Newsweek Cover: How to Fix the World

December 2, 2008

newsweek-cov.jpg“At this moment, the United States has a unique opportunity to push forward a vision that aligns its own interests and ideals with those of most of the world’s major powers. But it is a fleeting opportunity,” Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria writes in the December 8 cover, “How to Fix the World” (on newsstands Monday, December 1). 

Zakaria argues that before last week’s terror attacks in India, the subject of foreign policy had disappeared, overshadowed by the economic crisis. For foreign policy to receive the appropriate attention, we must hope that President Obama “does more than select a good team, delegate well, and react intelligently to the problems he will confront. He must have his administration build a broader framework through which to view the world and America’s relations with it — a grand strategy,” Zakaria writes. This is a rare moment in history, when a more responsive America could help bring stability, prosperity and dignity to the lives of billions of people. “At this time and for this man, there is a unique opportunity to use American power to reshape the world. This is his moment. He should seize it.”
“Grand strategy sounds like an abstract concept — something academics discuss — and one that bears little relationship to urgent, jarring events on the ground. But in the absence of strategy, any administration will be driven by the news, reacting rather than leading,” Zakaria writes. The creation of Obama’s grand strategy will need to start with an accurate appraisal of the world and the worrying aspects of the new international order, including competition for resources like oil, food, commodities and water; climate change; continued terrorist threats; and demographic shifts. “These changes are taking place at every level and at great speed in the global system,” Zakaria writes. “Such ferment is usually a recipe for instability. Sudden shifts can trigger sudden actions — terrorist attacks, secessionist outbreaks, nuclear brinkmanship.”
Zakaria believes the broad objective of the United States should be to stabilize the current global order and to create mechanisms through which change can be accommodated without overturning the international order. “The world as it is organized today powerfully serves America’s interests and ideals. The greater the openness of the global system, the better the prospects for trade, commerce, contact, pluralism and liberty,” he writes. “I will not exaggerate the importance of a single personality, but Obama has become a global symbol like none I can recall in my lifetime … Were his administration to demonstrate in its day-to-day conduct a genuine understanding of other countries’ perspectives and an empathy for the aspirations of people around the world, it could change America’s reputation in lasting ways.”
Also in the cover package, five leading foreign-policy experts offer their recommendations on dealing with some of the world’s most pressing challenges in “The Things We Need to Do Now.”
Source: PR Newswire

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