Foreign Policy May/June

FP popped through the letterbox today, and as ever it has some quality pieces. Only some links, the website has mainly not been updated as of yet.

The cover story is an essay by Robert McNamara, the US Secretary of Defence from 1961 to 1968 and president of the World Bank from 1968 to 1981. In it he discusses the issue of nuclear weapons – and now believes that the US must no longer rely on them as a foreign policy tool. He argues that to do so would be immoral, illegal and very very dangerous.

Ireland also features, having been beaten into second place by Singapore in the 5th Annual Globalisation Index. It notes:

The luck of the Irish finally ran out, as last year’s runner-up, Singapore, took the top spot in this year’s ranking, ending Ireland’s three-year streak. One key to Singapore’s rise was its increased political engagement. The island nation built bridges in 2003—increasing its financial contribution to U.N. peacekeeping missions by 41 percent. (Indeed, a Singaporean general commanded the peacekeeping force in East Timor for much of 2003.) Singapore solidified its first-place ranking in foreign trade by signing a bilateral free trade agreement with the United States in May 2003, the first such agreement the United States had signed with an Asian nation. Meanwhile, Ireland’s strong economy slumped, with GDP growth sliding from a robust 6.9 percent in 2002 to a tepid 1.8 percent in 2003. There was other movement in the top five. Finland fell from fifth to 10th place. The United States jumped from seventh to fourth and became the first large country to crack the top five. Nations with large populations (and large domestic markets) generally fare worse in the index because they are typically less dependent on foreign trade and investment. The strong U.S. showing is primarily a result of its remarkable technological prowess.

The issue of the Japanese death penalty comes up in an article by Charles Lanes of the Washington Post. Japanese officials keep state executions out of public view, and condemned prisoners are not even told the day they will die.

The “Think Again” section is always one of the best – this time it’s on Iran. It is written by Christopher de Bellaigue of the Economist.

I will go through each of these once the website is updated.