possible to map out. even after the end of the one-child policy.

King Salman. The system is lubricated by enough oil wealth to also fund a substantial welfare state. May/June 2018 75 . having sidelined other members of the ruling family with the full support of his father. Mohammed bin Salman. conservative. Behind this crackdown was the young crown prince. Gregory Gause III I t is not often that a Ritz-Carlton becomes a detention facility. His concentrated authority and evident will to shake up the system make it possible for him to do great things. and ultimately successful amid the crises of the modern Middle East. when a large slice of the Saudi elite was arrested on accusations of corruption. which the Middle East expert Bernard Haykel terms a “revolution from above. But he has also removed the restraints that have made Saudi foreign and domestic policy cautious. not equal F. also known as MBS.” without destabilizing his country and adding to the region’s chaos remains an open question. oil wealth has lifted the ruling family above its partners and the governing princes above the other members of the extended House of Saud. But last November. and the economic elite. and even the House of Saud itself. GREGORY GAUSE III is Head of the International Affairs Department at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Return to Table of Contents Fresh Prince The Schemes and Dreams of Saudi Arabia’s Next King F. billionaires. the religious establishment. Over the decades. Religious elites are now state bureaucrats. MBS is already the most powerful figure in contempo- rary Saudi history. and high-ranking government officials. who is attempt- ing to remake the kingdom’s economy and social life. Conventional wisdom has it that the Saudi regime rests on a social compact among the ruling family. Whether the crown prince can pull off his high-stakes gamble. But that view is only half right. the luxury hotel in Riyadh became a gilded prison for hundreds of princes. At only 32.

public strike 76 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . which were practically free in the past. So far. The crown prince’s cam- paign is further redefining the role of the regime’s traditional pillars of support while also appealing. Why did the crown prince arrest the pillars of the private sector—the very people he needs to make Vision 2030 work? Saudi officials contend that a dramatic. The privatization of five percent of the state oil company Saudi Aramco—the most publicized element of Vision 2030— aims to generate revenue for the govern- ment’s Public Investment Fund. in the local pri- vate sector. as conser- vative and self-interested as they may be. Right now. in a most unmonarchical way. All of this made the Ritz-Carlton roundup even more puzzling. and abroad. Gregory Gause III partners in governing. the vast majority of Saudi workers are employed by the state. are a much more reliable basis for monarchical rule. MBS appears to be popular among many Saudis (although accurate measures of public opinion are notori- ously hard to come by in authoritarian regimes). The institutional interests of elites. as a sovereign wealth fund. is to diversify the Saudi economy and reduce its dependence on oil.F. The collapse of oil prices in 2014 convinced him that the kingdom could no longer support the welfare state that has been in place since the 1970s. The private sector is key to the plan’s success. which he outlined in his Vision 2030 plan. The business community is also a junior partner. He has already reduced subsidies on utilities such as water and electricity. Vision 2030 calls for the private sector to invest more in the economy and become a greater source of employment. The problem is that public opinion is fickle. which will invest both at home. to an incho- ate Saudi public opinion. more of a lobby than an independent actor. and has imposed a five percent value-added tax (VAT) on many commercial transactions. The crown prince’s most ambitious goal.

and the alleged use of brutal coercive tactics—could lead the country in the opposite direction. he will use the anticorruption campaign not May/June 2018 77 . If he is like Chinese President Xi Jinping. But the crackdown’s opaque and arbitrary methods—detentions without public charge. financial settlements negotiated for unspecified crimes. The long-term effect of the crown prince’s gambit will hinge on what kind of leader the crown prince really is. Fresh Prince against high-level corruption will help level the playing field and encour- age greater investment going forward.

the construction giant the Saudi Binladin Group. with the right incentives and sound government policy. CHANGE AT LAST On the social front. become an engine of growth. 78 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . both domestic and foreign. The path that MBS chooses in the aftermath of the Ritz-Carlton crackdown will determine his country’s future. the crown prince has redefined what corruption means in the kingdom. he tackled the most fraught Saudi social issue by declaring that. a reconstituted and chastened private sector might. as of June 2018.” have not excited much enthusiasm from the Saudi business elite.F. such as building a futuristic city dubbed “Neom. the king of England took over monasteries and other religious endowments when he declared himself head of the Church of England. The wolf is hardly at the door: the government has around $500 billion in reserves. There is some indication that MBS is feeling similar fiscal pressures. in exchange for releas- ing its chief executive. are not yet clear on what the new definition is. Gregory Gause III only to settle political scores but also to actually reform the economy. but this tactic can be used only once. he might be more like King Henry VIII. On the other hand. If foreign investors and domestic business elites think that they are perpetually at risk of being arrested or having their assets seized. Saudi women will have the right to drive. This approach would solidify the crown prince’s power but undermine the potential for meaningful reform. But rather than maintaining these institutions as a steady source of income. the crown prince has already made bold decisions. But some of the crown prince’s more ambitious plans. The Wall Street Journal reported that King Salman had unsuccessfully implored leading businesspeople to contribute to the government’s coffers before the November roundup. At a minimum. he will simply replace the old oligarchs with new ones of his own choosing. Shaking down business leaders would yield money for pet projects. Equally troubling. In that case. they will be much less likely to invest in the country. Faced with mounting expenses from fighting wars overseas and consolidating his rule at home. if MBS is more like Russian President Vladimir Putin. This decision has elicited barely a peep of domestic opposition. he sold most of them for a one-time infusion of funds. and it might be doing the same with the Middle East Broadcasting Center. In September. That path is certainly open: the Saudi government has obtained a substantial interest in at least one major company. The problem is that observers.

the religious elites are state employees who take orders from above. to the tolerant. Men will not lose productive hours transporting their wives. Fresh Prince As education levels rose and more Saudis experienced life abroad. and there might be isolated instances of a violent backlash. And the objections of some cler- ics that driving would endanger Saudi women’s moral standing were risible. some in more conservative religious circles will object to all of this. moderate Islam that is open to the world. his commitment to change is real. including the May/June 2018 79 . The crown prince has that political will. During every major crisis in modern Saudi history. in spades.” at least his country’s future. female atten- The path that MBS chooses dance at soccer matches. and sisters to doctor’s appointments and other meetings. Having women behind the wheel will bring enormous changes to the country. But history has shown that these changes will soon become normalized. The crown prince has publicly talked about “going back to how we were. All this social change gives a more accurate picture of the rela- tionship between the religious establishment and the ruling family. the argument that the kingdom was “not ready” or “too conservative” for this change rang increasingly hollow. More women will be able to join the work force.” Although this interpretation of Saudi history is questionable. given that the alternative was for Saudi women to be driven by male drivers (either in taxis or in their families’ cars) who were not members of their families. Saudi society had been ready for this change for some time. Ultimately. Undoubtedly. In addition to deciding to allow women to drive. the religious establishment has supported the government’s decisions. It is hard to underestimate the impact of this decision. and a greater in the aftermath of the number of public social events will help crackdown will determine make the country more “normal. he has limited the powers of the religious police and opened up Saudi social life. Musical concerts. not equal players with a veto over government policy. for those Saudis who have lived or vis- ited abroad. Hun- dreds of thousands of foreign workers employed as drivers will no longer be needed. The wives of clerics will be among the first behind the wheel. mothers. as there were when the country introduced television and education for girls in the 1960s. the country’s leaders had simply lacked the political will to pull the trigger. movie theaters.

UNCHALLENGED AUTHORITY Equally audacious but less noticed abroad has been the crown prince’s consolidation of power within the ruling family.F. the retaking of the Grand Mosque in Mecca from millenarian zealots in 1979. But it also had its virtues: its decisions were well con- sidered. keeping the succession in his own generation. some observers questioned how the system would be sustained. Gregory Gause III implementation of social changes in the 1960s. the invitation of foreign troops into the kingdom during the Gulf War of 1990–91. conservative. the son of the former interior minister. but they are For now. MBN. myself included. Reli- prince’s path to ultimate gious opposition to the regime comes power seems secure. he originally appointed his half brother Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz to be crown prince. the kingdom has been ruled by a de facto committee of senior princes— all sons of King Ibn Saud. the crown not leading a charge against them. the founder of modern Saudi Arabia—with the king as first among equals. Since the 1960s. Mohammed bin Nayef. as he is known. assumed that the sons of that generation would take the places of their fathers and reconstitute committee governance. and the crushing of local al Qaeda elements in the early years of this century. Most Saudi watchers. who had inherited the leadership of that ministry from his father. MBN 80 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . is part of the Saudi royal family’s third generation. We were wrong. there were checks on bad ideas. Religious elites may not like the crown prince’s policies. As the sons of the founding king grew old. There is no reason to think that has changed. This style of government had all the vices of rule by com- mittee: it was ponderous. from radical groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State (or ISIS) and from Islamist populists who call for both greater adherence to Islamic law and more political freedom. from outside official circles. but all of them sought consensus on important decisions among their family members who held the key ministries and governorships across the country. But the king jettisoned Prince Muqrin a few months later in favor of one of his neph- ews. and everyone important was on board once a decision was made. Some kings were stronger than others. and not readily able to seize opportunities. When King Salman assumed the throne in 2015. The state has been able to suppress these movements for the last century.

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of a serious mobilization inside the House of Saud to block MBS from eventually succeeding his father. After his November arrest. King Salman removed MBN from his position as crown prince and from his ministerial post and elevated his favorite son to become the heir apparent. MBS had already secured his position by then. many of whom had previously held high positions in govern- ment and were looking to inherit their fathers’ seats at the decision- making table. MBN was a safe choice to become the first king of his generation—experienced in government. and the crown prince is both the defense minister and the deputy prime minister. officials in the burgeon- ing intelligence and counterterrorism partnership that had developed between the two countries after the 9/11 attacks. one of whom is another son of King Salman. and well known and respected in Washington. Dangerous splits in the family have happened before. the crown prince has cut out a large number of his older cousins. successful in maintaining internal security against threats from al Qaeda and ISIS. But there are no indications. which is held by a young nephew of the former crown prince MBN and thus a member of the family’s fourth generation. when he succeeded his father as minister of defense. At that time. the Saudi cabinet contains fewer members of the ruling fam- ily than at any time since the 1950s.S. when King Saud and Crown Prince 82 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . a number of princes were involuntary guests at the Ritz. but both lack a portfolio. This has occasioned more than a little grumbling in family circles. a son of the former king. Today. But no one questioned that MBS was in charge. The king is still the prime minister. Al- though some saw the Ritz-Carlton roundup as a consolidation of power. To be sure. But in June 2017.) In effect. even before November 2017. With the cashiering of MBN. at least not publicly.F. some of which has seeped out into the Western press. who served as the commander of the National Guard. the king had also appointed him to head a cabinet committee overseeing economic and social policy (MBN was in charge of a similar committee on security issues). Gregory Gause III also became the main point of contact for U. The most important of these was Miteb bin Abdullah. most recently in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The new crown prince’s ascent was remarkably fast—MBS had become a minister only two years before. but the only other ministerial position filled by a family mem- ber is minister of the interior. (There are also two royal ministers of state. he was stripped of that position and removed from the cabinet. the new crown prince became the focal point for all major decisions in the government.

Saad Hariri. so there could be things going on that outsiders do not know about. A few days later. In the end. Fresh Prince Faisal contended for power. backing terrorists. he announced his resignation from the Saudi capital. But the signs of that split were clear and public. Likewise. In November 2017. AN UNPREDICTABLE PRINCE The crown prince now stands at the top of the Saudi decision-making process. in the summer of 2017. But it also means that there are few checks on an ambitious and aggressive leader who may not fully calculate the second- and third-order consequences of some of his actions. who has granted him wide-ranging powers. It is possible that MBS will face familial opposition when his father dies. accusing the Qataris of supporting Islamist groups. the family deposed King Saud in 1964. Iran’s ally in Lebanon. the Lebanese prime minister. as the Ritz-Carlton roundup was under way. as the United States and Saudi allies in Europe told the kingdom to back down. such as pursuing economic reform and allowing women to drive. particularly in the fourth generation. Some recent Saudi foreign policy decisions suggest a certain amount of recklessness. Nothing approaching that kind of open contest for power is occurring now. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates led a number of other Arab countries in a boycott of Qatar. But far from knuckling May/June 2018 83 . and meddling in the domestic politics of their neighbors. for example. Perhaps in anticipation of a move against him. under obvious pressure from MBS. A few weeks later. Instead. and family councils were called to adjudicate the conflict. the crown prince has been appealing to younger family members. by appointing many of them to subcabinet positions in Riyadh and positions of authority in the regional governorates. They could become his supporters if trouble arises. his path to ultimate power seems secure. For now. the protagonists took extended leaves outside the country after they lost a skirmish. the move backfired. People were fired from jobs and then returned when their man was on top. made an unscheduled visit to Riyadh. He answers only to the king. allowing him to make difficult decisions that were previously kicked down the road. who are below him in the hierarchy but close to him in age. Hariri returned to Lebanon and rescinded his resignation. This was clearly a Saudi power play meant to put pressure on the Leba- nese political system in hopes of dealing a blow to Hezbollah. The House of Saud famously tries to keep family business out of the public eye.

In both cases. It did not turn out that way. No Saudi government would have stood by and allowed that to happen.” which directly transfers cash to Saudis in the middle and lower economic strata. the Saudis and their partners assumed that the operation. and international pressure on Riyadh is mounting as the human toll of the campaign has reached alarming levels. More than any other recent Saudi leader. which began in 2015. but given his ambition and impulsiveness. especially among younger Saudis. One can argue about the extent to which the Houthis are tied to Iran. Saudi Arabia did not achieve its objectives. MBS can make dramatic and unilateral decisions. Gregory Gause III under. and he granted govern- ment employees a bonus of about $250 per month for “cost of living. But unlike the Lebanese and Qatari gambits. electricity. but it still enjoys broad support among Saudi elites.” The crown prince also established a “citizen’s account. THE PRINCE AND THE PEOPLE The crown prince has few checks on his decision-making power from within the Saudi political system. The war in Yemen is a drain on Saudi resources and a blot on the country’s international reputation. The question now is how to bring it to an end. but he still has to respond to public demands. Unlike past Saudi leaders. MBS re- stored an annual pay raise for government employees that had been suspended as part of earlier austerity moves. Many would classify the Emirati-Saudi military offensive in Yemen as another example of an aggressive and unsuccessful MBS policy. In January. MBS has cultivated public support. and gasoline and the imposition of the five percent VAT that took effect in mid-2017 and early 2018. would swiftly drive back the rebel Houthi militants and restore the Saudi ally Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to the presidential palace in Sanaa. Qatar has withstood the pressure and drawn support from Iran and Turkey. responding to public grumbling about the increased prices of water. 84 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Undoubtedly. the world should expect more surprises. the Yemeni campaign touches more directly on what most Saudis see as their national security.F. But this freedom of action also means that he can engage in foreign policy adventures that would not have moved forward under previous rulers. Saudi officials are now saying that the money recovered from those held in the Ritz-Carlton will be used to support this fund. He may be learning from his mistakes. but Saudi Arabia considers Houthi control of Yemen as tantamount to allowing Iran a base of influence on the Arabian Peninsula.

which is a crucial base for the U. stating that isolating the country might be “the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism. he still realizes that he needs the people behind him. and the White House was far too quick to imply that MBS had explicit U. it has undoubtedly given Washington considerable leverage with Riyadh in the short term. Jared Kushner. Sacrifices that might have been acceptable to Saudis when oil was $30 per barrel seem less so with oil above $60 per barrel. President Donald Trump. military’s air operations in the Middle East. The administration should think carefully about how to use this influence. foreign policy to bring the Gulf standoff to a diplomatic conclusion. backing. and undercut moves by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis to bring about a quick end to the imbroglio. Fresh Prince These new benefits could be read as a move away from the goals of balancing the state budget and making public-sector jobs less attractive.” This created tension with the Gulf state. he will also have to inculcate a new understanding of what the state is going to provide its citizens. and fear than in Washington.S. but only if the Trump plan has a real chance of success. LESSONS FOR THE UNITED STATES Perhaps nowhere have the crown prince’s moves produced more curiosity. The president’s excessive friendliness has already had consequences.S.S. But to transform the Saudi system. hope. In June. Reducing the welfare state without turning the public against him will be his most daunting challenge. Two years of rising oil prices have made it difficult to impose austerity. The administration should not play the Saudi card on the peace process if it is not going anywhere—and there is May/June 2018 85 .S. has also made it more difficult for the regular organs of U. Bringing the Saudis on board for a new effort to settle the Israeli- Palestinian conflict would make sense. Although the crown prince may be headstrong and aggressive. The sense that the Saudis (and the Emiratis) can appeal directly to the White House through the president’s son-in-law. Trump tweeted his support for the Emirati-Saudi boycott of Qatar. The fact that MBS became crown prince just a few weeks after Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017 left the impression that Washington had something to do with the change. but it is better seen as a necessary reaction to placate public opinion. Although Trump’s close public embrace of the crown prince might not serve either’s interest in the long term. In U. MBS has an enthusiastic backer—at times too enthusiastic.

In that case. Stabilizing Yemen will not be easy. Gregory Gause III little reason for optimism. the only regional power with any influence over the Houthis. Oman has acted as a conduit to Iran before. and international pressure should focus as much on them as on the Saudis. and European countries can also deal directly with the Iranians. If Tehran is at all chastened by the antiregime pro- tests that broke out across Iran in January. so there is no reason to engage the Saudis there. This can be accomplished even as the Trump administration works to contain and roll back Iranian influence in the Arab world. If MBS becomes his country’s Xi. but such an effort would give Saudi Arabia a desperately needed exit ramp from a costly campaign and alleviate one of the world’s most searing human tragedies. Trump has shown little interest in a new peace initiative. then the longer-term prospects of the kingdom in a world where oil prices are unlikely to return to the his- toric highs of the early years of this century will be much less certain. The place where Trump could most productively use his close relationship with the crown prince is Yemen. then the United States should maintain its pragmatic alliance. The administration should continue its efforts to push the Saudis to address the human catastrophe through more effective aid and more discriminate military action. as was the case before 1990.F. which is based on mutual benefit rather than shared values. Meanwhile. which is a positive step in the long-term effort to stabilize Iraq and reduce Iranian influence there.∂ 86 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Riyadh is already in agreement with a more confron- tational policy toward Iran. Washington should pay close attention to how the crown prince handles the aftermath of his anticorruption campaign. the United States will need to look elsewhere for a partner in stabilizing the region. Any diplomatic initiative to end the fighting will require that the United States decide whether it wants to see the redivision of the country into two states. it might be open to reducing its involvement in the regional conflict that least affects its interests. It will also involve sophisticated outreach to Iran. The Houthis also have much to answer for regarding the suf- fering of Yemeni civilians. But if MBS turns out to be more like Putin or Henry VIII. And the administration has successfully pushed the Saudis to reengage with the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. When it comes to Syria. privileging political cronies and treating the private sector as his personal ATM.

Return to Table of Contents The Right Way to Coerce North Korea Ending the Threat Without Going to War Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz W hen it comes to North Korea. His self-proclaimed “madman” behavior may have played a role in bringing the North Koreans to the table. “maximum pressure” has yielded some impres- sive results. Cold War defense perimeter in 1950—have had grave consequences. Washington would have to move to “phase two.S. The United States cannot afford a similar outcome today. very unfortunate for the world. KATRIN FRASER KATZ is a Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But it could also go wrong: if negotiations fail. officials on the peninsula—such as acquiescing to Japan’s occupation of Korea in 1905 and excluding Korea from the U. and the Trump administration’s policy of applying. An unprecedented summit between the U. and North Korean leaders could indeed bring lasting peace to Asia.” But just two weeks later. he appeared to be gearing up for a conflict when he said that if sanctions against Pyongyang didn’t work.S. the administration might VICTOR CHA is Professor of Government in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at George- town University and a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. On February 23. May/June 2018 87 . or are these twists and turns merely the whims of a tempera- mental president? In the past. Trump’s newfound enthusiasm for diplomacy has temporarily low- ered the temperature on the Korean Peninsula. in the White House’s words.S. She served on the staff of the U. President Donald Trump’s policies have been whiplash inducing.S.” which could be “very. Trump abruptly changed course and accepted an in- vitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un—a decision that caught even his own White House and State Department by surprise. but it also underlines a bigger question: Does the United States have a strategy for North Korea. Trump’s unpredictability has had some upsides. U. rash and uninformed decisions by U.S. National Security Council from 2007 to 2008.

ambassador to South Korea. and aligns its Korea policy with the broader U. The result was a constant exchange of recriminations between the United States and North Korea.Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz conclude that a military strike is the only way forward. Failure to do this would only benefit Kim and increase the likelihood that the United States will get “played. we have decades of experience working on this problem. But 2018 has brought a dramatic shift. The Trump administration must ground its summit diplomacy and overall approach to North Korea in a strategy of comprehensive coercion that clearly defines U. in July. who is much more open to engagement with North Korea than his predecessor. North Korea conducted more than twice as many ballistic missile tests (20) as it did during the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency (8). After North Korea threatened a nuclear attack on “the heart of the U. After a year of saber rattling. was once under consideration for U. In the not unlikely event that talks break down. before the Trump administration withdrew his candidacy. WHIPLASH During Trump’s first year in office.S. While briefing Trump on the phone about these developments.. After North Korea tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). rumors swirled that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U. strategy in Asia. leverages Washington’s most effective diplomatic and military tools. it achieved a reopening of the long-suspended inter-Korean dialogue channels and facilitated an all-expenses-paid invitation for the North Korean team to attend the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Trump promised to rain “fire and fury” on Pyongyang. Victor Cha.S. and one of us.” as Trump has characterized past negotiations. greatly increas- ing the chance of war. Moon recalled 88 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .” Combined.” Trump’s national security adviser hinted that a preventive attack was becoming increasingly likely. Never before have we witnessed more discussion about possible military escalation than in the past year. objectives. Pacific Command were drawing up plans for a limited military strike to give Kim a “bloody nose. the stakes could hardly be higher. The government of South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Meanwhile.S. the United States will need a strategy that prevents the parties from sliding into a disastrous war. decided to capitalize on what it perceived as toned-down language in Kim’s New Year’s address. and with North Korea likely to be just months away from possessing the capability to launch a nuclear attack on the continental United States.S.S. In Janu- ary.

Kim’s younger sister presented a letter to Moon that suggested her brother’s interest in improving relations with the United States. Chung Eui-yong. led by the South Korean national security adviser. July 2017 Trump’s campaign pledge to have a hamburger with Kim. Trump called for an immediate summit with Kim (which he was eventually persuaded to push to May) and.S. According to the South Koreans. Ultimately. After two days of meetings. Not to be outdone. Kim said that the “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” was possible if the U. Trump scrapped his daily White House schedule to host the South Korean national security adviser in the Oval Office soon after his delegation landed at Dulles Airport (Chung KCNA / REUT E RS was supposed to brief the president on his recent North Korean trip the next day).S. Kim agreed to cross into the South for an inter-Korean sum- mit by the end of April. Moon managed to elicit a promise from Trump to consider meeting the North Korean leader—a message that Seoul dutifully conveyed to Pyongyang. In early March. threat to his country were removed. He also promised a moratorium on missile and nuclear testing contingent on dialogue with the United States. The Right Way to Coerce North Korea From Pyongyang with love: a North Korean ICBM test. despite exchanging little more than icy stares with U. Vice President Mike Pence. shortly after the Olympics concluded. in a dramatic moment May/June 2018 89 . on March 8. Kim warmly welcomed a group of South Korean envoys to Pyongyang. At the Olympics.

made engineering some form of détente a strategic imperative. who are both fond of making surprise decisions. paper is so scarce in the North that the state-run newspaper has been forced to cut its circulation. But it is easier to understand Seoul’s and Pyongyang’s motives for engaging in diplomacy than Washington’s. a meeting with Trump would give the rogue leader the all-important recognition that he craves and. could bring progress on one of the world’s most dangerous problems. dried up hard-currency inflows. The news that the Trump administration was seriously considering a military strike may also have contributed to this turnaround. 90 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . But Kim also has other motivations for reengaging. rather than global VSAT communications. the imminent threat of North Korean aggression during the Winter Olympics. Shortly afterward. the sanctions have caused North Korean gas prices to triple and have reduced the country’s exports by more than $2. According to Trump administration officials. Meanwhile.Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz recalling his television show The Apprentice. and made commodity prices spike in the country. since the state had lost access to satellite networks after defaulting on payments. WINGING IT? The South Korean government deserves credit for turning an impend- ing crisis into an opportunity. which has cut oil imports and coal exports. It is possible that a face-to-face meeting between Kim and Trump. North Korea’s apparent change of heart likely stems from the economic bite of Trump’s maximum- pressure campaign. There have even been reports in South Korean media that North Korea used telephones. A pause in weapons testing at this point would do little to set back Pyongyang’s nuclear pro- gram. as well as long-term concerns about a renewed campaign of North Korean missile and nuclear tests after the conclusion of the Paralympics in late March. made an impromptu visit to the White House briefing room to tease an imminent “major announce- ment” on North Korea.7 billion. to speak with South Korean air traffic controllers when coordinating the arrival of high-level North Korean delegations for the Olympics. he conveyed his enthusiasm for diplomacy in a flurry of optimistic tweets. Today. could advance the North’s long-standing goal of getting the United States to accept the country as a nuclear power. For South Korea. which he later let the South Koreans deliver in front of the West Wing. Moreover. depending on what Trump relinquished in exchange for a freeze in North Korea’s weapons testing and development.

ejecting U. there is no reason to believe that North Korea has changed its long-standing aims of achieving recognition as a nuclear power. has not been the topic of negotiations in almost two dec- ades. the administration backpedaled in January and denied that such plans even existed. defense commitment to South Korea. Meanwhile.S. Furthermore. It would be ironic if Trump. The administration’s diplomatic strategy to date has amounted to little more than a list of don’ts: don’t reward talks. don’t make the mistakes of past administrations. Or he might choose a bolder path that would put much bigger carrots on the table. the North Koreans are probably only a few tests away from gaining the capacity to reach the continental United States with nuclear-tipped ICBMs. and Trump could score a victory on this count. forces from South Korea. The moratorium on testing that Pyongyang offered the South Korean envoys will merely maintain the status quo. Trump will be flying blind into meetings with Kim. acting on little more than his gut instincts. Finally. North Korea’s missile program.S. Trump might offer incremental energy and economic assistance and sanctions alleviation in exchange for a freeze in and the eventual dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and long-range ICBM programs. because Trump has jettisoned the interagency process. and undermining the U. an avowed hawk on North May/June 2018 91 . After spending most of 2017 discussing military options. The Right Way to Coerce North Korea What about the United States? Although there is an internal logic to North and South Korean actions.S. negotiations will occur amid ominous conditions. but the amount of attention Trump’s National Security Council and State Department have paid to preparing for negotiations pales in comparison to the considerable effort devoted to developing sanctions and military strike options. which brings in experts and policymakers from across the U. Pyongyang will be able to resume testing the day the talks end. including the normalization of relations or even a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War. Since the pause is contingent on talks. who would undoubtedly counsel him to avoid verbose but meaningless summit statements and to press Kim on making tangible steps toward denuclearization. inconsistencies abound in the U. don’t let up on sanctions. and it will likely continue covertly working on its pro- grams all the while. gov- ernment to advise the president. To counter these negotiating traps. Officials have said that the sanctions campaign is designed to compel the North Korean regime to return to the negotiating table. in particular.S. ap- proach. without the advice of experienced for- eign policy and Asian affairs experts.

he might use them in an attempt to intimidate the United States into offering con- cessions or even withdrawing its troops from South Korea. A comprehensive coercive strategy for denuclearization di- plomacy would build on the strengths of the maximum-pressure cam- paign while more fully leveraging the support and resources of regional allies and partners in pursuing shared long-term goals. Unlike the so-called smart sanctions campaign 13 years ago. North Korea’s acquisition of these weapons. adopted an approach to diplomacy that doves have advocated for years. but it is not out of the question. Past behavior suggests that Kim will try to share these weapons with other states and nonstate actors. The United States must keep North Korean denuclearization at the top of its strategic priorities. if left unchecked. This message should signal unam- biguously to North Korea and any recipients or facilitators of its nuclear 92 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . compli- ance with the sanctions has increased because the Trump administration is more willing than past administrations to share intelligence information with third parties to help them stop sanctioned activities in their countries. Second.Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz Korea. North Korea’s effort to develop nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States demands an urgent response. which grant the United States virtually unlimited authority to punish violators. the United States must base its policy going forward on a set of sound principles. First. This strategy would involve five key components. the United States should buttress this sanctions campaign with a statement on nonproliferation. which would leave the country vulnerable to an invasion.S. Trump’s pursuit of a diplomatic solution has the best chance of suc- cess if it is bolstered by a strategy that ramps up the regional and inter- national pressure on North Korea. strategic objectives in the region. Accepting North Korea as a nuclear power and building a new relationship from that basis would legitimize its pursuit of nuclear weapons and send a dangerous signal to other countries that are considering starting their own programs. Washington must continue to strengthen the global coalition that it has mustered in its highly successful sanctions program. More broadly. Down the road. Trump’s effort has the backing of ten UN Security Council resolutions. The Trump administration’s approach to North Korea thus far has involved swings between confrontation and engagement without a clear link to broader U. WHAT TRUMP SHOULD DO Regardless of how talks do or do not play out. Moreover. could undermine the global nonproliferation regime.

the top of its strategic dertaking cyber-operations to impede priorities. the United States should push for a joint state- ment with Japan and South Korea that pledges that an attack on one will be treated as an attack on all. commitment to deterring an attack against South Korea and raise doubts in Japan and the United States about their willingness to trade Tokyo or Los Angeles for Seoul in the event of war.S. The Right Way to Coerce North Korea weapons that the United States will hold accountable any state. sign-off. intelligence sharing. particularly if the Japanese public or the South Korean public is paying attention and anti-U. one of the purposes of North Korea’s long-range missile tests last year was to reduce South Korea’s confidence in the U. group. Militarily. At the political level. through the use of force. Third. un. The United States should also remain open to additional conventional strike capabilities for Japan and South Korea. Affirming collective defense is important because North Korea’s long-term strategy is to decouple South Korea’s security from Japan’s and the United States’. Indeed.S. alliances more holistically. and conventional strike missiles to deter North Korean threats.S. that means improving capabilities regarding in- tegrated missile defense. the use of which would require U.S. For example. antisubmarine warfare. the United States should approach updates and adjustments to the existing free-trade agreement with South Korea or U. sentiment has been rallied. the collective-defense statement should commit all three allies to the use of force in response to a North Korean attack. deploying B-1 keep denuclearization at and B-2 bombers to new locations. These military and political measures should be complemented by dip- lomatic and economic strategies that treat U. North Korea’s missile program devel- opment.–South Korean defense cost-sharing negotiations with an awareness that tension in one area of these relationships can make progress elsewhere more dif- ficult.S. the United States must upgrade its alliances with Japan and South Korea. The political scientists Michael Green and Mat- thew Kroenig have outlined a useful wish list: adding more missile defense The United States must systems in the region. or individual found to be complicit in a transfer of nuclear material—if necessary. May/June 2018 93 . In order to convey a clear deterrent message to Pyongyang. if not impossible. and encouraging South Korea to purchase shorter-range missile defense systems (similar to Israel’s Iron Dome) to defend against North Korean artillery.

the United States must continue preparing both diplomatic and military plans for North Korea. Most of this enforcement activity would likely take place in ports. creating a credible off-ramp for the regime. and navies. Bolstering U. preemi- nence has been augmented by Russia’s spoiler role across the globe. the meeting is unlikely to bear immediate fruit beyond some grandiose statements about a normalization of relations. coast guards. on the one hand. Washington should maintain its exist- ing high-tempo military exercises in the region. or taking offensive actions in the region. The United States should also approach China and Russia about the possibility of building a five-party counterproliferation regime in Northeast Asia. should work together to prevent nuclear material from leaving the country. Fourth. threatening the United States.S. This is critical to. but if they are not willing to participate. stealth warplanes. the Trump administration must also push for the establishment of a counterproliferation coalition that shares intelli- gence about maritime nuclear smuggling and cooperates on law enforce- ment. on the other. but the allies should be prepared to carry out interceptions at sea as needed. Reinforcing the U.S. Beijing and Moscow should see benefits to stopping any North Korean loose nukes. Given the limited amount of time to prepare for a Kim-Trump summit. the longer-term strategic competitor in Asia is China. then they should be prepared to face the diplomatic and economic consequences of allowing North Korean proliferation across their borders.S. as well. upholding deterrence against Pyongyang and. nuclear submarines. not complying with sanctions. whose challenge to U. and diplomatic coordination among U. statements that 94 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . preposition ammunition stocks for a possible conflict. and rotate strategic assets such as B-52 bombers. Finally. by significantly improving military defense capa- bilities. or under- taking other problematic behavior. Japan’s and South Korea’s port authorities. and aircraft carriers regularly to the peninsula. along with the United States’ considerable assets.S. a peaceful end to the Korean War armistice. alliances would strengthen Washington’s hand against these threats. and denuclearization. All these steps should prevent North Korea from spreading its nuclear weapons.Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz Although the North Korea problem is immediate. military posture in the region would also increase the costs to China and Russia of subsidizing the Kim regime. counterproliferation efforts. allies and partners in East Asia. although Washington may seek an assurance from Pyongyang that it will not proliferate.

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S. Following this overall strategy would enhance the credibility of Wash- ington’s negotiating position. Broadly speaking. neither summit diplo- macy nor working-level agreements will be worth much. Trump has improved his media ratings. but it should not lead to a lifting of sanctions unless North Korea backs up its promises with actions. resolve without unnecessarily risking war. This outcome would itself be significant.” These agreements are also of value to North Korea (and China) because they state that the United States will not attack North Korea with conventional or nuclear weapons. Whether the summit succeeds or not.Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz the leaders would then authorize their governments to begin nego- tiations over. the United States must move beyond broad statements and invite Pyongyang to reiterate the denucle- arization pledges it made during the six-party talks in 2005 and 2007. Washington should also compel the regime to improve its human rights record as a good-faith demonstration of the authenticity of its diplomatic intentions. The documents outlining these pledges are the only place where North Korea has ever been forced to dump its noncommittal and vague formu- lations about a “nuclear-free peninsula” in favor of specific and written commitments to “abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs. the administration may come away from negotiations more determined to use the military option. policy. but for the United States.S. the only written security assurance that addresses North Korean concerns about “hostile” U. the summit must establish zero tolerance for any plutonium. It would also strengthen U. while also securing U. interests in the event of failure.or intermediate-range ballistic missiles and call for substantial reductions in the stocks of short-range ones.S. WHAT NOT TO DO When it comes to North Korea. Absent the preservation of these core security interests.S. the only American voice that really mat- ters is Trump’s.or uranium-based nuclear weapons stock- piles or the deployment of long. and comple- ment the United States’ regional commitments. increase the costs to those who subsidize Pyongyang. If his latest diplomatic gamble doesn’t pay off. 96 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . alliances in Asia for the long term. comprehensive coercion would get the United States out of crisis management mode and demonstrate U. By agreeing to meet with Kim. North Korea will undoubtedly have its own long list of wants. but he has also inadvertently increased the chances of war. directly address the proliferation threat.

Washington will not be able to prevent nuclear proliferation or nuclear black- mail. the argument goes. but not so damaging as to start a wider war on the peninsula.000 from Saigon in 1975.000 Americans living in South Korea and another 90. May/June 2018 97 . If Kim can strike the continental North Korea with a United States. The Right Way to Coerce North Korea Indeed. then preventive military strike. On any given day. decisive action to prevent that outcome. then how could the United States prevent the crisis from escalating given that Kim would have just proved himself not to have a clear and rational understanding of signals and deterrence? Some Americans argue that the risks are worth taking because it’s better that people die “over there” than at home. If Kim would be undeterrable if he had nuclear weapons able to reach the continental United States. economically desperate. The logic behind a limited military strike is that North Korea will be undeterrable once it acquires the ability to hit the continental United States with a nuclear weapon—because the regime is unpredictable.000 or so in Japan. That. Moreover. a message that would no doubt resonate beyond the region. An evacuation from South Korea would be infinitely more difficult. too. The rationale is that a strike on North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities. even amid talk of negotiations. A strike would constitute an immediate. perhaps after its next test. It would also demonstrate the capability and willingness of the United States to employ all options to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. which would mean that the only way out would be through China. is a mis- guided sentiment. Yet this logic is flawed. some senior officials in the Trump administration have continued to contemplate using a limited military strike to prevent North Korea’s development of a long-range nuclear missile. Even if the State Department tripled the number of consular officers in South Korea. Evacuating them would be almost impossible. the process would likely take months. The largest American evacuation in history was about 60. the normal evacua- tion points south and east of the peninsula would not be feasible to use in a war scenario because of the North Korean missile threat. there are 230. would give Kim a “bloody nose” painful enough to compel him to begin the process of denuclear- ization. then why would a limited military strike deter him from responding in kind? And if Kim did respond militarily. and has used chemical weap- Trump cannot solve the ons against a civilian target as recently as problem of a nuclear last year.

Ultimately.S. In fact. missile defense systems. the president would be putting at risk an American population the size of that of Cincinnati or Pittsburgh. Washington does not know where all of North Korea’s nuclear installations are. A military strike would only delay. and even if it did. But this proposition is highly problematic.S.S. As Steve 98 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . not to mention millions of South Koreans and Japanese. turning what might be a moneymaking endeavor for the Kim regime into a vengeful effort to equip actors arrayed against the United States. beyond the reach of even large “bunker buster” weapons. This assessment is widely shared by former members of the intelligence community. Going it alone is always an option. This strategy also risks fracturing the impressive coalition that the Trump administration has brought together for its maximum-pressure campaign. as well. not stop. Under a rain of North Korean artillery. and the Defense Department who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations. the waterways around the peninsula would be clogged with a million Chinese seeking to leave. Japan and South Korea insist that they must be consulted before the United States considers a strike. population in South Korea would not be as lucky. Kim’s missile and nuclear programs. American citizens in the region would most likely have to hunker down until the war ended. alliances. if not end. a limited strike would not stem the threat of proliferation. but doing so could fracture. Trump cannot solve the problem of a nuclear North Korea with a preventive military strike. To be clear: by launching a preventive strike. power. the State Department. A unilateral military attack would undercut what has so far been a successful bid to deplete the currency reserves North Korea has been using to build its programs. the U. casualties and even a wider war on the peninsula are worth risking if a preventive strike would preserve the post–World War II regional and international order in the long term. all based on the unproven assumption that an undeterrable and unpre- dictable dictator would be cowed into submission by a demonstration of U. Furthermore. many are hidden deep underground and in the side of mountains. Some may argue that U. Finally. the very alliances that the Trump administration has declared it seeks to strengthen in the face of a rising China.S. it would only exacerbate it. Although those in Japan might be protected by U. a strike could harm key U. the National Security Council.S.Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz But in a crisis.

the facts on the ground must change. they got us. The regime’s intention to pursue nuclear-tipped ICBMs presents grave new threats to the U. the United States and its allies should. it could also keep the two countries from immediately going to war. Trump’s former chief strategist. information dissemination.S. such as an embargo to prevent proliferation. Doves may argue that this strategy would generate insecurity in Pyongyang that would further justify the regime’s pursuit of weapons.” THE BEST OF LOUSY CHOICES Going forward. a peace treaty might be possible. allies. and humanitarian assistance May/June 2018 99 . And if the Kim-Trump summit fails. to the extent possible. The Right Way to Coerce North Korea Bannon. homeland and allies in the region that must be addressed. Over the long term. In fact. To counter this. few states.S. might be designed to target the regime while leaving space for market development. as an act of war. The sanctions campaign.S. put it in an interview: “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes . China and Russia may decide to participate in counterproliferation efforts or even in an enduring multilateral security institution. Moreover. and forgo a military strike in favor of new efforts to strengthen regional deterrence and counterproliferation through close cooperation with U. under this strategy. but first. which could lead to a U. . They may think that a better alternative would be to throw a diplomatic Hail Mary—as Trump may well do—such as declaring peace on the peninsula and pulling U. but that doesn’t mean there is no room for subtlety in efforts to shape North Korean behavior. it is preferable to a military strike. but from their per- spective. embed negotiations in a broader regional strategy. if handled carefully. The pressure of sanctions must be maintained. troops out of South Korea. including China. are comfortable with the proliferation risk posed by a nuclear North Korea. Such a strategy could deliver the same potential benefits as a limited strike without the costs. Washington should build on the maximum-pressure campaign. Some in the global community fear that China and North Korea could frame certain actions. . there’s no military solution here. China and Russia would not like this approach. seek legal authorization for their actions through UN Security Council resolutions keyed to the next set of North Korean provocations or to proliferation.– North Korean nuclear exchange in their neighborhood.S.

but it would also give Kim what he wants (nuclear recognition) while offering the United States nothing but empty promises. In the land of lousy options.S. It would not risk hundreds of thousands of American lives with a preventive military attack. alliances in Asia against threats not just from North Korea but also from China and increase the costs to Beijing of subsidizing the Kim regime. a Hail Mary without tangible North Ko- rean actions toward denuclearization might be great for TV ratings. Finally. claims that “time has run out. A comprehensive coercion strategy for denu- clearization diplomacy would significantly increase the pressure on North Korea. Tactical responses are always possible in the near term. have only pushed Washington further into a corner. as bold statements by leaders who love flair and drama will have to be translated into action by policy minions in painstaking detail over weeks and months. As former U.S. it may have shifted the play to a longer game. under pressure to carry out a threatened military attack.S. no plan is perfect. It’s impor- tant to distinguish between strategy and tactics. during. The United States should use this time to invest in its alliances and strengthen its position in the region. But some are demon- strably better than others. allies.∂ 100 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . sensitive historical and domestic is- sues have hampered Japanese–South Korean military cooperation. critics might argue that a strategy of comprehensive coercion would simply take too much time. This critique is not unwarranted. In the past. and after any negotiations. which could impede defense planning among U. Deputy Secre- tary of Defense John Hamre has argued.” which were designed to pressure the North Koreans. in recent decades. but tactics without a strategy can lead one down undesirable paths. crises involving North Korea have led to security cooperation between Japan and South Korea in a timely and prompt fashion. however. although the push for a Kim-Trump summit is dramatic. In addition.S. And it would strengthen the United States’ hand at the negotiating table in a way that primed Washington for success.Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz among ordinary people. but it will put the United States in a better position in the long run. but also prepared it for failure. recent U. and time only plays into North Korea’s hands as the country continues its nuclear sprint. if not years. It would strengthen U. Coordinating and developing the capabilities needed for security cooperation with Japan and South Korea will take time. Still. and they have done nothing to advance a strategy outlining what the United States should be doing before.

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And it will soon be able to deliver this payload to the continental United States. That.–North Korean relationship: a high-stakes nuclear standoff. despite his willingness to meet with U. But regardless of whether diplomacy proceeds or the United States turns its focus to other tools—sanctions. In March. is unlikely to give it up. will depend on the beliefs and perceptions each holds about the other. May/June 2018 103 . President Donald Trump. even military force—the same underlying challenge will remain: the outcome of this standoff will be determined by whether and how each country can influence the other. in turn. more dangerous phase in the U. The result is a new. has declared his country’s nuclear deterrent complete and. and the Trump administration has pledged that the North Korean regime will never acquire a nuclear missile that can hit the United States. deterrence. as well.S. Return to Table of Contents Perception and Misperception on the Korean Peninsula How Unwanted Wars Begin Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper N orth Korea has all but completed its quest for nuclear weapons.S. It has demonstrated its ability to produce boosted-fission bombs and may be able to make fusion ones.S. It can likely miniaturize them to fit atop a missile. and South Korean officials announced the possibility of a Kim-Trump meeting. North Korea’s leader. Kim Jong Un. MIRA RAPP-HOOPER is a Senior Fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center and a Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School. Stevenson Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University. U. Yet Washington continues to demand that Pyongyang relinquish the nuclear weapons it already has. The problems of perception and misperception afflict all policymakers that ROBERT JERVIS is Adlai E.

more fundamentally. those problems are especially profound. But when it comes to relations between Washington and Pyongyang. But whether the United States can actually persuade Pyongyang depends not just on which tools it chooses to use but also. the adversary has the final say in whether a particular approach succeeds. If it fails to do so. the effectiveness of any threat or promise is in the eye of the target. strategy toward North Korea is to have a chance of suc- ceeding (or even of just averting catastrophe). policymakers perceive their counterparts in Pyongyang? How do they differentiate plausible threats from mere bluster? The American debate about whether Kim is “rational”—that is. objec- tives and whether they consider U. More recently. a bilat- eral contest in which players view the entire board and know all the possible moves. each character viewing what happened differently.S. and irreversible disassembly of its nuclear arsenal—and to deter major military action on its part. Washington must understand not just North Korean objectives but also how North Korean officials understand U. strategy toward North Korea involves using a combination of threats and promises to persuade Pyongyang to bend to Washington’s will. YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT It has long been clear what the United States wants from North Korea. capable of reaching the continental United States. capable of making means-ends calculations and providing for his own survival—barely scratches the surface of necessary considerations. what it values. it must be guided by an accurate sense of how Kim’s regime thinks. on how it is viewed by North Korea.S. In this case especially. Any U. and the consequences of a miscalculation are uniquely grave.Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper deal with foreign adversaries. 104 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . If any U. a more apt analogy is Rashomon— the Japanese film that depicts the same story from several vantage points. Ultimately. How do North Korean leaders interpret the signals Washington sends? Do they see Washington’s threats and promises as credible? And how do U. and how it judges its options. Washington has sought to denuclearize the country—that is. or ICBM.S. to achieve the complete. verifiable.S. Washington has also long called for. perceptual pitfalls could all too easily provoke a downward spiral in relations and lead to the worst conflict since World War II. statements credible. For years. Analysts often compare international politics to chess.S. Trump has added that North Korea cannot be allowed to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile.

it also appears to consider nuclear weapons to be a source of prestige and thus wants acceptance as a de facto nuclear state. such goals have become harder to achieve. Above all. then. November 2014 but never actively pursued. the reunification of the Korean Peninsula under the democratic control of the South. what it needs. concessions that would have once looked attractive. As North Korea nears the end of its nuclear quest. no longer look as desirable. a much bigger concession. much as Pakistan has. Pyongyang. even in the face of significant opposition. would minimum American needs be met? What North Korea wants from its nuclear and missile programs has also become fairly clear. such as a freeze in further development. Beyond that. They no longer require simply preventing North Korea from taking certain steps. would it take for the United States to live with a nuclear North Korea? If Washington can strengthen its alliances and military presence to effectively deter Pyongyang and prevent it from resorting to nuclear blackmail. Accordingly. Perception and Misperception on the Korean Peninsula Seeing like a state: Kim watching a military drill. What. the more urgent question today is less what the United States wants than what it can reasonably live with—that is. attack. Yet as North Korea has moved toward a complete nuclear and ICBM capability. they require persuading it to reverse course and give up capabilities it has already developed.S. the regime wants to ensure its sur- KCNA / REUT E RS vival and deter a U. Now. Nuclear weapons also May/June 2018 105 .

and it is now an open question how much Beijing values its client. troops from the peninsula. the United States relies on a combination of threats and promises to change North Korean behavior.S. such as reunifi- cation of the peninsula under Pyongyang’s control and the undermining of U. China. In discussions of international politics. If it does. treaty with South Korea and withdrawing all U.S. North Korean buffer state along its border rather than to push for denuclearization at the risk of regime collapse.S. But because a conflict would inevitably spill onto its own soil. as well as what actions it can take to produce better outcomes. credibility is often treated as a characteristic inherent to a given state and its signals. renouncing the U. North Korea may have reason to doubt Washing- ton’s security guarantee to Seoul. credibility is in the eye of the beholder: a threat or a promise is credible 106 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .S.Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper help advance other long-standing North Korean desires. The only steps that would work are ones that U. but if they diverge too much. security guarantees for South Korea and Japan. diplomats would almost certainly never take—say. Washington has to signal to Pyongyang what actions it can take to avoid punishment. South Korea is more likely to privilege political solutions over military ones. Some differ- ences in U. CREDIBILITY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER No matter what strategy it is using at any given moment.S. then there is no security assur- North Korea have bluffed ance that Washington can offer Pyong- in the past. But Chinese–North Korean relations have been deteriorating for years. if irksome. The needs and wants of other actors are also relevant. Those threats and promises must go together: a threat only works if it is coupled with a promise not to carry out the threatened action if North Korea complies with a demand. And both the threat and the promise must be credible. and South Korean positions can be managed. whether it thinks it needs to keep nuclear Both the United States and weapons under any circumstances. The harder question to answer is whether the Kim regime now sees a nuclear capability as inextricable from its own survival—that is. yang that will convince it to give them up. In fact. meanwhile. South Korea’s objectives largely align with those of the United States. has traditionally preferred to have a stable.

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The question of how to establish credibility is especially fraught in this case. the two sides interpret history differently.S. The target makes that determination by assessing its opponent’s interests. He sees Trump’s threats to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and likely worries that U.S.” After the UN Security Council approved sanctions in 2013. and whether its leaders have lived up to prior commitments. In the last two decades. North Korea has a tendency to use incendiary rhetoric that does not result in action.Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper only if the target sees it as such. They.S.S.S. Washington has called North Korea’s nuclear 108 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Perhaps more than any other state. which stayed in place for six years. both states have bluffed in the past. its previous behavior. make the cost-benefit calcu- lation of the value of compliance and noncompliance. the effect is similar. the nature of its regime. And when evaluating the prospect of U. state-level exchanges have taken the form of nuclear negotia- tions. Moreover. he may consider prior instances in which U. not officials in Washington. leaders have contemplated bombing nuclear sites in North Korea or elsewhere—and conclude that since the United States has always refrained from doing so in the past. military action. promise.” Although Washington’s bluffing has typically been less brazen. With the exception of those leading to the 1994 Agreed Framework. It threatened to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire” in 1994. Because they do not have formal diplomatic relations. all these negotiations resulted in failure. any U. As a result. The United States and North Korea face major hurdles to persuading each other that their intentions are genuine.S. they are basing their views on an impoverished set of interactions and data points. arms control agreements cannot be trusted. “We will be exercising our right to preemp- tive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor. Accordingly. Kim looks at past agreements with the United States that his father and grand- father struck and likely infers that Washington seeks to make Pyong- yang less secure and will renege on its commitments. and it calls nearly every new round of international sanctions “a declaration of war. each side distrusts the other. a North Korean spokesperson said. attempt to exert influence over North Korea necessarily leaves the decision to comply in the hands of North Korean leaders. invasions of Iraq and Libya and likely concludes that nuclear weapons are a far stronger guarantor of survival than any U. He looks at the U. it will again. Making credibility even harder to establish.

Washington could send costly signals of immi- nent action. Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against North Korea if it made more threats. credibility will determine the success or failure of any U. strategy. and when there are not less costly ways of carry- ing out a threat. “You see that a lot with me and then all of a sudden somebody’s my best friend. pressure. Such moves. To increase the credibility of a threat. in addition to causing public alarm and giving up the advantage of a surprise attack. Doing so might mean issuing an ultimatum. He even prides himself on his ability to backtrack. North Korea may be more likely to treat a U. one of the strongest types of threats in international politics. habitual empty threats degrade it over time. deterrence. Each side views the other’s behavior in a different light. Washington can make it more specific. Misperception afflicts all policy options. would make it harder for the United States to step back from the brink. threat or promise as credible under certain conditions: when the United States has previously demonstrated the capability to act as it says it will. such as evacuating American personnel from Seoul or sharing prospective military plans with allies in the hope that they will leak them. In August 2017. Diplomacy—whether a Kim-Trump summit or lower-level exchanges— presents its own difficulties and dangers. it and North Korean leaders will interpret the same actions differently. Whether the Trump administration is relying on diplomacy. detailing which precise conditions would trigger which precise responses. when it has a signifi- cant incentive to act. I could give you 20 examples. he replied.S.S. In the case of military threats. The United States sees North Korea as an insincere actor that has reneged on countless commitments in the May/June 2018 109 . When The Wall Street Journal asked him about his combative tweets against Kim.” Although no single bluff com- pletely erodes a state’s credibility.S. only to do noth- ing when the country conducted more missile tests. Perception and Misperception on the Korean Peninsula development “unacceptable” but then gone on to accept it. THE DIFFICULTIES OF DIPLOMACY Pyongyang’s perception of U. or force. It promised to hold Pyongyang accountable for proliferation but took no action when it sold a nuclear reactor to Syria in 2007. and neither will fully understand the other’s view. with different risks in each case. when the costs to the United States of action are low.

their effectiveness in achieving a broader political objective still depends on North Korean perceptions of U. for example. contain. Because they are usually applied reactively and episodically. The more time that passes. North Korea is close to reaching its technical goals. strengthening its hand without meaningfully improving the security situation for the United States and its allies. why would the United States pursue diplomacy at all? After all. YOUR ECONOMY OR YOUR NUKES Similar perceptual problems affect other U. Any progress on constraining Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. no matter how modest or unlikely. the less the United States will be able to gain from negotiations. however. and manage the North Korean threat without talks. financial sanctions. For both parties to come to the negotiating table. The United States faces what might be called a “time-technology dilemma” in diplomacy. Just as important. get away with making minor concessions in exchange for significant sanctions relief or security assurances. tensions will only spiral. Whatever the economic impact of sanctions. Sanctions are meant to decrease North Korea’s ability to pursue its weapons programs and to inflict pain on the regime without raising the risk of direct military conflict. If it does. policy options— including the tool of choice in recent years. and the more North Korea will be able to secure for itself.S. whereas North Korea sees the United States as intent on threat- ening its existence. ill-conceived diplomacy may lead each side to its worst-case assessment of the other.S. The United States and the UN tend to apply new sanctions after North Korea has taken a prohibited action. which is especially important given how few other ties exist between Washington and Pyongyang. intentions. their influence is only incremental. Pyongyang may. many argue that it can deter.Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper past. making it all the more important for Washington to secure signifi- cant enough concessions quickly enough to make the gambit worthwhile. Given these perceptual dynamics and the likelihood that they will cause diplomatic failure. they must believe that the potential upsides of diplomacy outweigh the costs. That said. Because this has been the 110 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . engagement can reduce the risks of misper- ception and miscalculation in the bilateral relationship. will require concessions that can be made only at a negotiating table. including the likelihood that the other side will agree to and then scuttle a deal.

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whereas Kim may believe the latter. such as China and Russia. 112 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . The United States hopes that its sanctions will send a message that forces North Korea to choose between its economy and its nuclear weapons. it is difficult to draw conclusions about how multilateral sanctions against Pyongyang are affecting its political behavior. MAKING DETERRENCE WORK One of the foremost questions that has occupied U. Indeed. yet new sanctions take time to bite. leading to a yawning gap in diplomatic expectations. even if the exact contents of the sanctions package are a surprise. policymakers is whether North Korea can be deterred.S. because sanctions are applied only after the fact. North Korea can anticipate new sanctions before it makes a given move and decide whether the benefits will outweigh the costs.S. This repre- sents another instance of the time-technology dilemma: North Korea has few technical hurdles left to cross. But the incremental nature of the financial punishment may instead signal that it will continue but the pain will be tolerable.Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper pattern for years. the regime has time to adjust to the new economic circumstances it will face after it takes the action.S. thanks to U. Did Kim seek a summit with Trump because he is desperate for sanctions relief and willing to make concessions or because he seeks the prestige of a presidential summit and de facto recognition of North Korea as a nuclear power? American observers may assume the former. It is one thing for the United States to deter the use of nuclear weapons or a major attack—since the end of the Korean War. because multilateral sanctions include the participation of countries on which North Korea depends. But the better question is what North Korea can be deterred from doing and what it can be compelled to do differently. it actually has some control over whether and when it will get hit with another round of economic measures. international financial pressure has inherent credibility. Moreover. Moreover. because it chooses when next to conduct a nuclear test. conventional and nuclear military superiority. what international actors view as resolute and punishing steps may not actually do much to affect Pyongyang’s preferences. North Korea has not tried to invade the South because the U. Still. threat to destroy the North Korean regime in such a circumstance is credible. encouraging North Korea to hurry up and complete its nuclear pro- gram so that it can start negotiating the sanctions away. In other words.

policymakers must also consider what their messages tell Kim about his ability to deter an American attack. When North Korea makes such moves. U. THE FOG OF WAR Of all the ways in which perceptual pitfalls could come into play on the Korean Peninsula. goals have gone beyond deter- rence to compellence—that is. and so U. Perception and Misperception on the Korean Peninsula But it is another thing entirely to deter lower-level provocations.S. or nearly as valuable. Even growing U.S. getting North Korea to abandon a mature nuclear arsenal— is even harder to achieve. options. seeking to change what the North is already doing. compellence— in this case. deterrence goes both ways. Further complicating matters.S. allies is deeply problem- atic. Coming only when deterrence has failed. Similarly.S. Similarly.S. As behavioral economists have demonstrated. threats only heighten Kim’s perceived need for a better deterrent—meaning that Washington’s messaging around deterrence undermines its own objectives. the most consequential would involve the use of mil- itary force. it may just reinforce Kim’s belief that he needs nuclear weapons to deter Washington.S. drawing a sharp distinction between threats to the American homeland and threats to U. it presumably estimates how the United States will respond and then selects actions and targets that limit U. it is possible that U. but they are unlikely to be able to prevent them all. as it did when it sank a South Korean warship in 2010. pressure is unlikely to alter this. When Washington declares that a North Korean ICBM capability would pose an unacceptable threat to the United States. the May/June 2018 113 . If war did break out. as the homeland itself. Both South Korea and Japan should be concerned that Washington appears preoc- cupied with weapons aimed at it and relatively unconcerned about the weapons aimed at them. The United States is unlikely to wage a campaign of total destruction against North Korea now that Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal is advanced enough to stave off utter defeat. because extended deterrence requires demonstrating that allies are as valuable. it is in effect admitting to Kim that the United States is easily deterred by such a capability. decision-makers are more willing to pay costs and run risks to avoid losing something they already possess than they are to get something they don’t yet have. The United States and South Korea may be able to deter some North Korean provocations through their conventional force posture and military doctrine. After all. Understandably. they might worry that Trump’s “America first” stance means a weaker nuclear umbrella.

but also that it would cease to use violence if North Korea cooperated. the United States would have to indicate that the The prospect of a meeting leadership in Pyongyang had a clear between Kim and Trump pathway to survival. officials must consider North Korea’s willingness to run risks and pay high costs. he would have no choice but to mount an all-out more likely. efforts to use violence coercively. it would have to send signals that it would continue to use force if North Korea refused to comply. since each country’s resolve would help determine the outcome. counterattack. and Pyongyang would have far less motivation to comply.S. leaders would also have to contemplate the signals they sent beyond the military strike itself. wishes. the United States could more credibly claim that it would attack again if Pyongyang failed to cooperate. emotions play a larger role in leaders’ calculations and states become prone to gamble. If Kim anticipated some form of U. If Kim believed has raised hopes that. 114 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . North Korea’s perception of the initial military campaign would determine whether Pyongyang complied with U.S. In either case—a devastating attack or an underwhelming one—the United States should expect to face signifi- cant retaliation. That is why U. The mere fact that the United States possesses superior military capa- bilities would not guarantee that it would prevail. How third parties and domestic actors reacted to a strike could influence any additional U. U.S. After an attack. military action but the strike was less destructive than feared. The United States would find this balance difficult to achieve. once one side has resorted to violence.S. But even that would be unlikely to achieve denuclearization. the U. could make war destruction no matter what. In particular. he might actually be bolstered in his refusal to comply with U.S. threat to launch a devastating follow-on strike would become less potent. at least until Kim figured out whether compliance or resistance made more sense in the long term. wishes. If international parties expressed outrage and condemned the strike. For the United States to get its way. What message would Trump deliver to accompany the use of force? Would he demand full denuclearization? Throughout the his- tory of warfare. as seems plausible.S.Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper United States would be more likely to use military force as a form of coercion. If the domestic audience vehemently supported a strike.S. if that the United States was bent on his dashed.

Following North Korea’s reasonably good behavior during the Winter Olympics. if dashed. the prospect of an unprecedented meeting between Kim and Trump has raised hopes that. After it becomes clear that Trump will not move forward on Kim’s May/June 2018 115 . the United States’ postponement of military exercises. Imagine that Kim and Trump arrive at the summit only to discover that they hold radically different views of the commitment to “denuclearize”: Trump believes that Kim is willing to negotiate away his arsenal for sanctions relief.S. it may mean an arms control agreement in which the two sides bargain over each other’s force levels.–South Korean alliance (a possibility that was reinforced by comments Trump made in March that appeared to threaten to withdraw U. It is not difficult to imagine how this scenario could come to pass. by encouraging both Washington and Pyongyang to believe that the other is ready to make major concessions. and South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s efforts at diplomacy with the North. whereas Pyongyang might believe that Trump’s willingness to meet without demanding substantive concessions indicates that the United States is finally ready to accept North Korea as a nuclear state. It is all too easy to imagine how such a crisis might develop—no less amid a flurry of diplomacy than amid a volley of threats.S. whereas Kim believes that full denuclearization also requires the removal of U. North Korea is unlikely to be an exception. Well-intentioned mediation by South Korea could postpone the day of reckoning but make it worse when it comes. “denuclearization” is the North giving up nuclear weapons. could make war more likely. In fact.S. troops from South Korea unless the U. A PERFECT STORM OF MISPERCEPTION The greatest risk is that the perceptual challenges that afflict all these approaches could build into a perfect storm of misperception. There is a real danger of a Rashomon situation: Washington might believe that sanctions and military threats made Kim realize that his nuclear program could lead to his demise.–South Korean trade deal was renegotiated). Perception and Misperception on the Korean Peninsula willing to accept greater risks and take bigger chances to prevent major losses. Even the same words may mean different things to the two sides. For the United States. troops from the Korean Peninsula and an end to the U. the hostility will be magnified.S. If face-to- face talks reveal that neither is in fact willing to do so. for North Korea. a diplomatic window has opened.

Kim decides to show that his willingness to negotiate does not mean his will has been broken. but not so much as to bring a full-scale war.S. killing a few residents— who are.Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper terms. believing the limited nature of the target will induce Kim’s cooperation and minimize the risk of retaliation. or totally beyond the control of the parties involved. Fragments from the reentry vehicle strike the island itself. one of his missiles expels debris over Guam. perhaps most important. likely. It attacks a known missile storage facility. and. better understand how U. territory but not a state—will unnerve the United States enough to persuade it to accept his nuclear program. Instead. recognize the assumptions behind American beliefs. But there are steps U. and he proceeds with his missile launch. There are a handful of former 116 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . policymakers can take to sharpen their own perceptions of North Korea. Kim does not comply. and the United States dusts off one of its plans for a limited military strike. he hopes that a missile test over Guam—a U. But then. Kim is outraged and renews his August 2017 pledge to test mis- siles over Guam. Kim views the strike as the beginning of a larger effort to disarm him and as a prelude to regime change.S. Out of a desire to induce the United States to drop its denuclearization demands. The purpose of this vignette is not to suggest that war on the Korean Peninsula is inevitable. actions and signals affect the perceptions of their North Korean counterparts. Trump declares this “an act of war” and gives Kim 48 hours to issue a formal apology and a pledge to denuclearize. the United States begins to attack other known weapons sites and command-and-control facilities to neutralize the threat. Following his conventional bombard- ment of Seoul. Both Washington and Pyongyang now think the other is responsible for derailing diplomacy. U.S.S.–North Korean relationship may interact with a situation that is already unfolding to invite a catastrophe that neither side wants. Much as the Japanese did before they attacked Pearl Harbor. citizens. after all. KNOW THYSELF There is no set of policies that can eliminate these risks. Rather. Kim launches nuclear weapons the following day. The Trump administration should start by deepening its assessment of Pyongyang’s aims and bottom line. it is to illustrate how the forms of misper- ception now ingrained in the U.S.

Even if it has arrived at a diplomatic opening by accident. Policymakers should also work with the intelligence community to examine how existing U. Why did North Korea enter into direct talks if it didn’t intend to denuclearize? What assumptions were made about the North that must now be interrogated? Such questions may seem basic.S.S. they will be better prepared to react nimbly to unexpected North Korean concessions or to manage the situation if engagement abruptly fails. policymakers must work to understand their own. officials and prompt them to insert the equivalent of speed bumps into the policy process. U. including coming up with objectives that are more limited than full denuclearization. Diplomatic encounters are not likely to unfold according to script. carefully mapping the causal logic of any move they might make. objectives and how future changes in policy may be viewed. but they too often go unasked.S. policymakers can reduce the risk that flimsy credibility and haz- ardous misperceptions will bring about an unnecessary war. In addition to trying to understand the assumptions of North Korean policymakers. They should go back and examine them. intelligence analysts should help policymakers actively counter this tendency. and if the United States and North Korea are not willing to be surprised and learn.S. above all in a moment of crisis.S. they can neither take advantage of opportunities nor avoid making worst-case inferences that would rule out further discussions. policies may look from Pyongyang. Perception and Misperception on the Korean Peninsula U. U. especially when it comes to potential military strikes. officials who have experience negotiating with the North Koreans and who could help current policymakers more accurately read North Korean signals. By recognizing the flaws or weak- nesses in their own assumptions.∂ May/June 2018 117 . If the U. they should pause to consider the prob- lems of perception. They should consider how those perceptions (or misperceptions) serve to reinforce or undermine U. The prospect of grave misperceptions should instill a degree of caution in U.S.S. the administration must now work with these experts to devise a strategy for diplomacy. There is an all-too-human tendency to assume that an action will be seen as it is intended to be seen. Simply by considering them. policymakers should also press the intelligence agencies not only to offer their best assessments of North Korean intentions but also to be explicit about the gaps and shortcomings in them.–North Korean relationship begins to deteriorate further and escalate toward conflict. U.S.

Jonathan P. the world has remained largely complacent. that could mark a public health disaster of historic proportions. JONATHAN P. drug companies are turning their attention to Asia and Europe and repeating the tactics that created the crisis in the first place. Facing a backlash in the United States and Canada. Yet in the face of this terrifying possibility. Governments and international organizations KEITH HUMPHREYS is Esther Ting Memorial Professor and Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University. the world is on the cusp of a global opioid epidemic. driven by the overuse of legal pain- killers and worsened by the spread of fentanyl. As a result. has made the outbreak even deadlier and begun to reshape the global drug market. almost as many died in Canada. Less well known is the growing risk that the epidemic will spread across the globe. or 2. The White House Council of Economic Advisers has estimated that the epidemic cost the U. the rise of fentanyl. Caulkins. CAULKINS is H. a development with significant foreign policy implications.S. and Vanda Felbab-Brown I n 2016. This public health story is now common knowledge. Return to Table of Contents Opioids of the Masses Stopping an American Epidemic From Going Global Keith Humphreys. and. From 2000 to 2016. Yet even these grim numbers understate the impact of opioid abuse.000 people died of opioid overdoses in the United States.8 percent of GDP. per capita. a highly potent synthetic opioid. economy $504 billion in 2015. because for every person who dies. At the same time. more Americans died of overdoses than died in World War I and World War II combined. VANDA FELBAB-BROWN is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Guyford Stever University Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. nearly 50. many more live with addiction. 118 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .

And the rise of synthetic opioids means that governments must rethink the role that fighting drug trafficking plays in their foreign policies. especially if the patient has taken other drugs. and Canadian cities. but then stalled. After several epidemics involving legal medications in the nine- teenth century. even those who survive risk serious organ damage. Several pharmaceutical compa- nies began aggressively marketing opioids to treat chronic. not just acute. And third. such as alcohol or benzodiazepines (a class of drugs that includes Valium and Xanax). Opioids of the Masses urgently need to learn the lessons of the North American crisis. In the late 1960s and 1970s. For nearly 50 years after that. the number of dependent users was fairly stable. Opioids are widely misused for three reasons. even by healthy people. North America saw few opioid-related problems besides heroin use in a few U. including cancer. government banned most distribution of opioids. so they rely on patients’ accuracy and honesty in judging pain severity. Opioids are so dangerous because the difference between a lethal dose and a normal one is only a modest multiple. Second. That will require them to crack down on pharmaceutical companies that abuse their positions and to take aggressive steps to regulate the sale and marketing of opioids. the bigger the problem will be—and so governments must couple efforts to treat addicted individuals with efforts to curb supply. And because an overdose kills by depriving the body of oxygen. meaning that patients need more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect.S. From the 1970s to the mid-1990s. Worse still. when they are prescribed for prolonged periods to treat nonterminal chronic pain. a dose that works today can kill tomorrow. because of the euphoria they create. anyone without scruples can sell prescription opioids on the black market. Extended use raises the risk of addiction and increases tolerance. heroin spread to more cities. however. All of that changed in the mid-1990s. clinicians can’t objectively measure pain in the way they can body temperature or blood pressure. the U. Problems can arise. The first and most important of those is that the more opioids flood the market.S. May/June 2018 119 . First. THE PRESCRIPTION AND THE DAMAGE DONE Opioids derived from the opium poppy have long been used success- fully to relieve short-term pain from surgery and to comfort patients with terminal conditions. in 1914. opioids are highly prized.

The most infamous was Purdue Pharma. The resulting lax regulatory environment. their tactics were nearly as ruthless as those of any drug dealer. the largess of manufacturers flowed to virtually every organization that should have been protecting the public. medical opinion leaders. profes- sional medical societies. Food and Drug Administration. peaking at 250 million 120 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . including health-care regulators. claiming they carried little risk of addiction. elected officials. 220 times as much as the amount spent by groups trying to limit opioid use.S. and state medical boards. During the period of mostly uncritical enthusiasm for prescription opioids. medical school education programs. the marketing expenditure of each of the ten largest phar- maceutical companies exceeded the entire budget of the U. As the New York Times journalist Barry Meier and the psychiatrist Anna Lembke have documented. Consumption in the United States quadrupled from 1999 to 2014. A study by the Center for Public Integrity and the Associated Press found that from 2006 to 2015. released a tsunami of opioid prescriptions. In 2013. pain. the pharmaceutical industry spent $880 million on campaign contributions and lobbying state legislatures. patient advocacy groups. coupled with a sincere concern that many patients were living with unacceptable levels of pain. the maker of OxyContin. but other companies rolled out similar products.

S. But the opioid distributors responded by hiring away DEA officials. And despite Marino’s withdrawal. Marino withdrew when The Washington Post and 60 Minutes broke the story of his involvement with the bill. and the three executives who pled guilty avoided jail sentences. someone convicted of selling 100 grams of heroin—worth between $2. The Drug Enforcement Administration was already investigating why the companies that distributed these opioids did not report or stop the suspicious shipments.500 and $15.000—faces a federal mandatory minimum sentence of five years. By 2010. many of them from the division responsible for regulating the industry. discovered that drug companies had shipped nearly nine million opioid pills to a pharmacy in Kermit. Other fines paid by opioid manufacturers and distributors in the United States and Canada have mostly been under $25 million—small enough that companies could treat them as just a cost of doing business. federal prosecutors secured a guilty plea from Purdue Pharma for knowingly deceiving doctors and patients. but his nomination showed that the administration was willing to put its drug policy in the hands of a creature of the industry. By contrast. the pro- industry policy created by Congress remains firmly in place. West Virginia. Still. A recent scandal reveals the extent to which the industry has captured regulators. In 2007. May/June 2018 121 . a Republican congress- man from Pennsylvania and a recipient of extensive campaign donations from the industry. a determined West Virginia journalist. a town with fewer than 400 residents. was even nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. One of the leaders in that effort. health-care system was dis- pensing enough opioids each year for everyone in the country to be medicated round the clock for a month. the U. that fine is dwarfed by the estimated $35 billion of revenue that Purdue has earned from the drug. and by lobbying friendly poli- ticians. Congress passed legislation curtailing the DEA’s ability to pursue any such cases. The courts fined the company $600 million and required it to more accurately describe the risks and benefits of OxyContin.prescriptions per year. Tom Marino. Eric Eyre. In 2016. In 2016.

Furthermore. A typical daily dose for a long-term opioid patient is 100 milligrams. Caulkins. The black market pays about $1 per milligram for oxycodone pills. who become addicted and seek their own prescriptions.105 in 2013 to 20. this dynamic has been most pronounced in the United States and Canada. which they then sell in turn. black-market fentanyl compounded matters. Dealers began cutting heroin with cheap diluents and then adding fentanyl— which is less expensive and more potent than other opioids—to raise the strength of the mixture before selling it as heroin. Jonathan P. Deaths in the United States from synthetic opioids other than methadone (the category that includes fentanyl) jumped from 3. the black market offers attractive opportunities. a patient can obtain prescriptions worth tens of thousands of dollars. But it threw gasoline on the fire. even otherwise honest people can be tempted into crime when the payoff is that great. addicting still others. Although most patients are not criminals. This creates a vicious cycle: addicted people obtain prescriptions. A single milligram of pure heroin usually sells for under $1. a patient with a $30 copay for a 30-day prescription pays $1 a day for medicines that can then be sold for $100. which had stayed stable for many years. many criminals pretend to be patients. Fentanyl did not create the crisis: prescribed opioids were already killing tens of thousands of people. Those skilled at working the system can obtain prescriptions for hundreds of milligrams a day. or $36. slightly less than the price that a milligram of oxy- codone commands. even though heroin is roughly three times as potent. Heroin use. This process has driven a boom in demand. Thus. either from one doctor or by doctor shopping. Selling prescription pills and buying heroin thus lets the user more than triple his or her opioid consumption or. keep the same rate of consumption and buy groceries or pay the rent.500 worth of pills a year. which they sell to others. A WORLD OF PAIN So far. surged as people who had become addicted to prescription opioids shifted to black-market alternatives. alternatively.Keith Humphreys. Even for those who truly need the drugs. and Vanda Felbab-Brown SELLING NIRVANA The liberalization of painkiller prescriptions has fueled a black market thanks to a straightforward economic calculus. Beginning around 2014. Just by lying about a medical condition that doctors cannot verify with any objective test.145 in 2016. The United States has an unusually corporate-friendly 122 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .

It runs training seminars in which representatives encourage doctors to overcome their “opiophobia. but Canada has a stronger tradition of state regu- lation. the outlook is even worse. Food and Drug Administration com- missioner. the Philippines. Opioids of the Masses policy environment. Egypt. the company goes abroad. a bipartisan group of 12 members of the U. As David Kessler. China. South Korea. The Sackler family. The Los Angeles Times reported that Mundipharma consultants have claimed that OxyContin presents only a small risk of addiction.S. where states are weaker and drug manufacturers have a freer hand. Colombia. which owns Purdue Pharma.” In May 2017. and an army of sales representatives to promote its products. A NEW PRESCRIPTION To prevent the North American crisis from growing into a global one. As the United States takes steps to limit sales here.” It sponsors ad campaigns that promote pharmaceutical treatment for pain. a worldwide network of pharmaceutical com- panies that is not constrained by the U. local opinion leaders. But it is not clear that the world heard the message. Brazil. U. and Mundipharma has contributed funding to the development of national pain-management strategies. told the Los Angeles Times.S. before it is too late. In much of the developing world. First. a former U. federal court decision against Purdue. Already. Mexico. So other countries would be foolish to assume that something similar could not happen to them. Mundipharma’s strategy is “right out of the playbook of Big Tobacco. Mundipharma is active in Australia. also owns Mundipharma. several steps must be taken now. As detailed by the Los Angeles Times. pharmaceutical companies are already working to expand foreign sales. and Spain and is using the same aggressive sales tactics that Purdue Pharma employed in the United States. OxyContin pre- scriptions have increased sharply.S. Congress wrote to the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) to warn against the predations of Mundipharma. the assertion for which Purdue Pharma was fined in the United States. jurisdictions that decide to liberalize their prescription opioid policies must plan to spend more on drug treatment and other services for those struggling May/June 2018 123 .S. prescription rates have risen to nearly the Canadian level. In Australia. It has hired con- sultants. In Germany. several countries appear to be falling into the trap of opioid use. Singapore.

But just treating addicted people will not solve the problem. The WHO and the United Nations could help in two ways. many of illegal ones. There is little evidence that one-off penalties change corporate behavior. (The restrictions on pro- motion that have worked in the United States have come primarily from legal settlements such as those imposed on the tobacco industry. a shortfall that leads to unneeded suffering. rather than playing catch-up after the problem has grown. Whereas for most drugs it makes sense for regulators to consider only whether the drugs are safe and effective for patients when used as directed. allowing only the government or nonprofit organizations to do so. death on a scale vastly Although such bans are largely uncon- surpassing the effects stitutional in the United States.) A more complex alternative would be to develop a distinct and more stringent set of regulations for opioids that would recognize the unique challenges they pose. not legislation. countries do have the power to restrict advertising. Jonathan P. A simple. A less extreme idea would involve a ban on branding. Caulkins. although radical. not just those likely to follow from the proper use of prescribed opioids. Regulators could require phar- macies to sell only generic products or. Tighter regulation could also include new ways of calculating fines for drug companies that break the law. that standard is woefully inadequate for drugs that are as easily and widely abused as opioids. If opioid manufacturers faced. prevent manufacturers and retailers from advertising their drugs. policy would be to ban for-profit com- panies from selling prescription opioids for extended home use. say. Governments must also address the incentives pharmaceutical compa- nies have for profiting from oversupplying and overpromoting opioids. Many low. and Vanda Felbab-Brown with opioid addiction. Rather than let profit- seeking corporations exploit that opportunity and push the needle too far in the other direction. they would have an enduring incentive to regulate themselves. Legal drugs can bring at the least. But agreements that made fines contingent on outcomes might.Keith Humphreys. particularly for the terminally ill.and middle-income countries face the opposite problem of rich ones: they do not use enough opioids. Regulators should take all foreseeable consequences into account. a $1 million fine for every overdose involving one of their products. the WHO or another UN agency should provide generic morphine to patients in those countries as a humanitarian 124 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .

supervised May/June 2018 125 . Authorities can stop a doctor who prescribes illegally or irre- sponsibly just by revoking his or her license. A key lesson of the current epidemic repeats one from the history of tobacco: legal drugs pushed by corporations can bring death on a scale vastly surpassing the effects of illegal ones. syringe exchanges. That is largely correct when it comes to street dealers. and some then die of overdoses when they are released. The tactic works because the black market cannot replace those doctors. Opioids of the Masses priority. Just as pharmaceutical companies send their sales representa- tives to promote their drugs. but such investigations should be given greater resources. Targeting corporations is even cheaper. Other countries should make sure that their law enforcement agencies are empowered to investigate and prosecute gross corporate malfeasance. Furthermore. Take Vancouver. Governments will also need to recognize a central lesson of public health research: epidemics cannot be ended simply by managing indi- vidual cases of the disease. Calls to legalize rec- reational opioids that fail to grapple with this reality do not deserve to be taken seriously. no expensive prison cell needed. prisoners who depend on opioids lose their tolerance while in prison. arguing that governments cannot arrest their way out of drug prob- lems. Residents have access to universal health care. since the resulting fines are often larger than the costs of investigation and prosecution. the WHO and other public interest groups could send representatives to explain how and why the current opioid epidemic started and escalated. British Columbia. drug treatment programs. This practice is already used. Locking up people who are easily replaced does little to stem the flow or use of most drugs. Luckily. The WHO and the UN should also warn their members against pharmaceutical companies with expansionist visions and questionable ethics. Congress should re- peal the law it passed in 2016 that restricted the DEA’s power. there is a wide space between the two extremes of waging war on drug dealers and users and turning over the keys of public health and safety to rapacious companies that profit by pushing addictive drugs. which has thoroughly embraced the idea that providing health and social services can solve drug problems. TURNING OFF THE TAP Drug policy experts often dismiss attempts to cut down on supply. To make these investigations easier.

reaching 53. Fentanyl. can be produced secretly anywhere there is a chemical industry. But the lesson of Vancouver is that expanding health and social services without addressing opioid sup- ply is akin to emptying an overflowing bathtub with a thimble without turning down the tap. and Vanda Felbab-Brown rooms in which they can use drugs. and opioid substitution treatments. The city and the province have positioned themselves as world leaders in this harm-reduction approach. For drug traffickers and dealers. Parts of those chains. raising consumption. But the consumption of opioids tends to rise in smaller proportion to the fall 126 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .8 deaths per 100. especially the links crossing international borders.Keith Humphreys. the overdose rescue drug naloxone. Jonathan P. These factors will drive down prices. not just where poppies grow. so its sponsors gain significantly less political capital by providing jobs than do the sponsors of illegal poppy cultivation. flow through long distribution chains that include as many as ten transactions between the farmer and the user. That radically reduces transportation costs and the role and power of organizations whose comparative advantage lies in smuggling large shipments across international borders. such as heroin and cocaine. Yet the overdose death rate in the Vancouver health service delivery area rose by 36 percent in 2016. not just public health. state that has been the hardest hit. Disrupting fentanyl production is therefore less politically costly and has fewer negative side effects for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts than eradicating drug crops. where 52 people died of overdoses for every 100. Caulkins. Traditional illicit drugs. Services for people addicted to opioids are essential.000 residents in 2016. by contrast. FUEL ON THE FIRE The rise of fentanyl is both making the North American crisis worse and complicating efforts to forestall the emerging global one. Fentanyl is also far less labor-intensive to make than heroin.S. including government-provided heroin. often favor large criminal organizations that can intimidate or co-opt authorities. That is similar to the rate in West Virginia. fentanyl offers many advantages and could reshape the global opioid market in ways that would have important consequences for foreign policy and international relations. And fentanyl is so concentrated that it can be mailed a kilogram at a time. which has few services and is the U.000 residents last year.

Iran. It is a major supplier of the drug to New York City. Generation. for example. should have been because the Sinaloa cartel has tradition- ally been less violent than Jalisco New protecting the public. In countries that allow drug companies to market opioids aggressively. Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. but at least Sinaloa continues to shun violence in the United States. fentanyl will tend to depress producers’ revenues and power. so heroin is far cheaper. back in every organization that 2014. for ex- ample.) Hence. primarily supplying neighboring countries with high addiction rates. could well lose market The largess of manufacturers share to its rival Jalisco New Generation. for example. That makes stopping them harder. both among dealers and against law enforcement and public officials. May/June 2018 127 . drug-related violence within the United States could well increase. which has long dominated the distri- bution of heroin and cocaine in the United States. users might switch to cheaper synthetics. including Canada. middle-aged couples without prior criminal records to distribute fentanyl. Synthetics are less likely to make inroads in those countries because they are close to heroin production areas and have lax law enforcement and porous borders. at least on the eastern coast of the United States. That is not necessarily good news. If that group challenges Sinaloa’s dominance north of the Mexican border. That would leave countries that grow poppies. sending them on one-time drug runs by train or car. however. flowed to virtually which embraced fentanyl early. where drug overdose deaths last year were four times as many as homicide deaths. the United States. Sinaloa has begun to adapt by moving aggressively into the dis- tribution of fentanyl. Fentanyl’s rise could also split the global drug market. Opioids of the Masses in prices. Fentanyl also has the potential to alter the balance of power among drug-trafficking organizations. such as China. it sometimes employs nonviolent. such as Afghanistan and Myanmar. That’s a worrying trend. and Russia. but it keeps violence down. For example. leads to an increase in use of less than ten percent. Pakistan. (A ten percent decrease in the price. In affluent places where heroin is expensive. and Europe. that effect will likely be more than offset by an intensifying demand for black- market opioids.

The Trump administration should not resurrect it. China banned the production of four variants of fentanyl. It will be much harder to persuade larger and more powerful synthetic-drug-producing countries.-Chinese relationship. con- sumption shifts from plant-based to synthetic drugs. Russia.S. In March 2017. Already. the coca-producing countries of Bolivia. From 2001 to 2009. Washington’s interest in eradicating drug crops could wane. might well continue pressuring the United States to eradicate poppy fields in Afghanistan and even take it upon itself to do so. heightening differences between the interests of hawkish countries in Asia and the Middle East and those of more liberal ones in Europe and Latin America. Drug control is becoming an increasingly important aspect of the U. drove farmers to embrace militant and terrorist groups.S. and Vanda Felbab-Brown All of this could reshape international relationships. where a large proportion of the economy depends on drugs. has helped with counterinsurgency and nation building. Jonathan P.Keith Humphreys. Caulkins. drug control efforts would have to compete against other interests.S. If U. programs to eradicate poppy fields in Afghanistan. A bifurcation in international drug markets would exacerbate splits over global drug policy. removing a decades-old source of tension between the United States and Latin American countries. Colombia. such as China and India. Moscow would likely view controlling drug supplies as more important than limiting the political capital the Taliban can gain from fighting to pro- tect poppy fields. Washington would be wise to engage Beijing and Moscow to educate them on the mistakes the United States has made in its fight against drugs that they should avoid and the successes they should replicate. to crack down on manufacturers. perceiving the group as a lesser danger in Afghanistan than the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). and Canadian relations with China and India cover far more issues than those with South American countries. especially China and Russia. U. and Peru could see similar effects. Aban- doning that approach. And because U. a major policy breakthrough of the Obama administration. International drug control would likely climb up the agendas of countries whose populations still relied on plant-based drugs. Russia is courting the Taliban. If synthetic opioids replaced cocaine consumption or a synthetic cocaine analogue were developed.S. which is suffering from an opioid epidemic revolving around Afghan heroin. largely in response to engagement from 128 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .

Opioids of the Masses the Obama administration. which tend to be wealthy and powerful. Already. From a foreign policy perspective. of synthetic ones—are far less advanced. If this trend continues. That outcome is still avoidable. Drug control discussions with India—an equally large producer of precursors of illegal drugs and. It needs to work with China to curb the illegal shipment of fentanyl to the United States and the common practice of producing new. In any event. That’s because India remains in profound denial about its part in the global drug trade. But the Trump administration has failed to expand that dialogue. the production of syn- thetic drugs won’t remain confined to the developing world. it will give countries opportunities to improve important international relationships. although the rise of synthetic opioids presents new dangers. drug-consuming countries. slightly altered drugs to avoid legal restrictions. It refuses even to acknowledge its role in the supply of illegal precursors. the picture is consistently grim: a burgeoning opioid supply—either of prescription pain medications or of black-market opioids—could create a global pandemic. But when it comes to public health. subjecting millions of people to disabling and potentially lethal addiction. increasingly. but only if the world’s governments stop sleepwalking toward disaster. which tend to be neither. and has failed to adequately crack down on the factories that illegally produce and distribute them. may no longer need to pressure producing countries. especially in western Europe. because the problem will have moved closer to home.∂ May/June 2018 129 . let alone of synthetics. many are made in rich countries.

Return to Table of Contents Globalization Is Not in Retreat Digital Technology and the Future of Trade Susan Lund and Laura Tyson B y many standard measures. from small businesses to multinational corporations.600 protectionist measures. A once solid consensus that trade is a win-win proposition has given way to zero-sum thinking and calls for higher barriers. In its previous incarnation. globalization is in retreat. And economic leadership is shifting east SUSAN LUND is a Partner at McKinsey & Company and a leader of the McKinsey Global Institute. Even as its detractors erect new impediments and walk away from free-trade agreements. deindustrialization. While trade predicated on global supply chains that take advantage of cheap labor is slowing. 130 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . the G-20 countries have implemented more than 6. new digital technologies mean that more actors can participate in cross-border transactions than ever before. globalization is being driven by digital technology and is increasingly led by China and other emerging economies. The 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing recession brought an end to three decades of rapid growth in the trade of goods and services. the political conversation about trade has shifted from a focus on economic benefits to concerns about job loss. Cross-border financial flows have fallen by two-thirds. according to the research group Global Trade Alert. In many countries that have traditionally championed globalization. LAURA TYSON is Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School at the Haas School of Business at the University of California. globalization is in fact continuing its forward march—but along new paths. dislocation. But that’s only part of the story. including the United States and the United Kingdom. it was trade-based and Western-led. She served as Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration. Today. Berkeley. and inequality. Since November 2008.

Beginning in the 1980s. Germany. the falling costs of transportation and commu- MICHAEL DALD E R / REUT E RS nication. but the challenges will be considerable. growth in trade has barely outpaced global GDP growth. global trade in goods and services grew at more than twice the pace of global GDP. boosting innovation and productivity. along with a raft of new multilateral free-trade agreements. Globalization Is Not in Retreat Printed-out kicks: a sneaker produced by a 3-D printer. After certain sectors fade away. In other words. But it will also be disruptive. globalization has not given way to deglobalization. it has simply entered a different phase. certain jobs will disap- pear. and linking consumers and suppliers across the world. Companies and governments must prepare for the coming disruption. as the United States turns inward and the EU and the United Kingdom negotiate a divorce. A weak and uneven recovery from the Great Recession explains part of the trade slowdown. For the last five years. This new era will bring economic and societal benefits. offering people unprecedented (and often free) access to information. The benefits will be tangible and significant. THE NEW ERA The threads that used to weave the global economy together are fraying. March 2018 and south. Between 1986 and 2008. caused international commerce to swell. however. but structural May/June 2018 131 . and new winners will emerge.

The movement of data is already surpassing traditional physical trade as the connective tissue in the global economy: according to Cisco Systems. Although digital flows today mostly link developed countries. Global value chains. highly regulated (law and accounting). but they have since fallen already surpassing to just six percent. in driving globalization. They can also reach consumers around the world without going through retail shops. and it will grow an additional 13-fold by 2023. This surge in the movement of data not only constitutes a huge flow in and of itself. Although the location of production will continue to shift among countries in response to differences in wages and the prices of other factors of production— from China to Vietnam and Bangladesh. and foreign direct investment— grew from four percent of global GDP in 1990 to 23 percent on the eve of the fi- The movement of data is nancial crisis. but it is grow- as the connective tissue ing slowly and is unlikely to assume the role that trade in goods has played in the global economy. international lending. The number of minutes of all Skype calls made now equals approximately 40 percent of all traditional international phone call minutes. or both (health care). Companies can cut losses on goods in transit by installing tracking sensors on shipments—by 30 percent or more. Trade in services. most of the efficiency gains have already been realized. has increased. from e-mailing and video streaming to file sharing and the Internet of Things. traditional physical trade meanwhile. Half of all trade in global services now depends on digital technology one way or another. That’s because most services simply cannot be bought and sold across national borders: they are local (dining and construction). This is where digital flows come in. AliResearch (the research arm of the Chinese online shopping company Alibaba) and the consulting 132 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . the amount of cross-border bandwidth used grew 90-fold from 2005 to 2016. for example—these shifts will merely change the patterns of trade. have reached maturity. Cross-border financial flows—which include purchases of foreign bonds and equities. it is also turbocharging other types of flows. They will not increase its overall volume. emerging economies are catch- ing up quickly. in McKinsey’s experience.Susan Lund and Laura Tyson factors are also to blame. which gave rise to a growing trade in manufactured parts.

as Chinese Internet giants such as Alibaba. and China will boast more companies with $1 billion or more in annual revenues than either the United States or Europe. its center of gravity has shifted. China now accounts for 42 percent of global e-commerce transactions by value. and Tencent rival Amazon. that figure will reach 45 per- cent. and Google. which has a population of just 1. Baidu. The country’s investments in artificial intelligence. cross-border e-commerce will reach one billion consumers and total $1 trillion in annual sales. In 2017. which form the bedrock of employment in most countries. The United States continues to produce the majority of digital content consumed in most parts of the world. Globalization Is Not in Retreat firm Accenture project that by 2020. THE RISE OF THE REST As globalization has gone digital. the world’s largest international companies. but that. Estonia is now home to the founders of Skype and other technology start-ups. and it has historically been one of the fastest-growing economies in the EU. pay taxes. As recently as 2000. China announced an ambitious investment plan designed May/June 2018 133 . Facebook. Amazon hosts two million third-party sellers. So-called micro-multinationals can use online market- places to reach far more customers than ever before. all with a digital identity card. and appear in court. The countries that led the world during the last era of globalization may not necessarily be the same ones that thrive in the new one. just five percent of the companies on the For- tune Global 500 list. Giant multi- national firms have long dominated the trade in goods and services. Its pioneering e-government initiative allows Estonians to go online to vote.3 million but has emerged as a giant in the digital era. by the McKinsey Global Institute’s estimate. but digital platforms have made it easier for smaller firms to muscle their way in. will likely soon change. Some 50 million small and medium-sized enterprises use Facebook for marketing. and Alibaba hosts more than ten million. and nearly 40 percent of their fans are foreign. were headquartered in the developing world. Digital platforms and marketplaces such as these are creating vast new opportunities for small businesses. Digital flows are also upending the corporate world. too. are more than double Europe’s. while still lagging behind those of the United States. By 2025. Once an economy based heavily on logging. Consider Estonia.

The world economy is already adapting to this new reality. which was signed in March. So busy is the EU making such deals. As Washington pulls back from global trade agreements. the rest of the world is moving forward without it. Moreover. This version left out 20 provisions that were important to the United States. Remarkably. New Zealand. India. China. and the environment. as many as one billion people in these places will see their incomes rise above $10 a day. more than half of that trade stays within the region. more than half of all international trade in goods involves at least one developing country. including ones concerning copyright. intellectual property. the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. the remaining 11 coun- tries negotiated their own pact. Europeans. a similar proportion to that found in Europe.Susan Lund and Laura Tyson to turn the country into the world’s leading center for artificial intel- ligence research by 2030. a much richer region with its own free- trade zone. Japan. the EU has struck new bilateral trade arrangements with countries including Canada and Japan. and it is negotiating one with China. this agree- ment would cover about 40 percent of global trade and nearly half of the world’s population. high enough to make them significant consumers of goods and services—at the same time that tens of millions of Americans. The geography of globalization is even changing within the devel- oping world. and trade in goods between developing countries—so-called South–South trade—grew from seven percent of the global total in 2000 to 18 percent in 2016. a number of Asian countries are negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. After the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. and South Korea—but not the United States. Meanwhile. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that roughly half of global GDP growth over the next ten years will come from some 440 rapidly expanding cities and regions in the developing world. So open is Asia that the region more than doubled its share of world trade (from 15 percent to 35 percent) between 1990 and 2016. such as the city of Hsinchu in Taiwan or the state of Santa Catarina in Brazil. a trade deal that includes all the members of the Association of South- east Asian Nations plus Australia. and Japanese will enter retirement and reduce their spending. some of which Western executives may not be able to find on a map. Separately. Today. If ratified. 134 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .

China was a driving force behind the creation of the New Development Bank. and 90 percent of them do so voluntarily to improve their economic prospects. especially if they lack the infrastructure and skills to benefit from digital trade. In the past 40 years. With global trade tensions mounting. Then there is the Belt and Road Initiative. and Russia.7 trillion to the world economy every year. and labor standards may soon become the new benchmarks in global trade. including the Asian Infra- structure Investment Bank. Economic migrants have become a major source of growth. One consequence of openness has been immigration. that its agricultural. is gaining momentum as a platform for deals in Africa. an alternative to the World Bank. According to the McKinsey Global Institute. many of them U. The China-Africa Investment Forum. which has attracted 57 member nations. To provide a counter- weight to Washington-based economic institutions. Globalization Is Not in Retreat in fact. Today. THE COMING DISRUPTION Although it will lead to countless new opportunities. as in the past.S. and foreign talent that stand to benefit the most in the new era. with the remaining ten percent being refugees and asylum seekers. In fact. the new era of globalization will also present considerable challenges to individuals. spurring faster economic growth across Asia and connecting many countries that the last era of globalization left behind. because openness will be so rewarded. an annual meeting begun in 2016. it is precisely the countries that open themselves up to foreign competition. it could prompt a major shift in the pattern of global investment. the number of migrants worldwide has tripled. environmental. and countries. it is essential to recognize that countries will reap economic gains not from export surpluses but from both inflows and outflows. allies that joined over the objection of the United States. foreign investment. Together with Brazil. companies. they contribute approx- imately $6. Beijing has launched numerous initiatives of its own. For one thing. China’s $1 trillion plan to add maritime and land links in Eurasia. almost 250 million people live and work outside their country of birth. or nine percent May/June 2018 135 . Although still at an early stage. developing countries now at the periphery of global connections risk falling further behind. India. One notable aspect of this realignment is that China has gained a greater voice as a champion of globalization.

and in theory. it already has. and lower dividend payouts. the rapid expansion of trade has led to stagnant wages or lost jobs.” using technology to produce built-to-order goods without sacrificing economies of scale. The growing economic clout of developing countries is also changing the rules of competition. the benefits have rarely been redistributed. New ideas now flow around the world at an astonishing speed. manufacturing jobs lost between 1990 and 2007. the variety of products is exploding. And as the economist Elhanan Helpman has concluded. Companies from emerging economies are taking a growing share of global revenue. and many industries are adopting “mass customization. and the communities and workers harmed by globalization have turned to populism and protectionism. They therefore face less pressure to hit quarterly profit targets and can make longer-term investments that take time to pay off. The flip side is that the period during which a company can profit from an innovation before competitors copy it has shrunk dramatically. Meanwhile. As a result.Susan Lund and Laura Tyson of global GDP—some $3 trillion more than they would have produced had they stayed in their home countries. by making the skills of experts and professionals more valuable while lowering the wages of workers with less education and more generic skills. firms are more often state- or family-owned and less often publicly traded. In emerging markets.S. although globalization explains just a small part of the rise in inequality over the last few decades. Globalization has its winners and losers. Fashion retailers such as H&M and Zara can take a trendy idea and turn it into clothing on the rack in just weeks. of the roughly five million U. and their governance struc- tures differ from those of companies in the United States and other developed countries. and Gordon Hanson have found. the gains should be big enough to compensate the losers. product life cycles have become shorter—by 30 percent over the past 20 years in some industries. it has still contributed to it. rather than the months it used to take. But for some workers. Developing-world companies also tend to enjoy lower costs of capital. lower taxes. But in practice. The new era of globalization will also prove disruptive. indeed. enabling them to sell goods and services at smaller profit 136 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . in that it will intensify competition. As the economists David Autor. allowing companies to react to demand faster than ever before. David Dorn. a quarter dis- appeared because of trade with China.

these and other forms of digital protectionism inhibit economic growth—reducing growth rates by as much as 1. they come from growing revenues. the skill level of the labor force. the importance of intellectual property is growing. Invoking concerns about cybersecurity. One example is the development of “patent thickets. and the May/June 2018 137 . such as the quality of the infrastructure.” whereby firms apply for multiple patents in related areas with the intention of cordoning off future research in them. effectively giving the government access to vast amounts of private data. when multinational companies choose where to build plants. digital to cover a wide area of economic capabilities will serve as activity and impede competitors. A similar law went into effect in Russia in 2015. improvements in overall profits stem largely from growing mar- gins. according to the Information Tech- nology and Innovation Foundation. and standardize the collection of personal information. whereas for companies in emerging markets.7 percentage points. the costs of energy and transportation. pass security reviews. digi- tally driven automation is making labor costs less relevant. The smart- phone industry and the pharmaceutical industry have been particularly hard hit by these tactics. fencing.” clusters of overlap- ping patents that companies acquire In the new era. and European companies. The balance sheets reveal the difference: for companies in advanced economies. As digital flows grow. rocket fuel for a country’s Another is the practice of “patent economy. Today.S. Globalization Is Not in Retreat margins compared with U. generating new forms of competition around patents. Rules requiring companies to build data servers in each country where they operate threaten their economies of scale and increase their costs. Digital technologies are also affecting companies’ decisions about where to locate their factories. reducing the appeal of global supply chains premised on low-cost foreign workers. Not surprisingly. some governments have turned to digital pro- tectionism. Because the rise of digital flows is increasing competition in knowledge-intensive sectors. the distance to consumers. China enacted a new law in 2016 that requires companies to store all their data within Chinese borders. they more heavily weigh factors other than labor costs. For most manufactured products.

BE PREPARED In the new era. As a result. (In 2015. especially given how low productivity growth has stayed. digital capabilities will serve as rocket fuel for a country’s economy. The World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation 138 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . It’s now far less clear that other developing countries in Africa and Asia will be able to follow the path that China and South Korea did to move tens of millions of workers out of low- productivity agriculture and into higher-productivity manufacturing. customs regulations will need to be revamped to do away with much of the red tape that exists. When negotiating trade agreements. And to make it easier for smaller companies to ship smaller quantities of goods globally. Laws requiring data to be stored locally are particularly burdensome in the era of cloud storage. Near the top of the policy agenda.) Three- dimensional printing could have a similar effect. for example. But govern- ments should also create incentives for companies to invest in new digital technologies and in the human capital they require. Already. companies are using 3-D printers to produce parts for tankers and gas turbines in the locations where they are needed. for instance. but they are bad news for low-wage countries. some types of production are shifting from emerging markets back to advanced economies. policymakers will need to make sure that issues such as data privacy and cybersecurity figure prominently. should be the construction of robust high-speed broadband networks. where labor costs are considerably higher.Susan Lund and Laura Tyson regulatory and legal environment. These trends are good news for the United States and other developed countries. are far more restrictive than those in the United States—and so governments should seek to harmonize them when possible. rules vary widely from place to place—the EU’s new data regulations that are scheduled to come into effect this year. intro- ducing computer coding in elementary school and requiring basic engineering and statistics in secondary school. Negotiators should also seek to remove tariffs and other barriers that have hampered trade in computer hardware. Currently. schools will have to rethink their curricula to emphasize digital skills—for example. software. The trick will be to strike the right balance between protect- ing individual rights and remaining open to digital flows. and other knowledge-intensive products. Ford moved its production of pick-up trucks from Mexico to Ohio. then. Since digital literacy will be even more essential than it already is.

In order to maintain political and societal support for digital global- ization. Success- ful global companies. Globalization Is Not in Retreat Agreement. Benefits should be made portable. especially for top managers who have both an understanding of technology and an international perspective. In the United States. governments should recognize that the geography of employment is changing. The era of digital trade will also pose considerable challenges for the private sector. governments should offer temporary income assistance and other social services to workers as they train for new jobs.) To help those displaced by global- ization both old and new. Setting aside the serious problem of cyberattacks. Firms can gain an edge in this battle by spreading their research and development and other core functions across the world. governments should expand and improve their worker-training programs to teach the skills needed to succeed in the digital era. will also need to compete strenuously in the global battle for talent. and advanced analytics. governments will have to make sure that its benefits are dis- tributed widely and that those who have been harmed are compensated. retirement. So the goal should be to make it easier for people to move to where the jobs are—for example. a shift that would tap talent from different places. Finally. ending the practice of tying health-care. including automation. thus ensuring diversity of thinking. whether large or small. what’s also needed are initiatives to revitalize local economies and nurture new industries. by offer- ing one-time relocation payments to help defray the costs of moving. digital players. That will mean developing their own digital capabilities and partnering with. a move that would reverse the decline in spending on worker training that has taken place over the past decade in nearly all advanced countries. it was partly the failure to do this during the last era of globalization that led to the populist backlash rocking the United States and other countries today. (Indeed. artificial intelligence. companies will need to invest more in digital technologies. which came into effect in 2017. May/June 2018 139 . Work-force training alone will not solve the problems faced by smaller communities built on declining industries. for example. in order to remain competitive. or acquiring. the jobs are moving from smaller Midwestern cities to faster-growing urban areas in the South and the Southwest. but there is room to broaden it. has helped simplify the import-export process. and child-care benefits to a single employer and making it easier to change jobs. At the same time.

Rather than relitigating old debates. even as its new. In its last incarnation. and distribute the gains inclusively. the same debates about globalization’s effects on employ- ment and inequality continue. and on the other stood the workers and communities that suffered the most. Globalization is not in retreat. minimize its costs.Susan Lund and Laura Tyson Corporate strategy will also need to be reset: no longer will compa- nies be able to rely on highly centralized approaches to producing and selling their goods now that consumers around the world expect custom- ized products to meet their tastes. with digi- tal underpinnings and shifting geopolitics. A revamped version of it. But while debates raged between these two groups about the effects of globalization. it is time to accept the reality of the new era of globalization and work to maximize its benefits. That will require strong relationships with governments and a commitment to corporate social responsibility. globalization itself proceeded apace. globalization became a battleground for opposing forces: on one side stood the political and business elites who bene- fited the most.∂ 140 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Only then can its true promise be realized. is already taking shape. digital form is gaining momentum. companies will need a strong local presence and a differentiated strategy in the markets where they compete. Today. Increasingly.

Centennial Professor of Government at the University of Texas and the author of How Armies Respond to Revolutions and Why. Support poured in from Western democracies. which was content to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses. Many analysts and officials concluded that the county was finally on the path to democratic rule. many hoped. Erwin. when news broke that Myanmar’s military had been systematically killing members of the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority. much of the world was shocked. But such hopes overlooked a fundamental reality. one that was brought into stark relief by the slaughter of the Rohingya: Myanmar’s generals continue to control much of the country’s political and economic life. score an all-too-rare democratic triumph. Aung San Suu Kyi. The NLD’s leader. Now.. Suu Kyi must strike a delicate balance. Her government has no power over ZOLTAN BARANY is Frank C. Myanmar (also known as Burma) had been mostly a good news story. advancing democratic rule with- out stepping on the generals’ toes. Return to Table of Contents Where Myanmar Went Wrong From Democratic Awakening to Ethnic Cleansing Zoltan Barany L ate last year. an inter- nationally celebrated dissident who had received the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to democratize Myanmar. winning the 2015 national elections in a landslide. relying almost exclusively on China. May/June 2018 141 . In recent years. After decades of brutal dominance by the military. including the United States. Suu Kyi would lead the country into the Western-backed international order. Myanmar had long been isolated. the National League for Democracy. became Myanmar’s de facto head of state. Jr. the country had seen the main opposition party.

and are Myanmar citizens. Most of the ARSA’s leaders are from Bangladesh or Pakistan. Myanmar authorities. which have generated further resent- ment against them. and have never received citizenship. who constitute the world’s largest stateless population. speak Burmese. have Burmese names. searching for cheap labor. Those who have remained in Myanmar are a subset of the country’s Muslim community.5 million Rohingya. officially recognizes 135 ethnic groups—but not the Rohingya. She has failed to make progress in the areas where she does have influence. which has a population of 54 million. squalid refugee camps. the 1950–54 Rohingya resistance movement. including Suu Kyi. which demanded citizenship and an end to discriminatory policies. a militant Rohingya faction also emerged: the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. where they inhabit sprawling. They are the descendants of people whom British colonial authorities. She has adopted an autocratic style. The majority of Myanmar’s Muslims live in urban areas. in any event. And she has alienated erst- while allies in the West. Owing to their lack of resources and extreme vulnerability. and some of them have received training from jihadist veterans of the wars in Afghanistan. encouraged to emigrate from eastern Bengal (contemporary Bangladesh) to the sparsely populated western regions of Burma in the nineteenth and early twentieth cen- turies. marked by poverty. which formed in 2013. For instance. there are around 2. Perhaps not surprisingly. In fact. and multifaceted discrimination. have traditionally Muslim names. The Rohingya in both Bangladesh and Myanmar have led unusually difficult lives even by the region’s humble standards. the absence of legal status.” But the Rohingya are indisputably a distinct group with a long history in Myanmar. (The group’s chief leader was born in Pakistan and later became an 142 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . refuse to even use the term “Rohingya. was eventually crushed by the army. the rest have fled decades of official repression and exclusion. CITIZENS OF NOWHERE Myanmar. The Rohingya are different: most speak a dialect of Bengali. Today. Yet Suu Kyi has taken the bad hand she was dealt and made it worse. the Rohingya have largely failed in their attempts at political mobilization. enjoys massive popular support. But fewer than half a million currently reside in Myanmar.Zoltan Barany the army and can do little to end the military’s brutal campaign against the Rohingya—which. often crossing the border into Bangladesh.

Where Myanmar Went Wrong Scorched earth: houses burning after sectarian clashes in Sittwe. The UN labeled the operation ethnic cleansing. Myanmar. And last November.000 Rohingya had fled to neighboring Bangladesh. 2017.000 more who had escaped earlier waves of discrimination and violence in recent years. however: it calls for Myanmar authorities to verify that each refugee did. The large-scale forced migration seemed to have stopped by the end of last year. for example. June 2012 imam in Saudi Arabia. In the early morning hours of August 25. joining approximately 200. and others. Myanmar STAF F / R E U T E R S signed a Chinese-brokered agreement with Bangladesh for the tentative repatriation of the refugees to newly constructed villages. By the end of 2017. reside in Myanmar May/June 2018 143 . which burned down scores of Rohingya villages. in fact. The fulfill- ment of this plan is at best questionable. have described it as an act of genocide. murdered dozens of civilians. according to Human Rights Watch. including French President Emmanuel Macron and eight Nobel Peace Prize laureates. and launched a campaign of rape against Rohingya women and girls. 650. about 150 ARSA militants staged coordinated attacks on police posts and an army base in Rakhine State. But Myanmar officials consider it a dangerous organization. The confrontation ended with the deaths of 77 ARSA fighters and 12 police officers and touched off a crackdown by Myanmar’s army. bowing to international pressure.) ARSA likely has fewer than 600 active members.

But most Rohingya have no documents to prove their prior residency. Suu Kyi has remained mum about the case of two Reuters journalists who were arrested by the military last December after investigating the military’s involvement in the killing of ten Rohingya civilians. But last January.” Once a defender of press freedom. led the NLD to victory in national elections.S. lamented the silence of his “dearly beloved sister” and said that it was “incongruous for a symbol of righteousness to lead such a country. Last September.” But Suu Kyi’s response should not have come as a great surprise. headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. before releasing her in 2010 as a gesture meant to highlight the govern- ment’s nascent liberalization program. DAUGHTER OF THE REVOLUTION Myanmar’s government.” as she is referred to in Myanmar. More important. quit a separate ten-member international advisory board on the Rohingya crisis that 144 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . and especially its army. and has promised to implement its recommendations. the UN’s top human rights official. her complicity in it—has been profound. few of them wish to return to a country that has persecuted them for generations. In the 1990s. the revered Burmese revolutionary who shepherded his country to independence from the United Kingdom in the 1940s. Suu Kyi is the daughter of Aung San. ambassador to the UN and a longtime Suu Kyi supporter. Suu Kyi’s office dismissed detailed descriptions of Rohingya women suffering sexual violence at the hands of Myanmar’s armed forces as “fake rape. one of numerous Nobel Peace Prize laureates who have expressed their disillusionment. She has a long record of downplaying the Rohingya’s plight. Suu Kyi’s govern- ment did create a commission. denounced the army’s “brutal security operation” as a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein. has earned worldwide condemnation for the campaign against the Rohingya. “the Lady. Regardless of how one interpreted her motives. Bill Richardson.” Critics singled out Suu Kyi for at best inaction and at worst providing political cover for the army’s atrocities. known as the Tatmadaw. it was hard to square her actions with her status as a human rights icon. But the military nullified the results and placed her under house arrest for 15 of the next 21 years. to study the Rohingya issue. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. The disappointment in her lack of action to stop the bloodshed—or.Zoltan Barany before he or she can return. a former U. In March 2017. worse.

including most of the NLD’s supporters. But in faulting her for not publicly confronting the military. Myanmar’s constitution. let alone restraining the generals. the Rohingya is widespread and deep. But she has not shown moral leadership on the [Rohingya] issue.But some of her critics seated. the civilian-led government has no control over the armed forces nor any means of reining them in. In addition. truth is that the vast majority of Burmese.” Suu Kyi deserves a great deal of criticism. The last of these oversees the General Administration Depart- ment. crafted by the military in 2008. First is the intensity of anti-Rohingya Aung San Suu Kyi deserves sentiment in the country. Richardson said. and Home Affairs. Even if Suu Kyi wanted to limit the military’s campaign against the Rohingya. which ensures that no changes can be made without the mili- tary’s cooperation. which is responsible for the day-to-day running of every regional and state-level government and the management of thousands of districts and townships. Where Myanmar Went Wrong the Myanmar government had set up. Hatred of a great deal of criticism. the constitution reserves three key ministries for the armed forces: Defense. Second. May/June 2018 145 .” As for Suu Kyi. Border Affairs. The constitution further safeguards the army’s interests by allowing its commander in chief to name six of the 11 members of the National Defense and Security Council. approve of the anti-Rohingya campaign. some critics have ignored two fundamen- tal realities of contemporary Myanmar. a top executive body. “I like her enormously and respect her. The ugly Myanmar. the administrative heart of the state. calling it “a whitewash” and “a cheerleading squad for the government. it would be almost impossible to do so. Amending the constitution requires more than 75 percent of the votes in the legislature—and 25 percent of parliamentary seats are set aside for armed forces per- sonnel. Making pro-Rohingya state- ments and gestures would be tantamount to political suicide for Suu Kyi and her government and would only strengthen the army’s public support. stirred up by influential extremist ignore the fundamental Buddhist monks who are the military’s political allies and who have incited realities of contemporary violence against Rohingya. ensures that the military remains far and away the country’s strongest political institution.

Michael Aris.Zoltan Barany The army also sets its own budget and spends it without any civilian oversight: in 2017. the NLD-controlled legislature elected a confidant of Suu Kyi’s. Htin Kyaw. as president. was British and whose two children are British citizens. As party chief. active and retired military officers and their associates control over 80 percent of the economy. she has personally chosen every member of the party’s Central Executive Committee—a violation of party rules. No further democratiza- tion will occur unless the generals relinquish their constitutionally granted privileges. whose late husband. she also heads the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and retains the presidency of the NLD.14 billion. and the changes they have permitted remain easily reversible. Drafting the constitution and then holding a referendum to gain the public’s endorsement represented two important steps in the military’s long-term plan to manage and control a cautious move toward a “disciplined democracy. Perhaps just as consequential as the military’s political dominance is its economic clout.” giving herself a role akin to that of a prime minister—a fully defensible workaround to the military’s move to block her from becoming president. Suu Kyi created and took the position of “state counselor. In March 2016. she failed to persuade the military brass to amend the constitution by removing its prohibition against anyone who has fam- ily members who hold foreign passports from serving as president. Having shed the burden of governance. Following the 2015 elections. They gave up little that was dear to them. military elites focused on their own interests: modernizing the army and tending to their business empires.9 percent of government expenditures—around three percent of the national GDP and more than the combined total allotted to long- neglected health care and education. Less justifiable are the autocratic inclinations Suu Kyi has demon- strated since taking office and the extraordinary degree to which she has centralized power in her own hands. She is a micromanager who finds it difficult to delegate. and to transfer respon- sibilities over day-to-day politics to a civilian government. By some estimates. This clause directly targets Suu Kyi. IRON LADY Suu Kyi has been unable to alter this basic dynamic. In addition to serving as state counselor. representing 13. the budget amounted to $2. 146 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S .” in its words. he has served a mostly ceremonial role.

She sits on at least 16 governmental committees. a candidate from a local party that represents those groups had won the popular vote. and skills necessary to carry out the comprehensive renewal the country needs. and it stood against the army. just to help Suu Kyi cope with her workload. WORDS AND DEEDS Although the NLD has been Myanmar’s main opposition group since 1988. she has instructed them to not ask tough questions during parliamentary sessions and to avoid speaking to journalists. Although Suu Kyi has been exceedingly crit- ical of the constitution. major questions remain about the government’s economic May/June 2018 147 . the govern- ment established a new ministry. and her party is dominated by other septuagenarians who enjoy her trust but lack the energy. In November 2017. For instance. it has never formulated a policy program beyond vague promises of democracy. Where Myanmar Went Wrong most consequential decisions require her approval. Suu Kyi is in her early 70s yet has no apparent successor. she appointed two NLD members as chief ministers in Rakhine and Shan States. all of which seldom produce concrete decisions. But it has not. Her autocratic style and silence on the Rohingya crisis might be less troubling if her government had made significant progress on economic reform or on reconciliation with other ethnic minority groups. But even after two years in power. Her preference for personal loyalty over competence was illustrated by her appointment of several cabinet members with scant qualifications. She remains very popular among ordinary Burmese. but she has done a poor job of communicating her administration’s policies. imagination. who admire her tenacity. One might argue that it did not need detailed proposals to succeed as an opposition party: it had an iconic leader. and economic reform. She prefers limited transparency: according to several NLD members of parliament with whom I have spoken. and consider her the one indispensable leader. the rule of law. she has used its antidemocratic provisions when they have suited her purposes. which has led to bottlenecks. respect her authority. both of which are home to large minority ethnic communities—even though in both places. Suu Kyi has also decided to act as her own spokesperson. The complex political situation in which Suu Kyi operates requires a leader with a firm hand and a clear sense of purpose. dubbed the Office of the Union Government.

mostly in so-called 3D jobs: tasks that are dirty. The government must find a way to provide farmers with what they most need to increase their earnings: high-quality seeds and fertilizers. Reforming the economy should be the NLD government’s most critical task. dangerous. Millions of Burmese have been forced to find employ- ment abroad.300 was the lowest in Southeast Asia. and plans for per- suading the military to leave politics. and the job market’s expansion has been anemic. Agriculture represents 37 percent of Myanmar’s GDP and employs. and access to affordable credit. the legislature passed an arbitration law intended to boost inves- tor confidence. about half of that of Laos and one- fifth of Thailand’s. Suu Kyi’s record on other pressing economic issues has been even less impressive. its per capita GDP of $1. and farming prof- its are among the lowest in Asia. such investment has actually tapered off since 2015. Last year. Notwithstanding its limited room to maneuver. the government should have accomplished much more since taking office. improved water control and irrigation facilities. In 2017. but partly as a result of its lack of action. For several decades. positions on ethnic and religious issues. But farmers tend to be extremely poor. but it waited until July 2016 to present its first major statement on the issue. a general outline that identified neither policy instru- ments nor specific objectives to achieve within a given time frame. GDP grew by more than six percent in 2016 and 2017. In January 2016. the military expropriated hundreds of thousands of acres from helpless 148 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . but that was a slower rate of growth than the country enjoyed in the early years of the decade. commodity prices have increased. So far. The document turned out to be little more than a wish list. The arrival of the NLD government had fueled hopes of increased foreign direct investment. Inflation has been nearing double digits. about 70 percent of the country’s labor force. But the NLD has offered scant details on how the new rules will be implemented.Zoltan Barany policies. Farmers also suffer from a lack of land rights. and demeaning. it passed new rules on investment that are designed to simplify and harmonize existing regulations and that specify the privileges that will be granted to domestic and foreign investors. Decades of military control of the economy have turned Myanmar into a desperately poor country. the government’s main economic achievement has been the partial modernization of the legal framework governing investment. directly or indirectly.

The generals want to transform the army—which is plagued by obsolete equipment. Suu Kyi’s government has said that dealing with the landownership issue is a priority. citing May/June 2018 149 . A number of plans have been drawn up. but she has done little. the generals will conclude that their interests would be best served by leaving politics. and public transportation systems all lie in a pitiful state of disrepair. over time. and shortages will likely get worse. Economic growth will put even more pressure on the electricity supply. Part of the problem is that the military has two conflicting goals. and the government has held some summits on the issue. too. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence announced that it would suspend educational courses it provided for the Tatmadaw. But on this. powerful countries—help that. In 2016. groups of farmers sent letters to the army’s commander in chief. The military regime also grossly neglected the country’s infrastruc- ture. Roads. even in Yangon’s luxury hotels. relations between the civilian govern- ment and the military have settled into what Suu Kyi has described as a “normal” routine. But Suu Kyi’s government seems to have real- ized the importance of infrastructure only recently. Even more serious is the shortage of electricity: only one-third of the population has access to it. offering little or no compensation. But Western governments also insist that the government must do more to resolve its many conflicts with ethnic minority groups. Where Myanmar Went Wrong peasants. but he has refused to set a timetable. A DOUBLE BIND Despite the lack of progress. The military’s response was to threaten the farmers and their lawyers with defamation lawsuits. archaic training methods. and poor morale—into a pro- fessional force comparable to its counterparts in other countries in the region. requesting the return of their land. is conditioned on the military leaving politics. These weaknesses affect every economic sector and scare off potential investors. railways. in the case of Western gov- ernments. In September 2017. The most charitable interpretation of Suu Kyi’s accommodation of the military is that she hopes that. the military needs help from more developed. and blackouts are frequent. In order to do that. there has been little action to match the government’s rhetoric. The army appears to be taking its time: Min Aung Hlaing has said that the Tatmadaw intends to reduce its presence in parliament.

however. would reinstate sanctions against the Tatmadaw that were lifted the year before to reward the country for its putative progress and to incentivize more steps in the direction of democracy. Several ethnic communities have been at war with the government for long periods—in some cases.S.S. the Tatmadaw has appeared more determined to end the civil war. eight ethnic armed organizations and the government signed the National Ceasefire Agreement. But in recent years. But the military’s troubling treatment of minorities extends far beyond the Rohingya. prior to Suu Kyi’s electoral victory. Individual ethnic communities themselves are often divided by sectarian differences. The fighting has also given cover to generals who profit from the drug trade (Myanmar is a major source of opium) and from the illegal export of gems. brokered by the military. For decades. sway over Myanmar. In October 2015. Some ethnic groups bear long-held grudges against others. among other things. a bipartisan group of U. sometimes related to overlapping land claims. ethnic violence has prevented the consolidation of central authority over the country. Together. multifaceted civil war. of Myanmar’s security forces to U. House of Representatives passed a resolution con- demning “the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. During her campaign. 150 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . After the realization of that objective. representa- tives introduced the Burma Act of 2017.” and the Trump admin- istration imposed new sanctions on Major General Maung Maung Soe.S. Then. the U. Suu Kyi repeatedly identified achieving ethnic peace as her number one priority. In December. ever since Burma proclaimed its independence in 1948. which. as well as the formation of a shared national identity. these conflicts form something like a low-level. who has overseen the brutal campaign against the Rohingya.Zoltan Barany ongoing violence and human rights abuses. gold. That legislation has yet to be put to a vote.S.- Washington today has little sponsored events. Similarly. in November. the military has prolonged ethnic conflicts in a bid to justify its continued rule. Aside from causing thousands of deaths and displacing millions. the following month. and timber. although some of the largest and most influential ethnic groups stayed away. the Trump administration announced the withdrawal of U. military assistance from officers and units participating in the operations in Rakhine State and rescinded invitations to senior members Compared with Beijing.

as it had been for decades. BEIJING BECKONS In the face of Western opprobrium over Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya. and the government. they continue to see federalism as the first step toward the country’s disintegration. the generals adamantly refuse to create a federal army that would represent the country’s ethnic groups and regions. There is no agreement on what precise shape that system would take. however. except that it would grant more autonomy to ethnic groups but stop short of giving them the right to secede. But the groups that represent four-fifths of all the ethnic armed personnel in the country remain as opposed to signing as ever. The word “federalism” is no longer taboo in public discourse. the military. Meanwhile. Suu Kyi’s promise to pursue ethnic peace was a tactical mistake. Such a system represents a redline for the Tatmadaw: although military elites have adopted an increasingly pragmatic approach toward negotiation with the ethnic armed organizations. the armed groups have refused to disavow secession—a position that the military insists they must take as part of any final agreement. the talks brought together armed groups. In February 2018. the meetings achieved little besides pro- viding a forum for grand speeches and gestures. Optimists believe that the ethnic armed organizations’ chief objective is to maximize their gains on the ground in preparation for eventual peace negotiations. At the same time. since she has little influence over how the military wages its wars against ethnic armed organizations. the fighting actually intensified in several regions. and in the aftermath of the conferences. Predictably. there are signs that the military might abandon its relatively recent quest to placate Western governments and instead return to a May/June 2018 151 . the military falsely contends that the armed forces are already inclusive and fair. which is one of the ethnic armed organizations’ key demands. Where Myanmar Went Wrong she was to pursue the creation of a federal system of the sort first promised by her father in the 1940s. two additional rebel groups signed on to the cease- fire amid much fanfare. but the top brass are unlikely to relax their long-standing opposition to a federal system anytime soon. their ultimate goal is the establishment of a federal system. In reality. Nevertheless. her administration organized conferences in August 2016 and May 2017 with the aim of persuading more ethnic armed organizations to sign the National Ceasefire Agreement. and the idea of a federal system is anathema to the generals.

and training to some of the belligerent groups.” It helps that Chinese officials. What’s more. as a $7. The United States was a steadfast supporter of Suu Kyi for years before she took office. Beijing was the main sponsor of Myanmar’s military junta. in August 2016. Suu Kyi’s first major trip abroad as state counselor. Chinese President Xi Jinping described this moment in Chinese-Myanmar military relations as being the “best ever. such a mistake. and timber.2 billion deep-sea port in Rakhine State that China plans to build to give Chinese ships access to the Indian Ocean. But it now seems that the Chinese want the violence to end because the rebels’ objectives have shifted from merely resisting government forces to improving their status within Myanmar. Her discussions there centered reward Myanmar’s progress. took her to Obama wanted to Beijing. unlike Western ones. weap- ons. Washington today has little sway over Myanmar. an aim that is more conducive to internal stability. Compared with Beijing. and for decades. China has always been Myanmar’s top trading partner and biggest investor. China. the Chinese want to be seen as peacemakers in a region where they have long been regarded as a destabilizing presence. gold. the relationship between Myanmar and China has improved. Since then. such as jade. China has played a complex role in the civil war for decades. and both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made historic visits to Yangon. and because the fighting has impeded economic development and trade. That is a recent development: the Obama administration. in November 2017. But the Chinese are pressing for progress on the civil war. When Suu Kyi visited Washington in 152 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . especially in hindsight. do not admonish Suu Kyi and her government for their human rights violations.Zoltan Barany strategy of reliance on its traditional patron. managed to convince the country to take steps toward democracy. from regions where militants operate. that was likely a few large infrastructure projects. in one of its undisputed foreign policy successes. and Beijing facilitated the participation of some recalcitrant groups in the May 2017 conference. such contacts have allowed China to extract natural resources (mostly illegally). Chinese leaders have endorsed negotiations between the Myanmar gov- ernment and the country’s ethnic armed organizations. on business and trade issues. backing the government but also providing shelter.

Then U. she asked Obama to lift most of the remaining U. in hindsight. For starters. Restoring the sanctions or placing more new ones on the generals would likely just drive the military further into the welcoming arms of the Chinese. Indeed. democratic activists in Myanmar and elsewhere had hoped that the sanctions would stay in place until the antidemocratic features of the 2008 constitution were abolished. he raised concerns about ethnic violence. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a five-hour visit to Myanmar in November 2017. there are ways for the United States to push for progress. Min Aung Hlaing. as evidenced by a number of major pro- military rallies held throughout Myanmar last fall. Where Myanmar Went Wrong September 2016.S. sanctions on Myanmar in order to help her government grow the country’s economy. Under the Trump administration. who are keen to fill the vacuum left by Washington’s flagging interest. Denunciations from Washington and other foreign capitals have failed to affect the govern- ment’s position on the Rohingya and have actually increased domestic support for the Tatmadaw. In meetings with Suu Kyi and the army chief. the United States has few appealing policy options for stopping the ethnic cleansing. But lifting the sanctions robbed Washington of precisely the kind of leverage it now needs. Pope Francis visited the country a few days later and called for peace and mutual respect. Obama obliged her. Obama wanted to reward progress.” but he did not back the idea of new economic sanctions against Myanmar. Since the Rohingya crisis erupted last year.S. likely out of a fear that doing so would aggravate an already highly charged situation and. there have been few official interactions between the United States and Myanmar. May/June 2018 153 . Still. out of a fear that it could endanger Myanmar’s small and vulnerable Catholic community. in the case of the pope. it should suspend all military-to-military engagement with Myanmar and expand assistance to a number of sophisticated but underfunded nongovernmental organizations. At a news conference. Tillerson said that there had been “crimes against human- ity. such as Mosaic Myanmar. that was likely a mistake. Admittedly. Myanmar has lost the special place it enjoyed on Washington’s foreign policy agenda during the Obama years. a civil society group that promotes tolerance between the majority Buddhist community and Christian and Muslim minorities. But neither Tillerson nor the usually outspoken pope used the term “Rohingya” during his discussions with Myanmar officials or in his public statements.

and cultural exchanges. If she does not change course soon. shoring up infrastructure. As for Suu Kyi. The government should adopt a personnel policy that emphasizes merit and accomplishment instead of personal loyalty to Suu Kyi. In a country that tends to be at best cautious of foreigners’ intentions.∂ 154 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . such as Clinton and Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. the United States should establish or sponsor programs in Myanmar focused on health care. Finally. the United States is generally held in high regard. But she has made her own situation worse through poor management and a lack of focus on issues that are under her administration’s control: improving the economy. democracy promotion could find more fertile ground or where it would be more gratefully accepted. Instead of alienating ethnic minorities and their political parties and ignoring civil society organizations. it must stop denying and defending the Tatmadaw’s atrocities and start actively protecting those who have suffered so terribly from the army’s repression. educational opportunities. Suu Kyi must shift gears quickly. Suu Kyi and her administration should reverse their attacks on media freedoms. Washington should communicate its dis- pleasure privately—especially through politicians with long histories of supporting Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s democratization. her reduced stature abroad might further reduce her already limited leverage with the generals. challenge the military’s political supremacy. And even though the government cannot control the military. Most important. There are few societies where prudent U.Zoltan Barany Furthermore. She is boxed in to a degree that many critics fail to appreciate. in lieu of public expressions of indignation. and revamping the health-care and educa- tional systems.S. in time. according to Asian Barometer surveys of public opinion—a sharp contrast to the suspicious attitudes toward China and India that prevail throughout Myanmar. International patience with her is almost extinguished. she will lose what little goodwill remains. Suu Kyi ought to open a meaningful dialogue with them with a view to forming a big-tent political and social coalition that might.

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THE GENE-EDITING REVOLUTION What if you could correct mutations that cause disease or introduce new and beneficial traits into a species? Now we have a tool that can do that. Moreno 171 Gene Editing for Good The New Killer Pathogens Bill Gates 166 Kate Charlet 178 . —Jennifer Doudna DAR R E N STAP L ES / R E U T E R S A Conversation With Keep CRISPR Safe Jennifer Doudna 158 Amy Gutmann and Jonathan D.

A Crack in Creation thing from medicine to agriculture. disease resistance. micro pigs. What if you could A Conversation With correct mutations that cause disease or Jennifer Doudna introduce new and beneficial traits into a species? Now we have a tool that can A t the age of 12. Berkeley. Animals have already been Because it’s a disruptive technology. Jennifer Doudna do that. a powerful new technology generation and get exactly what you for gene editing. (written with Samuel Sternberg). other diseases. One of the discov. with different What makes this different is that the researchers building on each other’s work tool is precise and programmable. she is a molecular the traits you want—and not even know- biology professor at the University of ing what the actual code is for the DNA California. model of the Enlightenment in action. Ever since the discovery of Life Hacker the structure of DNA in the 1950s. and there are already several clinical trials You’ve described CRISPR as a Swiss moving forward to test CRISPR-based Army knife and said that it may cause a gene editing in patients with cancer and fundamental break in human history. Agricultural products How can a Swiss Army knife cause a altered using CRISPR are already coming break in human history? to market. so why is this new? field of gene editing evolved. founded and already have market caps in the billions of dollars. She U C B E R K E L E Y P H O T O S E R V I C E S / C O U R T E S Y: N A T I O N A L S C I E N C E F O U N D A T I O N spoke with Foreign Affairs’ editor. effective tool for pigs. and error over many generations to get Four decades later. the DNA in cells. can simply splice in a trait for a bigger and a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley nose. Gideon How quickly is this all happening? Rose. Humans have been modifying the genetics of various plants and animals The description in your book of how the for ages. We and propelling knowledge forward. 158 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Doudna tells the story want. This technology is only a few years old. And it’s getting cheaper and read James Watson’s The Double more accessible all the time. Helix and got hooked on science Instead of breeding creatures by trial in general and genetics in particular. in every- gripping new memoir. in her office in Berkeley in February. for example. This is changing the way modern of the current genetics revolution in her biology is being practiced. makes it seem like the scientific community is a This interview has been edited and condensed. hornless cattle. Return to Table of Contents can now change a single letter in the three The Ultimate THE GENE-EDITING REVOLUTION billion base pairs of the human genome. better nutrition. You can do it precisely in one erers of CRISPR. altered using CRISPR—heavily muscled CRISPR is an efficient. Several editing genomes—changing the code CRISPR-related companies have been of life. an investigator with responsible for those traits—now you the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. National Laboratory.whatever. scien- tists have been dreaming about being able to rewrite that code.

Niss as ipsunt eum. California . Doudna in Berkeley. omniet veliquatet eos res ut doler omnihiliquis abora dem eos aut labore lorem sipim.

but it is doubtful whether it will which paved the way for the later ones that become a reality anytime soon. pentier. to future generations. Are we talking years. decades. of course. A lot of important work done person that are already fully differenti- in the early days of CRISPR came from ated. There the changes become part of the DNA of wasn’t this competitive sort of culture the entire organism and can be trans- that we see now. damaged in an otherwise healthy ing in a lab in India. And that’s one of the beautiful Is using CRISPR to fix a gene that is things about it. ultimately turned out to be successful. amount of special expertise.The Ultimate Life Hacker In the early days. Everybody knew mitted to future generations. but I wouldn’t call them failed to grapple with. Jillian Banfield organized the involves making changes to cells in a meetings. Those changes can’t be passed on women scientists. research on each of that. Emmanuelle Char. And the reason is that for the together. They just had flaws. you could remove the expected the field would go where it did. like sperm widely. and that problem? would be essentially everybody in the One kind of important near-term clinical world working on anything to do with work is called “somatic cell editing. of gene editing? Absolutely. and absolutely none of us kind of editing. Still. I’ve because that means making changes so never experienced anything else quite early in an organism’s development that like it in my scientific career. worked. bacterial immune systems. Those earlier methods for gene or eggs. They can There were a few people working on just do it. but they were accessible only to the rich and patient. We used to have these meetings here at Berkeley. Germline editing is different.” This CRISPR. and they can decide creature conceptually the same as that they want to use gene editing to do taking an otherwise healthy creature something. With that each other. traits that cause genetic diseases and get rid of them forever. Then it’s no longer a question editing worked very well when they of can we do this. It seems to be a story of several different There’s a lot of sci-fi-type appeal to failed technologies. it wasn’t even a field. They don’t have to have a huge most part. Somebody can be work. And for the cost of reagents. aspects when it will be technically feasible to edit that made them difficult to implement embryos or even germ cells. I would wager that it’s very 160 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . They were successful ogy is moving very quickly toward a time technologies. was my collaborator. that’s the sort of question we will have Yes. or generations? So CRISPR is part of the democratization I think we’re talking years. They don’t I have a hard time answering that have to get a huge amount of money question. Why is germline editing a special and there’d be 40 people there. it’s should we do this. It was really an incredible time. Gene-editing technol- technologies. and editing its genome to improve they can get the CRISPR editing materials performance? and start doing experiments.

so that you could make people immune to heart disease. they never suffer from heart disease or cardiovascular disorders. “I want to be involved. He had met one of my postdocs on a plane and during the course of the flight had come to realize the potential of the new gene-editing technology. and two of his sisters had the trait and were approaching the age when symptoms would start appearing. He told us he had watched his father and grandfather die of Huntington’s disease.hard to come up with an absolute defini- tion of traits that way. It’s profound to think about being able to alter DNA so as to help someone suffering from a genetic disease. Let me give you a real-world example. There’s a gene that’s been identified as important for cholesterol levels in people. politicians and government officials. He wanted to know how the technology worked and how he could help advance it. Should we do it? Is that fixing a health problem or provid- ing an enhancement? Have you interacted with people who have actually benefited directly from the use of CRISPR technology. That’s a common experience for me right now—people who come forward saying. I remember one gentleman who came to talk to me in my office here at Berkeley. I can’t tell you how many people have e-mailed or visited me to discuss genetic disease in their family. There are several players in this with various interests—scientists. and a few people have a natural mutation in this particular gene that gives them very low cholesterol— so effectively. Imagine you had a way to introduce that genetic change into the entire human population. or soon will? Absolutely.” It’s very exciting. investors and 161 .

The controversy of the modification? around genetically modifying food The substance of the modification. nology is valuable and what it can let us able. what potential it editing.S. usually with seeds. So right now. the director of the U. and then scientific ideas come along and turn into the seeds grow into plants. recently announced define genetic modification based on a $190 million call for proposals that whether the modified organism includes would bring together teams from differ. people has. to achieve the result. it’s for desirable traits. With CRISPR. Perhaps the most excitement stems do that we couldn’t do before. term “genetically modified” in coming There are some exceptions. there’s an active foreign genetic material. When new radiation. any foreign DNA. else? Of course it would. How do you explain that? I think you is advancing so rapidly that there are have to make an effort to engage the already well over a thousand scientific public and try to explain why this tech- publications on it. So the question lar category. from the possibility that it may be a very effective way of curing genetic diseases. should focus less on how the editing is 162 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . The way it’s currently done so that the field moves forward con. the public at large. To be clear. let’s hope not. and what constitutes responsible use. There has been a huge amount of contro- versy in recent decades over genetically What do you think the definition should modified organisms. in every field imagin. the But that’s not really happening in other same organism can be considered geneti- areas. Is CRISPR going to be based on. The science and technology is.The Ultimate Life Hacker private companies. Artificial intelligence is a single gene without changing anything great example. Who knows what often the case that those technologies mutations are happening where? Wouldn’t race forward ahead of the capacity of it be better to have a tool for precise DNA regulatory agencies and governments to alteration. But in terms of regulation. the technique by which the follow the path of GMOs? organism was modified or the substance Boy. such as agriculture. is that mutations in DNA are introduced structively? randomly by chemical treatments or We need help with that. globally. one that could manipulate a control them. regulators and the public define the for the most part without coordination. What do you mean by that? Collins. People have been breeding plants for Who or what is coordinating everything millennia. cally modified in Europe but not in the United States. National In the United States. In Europe. ered the same as something containing ment. effort to spur discussions about what this CRISPR can be used to do both kinds of technology involves. and you select exciting and disruptive technologies. Some- resulted from a poorly managed effort to thing that has been edited to fix one explain to people what it meant and how problem on a gene should not be consid- it affected agriculture and the environ. regulatory agencies Institutes of Health. Gene editing is in a simi. it’s defined ent medical disciplines to figure out how by the use of gene-editing technology to advance the technology responsibly. You’ve said that a lot is riding on how All of that is moving forward. Francis years.

A Conversation With Jennifer Doudna being done and more on what changes what happens with in vitro fertilization. Are the development and exploitation It turns out that IVF clinics are largely of CRISPR taking place more rapidly in regulated at the state level. more discretionary. right now—it’s critical to come regulated more locally. I never would have imagined that sure that the positive benefits of this I would see value in having guidelines flow and the negative consequences for what should and shouldn’t be done are contained? in science. I access to different kinds of services than think we may be moving toward that in they can get in other parts of the country. The National Institutes of Health’s effort What is the appropriate level of regula- to bring scientists and clinicians together tion? Local. People should appreciate research and any kind of clinical use of that two kinds of science produce real technologies. That was something I was very surprised to learn about when I got into all of this. One is targeted science: aiming under that. How do you take a curiosity-driven babies? Probably not yet. What we don’t have. It’s got to be a combination of things. There are international efforts that we want to have national-level or to bring stakeholders together to grapple even international-level guidelines around with issues such as the differing definitions them—but other uses that are less signifi- of genetically modified organisms. global? with regulatory agencies here in the There has to be some combination. are being introduced. to make to me. approached by people trying to make Sometimes that’s commercial. United States is a very important step There might be things that are so critical forward. can proceed? Earlier in my scientific career. So it depends up with a unified guideline. The advances that are happening right now in science and technology are being Members of your lab team have been driven by people’s fundamental interests. though. that question would never have occurred So who needs to do what. and can be example. But you could research culture and map onto it some certainly envision that kind of work kind of framework for making authori- going on in parts of the world where tative choices about what kinds of work there’s less oversight and less regulation. But there’s also incredible May/June 2018 163 . on what you’re talking about. now. regional. without much darker shadows of the world. for cant. but the most CRISPR babies. to cure cancer or solve a known practi- is any kind of coordination regarding cal problem. there’s actually a very good set scientific research? of guidelines for dealing with embryo Undoubtedly. Does that mean somebody by curiosity and passion. particular areas. We’re not in a complete wasteland with respect to regulation. In the United Should the United States spend more on States. national. fundamental advances are really driven Definitely. beyond coordination. and CRISPR work falls largely value. So the question out there is actually making CRISPR is. but I don’t really know. So people can go to IVF the reach of regulators and the media? clinics in one part of the country and have I suspect so.

The technical challenges to Yeah. which would you rather fight— on. right now. including DNA sequencing.∂ together in ways that we don’t understand 164 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . many worthy projects one horse-sized duck or a hundred going unfunded. Not really.” It will be quite a while before stemming from it have reshaped the we have pigmen or any other weird American economy over the last half chimeras. I think the horse-sized duck would be CRISPR is huge in China. did you ever dream of writing a and manipulating the sequence precisely. Who now is managing the balance Of all the crazy things that we hear between risk and reward in this area? about CRISPR. But it’s impor- tant to recognize that we do now have Which means that we’re entirely depen- the power to control evolution. It’s another to say we can produce pigmen. Now the beach in Hawaii. so in the second type of work as well as the let’s put genes for wings into the human first—because the ideas and technologies genome. You could double the budget of the National Institutes of Health and After you’ve genetically engineered still find good things to spend the money them. We can’t just say. Never! It was the farthest thing from my demically and commercially. we will definitely be behind. There are many. collectively think about the deployment The corn is happening now. dent on the outcome of those individual researchers’ choices? It’s one thing to say we can make better Yes. Is that actually true? No. duck-sized horses? China is investing heavily in all this. If the United mind. Bringing back the woolly mammoth and things So the risks are being weighed by each like that are interesting ideas but mostly individual actor? a fantasy. one of the craziest is that Are there any structures setting out something like Jurassic Park might authoritative guidelines? become a reality. Probably pretty far off. I want to come back to the regulation issue. How far off and management of a new technology are the pigmen? that could affect human evolution. Genes play Right. corn that’s less resistant to disease.The Ultimate Life Hacker value in doing curiosity-driven research. I think it would be very hard. doing that are very large. that are very rapidly being adopted there When you were sitting there as a kid on for a broad range of applications. reading the beat-up there’s a technology not only for reading copy of The Double Helix your dad gave and writing DNA but also for rewriting it you. Which is not really a proper way to like Kramer worried about on Seinfeld. both aca. technologies. sequel? China’s already a huge player. It’s one of several easier to deal with. States doesn’t do something similar. century. “I’d like We need to continue to invest strongly humans to have the ability to fly.

edited by two global security experts from Canada and Russia. This volume tackles the overarching question: how useful has the process of negotiation been in resolving or mitigating different conflicts and coordination problems in Eurasia. Published April 2018. providing policy makers. Fitzgerald and Eva Lein. Editors Conflicts in Eurasia. such as that over the Crimea. Brexit necessitates a deep understanding of the international law implications on both sides of the English Channel. Editors An unprecedented political. . economic. Complexity’s Embrace looks into the deep currents of legal and governance change that will result from the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. compared to attempts at exploiting or achieving a decisive advantage over one’s opponents? Published January 2018. Tug of War. Tug of War: Negotiating Security in Eurasia Fen Osler Hampson and Mikhail Troitskiy. CIGI Press books are distributed by McGill-Queen’s University Press (mqup. the legal community and civil society with critical information needed to participate in negotiating their future within or outside Europe. in order to chart the stormy seas of negotiating and advancing beyond separation. examines negotiations that continue after the “hot phase” of a conflict has ended and the focus becomes the search for lasting security solutions. and can be found in better bookstores and through online book retailers. have been receiving significant attention in the last few years in the media and in the foreign affairs departments of major Western countries. Regional controversies in Eurasia often affect relations among the great powers on a global scale. Complexity’s Embrace: The International Law Implications of Brexit Oonagh E. social and legal storm was unleashed by the United Kingdom’s June 2016 referendum vote and the government’s response to it. The contributing authors articulate with unvarnished clarity the international law implications of Brexit.

every year. And it is vital that scientists. Transform Global Some of the remaining suffering Development can be eased by continuing to fund the development assistance programs and multilateral partnerships that are Bill Gates known to work. malaria. more nutri- from preventable causes. By the help end extreme poverty by enabling end of this year. It is however. primarily the poor. by 99 percent. with smallpox. But if to suffer needlessly from diseases and the world is to continue the remark- malnutrition that can cause lifelong able progress of the past few decades. cases of tuberculosis. five million children millions of farmers in the developing under the age of five will have died— world to grow crops and raise livestock mostly in poor countries and mostly that are more productive. cognitive and physical disabilities. defined by much easier for scientists to discover the World Bank as living on less than better diagnostics. be encour- BILL GATES is Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda aged to continue taking advantage of Gates Foundation. treatments. of the biggest and most persistent plished only once before. productive lives than world gets better at using data to help ever before. opment. tent diseases and causes of poverty global child mortality has been cut in half. eliminating the most persis- of evidence for it. But come as a surprise. New technologies millions of other children will continue are often met with skepticism. challenges in global health and devel- The proportion of the world’s popula. kill and disable millions of people Continued progress is not inevitable. 166 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . This good news may guide the allocation of resources. The incidence of polio has decreased technologies for targeted gene editing. and $1. but there is plenty ultimately. subject to safety and ethics guidelines. such promising tools as CRISPR. These efforts can help T oday.90 per day. has fallen from 35 percent other tools to fight diseases that still to about 11 percent. and a great deal of unnecessary also accelerating research that could suffering and inequity remains. more people are living sustain progress. Since the early 1990s. will require scientific discovery and There have been massive reductions in technological innovations. gene editing verge of eradicating a major infectious could help humanity overcome some disease. and HIV/ That includes CRISPR and other AIDS. The technology is making it tion in extreme poverty. Hundreds of tious. are denied How CRISPR Could economic opportunity. a feat humanity has accom. and hardier. especially as the healthy. Return to Table of Contents more than 750 million people—mostly Gene Editing THE GENE-EDITING REVOLUTION rural farm families in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia—still live in for Good extreme poverty. in particular. The women and girls among them. according to World Bank estimates. bringing the world to the Over the next decade.

Conversely. I traveled to Scotland. scientists are Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health also considering editing the genes of at the University of Edinburgh. in particular. chickens and cows. to be raised by women. thanks in part land. Farmers with livestock can sell to naturally occurring mutations that eggs or milk to pay for day-to-day KIM KYUNG-HOON / REUTERS breeders have selected for generations. Livestock States. potentially boosting the tropical breeds’ where I met with some extraordinary milk and protein production by as much scientists associated with the Centre for as 50 percent. and the United buy household necessities. likely than men to use the proceeds to Kenya. setting children up for healthy give them the same favorable genetic growth and success in school. As the scientists This sort of research is vital. February 2016 FEEDING THE WORLD traits that make Holsteins so productive. I learned Holsteins to produce a sub-breed with a about advanced genomic research to help short. who are more rating with counterparts in Ethiopia. May/June 2018 167 . Holsteins—which fare poorly in hot three-quarters of whom get their food places but are extremely productive in and income by farming small plots of more moderate climates. sleek coat of hair. tend The scientists in Scotland are collabo. which would allow farmers in Africa breed more productive the cattle to tolerate heat. Earlier this year. or can survive in hot. Gene Editing for Good Lend me your ears: genetically modified corn in Beijing. Chickens. the breeds of dairy cows that cause a cow or a few chickens. They are studying ways to edit help farmers’ families get the nutrition the genes of tropical breeds of cattle to they need. tropical environments sheep can make a big difference in the tend to produce far less milk than do lives of the world’s poorest people. goats. Nigeria. Tanzania. be- explained. expenses.

including one called people die from it. making C4 rice a remarkable in sub-Saharan Africa earn their living 20 percent more efficient at photosyn- by working the land. we funded. In global health. Africa’s population is expected to more Such alterations of the genomes of than double by 2050. the Bill & Melinda insecticide-treated bed nets and more Gates Foundation has been backing effective drugs have cut malaria deaths research into the use of gene editing in dramatically in recent decades. and does not involve combining DNA from for good reason. one of the most prom- amide (a potential carcinogen). and today. holder farmers adapt to climate change. and it will also help small- the number of mouths to feed increases. Although For a decade. and some 450. agriculture and in medicine. hormones. and make the plants hardier during Most important. reaching 2. tools. the process by which plants convert generally low agricultural productivity— sunlight into food. about 200 million cases of sity of Oxford are developing improved malaria are recorded. including mushrooms with ENDING MALARIA longer shelf lives. In one of the first projects parasitic disease still takes a terrible toll. involves research on malaria. farmers’ livelihoods. Using gene editing and other them children under five. en- crops with traits that enhance their zymes are used to target and delete a growth. That’s good for food a net importer of food. Scientists began recombining DNA even more difficult as climate change molecules in the early 1970s.Bill Gates Similarly. The technology is is different in that it does not produce already beginning to show results. improving the productiv. The challenge will become ing. Every year. many and development of innovations much crops that have been improved by gene faster and more precise. Children who 168 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . it makes the discovery droughts and hot spells. Sixty percent of people plant leaves. scientists from the Univer. value. the latter to Gene editing to make crops more mass-produce human insulin. editing are being developed and tested in the field.5 billion. threatens the livelihoods of smallholder genetic engineering is widely used in farmers in Africa and South Asia. and ising near-term uses of gene editing soybeans that produce healthier oil. The result is a crop yields of basic cereals are five times that not only produces higher yields but higher in North America—Africa remains also needs less water.000 varieties of rice. and many drugs. boost their nutritional that result in favorable or useful traits. Already. With CRISPR. attract. plants and even animals are not new. abundant and resilient could be a lifesaver vaccines. Scientists are developing different organisms. reduce the need for fertilizers section of DNA or alter it in other ways and pesticides. and the supply and demand will only grow as environment. the agriculture. transgenic plants or animals—meaning it ing public and private investment. But given the region’s thesis. and its food production will need to Humans have been doing this for thou- match that growth to feed everyone on sands of years through selective breed- the continent. about 70 percent of C4 rice. the Oxford scientists were able to ity of crops is fundamental to ending rearrange the cellular structures in rice extreme poverty. This gap between security. Gene editing on a massive scale. potatoes low in acryl.

medicine—may relieve symptoms. To creating gene drives in malaria-spreading make matters worse. The standard treatment fever and the Zika virus. sophisti. Gene Editing for Good survive often suffer lasting mental and wide. For instance. Beyond the human suffering. parasites as they pass through a mos- With sufficient funding and smart quito’s gut on their way to its salivary interventions using existing approaches. however. but produce mosquitoes that are resistant moving toward eradication will require to any gene drives released into the scientific and technological advances in wild. from artemisinin. That’s because the and mosquitoes are developing resistance edits would target only the few species to insecticides. the producing mostly male offspring. the tool also holds tools for prevention. body a form of the malaria parasite that there is reason to be optimistic that can still be spread by mosquitoes. Scien- direct and indirect costs associated with tists are also exploring other ways to use the disease add up to an estimated 1. Only female mosquitoes malaria can keep people from working can spread malaria. such as dengue temporary effect. that tend to transmit the disease. gene drives—making inheritable edits the economic costs are staggering. treatable—but not completely. glands. have only a carried by mosquitoes. legitimate questions and understandable May/June 2018 169 . Gene editing can play Like other new and potentially power- a big role. although natural selection will eventually tinue to make use of existing tools. but Although many questions about safety it may also leave behind in the human and efficacy will have to be answered first. and simulation. too. but just a handful of them are any physical impairments. the good at transmitting malaria parasites high fever. Current In comparable ways. There are more than ful technologies. In to their genes—that cause females to sub-Saharan Africa. part of the value of CRISPR is that multiple areas. the malaria parasite mosquitoes will not do much. will make it possible to tailor antimalarial efforts to unique THE PATH FORWARD local conditions. gene editing raises 3. And Efforts against malaria must con. by intro- countries working to lift themselves ducing genes that could eliminate the out of poverty. In adults. to the environment.3 CRISPR to inhibit mosquitoes’ ability to percent of GDP—a significant drag on transmit malaria—for example. for malaria today—medicine derived It will be several years. harm has begun to develop resistance to drugs. which is home to become sterile or skew them toward 90 percent of all malaria cases. if any. and anemia caused by between people. and so researchers and trap families in a cycle of illness and have used CRISPR to successfully create poverty. chills. the main path through which malaria is largely preventable and infections are transmitted to humans. it expedites the development of new cated geospatial surveillance systems.500 known mosquito species world. approaches—meaning that scientists combined with computational modeling can stay one step ahead. such as spraying promise for fighting other diseases for insects and their larvae. a compound isolated before any genetically edited mosquitoes from an herb used in traditional Chinese are released into the wild for field trials.

that it is conducted in compliance with rally occurring mutations and thus are standards such as those advanced by not subject to special regulations and the WHO and the National Academy of raise no special safety concerns. In 2016. assessments and advise regional bodies pation. the especially of scientists. for other forms of genetic engineering do and it would probably also raise overall not necessarily fit. and public partici. Wher. including interim benefits of emerging technologies should evaluations at set points. evaluate its costs and (The Gates Foundation co-funded this benefits. no matter where the research Gene editing in animals or even takes place. Used responsibly. A more harmonized policy regulated? Rules developed decades ago environment would prove more efficient. of Sciences built on the WHO’s guidelines The goal is to empower affected coun- with recommendations for responsible tries and communities to take the lead conduct in gene-drive research on animals. practices in different countries may How. and local communities—from wherever it is likely to be deployed. civil society. it’s important to recognize supports high-tech research related to the costs and risks of failing to explore national security. bioethics. or DARPA. standards. espe. humans raises more complicated questions When it comes to gene-editing of safety and ethics. the use of new tools such as CRISPR for tions emphasized the need for thorough global health and development. the World research on malaria. Meanwhile. It would should involve all the key stakeholders— be a tragedy to pass up the opportunity. Defense Department organization that Finally. and make informed decisions work with the Defense Advanced Research about whether and when to apply the Projects Agency. before scientists not be reserved only for people in devel- move to field trials. Part of the challenge in regulating gene editing is that the rules and 170 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . the National Academy on experiments and future field tests. resulting technology. Sciences. The research in the lab. affected by the disease to conduct risk biosafety. International organizations. could help estab- U. it lift themselves out of poverty. They also urged oped countries. them. gene editing cially in the communities and countries holds the potential to save millions of directly affected by the research. in the research. Nor should decisions scientists to assess any ecological risks about whether to take advantage of and to actively involve the public.S. the Gates Founda- Health Organization issued guidelines tion has joined with others to help univer- for testing genetically modified mosqui. edited organisms are not transgenic. government leaders. then. should the technology be differ widely. funders reasonably concluded that genetically of gene-editing research must ensure edited plants are like plants with natu. sities and other institutions in the regions toes. Department of Agriculture has lish global norms.) These recommenda. the U. including standards for efficacy.∂ scientists.S. Noting that gene. lives and empower millions of people to ever gene-editing research takes place. In 2014.Bill Gates concerns about possible risks and misuse.

communities must take the lead. Scien- Silfen University Professor of Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of tists can exploit this tendency by using Medicine and School of Arts and Sciences. if they make an organism more likely to either in normal body cells (known as survive or breed. It works by exploiting editing. designing gies. Jonathan D. the stuff of science fiction. using a genes from each parent. allowing researchers to The goal of a gene drive is to spread or insert new genetic material into the gap. has long been work is being conducted responsibly. To avoid that problem. As a result. The advances made possible by CRISPR could bring vast benefits to society. And editing Amy Gutmann and the human genome raises risks both for individuals and for society as a whole. The other genetic mutations normally spread only involves editing the human genome. fiction has edged closer to reality. The first involves a species. CRISPR to insert genetic material into May/June 2018 171 . An out-of- Revolution control gene drive could drastically alter or even threaten a species. standards and procedures that reduce the CRISPR exploits an ancient system that dangers of these powerful new tech- allows bacteria to acquire immunity nologies without forgoing the benefits. or even forward and reassure the public that the of an entire species. to proliferate quickly even if they have JONATHAN D. It uses an enzyme called Cas9 to cut strands of DNA at precisely PLAYING GOD targeted locations. which comprises two distinct a quirk of nature. a method for editing than too little. most genes have a 50 percent technique to modify inherited genes in chance of being passed from parent to nonhuman organisms in order to spread child. Return to Table of Contents somatic cells) or in the germline. But some genes have AMY GUTMANN is President of the University evolved mechanisms that give them better of Pennsylvania and Christopher H. DNA far more precisely and efficiently the global scientific and biological ethics than was possible with older technolo. governments and scientific institutions will have to respond by establishing standards that T he possibility of rewriting the both enable promising research to go genome of an organism. That allows changes in those genes Professor of Communication. process known as a gene drive. Browne than 50 percent odds of being passed Distinguished Professor of Political Science and on. suppress certain genes in a wild popula- CRISPR promises to revolutionize gene tion of organisms. the Keep CRISPR Safe THE GENE-EDITING REVOLUTION cells that pass genes down to offspring. as offspring receive half their a trait throughout a population. MORENO is David and Lyn no effect on evolutionary fitness. there is a risk that “clustered regularly interspaced short governments will do too much rather palindromic repeats”). from viruses. In sexually reproducing but related fields. but Regulating a Genetic the technology also poses risks. But with the Yet especially when the science is at development of CRISPR (which stands for such an early stage. Moreno To head off those dangers.

If the altered mice ments should rationalize the current were released into the wild. Re. an agreement that rendered amphibians immune among most of the world’s countries that to common pathogens. will maximize the scope of free scientific nate populations of invasive animals. mission chains. economic development. If On the international stage. A gene drive gone wrong In lieu of formal regulations on gene could leave a species extinct or intro. declines over the last few decades. a move that could wipe governments should follow the principle out Lyme disease among humans. and the Environmental Protection Agency Gene drives could also reverse some all share responsibility for different aspects worrying environmental trends. the altered mice were introduced. such as an island or an out previous drives or gene modifica- isolated and containable area of land. but they are to use costly and harmful insecticides. gene drives restrictions necessary to maintain ethical could immunize plants against many standards and public safety. it could to improve public health and to promote transmit the changes to new populations. safety measures into gene-drive systems. serving the public good. which dictates humans can catch the disease only from that they should impose only those tick bites. the Food and Drug Administration. eliminating the need These risks are dramatic. govern- to male offspring. female mice system of regulation. ecosystems upended. many species came into force in 2003. lably. house mouse that can give birth only before imposing new restrictions. They should harmonize their biological and newts. have suffered catastrophic safety guidelines for gene-drive studies. discovery in a way that is consistent with such as mice. eventually the gene drive could spread uncontrol- spreading through large populations. regulates geneti- could recover. In the countries searchers are working to develop a where much of the research is taking place. cally modified organisms. researchers are looking at such an early stage. serious risks.Amy Gutmann and Jonathan D. then passed on to most offspring. the Cartagena scientists introduced engineered genes Protocol on Biosafety. that destroy crops. Many of field trials and commercial products. scientists disagree at using the technology to inhibit the about how much and what kind of regula- transmission of Lyme bacteria from tion and guidance will be required. since of regulatory parsimony. least at first. also far off. In agriculture. In part because the research is For example. Moreno the “selfish” part of an organism’s genome. however. In the United States. amphibian species. If a genetically modified ensuring that the new trait will be animal or plant escaped. Scientists could Entire species could be wiped out and use gene drives to break disease trans. at tions designed to grow less frequent 172 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . the Department of Agricul- would die off within the area in which ture. would gradually disappear and the species for example. drives. Most gene drives would likely be limited such as alterations that would cancel to a single place. And if a modified organism mated This process could be exploited both with a member of another species. such as frogs. So mice to ticks. but the United But alongside these benefits come States has not signed it. Doing so kinds of pathogens and curb or elimi. toads. scientists could agree to build duce dramatic and unintended effects.

and sickle strength and wisdom must be flip sides of the cell anemia. Preliminary laboratory research suggests that the human immune system may resist the version of the enzyme Cas9 currently used in CRISPR. Yet this does not appear to be a major setback.EDU the end of the trial to discover and deal 173 .” clinical experiments must be approved —Kurt M.” these conditions will not be straightfor. The FDA advises researchers to follow up with participants in gene therapy trials for as long as 15 years after CUP. If that result holds up. chairman and CEO. research involving human gene editing will have “Scott Snyder. . HUMANS 2. so that successive generations would express the gene less and less New in once the original problem has been A Council on Foreign Relations Book sufficiently ameliorated. all applications for and South Korea in the complex period ahead. Campbell. fibrosis. cystic “Far from disengaging America from the world. hemophilia. perhaps America’s premier to meet the already rigorous regulatory Korean watcher. by the Food and Drug Administration the Asia Group and reviewed by the National Institutes of Health. muscular dystrophy. Researchers will also need to be transparent about Series their work and consult local communi- ties to gain consent before introducing gene drives into the wild. —Tony Blinken. . Hunting.over time. HIV/AIDS. Developing therapies for same foreign policy coin. as scientists are already using other enzymes for techniques associated with CRISPR. either Cas9 will have to be modified or replacement enzymes will have to be developed.0 Just as challenging for the global scientific community will be the issues raised by human genome editing. has written an indispensable standards governing medical research. some engagement . Whatever form it takes. book about how to chart a course for America In the United States. including certain cancers.COLUMBIA. Stares rightly advocates greater but smarter ton’s disease. A wide range of diseases have been identi- fied as potential targets for treatments that modify genes in a patient’s somatic cells. a compelling argument that neurodegenerative diseases. former Deputy Secretary of State ward.

economic ventions that modify an individual’s growth. editing and gene drives are generally 174 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Unlike to monitor its use. may wish to As the report noted. germline.S. they are not modifications intended to make future worth scarce research dollars. the U. albeit under “stringent breast cancer or cystic fibrosis.” The NAS did not extend this with histories of breast cancer associated recommendation to experiments designed with certain mutations in the BRCA1 to enhance future generations. better looking. human appropriate. cells. Such interventions raise both of Sciences. where near advanced enough for policy- hance national populations. in theory. This regulatory regime generations span many years. such as mosquitoes. What is more. and Medicine the prospect of vast benefits and thorny recommended that researchers exercise questions of safety and ethics. and give public warnings as species. for example. viduals rather than states. quences for public health. National Academies inherited.” tumors). are not designed to stop rogue actors. To the extent For now. And once Reengineering the human genome the FDA approves a gene therapy product raises risks not only for individual patients for public sale. but as long as their More speculative are germline overall benefits are smaller. societies could well have serious conse- The same cannot be said for inter. Engineering. which carries genes that are In 2017. The prospect of such genetic the work of reputable scientists. but they engineering raises the specter of disas. would work. THE LIGHT AND THE DARK the results of those projects would Experiments in both human genome certainly disappoint their proponents. report any adverse the generations of rapidly propagating events. trous twentieth-century experiments At some point. they would makers to know what kinds of measures be ill advised and socially disruptive. researchers from abusing gene editing. Gene caution when it comes to efforts to prevent editing could. children stronger. does not raise new safety or Adjusting one part of complex human ethical issues.Amy Gutmann and Jonathan D. such as to go forward. so any will be sufficient when it comes to using harmful change in a human germline CRISPR to edit somatic cell genes given could take decades or even centuries to that the process. the science is no- that state projects did attempt to en. although different become pronounced. because of the enormous complexity of traits such as intelligence. and social cohesion. it requires companies but also for humanity as a whole. governments may have in eugenics. Moreno with any delayed ill effects. of therapeutic ones. the risks of enhance- protect their descendants by editing ment experiments are similar to those their genes. Families oversight. however. or These sorts of guidelines will shape smarter. prevent the disease transmission through gene editing transmission of genes that increase the but said that such work should be allowed risks of life-threatening diseases. But that does not from other techniques for modifying mean that the risks should be ignored. which it and BRCA2 genes (which help prevent said should not be allowed “at this time. although today most of the to pass laws to prevent unscrupulous demand would likely come from indi.

by extension. In 2000. In research could plausibly be described as 2002. This is And in 2012. researchers in the Netherlands and the lifesaving breakthroughs that biologi- the United Kingdom showed that the cal research has made possible should wild form of avian flu. a lab in New York replicated the dual use. mosquitoes could bioengineered pathogens. type of pathogen reproduces sexually— isms new traits. It is hard to think of a major polio virus using publicly available DNA biological breakthrough that could not P I C H I C H UA N G / R E U T E R S ordered from a biotechnology company. made it more dangerous. which spreads reject the idea of regulating biological from birds to mammals only through research primarily because it is dual use. virtually all biological could also be applied to smallpox. modified to allow it to move from birds to Since the mid-1970s. could be genetically results may be used for good or evil. when scientists ferrets—and. July 2013 classified as “dual use”—research whose physical contact. For example. Keep CRISPR Safe Frankenfish: genetically engineered fish in Taipei. or technique for modifying mousepox that other diseases outside tropical areas. which allows DNA from different organ. Although gene drives cannot be used isms to be combined to create new to create new viruses or bacteria—neither genetic sequences that can give organ. May/June 2018 175 . through the air. to humans— developed recombinant DNA technology. that they can expand their natural habitat researchers in Australia discovered a and so spread malaria. dengue fever. researchers have been they could be used to create other kinds of concerned about the possibility of weapons. created either be modified to produce toxins or such deliberately or accidentally. one reason why all of those who value ing. just as CRISPR was emerg. this technique Indeed. be exploited for harmful ends.

in response to new laboratory to trigger regulation. Before regulators consider additional rules. The United States guidelines. national take widely varying approaches to regulat. Moreno Certainly. The guidelines are voluntary. takes able. but it is the societies for the better and possible process most likely to enable CRISPR and malign uses. Dealing with the latter will the next generation of research break- require crafting highly specific rules so throughs to reach their full potential. tends to focus only on select biological but they delineate in a well-informed way agents that threaten public health. But what is equally recognized authorities are encouraging: certain.Amy Gutmann and Jonathan D. Those are the forums that SELF-GOVERNMENT can respond best to often unpredictable For all its unprecedented power. CRISPR developments in the science and react is of a piece with other research break. It has self-governance among scientists may both enormous potential to transform not produce headlines. Prudent throughs in synthetic biology. science academies came up with a set of ing dual-use research. emies and a continual process of intellec- tual exchange. CRISPR research- ers will have to comply with existing scientific norms and regulations. in the first decade of this can be used to do harm must not suffice century. scientific establishments have shown themselves capable of self-governance 176 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Regulatory The most effective standards for parsimony and a bias toward scientific gene-editing research will come from freedom favor the more focused policy. and regulators. the editors of prominent requires a risk assessment for any organ. scientific journals. the scientific community itself. if a technology has no conceiv. The standards developed by should be off the table. practices involving the use of human At the moment. by contrast. through whereas greater risk aversion favors the international summits of science acad- precautionary approach. Even so. The modern scientific community is both cooperative and competitive. and they have been widely embraced a more precautionary approach that by scientists. The what is and what is not ethically accept- European Union. when public safety and confidence are able malign application. sensitively to public opinion. the mere fact that something for example. different countries stem cells in nonhuman animals. ism that could pose a threat. And even the best-designed regulation cannot eliminate the possi- bility that researchers will accidentally discover a dangerous new application of a new technology.∂ that regulators don’t end up sweeping all CRISPR research into a costly new regulatory net with little or no benefit to society. perhaps the field’s biggest short-term challenge. then regulation at stake.


create disease-resistant crops. most biological weapons programs could trigger states have given up their programs. “Blight to destroy modify embryos in ways that cross crops. biological weapons. policymakers must proceed with have generated massive excitement. full range of potential applications is would be equally problematic. Anthrax to slay horses and cattle. A revitalization of state Over the last several decades. but a sense of perspective. Fear-mongering they have also reenergized fears about or overregulation could undercut the weaponized pathogens. The state biological weapons programs. Researchers are studying at how states have historically weighed their benefits and drawbacks. flexibly. including the resurgence of and accurately than ever before. Today. ethical boundaries. Using gene-editing almost unimaginable benefits of the tools. new conflicts or rekindle old arms races. But despite the deadly potential new ones. Plague to poison not armies only but One of the most worrisome questions whole districts—such are the lines along today is whether advances in biotech- which military science is remorselessly nology could tempt states to revive their advancing. Return to Table of Contents the use of new gene-editing techniques The New Killer THE GENE-EDITING REVOLUTION to fix deadly genetic mutations. have worried about large. several decades. But failing scientists are now able to modify an to anticipate and manage the signifi- organism’s DNA more efficiently. appealing to parents’ instincts to offer scale biological warfare for advantages to their children. hard to predict. And laboratories. only six countries have publicly Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Bioweapons Threat But it’s not hard to imagine how gene- editing technologies could be misused. and treat cancer. could more than a century. such as age reversal and Countering the Coming transplanting pig organs into humans. including a system known as CRISPR. 178 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Kate Charlet Some fear that terrorists with even moderate capabilities could develop M ilitary and political leaders deadlier pathogens. Such an outcome would drasti- of biological weapons.” Winston Churchill lamented old biological weapons programs or start in 1925. cant risks. their actual use cally undermine the progress of the last remains rare and (mostly) small scale. Since KATE CHARLET is Director of the Technology and International Affairs Program at the 1945. no country is openly pursuing destabilizing the international order. but CRISPR makes it much easier for scientists to produce BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS IN HISTORY changes in how organisms operate. biotechnology revolution. Pathogens Top scientists at Harvard are pursuing medical applications once thought to be out of reach. Understanding the risks that biological These technologies offer vast potential weapons pose today requires a closer look for global good. admitted developing biological weapons. Faced with extremes of promise and Recent breakthroughs in gene editing peril.

which was defense research. But in practice. Saint-Étienne. And states pursuing for a number of different reasons. From a conceived of a range of strategic and tactical perspective. biological weapons can readily obtain Between 1942 and 1969. the United the necessary equipment. and they are but American researchers also came to difficult to attribute. According to Carus. value the flexibility of biological weap. for example. and morale. states have pursued these weapons be found in nature. biological weapons ons. such suspect a dozen or more. the United logical weapons are easy to access and States and the Soviet Union are the May/June 2018 179 . themselves with vaccines and other omy. Stalin even considered countermeasures. or incorrect dosage could all lead to The materials needed to develop bio. like natural outbreaks. econ. they can out. Initially. Many pathogens. April 2016 although sufficient evidence exists to relatively cheap. the Soviets also to question their overall value. As the biological as the one that causes anthrax. then the Unpredictable winds. don’t warfare expert W. changing terrain. lenges. which could temporarily sicken or also pose tactical and technical chal- disable people rather than kill them. And target populations can protect RO B E RT P R AT TA / R E U T E R S damage an enemy’s food stocks. Biological weapons capable of large-scale lethality. Launching a success- using the organism that causes plague ful large-scale attack is also difficult. also offer deniability: attacks can look this program was designed as a deterrent. exposure and symptoms has limited the In addition to lethal uses. president of Yugoslavia. failure. Seth Carus has pointed need to be developed in a lab. the time lag between operational uses for biological weapons. utility of biological weapons on a battle- they explored targeting agriculture to field. which led many decision-makers During the Cold War. which is the States developed a highly advanced same as what is needed for medical or biological weapons program. to assassinate Marshal Tito. France. The New Killer Pathogens Be prepared: first responders during an emergency exercise.

but it might become possible the decision by the British to depriori. cause 1940s. In 2012. but they range from tens of engineering techniques. states sophisticated than the British one. a significant problem with A NEW CALCULUS? biological weapons has been the pros. program was more easier methods of assassination. deadly virus so that it would affect disappointing test results and disen. overcome such challenges enough to The question today is whether new be capable of using aerosol releases to biotechnological applications might reliably disseminate biological weapons loosen those constraints. of course. the Japanese dropped can be engineered to spread faster on its plague-infected fleas from aircraft onto own.S. using traditional genetic verifiable. only a single target based on his or her chantment with the deterrent power genetic code. deadly. or resist treat- use of biological weapons in modern ment more fully. in part because he was unsure effort. as tize their program and stop developing the biosecurity expert Gigi Gronvall offensive capabilities in the late 1950s.S. Indeed. given the prevalence of far Although the U. conducting both small attacks wide-area dispersal may become less and larger campaigns in China. a broader trend of states voluntarily government might edit the genes of a ending their programs. In the late 1930s and early more quickly. over a large area. Nations could develop novel or try’s own soldiers and citizens as well as modified pathogens that would spread the enemy’s. But there are thousands to several hundred thousand. for example. if a pathogen one campaign. including genetics. U. Equipment needed for times. mated to his defense minister that he These tactical and technical hurdles should plan to develop weapons based are not insurmountable. that these attacks also killed well over Russian President Vladimir Putin inti- a thousand Japanese. Conceivably. Japan undertook the largest-scale more severe sickness. For example. This capability does not of biological weapons contributed to yet exist. 180 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Whether that potential is tanta- Chinese targets and spread organisms lizing enough to convince countries to responsible for other diseases in water revitalize or initiate biological weapons and rice fields. Nonetheless. however. These kinds of death toll from the Japanese biological modifications have long been possible. weapons attacks are debated and un. they have contributed to the lack of any Another concern is that gene known state use of biological weapons editing may make it easier to carry out for the last several decades and to a targeted assassinations. has noted. and cost. During necessary. may decide that developing and testing President Richard Nixon still terminated such a weapon is not worth the time. Estimates of the Chinese programs is uncertain. just harder. worrying signs that some leaders sense In the process.Kate Charlet only two countries believed to have if it contributed to national security. it in 1969. it is thought a new opportunity. But on new principles. for example. Gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR pect that the agent could blow back on could make biological weapons more the users. with time and effort. infect more people. infecting the attacking coun.

researchers with Project Coast also discussed plans to selectively administer an antifertility vaccine to black women. for example. and biological weapons have been used in ethnic and racial conflicts before. cally defined characteristics. But maintaining a secret biological weapons program has never been particularly difficult. CRISPR does make 181 . Concerns that gene editing will make biological weapons so cheap that countries reassess their strategic value ForeignAffairs. According to some accounts. SIGN UP for the In the 1970s. and the challenges of international oversight mean that the odds of getting caught are low. Truman are also overstated. these so-called ethnic weap. thus reducing the risk of international disapprobation. are leaders. Rhodesia’s Foreign Affairs intelligence agency introduced cholera Books & Reviews newsletter into wells in areas held by black nation- alist guerillas. have considerable overlap with nontarget . the apartheid government of South Africa launched Project Coast. which is believed to have looked into biological means to assassinate opponents. It is unlikely that new technologies would change this in any fundamental way. And in 1981. These examples give reason to monitor the threat of targeted biological weapons. Still.Harry S. The equip- ment and agents required also have legitimate uses. According to Gronvall. Some observers argue that gene editing could make it easier to develop or use biological weapons clandestinely. but all leaders ons would be tricky to design and test. the world is only in the early stages of the biotechnology revo- lution. racial. or other geneti. A related fear is that advances in gene editing could allow scientists to develop biological weapons capable of Not all readers discriminating among target populations based on ethnic. and any target population would likely are readers.

effectiveness might not be enough to sway would meet severe reprisal from other major powers. acquisition. it has helped establish a global gene editing lowers the cost of developing norm that using biological weapons is a deadly pathogen. This is not an excuse agriculture. the major powers. concern emerges. The combined factors Today. weeks and cost about $3. Breaking the status quo. Although the price tag on the many other steps such norms may not constrain the worst involved. And although nism. the treaty is often criticized for its lack ons are already cheaper than alternatives of a meaningful enforcement mecha- such as nuclear weapons. any state that used biological of lower cost. a small scale. not just face sanctions and military containment. Countries for complacency. and greater weapons.000. already a broad range of state types. little from the new technologies. rationale and motivation for the rest of Considering all of this. biological weapons must take into account such as North Korea or Syria. easier access. The expense retention. countries will need to discovered to be misusing such technolo- reinforce and update the existing protec. actors’ behavior. stockpiling.Kate Charlet gene editing less expensive. cal weapons. the United States and its editing advancements need not change allies would almost certainly respond the basic calculus to the extent that with force. such as weaponization. own businesses and research institutions the norms and incentives against the use and cutting their citizens off from the of traditional biological weapons should benefits discovered by others. Becoming a “first misuser” of a geneti- cally edited biological weapon could also THE NORMS MATTER prevent a state from enjoying the positive Major disincentives to the use of biologi.applications of the new technologies. and delivery. and those most likely to do so. some fear. weapons programs. Still. they do provide the facturing. and they can Researchers. it does little to reduceimmoral and unacceptable. Although estimate was made. even on marginal utility of investing in biologi. manu. one particular the world to punish violators. businesses. but they may incentivize states seeking to defend the norm of rogue and small states to reconsider the nonuse. and governments be strengthened to prevent countries worldwide hope to take advantage of from revitalizing or starting biological advanced biotechnologies in medicine. cal weapons already exist. a The vast majority of states—180 of scientist at Vanderbilt University noted them—are parties to the 1972 Biological that an activity that used to take 18 months Weapons Convention. genetically edited or otherwise. Of course. As a result. in 2014. But biological weap. which bans the and cost about $20.gies could end up undermining their tions in light of new capabilities. Few would be willing to take to address the risk of genetically edited that risk. would turn any country into cal weapons.000 took only three development. any strategy a pariah. Still. and production of biological can only have fallen in the years since this agents for nonpeaceful purposes. then 182 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . buy time and space for the international if a country were to find that it profits community to put new measures in place. and manufacturing. it’s important Were either of these states to use biologi- to put the threat in perspective: gene.

If gene editing enables novel could trigger conflict. then nations need the capabil- races. In the aftermath of an attack would not December 2017. Reinforcing the positive potential of actors could use biological weapons. 1986. arms pathogens. such techniques for nonhostile purposes ments do increase the risk that such only. but it is enough capabilities would act as a deterrent by to give any country pause. inhibitions. The perpetrator UN Security Council should invite other of an attack might still be uncovered states to join them in making a strong through other means. including gene editing. ity to rapidly create novel countermea- sures. If gene editing can because it is a more multidimensional help create pathogens that spread more threat. biotechnological applications should First. these new technologies could strengthen But strong international norms are still current norms by broadening awareness useful. gene-editing advance. The possible revitalization of their ability to detect and respond to state programs requires explicit attention biological attacks. The current system does not eliminate then nations require better techniques for the risk that a state could see new value determining their origin. such as espionage. countries must strengthen the strive to make them affordable and Biological Weapons Convention. they has time to reinforce the current norms are exactly what is needed to safeguard against all types of biological weapons global health more generally. That means denying perpetrators the devastation they that the international community still might hope to achieve. statement that emphasizes the enormous Of course. or ISIS. but the exis. and other destabilizing events. Fortunately. individual terrorists and positive potential of synthetic biology groups such as the Islamic State. the power of these affirmed that the treaty’s prohibitions disincentives hinges on the ability to apply to new scientific and technological determine that an attack has occurred developments. Since widely available. detect outbreaks sooner. Although of new technologies. then nations must produce deadly weapons. The New Killer Pathogens this disincentive would be lessened— and decrease the perceived benefits of one reason why the purveyors of new genetically edited ones. it probably would not elimi. These are important plausible deniability could lower a state’s foundations. of the world to prevent and punish Above all. Such improved in biological weapons. wherever they tence or use of the resulting weapons originate. state parties agreed to necessarily be able to tell if gene-editing initiate a series of discussions on the risks techniques had been used. escalation. If gene editing allows for more KEEP THE DISINCENTIVES STRONG clandestine uses of biological weapons. but more steps are required. apply regardless of the origin or method investigators looking at a pathogen in of production of a biological agent. Not only could state programs widely and quickly. For now. techniques. countries must strengthen violations. and do not feel bound by international reiterates their firm commitment to use norms. May/June 2018 183 . The prohibitions likewise and to identify its source. Indeed. state parties to the convention have Ultimately. The five permanent members of the nate them altogether. because they motivate the rest of what might be lost if a violation occurs.

preparedness budgets for maximum businesses. and biological weapons. governments. the United States is not willing to lead. A February report The United States can be a leader in by the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on these efforts. The latest money. But a To make the most of limited resources. naturally occurring outbreak. the consequences of a return to of disease—even if no one ever con. given its broad influence Biodefense warned that U. the right direction. and potentially novel. If programs by $20 million and its pro. an era of states with biological weapons ducted a purposeful attack. None of these remains out of sync with actual threats. agricul- ture. programs would be devastating. The elements of such a strategy are not new. and scientists must arm effectiveness.Kate Charlet Yet governments are not moving in ship to promote and implement them. high-level leader- 184 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . thus limiting the impact ments. Instead. It would also marshal financial and institutional resources to quickly utilize gene editing and other new techniques to produce countermeasures against harmful. but resources should also be militaries from conducting lawful spent on programs that might prevent operations. Some steps would cost outbreaks in the first place. pathogens. protecting and coordinating their In seeking to prevent the use of biological defense. what is needed is sustained. Washington global health over the last decade and and other governments should be might step into the void.4 that would stifle American business or billion spent on Ebola in 2014—is innovation. urgency and pragmatism. sound strategy to keep the disincentives governments and biosecurity experts strong can keep that possibility in the should improve their coordination by realm of fiction. proposals would require new regulations Outbreak response—such as the $5. but the price tag would pale in White House budget cuts funding for comparison to the damage caused by a the Centers for Disease Control and well-executed biological attack or even a Prevention’s preparedness and response large. spending and technical know-how. As in so many other fields. Such a strategy would mobilize national and international bodies to detect harmful new diseases or health anomalies in human populations. prevention. grams for emerging infectious diseases China has increased its investment in by $60 million. Strategically applied themselves with equal parts fear and resources and strong leadership would confidence. and the environment and to share information about them. save lives by enabling quick responses Given recent technological advance- to outbreaks. Nor would they prevent essential.∂ developing an international biological security strategy.S.

—Caroline Bettinger-López J O NAT HA N E R N ST / R E U T E R S The Long Arc of Human Rights Recent Books 191 Caroline Bettinger-López 186 . REVIEWS & RESPONSES It is easy to succumb to a sense of despair about the laws and institutions designed to protect human rights.

and international institutions. the number of human ever since the contemporary human rights rights treaties that a given country has movement emerged after World War II. less violence and fewer human rights 186 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . specific laws. counters skeptics from the left and the In 1968. or the presence of national human rights the news is full of reports of Rohingya institutions.” Subsequent empirical The Long Arc of studies. lawyers. and immi. primarily in the fields of inter- national trade and international environ- Human Rights mental law. plenty of reasons for skepticism. she reports. Sikkink tutions designed to protect human rights. headlines supply lation that reflects international norms. and dispossession in Myanmar. empirical A Case for Optimism studies have sometimes led to more pes- simistic conclusions. for Hope. and considered the overall impact of the rape. institutions. It is easy to succumb to a into transnational civil society networks sense of despair about the laws and insti. the existence of domestic legis- At any given moment. Drawing on decades of research United States. 336 pp. Today. drug broader international human rights users dealing with brutal. for instance. policymakers. the legal scholar Oona Hathaway concluded that “although the practices of countries Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights that have ratified human rights treaties are Work in the 21st Century generally better than those of countries BY KATHRYN SIKKINK. In her new book. Princeton that have not. Return to Table of Contents all of the time. or methodolo- and activists have asked that question gies: for example. state-sponsored movement. But in the field of international human rights. the legal scholar Louis Henkin right who have argued that the persis- wrote that “almost all nations observe tence of grave human rights violations almost all principles of international law throughout the world is evidence that and almost all of their obligations almost the international movement has failed and should be abandoned altogether. is better than one might ments in European countries and the fear. ratified. extreme right-wing and populist move. But few have stepped back refugees fleeing a campaign of murder. the political scientist Kathryn grants and minorities facing the wrath of Sikkink fills that gap—and the news.” Hathaway and others who have ana- D oes fighting for human rights lyzed international human rights regimes actually make a difference? have generally focused on the efficacy of Scholars. In a 2002 article in Caroline Bettinger-López The Yale Law Journal. have confirmed Henkin’s qualified optimism. she concludes. CAROLINE BETTINGER-LÓPEZ is Professor On the contrary. noncompliance with treaty University Press. Evidence vigilantism in the Philippines. 2017. the of Clinical Legal Education and Director of the struggle for human rights has indeed Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at made a difference: “Overall there is the Council on Foreign Relations. obligations appears common.

hold and led to an increase in criminal leaving the reader wondering whether prosecutions for such wrongdoing. contradicts continued progress in the Trump era. for “widening the punishment. In an earlier book. that number has increased to 140—nearly The Justice Cascade. In the move away from capital punishment her new work. however. the effect of DNA science in movement and the pivotal contributions exposing wrongful convictions. relatively bullish about the prospects for This history. In 1977. she traces the diverse may have stemmed from other sources— origins of the modern human rights for instance. In common critiques of human rights law this way. and dramatic gains in which together are often described as women’s rights. she describes acts of violence to the human rights May/June 2018 187 . especially Latin declines in genocide. she does not explicitly connect the idea of individual accountability for the dots between Amnesty International’s human rights violations gained a foot. including one that describes progress and have failed to see shifts in the promotion of human rights as one of the human rights movement that have the basic purposes of the organization. campaign and the abolitionist trend. (which Sikkink defines as politically motivated murder by a government).” jurists and diplomats to include seven Sikkink contends that skeptics have references to human rights in the 1945 relied on the wrong metrics to measure UN Charter. She is even spite of resistance from the great powers. the human rights regime for failing to she charts the undeniable correlation produce a “maximum ideal of justice” but between the campaign that Amnesty who do not offer alternative approaches International launched against the death that are “within the realm of the possible. a Among Sikkink’s aims is to defend the reduction in battle deaths and civilians institutions and movements that have killed in war. politicide. Sikkink showed how two-thirds of the countries in the world.” thereby changing had abolished the death penalty. today. of people and organizations from the Sikkink’s attribution of worldwide developing world. she contends. she contends. The Long Arc of Human Rights violations in the world than there were the successful efforts of Latin American in the past. what is probable. is to that the populist nationalism that helped identify and quantify the improvements put Donald Trump in the White House that she argues have come about as a could reverse hard-fought human rights result of the human rights regime: a gains of the past few decades.” penalty in the late 1970s and the global The human rights movement should be trend toward the abolition of capital praised. only 16 countries limits of the possible.” Sikkink takes are more convincing than others. Some of her arguments “the human rights regime. For instance. that process can work by tracking how However. death penalty. HIDDEN PROGRESS fewer international and civil wars. the many activists and scholars who fear Sikkink’s main goal. and other America. in made it more durable. she distinguishes herself from as a tool of Western imperialism. In one issue with scholars and activists who fault of the book’s most compelling passages. both in decline in genocide and “politicide” the United States and abroad. less frequent use of the supported the concept of human rights.

Sikkink contends.’ and more on “that the rise in improved military what we might call ‘effectiveness poli- medicine is in itself an aspect of the tics’—identifying techniques and humanitarian ideals that some authors campaigns that have been effective at argue have contributed to the decline improving human rights. tional boundaries to address a growing she contends. improvements in medicine or more “Perhaps. Take domestic violence. legislative initiatives. often inadver. suffering today. have used than ever to conclude that the world human rights advocacy to improve how faces graver human rights problems law enforcement authorities respond to today than in the past. including me. Activists. states have arguably words. a by disseminating information about seemingly intractable problem that. people know and care more than ment has expanded beyond its tradi- ever before about human rights—but. That has are getting worse. Activists capitalize on that tendency— nations for improvements in core human understandably. less on so-called plausibly. In the information rights is the way in which the move- age.” Indeed. she also mark human rights case. In 1999. Hope is Sikkink’s thoughtful examination of the role that data and quantitative THE BOOMERANG EFFECT research play in debates about progress Another mark of progress on human on human rights. staging a concern that derives.” “naming and shaming” bad actors far she suggests that human rights ideologies more frequently than they praise and criminal prosecutions—rather than. Although she acknowledges that “expla. and how human rights have been representing a Colorado woman named violated does not mean there is more Jessica Lenahan (formerly Gonzales). But the fact that domestic violence. human rights abuses. More information politics.Caroline Bettinger-López regime at times feels even more forced. governments or highlight progress. freedoms. Draw. that does not necessarily number of abusive and criminal behav- lead to a better understanding of the iors that infringe on basic liberties and state of freedom in the world. rather than releas- Part of what distinguishes Evidence for ing yet another report or press release. say. “human targeted weaponry—best explain the rights activists should rely less on worldwide decline in war crimes.” In other in war. from the concert. Sikkink concedes—by rights issues like genocide are complex. organizations might have a developed more targeted weapons in greater impact by putting together a order to avoid civilian casualties—a letter-writing campaign. Owing to the greater changed in the past decade as activists availability of information. it is easier and lawyers. until relatively recently. or piggybacking on existing rise of the human rights movement. for doing this work has been through where. few recognized tently create the impression that things as a human rights issue. in part. argues that certain cognitive biases make Lenahan’s three young daughters were humans prone to pay more attention to abducted by her abusive estranged 188 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . she cites research that suggests ‘naming and shaming. negative than positive information. whose tragic story has become a land- ing from political psychology. My principal avenue people can now see more easily when.” she suggests.

Lenahan’s was the first limited his access to them. where. which place. continue to adopt public policies aimed hausted her domestic remedies. Inter-American Commission on Human In the years since.” which the com- town of Castle Rock. they semiautomatic handgun. resulting in uncertainty about victims from domestic violence by when. United States of bodies of the three girls inside his truck. the Lenahan case Rights (IACHR). the United States. proper investigation into the children’s coordinated. ters’ safety and at one point identifying In many respects. has been cited in international and domes- zation of American States. which is a decision has had an undeniable effect on May/June 2018 189 . and enforced by the police. violence. drove his truck often find international allies who can to the police department and opened exert external pressure and contribute fire. In Jessica subsequently discovered the deceased Lenahan (Gonzales) v. And although the U. Although international human rights case brought Lenahan repeatedly called the police. The commission went when they failed to meaningfully respond on to recommend that the United States to her calls for help. govern- justice system had failed to protect her ment. the police ignored her. The case eventually investigate the systemic failures that took landed at the Supreme Court. an organ of the Organi. The Long Arc of Human Rights husband (and the girls’ father).” Margaret Keck). Lenahan at shattering stereotypes of domestic filed a petition later that year with the violence victims. adopt legislation at the federal and ruled in 2005 that she had no constitu. the Rights and Duties of Man. which town’s police chief in an interview with holds that when civil society groups and 60 Minutes. state level to protect women and children tional right to have her restraining order from imminent acts of violence. the IACHR found that the local But local authorities did not conduct a authorities were “not duly organized. armed with a to take action or change its policy. the Lenahan story their location. and ready to protect these deaths. dubbed “the boomerang a sentiment subsequently echoed by the effect” of human rights advocacy. Colorado.S. She alleged tic case law and legislation throughout the that the United States. and how they died. adequately and effectively implementing Lenahan filed a lawsuit against the the restraining order. Nearly ten hours after the activists fail to persuade their government abduction. by a victim of domestic violence against telling them she feared for her daugh. in violation of the terms of a 35 members of the OAS (including the judicial restraining order that severely United States). America. which has not ratified most major and her daughters from acts of domestic international human rights treaties. in Activists Beyond The dispatcher who took her call even Borders (an earlier book she co-wrote with chided her for being “a little ridiculous. whose criminal world. had violated her human rights officially rejected the IACHR’s decision under the American Declaration of the on technical and jurisdictional grounds. in federal mission declared was a violation of the court. claiming that the police violated American Declaration of the Rights and her constitutional due process rights Duties of Man. The police shot him dead and to at least a partial victory. Simon source of international obligations for the Gonzales. fits what Sikkink. Having ex. Gonzales.

” But Sikkink remains optimistic. The boomerang that activists created in the mid. “these small countries and activists lawsuit. Department oping countries have joined the fray in of Justice began stepping up its investiga.Caroline Bettinger-López U. Trump’s nativist agenda. who had expressed concerns The kind of “boomerang” that has worked about the Trump administration and in the past may not always be the right other potential sources of harm to the tool—especially if powerful figures in human rights regime.S. human rights advocates. announced his Washington are not interested in unusual decision to not seek a second listening to world opinion. saying it “might involve bending a knee in supplication. A year later. al-Hussein. Last December. the U. She argues that the fight for human rights 190 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . federal policy and law enforcement. institutions. Attorney General momentum and progress depended on Loretta Lynch released official guidance the actions of smaller countries. Human rights organizations based in the developing world have evolved HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL significantly over the past few decades. and professed enthusi. Sikkink does not and Sikkink cites a study showing that sugarcoat the challenges facing the human they are increasingly trusted by citizens rights movement. For the most part. in 2015. with to law enforcement agencies on how to support from emerging NGOs and civil prevent gender bias in their response to society. protection of human rights and where Then. mainly in opposition to the international necting this work with the Lenahan case. and are not perceived as the “handmaid- hateful rhetoric. the Department of have far more institutional resources at Justice established a nearly $10 million their disposal—the human rights law.” she government action that the IACHR had writes. when “the major powers were called for—without ever explicitly con. and movements that earlier ance nationwide. has taken on a new dimension as devel- Beginning in 2011. the UN’s top need to craft customized solutions that do human rights official.S. Such asm for torture techniques “a hell of a lot groups could become highly effective in worse than waterboarding” have rightly mobilizing support for human rights in alarmed U. grant program to implement the guid. Zeid Ra’ad not rely solely on established practices.” United States. an era of populist nationalism and rising provoking fears of backsliding at home authoritarianism.S. ens” of powerful donor countries. even if the government Everyone should hope that Sikkink is did not explicitly acknowledge it. late Lenahan had tossed had returned to the twentieth century. right.S.ways that do not depend on Washington.∂ term. tions into discriminatory law enforcement “Human rights work in the coming years responses to domestic violence and sexual of the twenty-first century may look very assault in several cities—the exact type of much like the Cold War period.” But she also notes an important such crimes—a step originally proposed distinction between the two time periods: by advocates who supported Lenahan’s today. But they and their and emboldening bad actors around counterparts in the developed world will the world.

But Galston provides motivated by pride. Return to Table of Contents Recent Books Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy BY WILLIAM A. Galston surveys the problems facing the liberal democratic world. Deneen argues for a retreat BY BRUCE W. government. and by thinkers such as Niccolo Machiavelli. church. and John Locke. failed policies on immigration. and a reminder that the system’s great virtue. investment in infrastructure. he points out. On this basis. Western compared with its authoritarian. Yale view. is today’s pessimism. 400 pp. René democracy. But intense political divides. table result of flawed ideas laid down the expansion of social insurance. Today’s predicament is the inevi. rejected classical and Christian to disappoint many citizens. Yet it is precisely this world of private life and civil society that liberal. selfishness. freedom and equality. Thomas Hobbes. grappling with rising divisions between urban and rural popu- inequality. These theorists. What has brought Galston argues that these problems can be on this crisis? In this provocative book. liberal democracy will always on a less lofty view of the individual as struggle to keep up. is its ability for self- and wealthy but have also experienced reflection and correction. Yale Political and Legal University Press. fraying social fabrics. communities. who together ing competing principles—the market inspired the Enlightenment and modern and democracy. Norton. and local 2018. And because efforts to foster virtue and instead pre. The populism University Press. DENEEN . Liberal Francis Bacon. including growing trouble. into smaller units: family. and polarized politics unsettling Western democracies reflect deep shifts in modern W estern democracies are in industrial society. 176 pp. long been out of favor with scholars of May/June 2018 191 . and and stagnant middle-class incomes. John Ikenberry In this thoughtful collection of essays. liberal democracy. modernity constantly generates new mised their secular visions of politics challenges. Deneen action and constraint—and so it is doomed argues. self-interest. in Galston’s BY PATRICK J. 2018. progressive tax reform. Galston is betting the corrosive effects of untrammeled that the democratic spirit is still alive. and citizens feel The Peacemakers: Leadership Lessons From threatened by the growing power of a Twentieth-Century Statesmanship distant state. liberal democracies have grown powerful and socialist rivals. the quest for glory. GALSTON . 248 pp. JENTLESON . greed. requires balanc- Descartes. 2018. lost confidence in lations.“Great man” accounts of history have ism has sought to protect. but so. G. Social bonds and traditional values have disappeared. theocratic. too. The triumphal- ism that flourished after the Cold War Why Liberalism Failed was misplaced. addressed through an enlightened reform Deneen argues that modernity itself has agenda oriented toward shared prosperity: failed. worker education.

S. LESLIE ARMIJO. populist tide. DNA—a phenomenon clearly visible in None of the leaders he profiles was the nascent Trump era. 288 pp. but each found a mo- ment when his or her charisma. Eichengreen shows that populism direction of peace and reconciliation. the results have been disappointing. Yet not all periods of He looks across the twentieth century economic hardship generate populist to identify 15 “transformational” people revolts. Russia. Presidents backlashes in the wake of financial crises Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt that lead to bailouts for plutocrats. AND SAORI KATADA . backlash politics.Recent Books international relations.S. and U. prosperity after the Great Depression. But (for their work building international governments can push back against the institutions). the government’s from strong bonds with a community ability to respond to populist grievances and a reputation for personal courage by strengthening the social safety net and or moral conviction). Presi- observes that there is no single recipe dent Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal for good political leadership. an abundance of reducing income inequality has been political skill. 260 pp. and not all populist revolts suc- who bent the flow of politics in the ceed. BY BARRY EICHENGREEN . German Lech Walesa. Jentleson social welfare programs. Brazil. and rising inequality fueled reminds readers that leaders do matter. including “personal capital” (derived Yet in the United States. India. labor order. and Mahatma Gandhi.S. and Aung San Suu Kyi Chancellor Otto von Bismarck undercut (for their efforts to advance freedom populist worker revolts by establishing and protect human rights). yet to assess the impact of the BRICS. Oxford China. But Jentleson dislocations. but many promoted economic security and shared of the figures had some common traits. together to strengthen their roles in global governance. or The BRICS and Collective Financial rugged determination helped move Statecraft history forward. This well-researched and In this survey of two centuries of populist insightful book represents the best effort movements and political revolts in West. economic insecurity. U. 2018. without flaws. Societies Enlai (for their roles in the United States’ become particularly ripe for populist opening to China). 192 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . BY CYNTHIA ROBERTS. For from the Luddites in early-nineteenth. 2017. diplomat Henry insecurity exposes the divergent interests Kissinger and the Chinese leader Zhou of the people and the elites. as ern democracies. and the ability to use the undermined by the antipathy to govern- right combination of carrots and sticks ment enshrined in the country’s political to enlarge the space for compromise. In the 1880s. those who saw the BRICS as a new bloc century England to the upheavals of the that would take on the Western liberal interwar period. tends to thrive most when economic They include the U. The Populist Temptation: Economic Oxford University Press. Eichengreen argues that the group of countries is known. and South Africa began working University Press. wit. Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era Over a decade ago.

The Trump administration’s within it. allies the hardest. 392 pp. But the authors trade liberalization and negotiated trade argue that. they will hit U. Through trial and error. the BRICS the average American household ex- have found a way to cooperate in what tremely well. president has publicly supported have often failed to align. Richard N. University of long will it take to develop the technol- Chicago Press. and how much will A t a time when Washington’s doing so cost? Sivaram’s enlightening approach to trade seems poised and candid book describes both the to undergo a significant shift. IRWIN . trade policy since the its two major forms—photovoltaic and Colonial era. such as the for years to come. economy and ism. They policy and its effects on trade patterns have built new institutions. ogy and systems needed to truly har- ness solar power. is less a common vision aluminum. 2018. policy has served the U.S. based photovoltaic solar panels will By the 1930s. But how BY DOUGLAS A. Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Economic. 2017. the agreements.S. Social. and they have successfully pushed protectionist and that the Smoot-Hawley for reforms to the old Bretton Woods tariffs imposed in 1930 caused the Great system and amplified their own voices Depression. His book will serve as an the book calls “financial statecraft” to authoritative reference on U.S. even though aversion” to Western hegemony. The domestic economic interests have led author worries that existing silicone- Americans to clash repeatedly over trade.S. this grouping is not just an exercise in symbol. which rely on a little-used of a new world order than a “common national security justification. several common misconceptions. trade achieve larger foreign policy goals. and it usefully corrects New Development Bank and the Chinese.S. such as led Asian Infrastructure Investment the idea that Alexander Hamilton was a Bank. were announced after the book was published. According to Irwin. MIT Press. the basic debate seemed to “lock out” those made with newer. and their interests U. the controversial new tariffs on steel and authors conclude. every hard economic times. What unites these countries. enormous progress that has already this magisterial book surveys the entire been made in exploiting solar energy in history of U. Cooper Ultimately. despite these problems. May/June 2018 193 . the sun provides more energy Clashing Over Commerce: A History of US to the earth in an hour than humanity Trade Policy currently consumes in a year. Recent Books Several of the countries have fallen on have been settled: ever since then. using congressional debates concentrated solar power—and the and actions to show how conflicting major obstacles to further progress. Luckily. human civilization will have to be powered mainly by solar energy. 832 pp. and Solar Energy and Power the Planet Environmental BY VARUN SIVARAM .

In 2012. Sivaram. Pilling argues. Tim Duggan making on environmental issues and Books. and politicians— Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf). 194 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . so he pleads for more R & D River and the oil and gas buried beneath funding and fewer subsidies for existing the Gulf of Mexico. 2017. All of these are achiev. grid management. United States and Mexico. which showed delusion: after all. the little less to quantity. on both issues. 2017. that shift was made ered what GDP actually means and how possible partly by crises (a Mexican it is measured. a history of mutual suspicion tions in power generation. that solar power cannot realize its full potential without significant innova. their doctors. commentators. Polity. GREENOUGH . who have given it can be extrapolated to multilateral ones. and more effective materials. the author has discov. years of negotiations. but it is unclear to what often becomes a fetish for politicians extent the lessons of bilateral negotiations and policymakers. national resources. In both these cases. financing. His book generalizes from the agreements to draw broader Pilling charts an unpleasant voyage of lessons about how to switch international discovery. It is not that growth itself is a ment of common resources. 2018. 208 pp. His research has left him earthquake. power and recrimination between Mexico and storage. But growth tional negotiation. and the 2010 ists. This informative Bioinformation and sometimes humorous book serves BY BRONWYN PARRY AND BETH as a useful antidote to that myopia. Winning Together: The Natural Resource such as perovskite. it has been associated both countries that they could benefit with increases in living standards and from working together. which Verdini treats as case and the Well-Being of Nations studies in successful international deal- BY DAVID PILLING . three resources that cross national land and able with sufficient imagination and sea boundaries: the water of the Colorado money. as a journalist. a drought in the western appalled that he and others—journal. argues Press. For decades. 336 pp. a scientist Negotiation Playbook with practical experience advising city BY BRUNO VERDINI TREJO .Recent Books cheaper. the United States stymied cooperation on and regulation. Verdini fills the reductions in poverty in many countries book with applied wisdom about interna- over the past half century. Poverty. priority over many other aspects of national well-being. When it comes to the economy. have been extolling GDP growth for so but even more by poor national manage- long. 277 pp. After spending years writing bargaining from a zero-sum framework about trends in countries’ GDP growth to one of cooperation for mutual gain. privilege of accessing that sensitive data belonged solely to patients. after several solar installations. officials and leaders should pay a Who owns an individual’s personal little more attention to quality and a medical information? In the past. the two countries finally reached breakthrough agreements The Growth Delusion: Wealth. MIT governments on energy policy.

Scientific. Lawrence D. such influence in the country and encouraged information is often made much more Diem to do more to earn the respect of widely available for scientific research his people. After escaping to London via D uring the mid-1950s.S. this sympathetic and revealing biography. he was recruited by the Special Air Force officer Edward Operations Executive. perhaps. After Diem’s death. Recent Books and. Lansdale ran a range German war effort and gather intelli- of covert operations to weaken communist gence. 304 pp. tions and other abuses. The Saboteur: The Aristocrat Who Became Military. He urged the United future beneficial uses of such data. 2017. This slim as a man who did his best to understand but informative book describes the the countries in which he operated and sources of what the authors call “bio. Lansdale was wary of the use and even for commercial use by pharma. liaison to South Vietnamese President and returned to France to sabotage the Ngo Dinh Diem. particularly in the form advertising had given him an interest in of “big data” for studies that seek to find the psychology of warfare. he considered it them particularly susceptible to certain a disaster. caused less pain. such States to support Diem. They close with a discussion “hearts and minds” approach might have of possible legal and institutional frame. 2018. was a teenager at the time of the German invasion. But Boot is properly works that would maximize the benefits cautious. His efforts in previously unknown patterns—a trend South Vietnam gained him a reputation that is only likely to increase. Lansdale adverse medical conditions. In including the possibility of privacy viola. who looked for innovative ways to under- information” and the current and possible mine insurgencies. Harper. His expertise in plastic explosives May/June 2018 195 . declining to firmly conclude that and minimize the harms of large-scale such a strategy would have resulted in a medical data collection. in 1963. such as using Boot draws on his past work on guerrilla health information to stigmatize groups warfare to argue that adopting Lansdale’s of people. different overall outcome. and his early career in ceutical firms. the British espio- Lansdale served as the CIA’s nage and irregular warfare service. whom he was attempting to build up. Freedman This gripping account of the French resis- tance to the Nazi occupation is told through the remarkable experiences of The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale Robert de La Rochefoucauld. and when Diem as identifying patients whose genes make was assassinated. of brute force. a French- and the American Tragedy in Vietnam man from an aristocratic family who BY MAX BOOT . laboratories. the U. Today. Liveright. Spain. of the new South Vietnamese leaders cations of using and sharing the data. 768 pp. and France’s Most Daring Anti-Nazi Technological Commando BY PAUL KIX . Parry and despaired over the persistent corruption Greenough also explore the ethical impli.

Recent Books led to a number of early successes. alarmed by the prospect of machines fortified by the arrival of the U. and diaries. whether it would be possible to craft and 320 pp. Eventually. Having failed to extract any of armed conflict. But cold precision. success of the Allied offensive came as a surprise to those who led and fought in Scharre. 2017. also opens a window into the minds of impose strict limits on their use. their tion illuminate the origins and conduct 196 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . distinguishing systems that probably live to be old men!” still partly rely on humans from those that are completely autonomous and highlight. making life-and-death decisions that they to push back the German forces. cations of autonomous weapons. He has letters. final battle with quotes from memoirs. has it. the rapid 448 pp. 464 pp. relating how they comprehensive analysis.S. which himself was captured and brutally inter. offensive of 1918 had ground to a halt and as the Allies geared up for their own Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and campaign. enforce a ban. the Germans sentenced him to death. He returned to France again just before D-Day. La Rochefoucauld proportionality and discrimination. Hart enlivens his lucid account of this thought more than most about the impli. Norton. Scharre moves accepted the possibility of death and beyond the clichés of “killer robots” to their relief at the eventual armistice. at the very least. Oxford University his execution and his subsequent journey Press. was caught Hart’s history of the final year of World again. some most likely to reduce the harm caused by betrayed him. In this individual soldiers. ROGERS. As explore the complexity of human-machine one wrote: “Do you realise that we shall interactions. EDITED BY CLIF FORD J. and escaped yet again to carry out War I opens just after the major German even more sabotage behind German lines. AND SAMUEL J. But he also warns against being “seduced by the allure of machines— The essays in this authoritative collec- their speed. He wish to ban them—or. After years of grueling trench the Future of War warfare had caused many to doubt that BY PAUL SCHARRE . Scharre recognizes the advantages of TY SEIDULE. their seeming perfection.S. information from him. 2018. Army. He shows how spent time not only among their designers increased professionalism and better and operators but also with those so tactics allowed British and French troops. others cracked under war if they incorporate the principles of torture. a former U. The West Point History of the American ing the importance not only of machines’ Revolution capabilities but also of human fallibilities. The book’s most The Last Battle: Victory. and the dramatic sequences describe his escape End of World War I from the truck that was taking him to BY PETER HART . Defeat. 2018. are already central to the established laws rogated. back to London.” New technologies are as his network of agents expanded. remote-control systems and doubts WATSON . Army Ranger. Simon & Schuster. the conflict would ever end.

Stephen Conway con. acknowledges the economic concerns mation of the Continental army under of Trump’s supporters and suggests George Washington into a professional that establishment politicians need to and disciplined fighting force—a crucial address them. 2018. Watson examines the wider social has sometimes served as a useful correc- and political contexts of the Revolution. Most anti-Trump literature with a particular focus on the transfor. not to pander or surrender to it lent illustrations. phenomenon should drive political ments in weaponry and the art of war. but this book distinguishes itself Polish diplomat stranded in Canada by by its literary quality and its intellectual the Nazi conquest of Poland and then May/June 2018 197 . looked more closely at the history of cludes that the foreign interventions populism in the United States. Vaïsse’s biography of U. 544 pp. observers on both sides of the aisle to The special value of this book lies in its deepen their understanding of popu- splendid presentation: it features excel. lism. 2018. He shows awareness of. 320 pp. phenomenon this Polish outsider was. Although by France. aren’t particularly original or particularly Both Brzezinski. including Great Britain’s long perhaps less alarmist. The Trump as well as the role played by develop. accompany populist uprisings. After even sympathy for. Zbigniew Brzezinski. and tory. breadth. maps. In one of his contribu. Harvard Walter Russell Mead University Press. and Spain quack economics and racism frequently mattered most. TRANSLATED BY CATHERINE PORTER . Zbigniew Brzezinski: America’s Grand Strategist The United States BY JUSTIN VAÏSSE. President Jimmy Carter’s national security ad- Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the viser. The book would be even better. tive to out-of-touch elites. as well as reproductions of key channel populist energy toward con- documents and letters. reminds American Republic readers just what an extraordinary BY DAVID F RUM . Recent Books of the American War of Independence. their cultural griev- weighing all the factors that contributed ances and their sense of dislocation. HarperCollins. the old well-heeled and F rum thinks that Donald Trump is well-bred WASP foreign policy establish- a bad man and a worse president ment had imploded under the strain of and that his presidency endangers the Vietnam War and yielded to a new the American republic. populism tions. and but to think intelligently about how to charts. Those opinions elite from more diverse backgrounds. whose father was a rare. structive reform. even though Washington further. when Brzezinski rose to prominence. and lost many of the battles he fought.S. to the revolutionaries’ eventual vic. Frum goes significantly achievement. if Frum had supply lines. the Netherlands. timelines. By the late 1970s.

” The settlers ment after World War II by Acheson’s who founded Plymouth Colony were flattery. Little. portrait of American possessions. would strengthen the United States’ Brzezinski and Kissinger brought a more voice in world affairs. Americans.: The Making of America better known and the more controversial. if acerbic. introduce a new generation of readers to a great American strategist. summed up in his 1947 persecution in Germany. that “any other him as an isolationist blowhard seduced motive than wealth will ever erect into supporting international engage. But his evolution from ignoring the pragmatists and oppor- a prewar isolationist to a committed tunists in American history. possessed a injunction to his fellow senators to gift for strategic vision that few of their “stop partisan politics at the water’s American-born contemporaries could edge. foreign policy think. foreign policy TARGET T . struggling Pilgrim community. claim Butman and Targett in this brisk and fascinating book. They Vandenberg of Michigan has been best have a point.Recent Books the Soviet-backed communist takeover and progressive one. Vandenberg. who had suggests. “I am not so simple to known to students of U. whose family fled Nazi foreign affairs. His powerful of 1945. enabled the United States to make the in the seventeenth century. as now. 448 pp. University of thinking about the hardheaded busi- Chicago Press. will help redress the balance and will 432 pp.S. by England’s Merchant Adventurers Vaïsse’s evenhanded appraisal of Brzezin.” wrote Jamestown’s Captain through former Secretary of State Dean John Smith about England’s North Acheson’s elegant. 198 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Republican Senator Arthur in what is now the United States.S. BY JOHN BUTMAN AND SIMON ski’s contributions to U. and his friend and rival Henry articulation of a bipartisan approach to Kissinger. By will not be remembered as a great figure overemphasizing the idealists and in U. Into a foreign policy community doubt that a return to even a limited increasingly composed of technocrats. and area specialists. bipartisan foreign policy consensus political scientists. Meijer’s biography punctures much less important than their legend this caricature. post–World War II era such a peaceful people’s motives were often mixed. Inc. Brown. 2017. history.S. patriotic Cold Warrior reflected the dramatic historians often mislead their audi- changes in American thought that ences. nessmen who did much more to found the main English-speaking settlements Until now. there a commonweal. The more commercially his full share of both the vices and the oriented settlements of Boston and virtues of Midwestern Republicanism Massachusetts Bay soon eclipsed the in the middle of the twentieth century. but few match. But that isn’t the whole story. Kissinger has always been the New World.” sounds quaint today. Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the spend too much time thinking about Middle of the American Century the Pilgrims and not enough time BY HENDRIK MEIJER . generalist and historical perspective. Of the two. 2018.

2018. Richard Feinberg God’s Country: Christian Zionism in America BY SAMUEL GOLDMAN . policy toward Israel.. Nor is security guards expel Ramos from the Christian support for Israel solely the room. Ramos remains staunchest backers. Mormons.S. it was of Christian Zionism and offers useful very much in character when. Thus. were neither fundamentalist make up a quarter of the U. 2018. And many of Israel’s an optimist. Goldman points out. and adventurous merchants were less Western Hemisphere cynical. of freedom and opportunity and confi- including Martin Luther King. 248 pp. during observations about one of the most the 2016 U. 224 pp. Jr. grows increasingly divided over U.) as misguided heretics. Latinos in the United States: What demic and policy focus has shifted to Everyone Needs to Know the far larger number of American BY ILAN STAVANS . to pursue pro-Israel policies in the R Middle East. than superficial observers might conclude. before Trump had one of his Christians who support Israel. also criticizes President Barack Obama mentalists and dispensationalists dismiss for failing to advance immigration reform. popula- nor conservative. Immigrant in the Trump Era BY JORGE RAMOS . This study of the history amos. As the American Jewish community 2018. who most funda. (Ramos Christianity.S.S. Vintage Books. It is not. product of a set of beliefs about Israel’s denouncing Trump for stirring up racism role in the approach of Armageddon. Ramos fills out the book with his ruminations on the May/June 2018 199 . to gain political power and for causing Pro-Zionist positions are widely shared undocumented immigrants and their across different strains of American families to live in constant fear. writes American Christians from the Colonial that the role of a journalist is to period to the present day challenges the challenge the powerful and speak for stereotypes that often distort discussions those without a voice. tion—will push aside xenophobia in favor of tolerance. Ramos’ book pulls no punches. 226 pp.and anti-Israel ideas among news anchor at Univision. only Donald Trump over his anti-immigrant fundamentalist and dispensationalist posture. Latinos will Niebuhr. Oxford University Christians who want the United States Press. University Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino of Pennsylvania Press. he important political forces in American confronted the Republican candidate life. a Mexican immigrant and of pro. proud to live in a country most prominent Christian supporters. are among Israel’s Despite the rise of Trump. Recent Books The Pilgrims were less otherworldly. much of the aca. presidential campaign. and dent that the coming demographic the Protestant theologian Reinhold transformation—by 2044.

Recent Books

immigrant experience: the challenges pursue the three interconnected goals
of reconciling multiple identities and of combating narcotics trafficking,
recalling fading memories. eliminating official corruption, and
In contrast to Ramos and his journal- reducing drug-related violence all at
istic activism, Stavans, a Jewish Mexican the same time. The conclusion he draws
immigrant, strives for an evenhanded, from his three detailed case studies, of
but still sympathetic, presentation of Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, is that
the Latino experience. This breezy governments that launch all-out mili-
introduction to the topic, which takes tary campaigns provoke drug cartels to
the form of a series of questions and respond with their own brutal, escala-
answers, is stronger on cultural and tory attacks against the state, catching
linguistic matters than on socioeco- innocent bystanders in the crossfire.
nomic ones, and too often its language Such indiscriminate official crackdowns
is imprecise and its facts incorrect. (The are misconceived because, as Lessing
Mexican businessman Carlos Slim is points out, the cartels do not aim to
rich, but not the richest person in the usurp state power—they are not political
world, at least not anymore. The Cuban insurgents. They instead seek to dissuade
dictator Fulgencio Batista did not lose the state from using overwhelming
an election in 1952; he canceled it.) force to destroy them. A more rational
Nevertheless, Stavans provides a timely approach for governments, he argues, is
corrective to the degrading myths about to adopt policies, such as offering lower
Latinos peddled by many U.S. politicians, prison sentences and imposing more
Trump chief among them. Departing calculated levels of repression, that
from the neutral Q&A format in a give cartels incentives to behave more
passionate afterword, Stavans argues peacefully, even if that means tolerating
against the threatened deportation of drug trafficking and official corruption.
so-called Dreamers (young people
illegally brought to the United States Resisting War: How Communities Protect
as children). But he seems to disagree Themselves
with those advocates who would shield BY OLIVER KAPLAN . Cambridge
students from dissonant ideas for fear University Press, 2017, 376 pp.
of making them uncomfortable; rather,
he argues, teachers should broaden Caught in the crossfire between mili-
students’ perspectives on cultures other tant insurgents and government forces,
than their own and help them build unarmed civilians are often portrayed
their own defenses. as helpless. Kaplan rejects this idea and
finds that under certain circumstances,
Making Peace in Drug Wars: Crackdowns local communities can protect their
and Cartels in Latin America members from civil strife. He bases
BY BENJAMIN LESSING . Cambridge his hopeful conclusion primarily on his
University Press, 2017, 354 pp. extensive field research in rural Colom-
bia; using secondary sources, he also
In this ambitious study, Lessing argues finds local islands of peaceful civilian
that governments cannot successfully autonomy within conflict zones in

200 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S

Recent Books

Afghanistan, the Philippines, and economy in 1999 and then forced the
Syria—suggesting that even in extreme oligarchs to pay taxes, saved the wind-
circumstances, civilians can organize to fall from soaring oil profits (and later
keep themselves safe. Successful strate- used it to weather successive financial
gies include building early warning crises), paid off Russia’s debts, tamed
systems to allow people to escape the inflation, and presided over rapid growth
fighting, opening dialogues with armed (fueled not only by oil profits but also
groups, and threatening to publicize by increased productivity). Russia, Miller
acts of extreme violence. To discourage argues, has a dual economy: one portion
retaliation, communities must avoid dominated by corrupt and inefficient
openly sympathizing with one side or state-owned enterprises, the other driven
the other. So Kaplan warns U.S. policy- by a widening range of efficient and
makers against counterinsurgency or innovative private companies. He
democracy-promotion strategies that sketches a “hierarchy of Putinomics”:
could put the intended beneficiaries at “first, political control; second, social
risk by undermining their claims to stability; third, efficiency and profit.”
neutrality. The first two objectives are within
reach, but the system’s inability to
properly fund the country’s health-care
and educational systems, fight corrup-
Eastern Europe and Former tion, or establish the rule of law threat-
Soviet Republics ens to sacrifice the third.

Peacemakers: American Leadership and the
Robert Legvold End of Genocide in the Balkans
BY JAMES W. PARDEW . University
Press of Kentucky, 2017, 424 pp.
Putinomics: Power and Money in
Resurgent Russia Pardew was at the center of the U.S.
BY CHRIS MILLER . University of diplomatic intervention in the former
North Carolina Press, 2018, 240 pp. Yugoslavia from the time of the 1995
Dayton peace accords, which ended the

iller challenges the popular Bosnian war and the accompanying
notion that Russian Presi- genocide, to Kosovo’s independence, in
dent Vladimir Putin’s entire 2008. As a diplomat, he played a key
talent lies in using corruption to sustain role in rebuilding the Bosnian military
a kleptocratic authoritarian regime. Putin after the war; in negotiating the Ohrid
and his loyalists certainly are corrupt, but Agreement in 2001, which averted a civil
he and the liberal technocratic economic war in Macedonia; and in the failed effort
team on which he relies have also skill- to avoid the 1998–99 Kosovo war. He
fully managed Russia’s economic for- provides a compelling, detailed account
tunes. As Miller recounts in this short of the diplomatic give-and-take with
and admirably clear book, Putin took wily Balkan leaders (none more so than
over a debt-ridden, revenue-starved Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic),

May/June 2018 201

Recent Books

debates among Western negotiators, and ending with the final Soviet offensive
the crosscutting pressures from Brussels of 1944–45. His account of this last
and Washington. His portrait of Richard nightmare is specific and personal.
Holbrooke, the controversial but skilled There are moments of humanity in the
American diplomat, at work during the story, but they appear only as bright
Dayton negotiations is particularly specks in a very dark stone.
powerful. Pardew puts the reader in the
room during his encounters with several My Life as a Spy: Investigations in a Secret
major actors, including Milosevic, both in Police File
Holbrooke’s company and, later, alone. He BY KATHERINE VERDERY . Duke
acknowledges some of the shortcomings University Press, 2018, 344 pp.
of Washington’s policies in the Balkans,
but he makes a strong case that U.S. From 1973 to 1988, Verdery, an anthro-
diplomacy ended the Bosnian genocide pologist, spent a total of nearly four years
and prevented further bloodshed. conducting field research in Nicolae
Ceausescu’s Romania. Over that time,
Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Romania’s security service amassed an
Death of a Town Called Buczacz impressive file on her, totaling 2,781
BY OMER BARTOV . Simon & pages in eight volumes. She got ahold
Schuster, 2018, 416 pp. of it in 2008 and has spent much of the
time since then dealing with its impact
In this wrenching but beautiful history, on her. The resulting book is an extraor-
Bartov follows the Jews of Buczacz, an dinary exploration of her research,
eastern Galician town in what is now reexperienced through the eyes of those
Ukraine, from the sixteenth century to who surveilled her. Believing her to be
World War II. The Jews were welcomed a spy, the security services built up a
when they arrived in the area and pros- wildly distorted picture of her, which
pered for many years. But they suffered she terms her “doppelgänger.” Rather
their first mass slaughter during a Cossack than reflexively dismiss this double, she
and peasant uprising in 1648. The next agonizes over its reality, its challenge to
massacre took place three decades later, her identity, and its implications for her
at the hands of Ottoman forces. Despite profession. The most dramatic portion
these atrocities, the Jews remained a of the book centers on her struggle to
dominant group within the town’s elite. understand those who informed on her,
Partly for that reason, they were almost particularly those she counted as close
never free from the resentment and friends, a few of whom she has confronted
enmity of their Polish and Ukrainian face to face. Coming from such a distin-
neighbors. At the heart of the book are guished academic, Verdery’s brutally
the tragic events of the twentieth century. honest description of herself, including
Bartov recounts the fate of the Jews as as a naive and careless young scholar, is
German and Russian troops marauded stunning. Few books reflect so frankly
through their town in World War I and so powerfully on the nature and
and during the successive German and complications of an academic career.
Soviet invasions of World War II,

202 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S

Recent Books

Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial: Scenes From on Russia’s relations with four areas of
the Great Terror in Soviet Ukraine southeastern Europe: the post-Yugoslav
BY LYNNE VIOLA . Oxford University republics, Bulgaria and Romania,
Press, 2017, 304 pp. Greece and Cyprus, and Turkey. Russia’s
engagement with those countries has
The story of Stalin’s terror is well little to do with Slavic identity or a desire
known, except for one dimension: the to fulfill imperialist dreams. Instead,
fate of those among the tormentors who its approach is highly pragmatic and
were themselves swept into the meat focused on dealmaking, particularly on
grinder. This “purge of the purgers,” as energy. The other countries are playing
Viola terms it, came after Stalin called the same game. Moscow is eager to
off the Great Terror in 1938. Those who increase its influence and, especially
had carried out the two mass operations at the moment, to damage that of the
in 1937–38 against former “kulaks” (sup- West, but in the end, the Kremlin is
posedly well-off peasants), foreigners, and mindful that these countries are in
“anti-Soviet” and “socially dangerous” Europe’s backyard, not its own. The
elements—sending almost 1.5 million concluding portion of the book focuses
people to either the gulag or execution— on three critical dimensions of Russia’s
were themselves put on trial. In 1939, approach to the region: security rela-
nearly a thousand of them were arrested; tions, particularly with NATO members;
many were subjected to torture—the the ups and downs of energy projects;
very crime for which a lot of them were and the nature and use of its soft power.
being tried. After elaborate trials, they
were either sentenced to death or the
gulag or sent to the front during World Middle East
War II. Viola draws from Ukraine’s secret
police archives—which, unlike Russia’s, John Waterbury
are open—to detail how the accused
defended themselves, the testimony
against them, and the outcomes. As well
as lifting the cover from this less well- We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled:
known part of the story, Viola explains in Voices From Syria
great detail the interaction between what BY WENDY PEARLMAN . Custom
was commanded from above and what House, 2017, 352 pp.
flowed from forces at the ground level.

his collection of hundreds of
Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe excerpts from interviews of
BY DIMITAR BECHEV . Yale refugees who have fled the
University Press, 2017, 320 pp. violence that has gripped Syria since
2011 makes for sickening, although
Bechev introduces a sophisticated and unsurprising, reading. The brutality,
cool-headed corrective to the crude greed, and cynicism of the leading actors
image of Russian foreign policy favored led one refugee to say, “I’ve reached a
by much of the Western press. He focuses point in my life where I hate everything.

May/June 2018 203

with to reopen a pipeline from Kirkuk. and recounts the seven years he spent on members of foreign proxies. 2017. Muslim The Muslim Brotherhood and the West: A women should avoid directly confront. a former ExxonMobil executive. the flight abroad. Zahidi feels no need to mount not as a major impetus for going to war.” Another. For a time. contemplating the rise of al Qaeda and by improving Internet access for women. and more. 288 pp. 50 million neoconservative policymakers in the Bush Muslim women joined the global work administration.Recent Books I am disgusted by humanity. Nation Books. The Internet. this quixotic scheme never saw inexorable march forward for Muslim the light of day. 672 pp. The excerpts follow the major stages of the violence as experienced by the Iraq and the Politics of Oil: An Insider’s refugees: the peaceful revolution. supporters. invasion of Iraq was BY SAADIA ZAHIDI . driven in large part by a plan worked up 2018. but by 2030. and the Frampton exhaustively chronicles the traditional extended family can all make history of the Muslim Brotherhood 204 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Fifty Million Rising: The New Generation but it ends on a more provocative note. an Islamic defense of women’s right to work and argues that for now. reforming workplace narrative that can justify the futility. offering considerable detail about the main Iraqi and foreign actors. The aim of the plan was force. a combined income of $1 trillion. But that is working to rebuild the oil sector. Zahidi. The observations of Assad Vogler. Most unsurprising: refugees are not likely of the book deals with his on-the-ground to be loyalists. in Iraq. and a cluster of Between 2000 and 2015. by Ahmed Chalabi. promoting education. 2018. the meat BY GARY VOGLER . the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). The most likely explana- women. Ulti- draws on 200 interviews to depict an mately. to Haifa. Belknap have to do it all: absorb most of the Press. that had been closed a member of the Executive Committee since Israel’s founding in 1948 and which of the World Economic Forum. of Kansas.” rules. she of oil and substantial transit fees. Vogler had become convinced Muslim World that the 2003 U. experiences. such as and off in Iraq between 2003 and 2015 Hezbollah. is one would provide Israel with a major source of them. “You are in dire need for a public transport. History of Enmity and Engagement ing the patriarchy. the transition easier. are missing. raising the total to 150 million. and the process of starting anew. So can governments. of Working Women Transforming the By 2014. In this lucid presentation. the gig economy. providing more explained. University Press grinder of aerial assault and prison torture. the Perspective government’s violent response. 318 pp. the head of the Iraqi National Congress. domestic work and master the job market. they will BY MARTYN F RAMP TON . who are set to make up over 30 tion is that the White House viewed it as percent of the global Muslim work force a possible dividend of the invasion. religious extremists.S. in Israel.

but they never always found a way to make money solved the riddle of how to embrace it. militant jihadists became active in In the resulting arrangement. LUCREZIA POGGET TI. support than a possible tactical ally in the strug.S. gle against communism or as a bulwark did not do long-term damage to the against more extreme forms of Islam. but not Saudi Aramco’s archives. Authoritarian Advance: Responding to Saudi. Communist Party uses governmental Its most original parts deal with the and ostensibly private wealth in overt Saudi government’s “long game” to gain and covert ways to influence political full control of Aramco while avoiding and economic elites. The book is gates the ways in which China built on interviews. WALD . influence over the company. Nathan Egyptians believe. government seeks to shape politics and records. JAN BY ELLEN R. R. As Frampton demonstrates. AND KRISTIN SHI-KUPF ER. 2018. 53 pp. Inc. owned the oil it produced. Despite what many Andrew J.: The Arabian Kingdom’s China’s Growing Political Influence in Europe Pursuit of Profit and Power BY THORSTEN BENNER. the embargo of oil exports to the United United Kingdom and the United States States. of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. and in 1979. the media and outright nationalization. Recent Books from its founding in 1928 to the Arab was completed in 1980. Gibb. and the work of other histori. Saudi Arabia has integral part of politics. U. the decades of gradually increasing its West viewed Islam as a spent force. there is little evidence that the United States has actively sought to bring the Brotherhood to power.-Saudi alliance. That project public opinion. Subsequently. U. government acquired the entire firm. and avoid lasting confrontation any of its more secular authoritarian with the United States. when. The Chinese ans. the but then in the middle of that decade. MAREIKE OHLBERG. Before the 1970s. who preferred the Brotherhood to military Asia and Pacific dictators in Egypt. the Islamic Repub.S. selling oil. 448 pp. such as the British historian H. 2018. (Saudi Aramco) and of how the House T of Saud came to dominate the Arabian his pathbreaking report investi- Peninsula in the 1920s. Pegasus Books. A. after Spring of 2011. imposed by the Arab members never treated the Brotherhood as more of OPEC in retaliation for U. Global Public Wald has written a competent history Policy Institute and Mercator Institute of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company for China Studies. There were exceptions. Even the 1973 allies. and civil society and May/June 2018 205 . shape world petroleum and the United States never broke with prices. GASPERS.S. but they were few and far between. owned the expertise. but the kingdom lic of Iran was born. Throughout Western governments saw Islam as an Aramco’s history. Aramco Egypt. public opinion in Europe.

Recent Books

academia. Some European states have argues that today’s bipolar system differs
begun to adopt a stance of “preemptive from that of the Cold War because of
obedience” to Chinese interests on geographic differences between Europe
issues such as human rights. The authors and Asia. Chinese and U.S. forces do
name some of China’s “willing enablers,” not face each other on land, the way
including former British Prime Minister that Soviet and U.S. forces did, so
David Cameron, who took a post with Tunsjo considers a direct superpower
a Chinese-sponsored infrastructure confrontation less likely than it was
investment fund after leaving office, during the Cold War. Proxy wars are
and former French Prime Minister also less likely, because China’s security
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who accepted a concerns are primarily regional rather
role in a Chinese cultural-exchange than global. But he sees a high risk of
foundation. To protect the integrity of conflict in maritime East Asia, where
Western systems without violating their today’s superpowers both have vital
character as liberal democracies, the interests. His views provide valuable
report recommends screening Chinese nuance for the growing number of
investments, banning foreign support analysts who are worried about the
for political parties, providing help to strategic implications of China’s rise.
poorer EU members that are vulnerable
to Chinese financial pressure, and pro- Making Money: How Taiwanese
moting transparency for universities, Industrialists Embraced the Global Economy
media organizations, and politicians BY GARY G. HAMILTON AND
that accept Chinese support. The report CHENG-SHU KAO . Stanford
also covers similar patterns in Australia University Press, 2017, 320 pp.
and New Zealand, where Chinese influ-
ence efforts are even more advanced, One crucial element of Taiwan’s eco-
and in the United States, where they nomic success, which began in the
are expanding rapidly. 1960s—and equally of its economic
slowdown, which started in the 1990s—
The Return of Bipolarity in World was the agility of its small and medium-
Politics: China, the United States, and sized “contract manufacturers,” firms that
Geostructural Realism produce consumer products for U.S.
BY OYSTEIN TUNSJO. Columbia brands such as Apple and Timberland
University Press, 2018, 288 pp. but have no brand names of their own.
By studying the Taiwanese entrepreneurs
Tunsjo challenges the prevailing view who built these firms, Hamilton and Kao
of U.S.-Chinese relations, arguing that shed light on the relationship between
even though China is not the military globalization and the Asian economic
or economic equal of the United States, miracle. These entrepreneurs sprang
it is powerful enough to serve as what out of the countryside in response to
theorists call a second “pole” in the inter- the needs of the growing U.S. consumer
national system. That makes today’s market. They drew on family and social
international system not multipolar, as networks for capital, labor, and parts
most analysts believe, but bipolar. But he suppliers and to help organize production.

206 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S

Whether making cell phones or footwear,
the best of these firms have adjusted to
changing market conditions, repeatedly
innovating their product lines and produc-
tion methods. This was a boon for Taiwan.
But as the island developed, the costs
of labor and parts went up, and many
Taiwanese entrepreneurs moved their
production to China. (Some firms are The Internship
now leaving China for Southeast Asia Program
and even, in some cases, the United
States.) As these companies departed, The Council on Foreign Relations is seek-
ing talented individuals who are consider-
the Taiwanese economy slowed. Never- ing a career in international relations.
theless, Taiwanese-owned firms remain
Interns are recruited year-round on a semester
among the top contract manufacturers basis to work in both the New York City and
in the world. Washington, D.C., offices. An intern’s duties
generally consist of administrative work,
India Turns East: International editing and writing, and event coordination.
Engagement and US-China Rivalry The Council considers both undergraduate
and graduate students with majors in Interna-
tional Relations, Political Science, Economics,
University Press, 2017, 280 pp. or a related field for its internship program.
A regional specialization and language skills
Since the early 1990s, most Indian strate- may also be required for some positions. In
gists have viewed China as their coun- addition to meeting the intellectual require-
try’s main security threat. One result ments, applicants should have excellent
skills in administration, writing, and re-
has been New Delhi’s cooperation with search, and a command of word processing,
Washington—halting and ambivalent spreadsheet applications, and the Internet.
though it is. Less well known is India’s To apply for an internship, please send a
Look East Policy, formally adopted in résumé and cover letter including the se-
1992, by which New Delhi has sought mester, days, and times available to work
to increase its economic, diplomatic, to the Internship Coordinator in the Hu-
man Resources Office at the address listed
and security ties with countries and below. Please refer to the Council’s Web
institutions in East Asia and Southeast site for specific opportunities. The Coun-
Asia. This useful survey finds that the cil is an equal opportunity employer.
policy has generated a number of joint
declarations but only modest programs of
defense cooperation, intelligence sharing,
and arms sales with partners such as
Japan, Singapore, and Vietnam. India
signed a free-trade agreement with the Council on Foreign Relations
Human Resources Office
Association of Southeast Asian Nations 58 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10065
and pivoted from suspicion of to engage- tel: 212.434 . 9400 fax: 212.434 . 9893
ment with ASEAN’s associated institutions.

But India’s attempts to strengthen ties


Recent Books

with Australia and Myanmar have been
hampered by both countries’ reluctance End of an Era: How China’s Authoritarian
to antagonize China. Indeed, India itself Revival Is Undermining Its Rise
does not want to confront China. Grare BY CARL MINZNER . Oxford
cautions that the Look East Policy does University Press, 2018, 296 pp.
not offer the congruence with U.S.
strategies that some Washington policy- As Xi Jinping embarks on his second
makers like to imagine. five-year term as China’s top leader,
Minzner delivers a withering assess-
ment of his first one, in a well-informed
China’s Eurasian Century? Political contribution to the flourishing declinist
and Strategic Implications of the Belt and school of China analysis. Over the last
Road Initiative five years, Xi has intensified his retreat
BY NADÈG E ROLLAND . National from reform. A reversal of economic
Bureau of Asian Research, 2017, 208 pp. liberalization has led to widening income
inequality, calcifying class lines, and an
Billions of dollars are flowing out of economic slowdown. Instead of advancing
China, as part of the country’s Belt and fairness in the legal system and transpar-
Road Initiative, to build ports, railways, ency in media, Xi has tightened social
roads, pipelines, and telecommunications control so that grievances intensify without
facilities across the Eurasian land mass finding outlets other than Internet rants,
(the “belt”) and along the coast of the mob violence, and illegal protests. State
Indian Ocean (the “road”). The physical control of religion drives many believers
infrastructure undergirds growing trade, into underground sects. By concentrating
financial, academic, and political networks. an unprecedented amount of power in
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s rhetoric himself, Xi is destroying hard-won rules
about a wealthy China giving back to of the political game that contributed
the world and win-win cooperation is to regime stability. All this repression
not without foundation, as hungry govern- breeds resistance, and resistance breeds
ments, not just in the developing world further repression, in a cycle that
but also in Europe, gratefully soak up Minzner predicts will end badly.
Chinese investments. But Rolland’s helpful
survey reveals the initiative’s strategic China as a Polar Great Power
motives, which include providing outlets BY ANNE-MARIE BRADY . Cambridge
for China’s excess production capacity and University Press, 2017, 290 pp.
generating a Eurasian center of gravity
as a counterweight to U.S. influence in In this study of China’s efforts to become
maritime Asia. Rolland speculates that the only nation other than the United
Xi’s long-term vision is to create a world States capable of operating comprehen-
order in which Western-style rule of law sively in both the Arctic and Antarctica,
and democracy promotion are replaced Brady opens up a new frontier of insight
by deference to Chinese interests and the into an area of international relations
international application of Chinese all but ignored by Western scholarship.
“stability maintenance” techniques. She draws on a wide range of Chinese

208 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S

sources to offer eye-opening revelations
about China’s burgeoning polar activi-
ties. Beijing regards the polar regions as
vital domains for fishing and shipping
and hopes to exploit their rich reserves
of energy and minerals. It also plans to DIRECTORY
use its activities there to grow China’s
global influence, something that Wash- Subscriber Services
ington has encouraged by largely ignor-
ing the issue. Beijing talks little about TEL: 800.829.5539
its polar activities and is deliberately
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standing the genesis, motivations, and Advertise in Foreign Affairs
dynamics of China’s exploits in the ice.
TEL: 212.434.9526

Employment and
Africa Internship Opportunities
Nicolas van de Walle
Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica
Congo’s Violent Peace: Conflict and E-MAIL:
Struggle Since the Great African War
BY KRIS BERWOUTS . University of Rossia v Globalnoi Politike
Chicago Press, 2017, 256 pp. (Russian)

erwouts’ savvy history explores
how the Democratic Republic of Foreign Affairs Report (Japanese)
the Congo has changed since the
official end of the war that devastated E-MAIL:
the country from the late 1990s to the
early years of this century. Recent analyses
of Congo have tended to discuss either
the political dynamics in the capital or


communicate their unhappiness with she never provides the kind of systematic 210 F O R E I G N A F FA I R S . Berwouts ends with a pessimistic review of recent popular The Next Factory of the World: How protests over Kabila’s attempts to grant Chinese Investment Is Reshaping Africa himself a third term without holding BY IRENE YUAN SUN . and Nigeria.Recent Books the persistent outbreaks of ethnic specific officers or policies. officers. have also stirred extra pay they entail generates greater up trouble. The predatory. 256 pp. the democratization of several Berwouts shows how the two are linked. and resources have been exacerbated by a soldiers are no exception. willingness to take risks that Western soldiers start them to make demands businesses will not. This book is short on hard data and long on generalizations. peacekeeping operations. although inequality between ranks and because largely incompetent. as Angola. they present substantially more risk to dent Joseph Kabila has survived for 17 individual soldiers. which makes them years but failed to build a state capable more likely to question the military of promoting development or stabilizing hierarchy. commercial interest in Africa is funda- mentally altering the continent’s business Most of the literature on African climate and creating the possibility of a militaries focuses either on the officers manufacturing revolution there. Instead. Berwouts believes. First. Congo is once again facing a descent into violence. the eastern provinces. but it is nonetheless Soldiers in Revolt: Army Mutinies in Africa worth reading because it expresses a BY MAGGIE DWYER . Second. 2017. that the Chinese state has brokered with ling study of mutinies in West Africa. she focuses on the is welcome because it concentrates on many Chinese entrepreneurs who are the rank and file and noncommissioned undertaking smaller ventures in Ethiopia. as spearheading the current rapid economic mutinies are not typically motivated by growth in those countries thanks to a a desire for regime change. Dwyer’s compel. Lesotho. Dwyer violence and human rights abuses in suggests that two factors have increased the country’s east. with its complex and the frequency of mutinies in recent years. Yet although she tells about their material conditions and revealing anecdotes about individual firms. She argues to rebel. Today. 2018. 224 pp. the groups that are most likely Kenya. such which are growing increasingly common. She shows that insurrections that independent Chinese investors are follow a different logic from coups. Sun is or on the relationship between the brass not concerned with the substantial deals and civilian politicians. Instead. Harvard elections. countries in the region has spurred all Local ethnic conflicts over land and Africans to voice public grievances. Oxford popular argument: that China’s growing University Press. the governments of oil-rich countries. ever-changing array of armed groups. Business Review Press. because the mostly notably Rwanda. regime of Presi. she combination of neglect and short-term finds that mutinies are more likely in political manipulation by the Congolese armies that are involved in international state. Other countries in the region.

the main constraints on the Building a Capable State: Service Delivery competitiveness of African manufacturing. September. transportation. African Dominion: A New History of AND NISHENDRA MOODLEY .. please contact us at the Tampa. His book is particularly Zuma’s administration. There are more readable The book is also frustratingly silent on introductions to the region’s history. 520 pp. but what Chinese investors have done to none that is better informed. $89. essentially since then argues that they have made a limited to a small number of Arab great deal of progress in housing. apartheid ended. dedication.95 per year. July. The challenge after economics. we permit certain carefully screened companies to send our subscribers information about products or services that we believe will be of interest. Recent Books data that would make her case convincing. GOMEZ . officials the region in succession from the eighth have not done enough to address major century to the sixteenth century. (Local guese and Spanish material. and unfinished agenda is now up to Zuma’s administrative lineages that linked them. But.) The book doms that emerged in West Africa. Box 60001. in 1994. successor. Princeton 320 pp. public sources. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Foreign Affairs. March. some complementary Portu.O. During apartheid. Empire in Early and Medieval West Africa University of Chicago Press. Volume 97. FL 33662-0001. was to extend scholars’ understanding of the great the same quality and quantity of services West African medieval states remains to the entire population. Cyril Ramaphosa. November) at 58 East 68th Street. From time to time. P. of slavery. $66. May/June 2018. Published six times annually (January. May. other countries via air. and politics.95. And the authors’ overall evidence to construct a remarkably optimism is tempered by their worries detailed understanding of the rise and fall about the corruption of President Jacob of these empires. May/June 2018 211 . and sanitation. Print subscriptions: U. so the authors pay earliest and most powerful of the king. and at additional mailing offices. even as they ignored the have had on the region’s modern culture. political. the decision-makers who achieved this and Songhai empires. the authors argue. address indicated above. South Africa built For a long time. This lucid and hampered by weak and sometimes detailed review of local administrations contradictory evidence. in Post-Apartheid South Africa BY IAN PALMER. Gomez’s problems of racial and geographic ambitious new study uses the available inequality. If you prefer not to receive such information. University Press. Canadian Publication Mail–Mail # 1572121. BY MICHAEL A. completing this cogent on the cultural. Number 3. large black majority.∂ the growth of Islam. were the Ghana. Mali. Tampa. SUSAN PARNELL. 2017. and what’s governments are not responsible for left of an important oral tradition. Canada. $54. little attention to those areas. Even today. based depicts an impressive level of pragma- on trading networks along the Niger and tism.S. Western historians local administrations that delivered social downplayed the influence that West services at First World levels to the small Africa’s precolonial political traditions white minority.95. Periodicals postage paid in New York. overcome high labor costs and poor infrastructure. and the institution Foreign Affairs (ISSN 00157120). FL. and vision among Senegal Rivers. NY. NY 10065. The education and health. which dominated progress. 2018. New York.

” some appeal. which is fueling populism. and the the world are losing faith in their governments’ decline is not as steep as many now claim. The results from those who responded are below: 15 10 5 0 STRONGLY DISAGREE NEUTRAL AGREE STRONGLY DISAGREE AGREE DISAGREE. Has Democracy Lost Its Appeal? Foreign Affairs Brain Trust We asked dozens of experts whether they agreed or disagreed that democracy has lost its global appeal. and liberalism has lost politically. Center for a New Harvard University American Security “Democracy never had quite the global appeal “People in multiple democratic systems around that many believed it to have in the 1990s.” See the full responses at ForeignAffairs. The ability to deliver both economically and West has lost some appeal. CONFIDENCE LEVEL 9 Steven Levitsky Julianne Smith Professor of Government. Senior Fellow. CONFIDENCE LEVEL 7 AGREE. but competitive electoral politics still appeal to many citizens across much of the .

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