David Brooks 

NYT – 9/20/21

The Democratic spending bills are economic packages that serve moral and cultural purposes. They should be measured by their cultural impact, not merely by some wonky analysis. In real, tangible ways, they would redistribute dignity back downward. They would support hundreds of thousands of jobs for home health care workers, child care workers, construction workers, metal workers, supply chain workers. They would ease the indignity millions of parents face having to raise their children in poverty.

Fareed Zakaria –

WP – 9/23/21

And that brings me to China’s bid to join the CPTPP. Could it be a return to an older, more strategic Chinese approach that asserts Beijing’s influence using economic, technological and cultural means? Xi does not seem like a man who acknowledges error — but could it be that he is quietly attempting a course correction after seeing the disastrous results of his “wolf warrior” diplomacy? Could China actually join the CPTPP? It’s unlikely, since in key areas it remains a “nonmarket economy,” which is incompatible with the group’s requirements. But were it somehow to manage that process, it would be a remarkable move of jiu-jitsu. A trade and investment pact designed to combat Chinese influence would end up becoming one more platform in which China’s weight was paramount.

The submarine deal is a big and smart strategic move. It plays to U.S. strengths, which are military and political. But what if the China challenge is fundamentally economic and technological? For the United States, rejoining CPTPP is politically difficult, but it might be strategically more important than about eight Australian submarines that may not begin to be deployed until 19 years from now.

Fareed Zakaria

WP – 10/1/21

And then there is the United States. The unmistakable winner of the past decade has been what Ruchir Sharma termed “the comeback nation” in an insightful Foreign Affairs essay. The United States recovered steadily from the 2008 crisis and never looked back — even accounting for the pandemic-induced recession. Today, amid talk of decline, most Americans would be shocked to hear that their country has about the same share of global GDP as it did 40 years ago — 25 percent. Its companies dominate the world like never before. Seven of the top 10 companies in the world by market capitalization are American. The United States continues to lead in most of the industries of the future, from biotechnology to nanotechnology to artificial intelligence. The dollar is dominant as a global reserve currency like no other in history, being used in almost 90 percent of international transactions. And it has the healthiest demographics of any of the world’s five biggest economies, thanks to immigration…..

But that is not what it looks like in Washington. America’s weakness is its politics. Despite our extraordinary structural advantages, our political leaders cannot pay our national credit card bills without high drama. They are struggling with infrastructure spending that the past three presidents have advocated as urgent and that a hefty majority of the public supports. Congress has not passed a regular budget in 25 years. Hundreds of key posts in the administration lie vacant, with dozens held hostage by senators on unrelated issues. And one of our two major parties — goaded on by its demagogic leader — is busy seeking to disrupt the set of institutions, laws and norms that ensure free and fair elections, setting the country up for a massive political crisis in 2024.

Washington Post

Anne Applebaum


Robert Kagan

WP – 9/23/21

he United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves. The warning signs may be obscured by the distractions of politics, the pandemic, the economy and global crises, and by wishful thinking and denial. But about these things there should be no doubt:

Washington Post

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