Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Future of Pax America

For John, BLUFWould we be better off with a stronger Presidency?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Yorker, it is house writer John Cassidy.  His article is "The Biggest Threat to America’s Future Is … America".  He touches on a number of foreign policy issues, including our handling of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.  And, he finds our foreign policy processes lacking.  And he doesn't like the role Congress is playing.  At the end he thinks our current processes are wrong.  While I am sure he would recoil at the idea, he seems to hanker for a stronger Presidency and a reduced role for Congress.

Today, however, it is hard to make the argument that the U.S. political system is serving the country well.  With heightened competition and new global challenges, such as the rise of China, the United States badly needs to acknowledge the new realities and improve its game.  Despite the country’s enduring economic strength, its conception of its role in the world is outmoded, its infrastructure is crumbling, and its test scores are lagging in math and other areas, despite its impressive performance in cutting-edge research.  At the very least, it needs to preserve some of its old techniques of maintaining power, including fostering institutions through which it can exercise “soft power” and serving as a magnet for talented and hard-working immigrants, who provide it with invaluable skills and entrepreneurship.

Rather than accomplishing any of these things, Washington seems to be trapped in a never-ending back and forth, in which sloganeering substitutes for analysis and political point-scoring is elevated above policymaking.  It’s a dismal spectacle, and if it goes on indefinitely it will exact an increasingly high price.  Not the sudden collapse of Pax Americana, perhaps, but the gradual undermining of it.

Yes, I don't agree with his solution, but his analysis points to weaknesses in our current approaches.  For us, as voters, the question is, do we have the right balance in our checks and balance?

Regards  —  Cliff

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