Demonstrations and voting show the best in US democracy, while riots show the worst. Other nations are watching…and making decisions about what kind of governments they want. Democracy is declining worldwide, and America’s example looms large. Our future will be poorer, sicker, dirtier, and bloodier as a result.
The United States is sailing through troubled waters in 2020, and the forecast predicts more stormy weather. COVID-19 has killed many Americans, frightened many more, and challenged every one. The tragedy surrounding George Floyd’s death appears to be a crime, and the investigation continues. The peaceful demonstrations spurred by his death encourage an important conversation on police practices and institutional racial discrimination. Meanwhile, many Americans voted in primary elections to choose our political leaders in 2020. Voting, peaceful demonstrations, and dialogue reveal democracy at its best.
Continue reading “Democracy Doubted”
Pundits, politicians, progressives, and prophets panic over Donald Trump’s “failures” in his foreign policy. They may wish to reconsider.
“Disaster!” media outlets howl when they discuss American foreign policy in the first year of the Presidency of Donald Trump. Some commentators bemoan the withdrawal and even decline of US power, while others rejoice to see the return of a multipolar, rather than a unipolar (US “hyperpower”) or bipolar (US and USSR, or perhaps China, as superpowers) world. Recently the Economist, a British news magazine, announced that Trump has made America and the world less safe.
Whatever one thinks of President Donald Trump, he or she must consider these breathless pronouncements in terms of history and geopolitical reality, not just in terms of modern events. In a speech to the House of Commons (1 March 1848), Viscount Lord Palmerston (1784-1865) said “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” He was right, and the permanent interests of nations are a surer guide to success on the international stage than the vagaries of the news cycle and the panic of political pundits.
Continue reading “US Foreign Policy and Donald Trump”
Immigration is a huge issue throughout the world, but how do immigrants actually do it? The book Arrival City, reviewed below, shows us.
The “Arab Spring” of 2011 and its hopes for democracy in the lands of Mohammed have failed. Libya replaced the government of Muamar Quadafi with two governments, one controlling the east of the country and the other the west. Egypt deposed a civilian despot, Hosni Mubarak, and now has a military one, Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi. Iraq hanged Saddam Hussein and now has lost a huge part of its territory to the radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Syria is locked in civil war, and on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is in flames. More blood has been spilt since the Arab Spring than was shed when the dictators were in power. As a result, millions have fled these countries, seeking safety in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Southern Europe, and North America.
Continue reading “Immigration”