America has a serious infrastructure problem. Maybe when I say that what comes to mind are all the potholes on your street. Or the dismal state of public transportation in your city. Or crumbling bridges all over the country. But that’s so twentieth century of you. America’s most urgent infrastructure vulnerability is largely invisible and unlikely… Continue reading America Hacks Itself
Not a single congressional Republican voted for the recent $1.9 trillion stimulus package. Not even the so-called moderate Republicans, the handful that backed the second impeachment of Donald Trump, deigned to support an economic package that helps Americans hardest hit by the pandemic. The entire Republican caucus didn’t just snub the Democrats. They ignored the… Continue reading China and the Perils of Bipartisanship
The story of An Wei overlaps almost perfectly with the story of Communist China. Born in a small village some distance from the northwestern city of Xian, An Wei was seven years old when Mao took control of the country in 1949. As the son of peasants, he was part of the first generation of… Continue reading One in a Billion
The nightmare is over. The vanquished beast has crawled back to Mar-a-Lago to lick his wounds. The heroes are hard at work repairing the damage. As America returns to the international stage, the world heaves a collective sigh of relief. That, at least, is the story the incoming Biden administration is telling. “America is back,… Continue reading America: The Unreliable Superpower
COVID-19 has been ruthless in choosing winners and losers around the world. The obvious “losers” have been those countries led by right-wing nationalists: Brazil, India, Russia, the United Kingdom, and (until recently) the United States. These five countries are responsible for more than half of the world’s coronavirus infections and nearly half the deaths. Just… Continue reading What Explains COVID’s East-West Divide?
Joe Biden is a cautious man of the center. He has anchored the moderate camp of the Democratic Party for several decades. For many, he is a welcome antidote to the last four years of fire and fury, like a bite of white bread to alleviate the pain of a mouthful of habanero pepper. The… Continue reading Biden Won’t Reset Foreign Policy On His Own
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
The outbreak of COVID-19 initially looked like a gift to autocrats around the world. What better pretext for a state of emergency than a pandemic? It was a golden opportunity to close borders, suppress civil society, and issue decrees left and right (mostly right). Donald Trump in the United States, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Rodrigo… Continue reading COVID-19 and the End of Autocrats
During the Trump era, America increasingly seems like a motley collection of states brought together for reasons of territorial contiguity and little else. The conservative South is ravaged by a pandemic. The liberal Northeast waits patiently for elections in November to oust a tyrant. A rebellious Pacific Northwest faces off against federal troops sent to… Continue reading Pandemic Reveals Europe More United Than United States
Federal agents poured into Portland, Oregon this month to crack down on anti-racism protests. They beat up peaceful protesters and fired impact munitions at demonstrators, seriously injuring one of them. They drove around the city in unmarked vans pulling people off the street. Oregon officials at every level — the city, the state, and congressional… Continue reading Feds Attack!