Obama can still build 2nd term legacy
Many a modern president has lost momentum and suffered what are termed “scandals” in his second term. President Barack Obama’s current problems are part of that tradition. But with the exception of Richard Nixon, scandals have not proven fatal. Indeed, Ronald Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal and Bill Clinton’s impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky affair were far more serious than what we know so far about Obama’s involvement in Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service or subpoenas of records of reporters’ calls. Yet Reagan and Clinton finished their second terms as popular presidents.
America’s founding fathers created a system of government deliberately designed to protect liberties rather than be efficient. They feared giving the chief executive too much power and constrained the president with checks and balances to limit his actions. As one wag put it, the system ensured that King George III could not rule over us, nor for that matter, could anyone else.
Work With China, Don’t Contain It
CITING an escalating dispute over islands in the East China Sea, The Economist warned last week that “China and Japan are sliding toward war.” That assessment may be too alarmist, but the tensions have bolstered the efforts of some American analysts who have urged a policy to “contain” China.
During a recent visit to China, I was struck by how many Chinese officials believe such a policy is already in place and is the central purpose of President Obama’s “pivot” toward Asia. “The pivot is a very stupid choice,” Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations, declared publicly. “The United States has achieved nothing and only annoyed China. China can’t be contained,” he added.
Source: The New York Times
The World in 2030
What will the world look like two decades from now? Obviously, nobody knows, but some things are more likely than others. Companies and governments have to make informed guesses, because some of their investments today will last longer than 20 years. In December, the United States National Intelligence Council (NIC) published its guess: Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds.
The NIC foresees a transformed world, in which “no country – whether the US, China, or any other large country – will be a hegemonic power.” This reflects four “megatrends”: individual empowerment and the growth of a global middle class; diffusion of power from states to informal networks and coalitions; demographic changes, owing to urbanization, migration, and aging; and increased demand for food, water, and energy.
Each trend is changing the world and “largely reversing the historic rise of the West since 1750, restoring Asia’s weight in the global economy, and ushering in a new era of ‘democratization’ at the international and domestic level.” The US will remain “first among equals” in hard and soft power, but “the ‘unipolar moment’ is over.”
The Obama Doctrine’s First Term
ASPEN—Public-opinion polls in the United States indicate a close presidential election in November. While President Barack Obama outpolls the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, on foreign policy, slow economic growth and high unemployment—issues that are far more salient in US elections—favor Romney. And, even on foreign policy, Obama’s critics complain that he has failed to implement the transformational initiatives that he promised four years ago. Are they right?