US Domestic Policy

White Riot

The first single that the English punk band The Clash released in 1979 was controversial. Entitled “White Riot,” the song seemed to call on White kids to launch a race-based uprising. The song begins: White riot, I wanna riot White riot, a riot of my own The Clash’s lead singer Joe Strummer strenuously denied charges… Continue reading White Riot

Fiction, US Domestic Policy

The Terrifying World of 2025

I’ve just wrapped up my shift at BurgerBoy and I don’t have much time before the weekly self-criticism session at town hall. This hour with my diary is precious, especially when I have to make a big decision. Writing used to be my job, but it’s so much more difficult after eight straight hours on… Continue reading The Terrifying World of 2025

US Domestic Policy

Biden at One

In its first year in office, the Biden administration has done a reasonably good job of reversing the idiocies of its predecessor. It has failed, however, to establish a just, peaceful, and sustainable new U.S. approach to the world. Unlike the first year of Obama’s presidency, which included dramatic speeches on nuclear disarmament and U.S.… Continue reading Biden at One

US Domestic Policy

The Party of January 6

The defeat of Donald Trump in 2020 was supposed to put an end to America’s delusional national politics. The quashing of the January 6 insurrection — and the brief, near-unanimous revulsion among members of Trump’s party for that violence — provided some hope that the fever dream had passed. But the last year demonstrated quite… Continue reading The Party of January 6

US Domestic Policy

The End of US

When does a country stop being a country? This critical moment takes place before a civil war breaks out or an official ceremony of dissolution is held. At some point, the citizens of the country stop thinking of themselves as members of a common association. At some point, the mystic chords of memory transmogrify into… Continue reading The End of US

US Domestic Policy, US Foreign Policy

George W. Bush Was a Disaster — But Trump Was Worse

In 2021, over 140 historians participated in the C-SPAN evaluation of American presidents. The rankings haven’t changed much in two decades. The reputations of Woodrow Wilson, Andrew Jackson, and Grover Cleveland have declined. Ulysses Grant’s approval rating has risen. And George W. Bush moved from 36th place in 2009 to 29th in 2021 — just… Continue reading George W. Bush Was a Disaster — But Trump Was Worse

Highlighted, US Domestic Policy

What’s Up with the Herd? FPIF

The problem with the current pandemic is that we don’t know if we’re coming or going. It’s as if we’re swimming far from shore, overwhelmed by one wave after another, and we’re unsure if we’re heading toward land or away from it. China was the early face of COVID-19, but it hasn’t faced many infections… Continue reading What’s Up with the Herd? FPIF

US Domestic Policy

Immigrants to the Rescue

Germany faces a major crisis. The German birth rate is considerably below what’s needed to replace the population. German seniors, meanwhile, are living longer and drawing more on state resources for their pensions and health care. There are basically two ways out of this demographic crisis. First of all, Germany could boost its birth rate.… Continue reading Immigrants to the Rescue

US Domestic Policy

How Biden Looks at the World

In his first foreign policy speech as president, delivered at the State Department on February 4, 2021, Joe Biden laid out his vision of America’s engagement with the world. In its conventional combination of the stick of military power and the carrot of diplomacy, Biden’s address heralded a return to the foreign policy status quo of the… Continue reading How Biden Looks at the World

US Domestic Policy

The Claudius Presidency

Caligula was by all accounts a nasty piece of work. During the nearly four years that he ruled over the Roman empire in the first century CE, Caligula was notorious for sexual predation and extravagant spending. Never one to sell himself short, he proclaimed early on that he was a god. He held the Senate… Continue reading The Claudius Presidency

US Domestic Policy

America and the Mob

The United States began as a glint in the eyes of an English mob of oddballs, dissenters, and criminals let loose on what they considered virgin territory. Once secure in their new digs, they administered rough justice to the original Americans and any colonist who fell afoul of community rules. Eventually, casting aside their imperial… Continue reading America and the Mob

US Domestic Policy

America’s Destructive Denialisms

The presidential election wasn’t close. Joe Biden won the popular vote by more than 7 million votes, which translates to a margin of 4.5 percent. His Electoral College victory was larger than either of George W. Bush’s. Yet, Donald Trump still refuses to concede. The soon-to-be-ex-president tried to pressure Republican legislators to overturn the election… Continue reading America’s Destructive Denialisms

US Domestic Policy

A Memo to the Next President

Thirteen years ago, in summer 2007, I wrote a memo for the future president of the United States. The one who would take office in 2020. At the time, I had no idea who would win the 2008 elections, much less an election in the distant future. In summer 2007, Hillary Clinton was the Democratic frontrunner,… Continue reading A Memo to the Next President

US Domestic Policy, US Foreign Policy

The De-Trumpification of America

Let’s assume that Donald Trump loses the election in November. Yes, that’s a mighty big assumption, despite all the polls currently favoring the Democrats. If the economy begins to recover and the first wave of Covid-19 subsides (without a second wave striking), Donald Trump’s reelection prospects could improve greatly. The Republican Party has a huge… Continue reading The De-Trumpification of America

US Domestic Policy, US Foreign Policy

The Descent of America

Complaints about American decline have been commonplace since at least the Vietnam War era. In the late 1980s, declinism experienced an upsurge with the publication of The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, by Paul Kennedy, which warned of the dangers of imperial overstretch. Even America’s putative victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold… Continue reading The Descent of America

US Domestic Policy

Is Obama Running Again in 2020?

The U.S. presidential election in November will most likely pit current president Donald Trump against former vice president Joe Biden. These two elderly men have already begun to attack each other in speeches, in TV ads, and through their political surrogates. They are challenging each other’s fitness for office, their respective policy positions, and the… Continue reading Is Obama Running Again in 2020?

Environment, Highlighted, US Domestic Policy

Revisiting the Goldilocks Apocalypse, TomDispatch

Imagine for a moment that Hillary Clinton had won the presidential election in 2016. Imagine, in other words, that the “blue wall” of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania had held firm four years ago. Claiming election fraud, Donald Trump would have insisted on a recount and Election Day would then, too, have stretched into election week… Continue reading Revisiting the Goldilocks Apocalypse, TomDispatch

Highlighted, US Domestic Policy

A Global Green New Deal Could Defeat the Far Right—And Save the Planet, Newsweek

The best way to fight the rising far right is to go green. That’s what dozens of academics, researchers, and activists told me over the course of 80 interviews this year. Over the last decade, the radical right has come to power in the United States, Brazil, India, Poland, Hungary, and elsewhere. It has joined… Continue reading A Global Green New Deal Could Defeat the Far Right—And Save the Planet, Newsweek