The Good Fallout from Iraq

Reconciling morals with how a society is organized - in other words, reconciling ethics with politics - is one of humanity's oldest ambitions. Hammurabi, Raamses II, Solon, Confucius, and Pericles were among the first great figures to embark on this effort. The emergence of the nation-state in the eighteenth century, and the extreme level of barbarism reached in the twentieth century, may have created the impression that an ethical politics was an unrealizable dream, or that it was a dream growing ever more distant as it receded into the future.

Yet, despite the rivalry of nations and the bloodiness of modern warfare, democracy is spreading. Indeed, in but half a century, Latin Americans rid themselves of all of that continent's military and civilian dictatorships, and Africa has eliminated more than half of the despots that have blighted its era of independence.

Compared with all the other political regimes known to mankind, democracy represents ethical progress twice over: first, because it is based on respect for human rights; and secondly, because the universal suffrage that modern democracy embraces prohibits neglecting or oppressing minorities.

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  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
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    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

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    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

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    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.