James Traub on a Values-Driven Foreign Policy

 

Jim Traub:  You know, for someone like me who’s written the book advocating what ultimately is an idealistic sounding version of foreign policy, it’s a very hard time.  I think for a bunch of different reasons.  One is that eight years of the Bush administration has not only exhausted the larger world with this visionary sweeping language and behavior in foreign policy but the American people as well.  And so I think that there is a deep mood of retrenchment in this country that is a wish not so much for different foreign policy, though there is that, but also for less, no grand adventures, no grandiose language, no talking about the universal projection of American ideals.  Then you add to that the economic crisis, which not only means that foreign policy is less salient that people who’ve thought would have been a couple of months ago, but also there’s less in money to spend on things that otherwise you might profitable spend money on. 

It is certainly… it is true and it is a rebuke to the great ambitions of Bush’s Freedom Agenda that, in fact, in recent years the growth of freedom has been either nil or negative when you measure it this way.  At the same time, I would be cautious about saying there is this concerted negative trend.  That is we’re talking about a relatively small number of countries and it’s an index that shifts up and down.  You can certainly say there was no sign of that democracy is growing in the world, but I don’t think… I think that would exaggerate the ability of the United States to alter things that are quite profound and deeply rooted in their locality to think that just because George Bush screwed up, therefore freedom is actually heading into a nosedive.

James Traub says George W. Bush exhausted the nation's patience for "grandiose ventures."

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Keep reading Show less