The Biden Doctrine
Plus, Mikhail Gorbachev, 1931–2022.
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SHAY KHATIRI: The Biden Doctrine.
Twenty months into Joe Biden’s presidency, there is an emerging trend in the administration’s foreign policy. The Biden team has been cobbling together groups of U.S. allies and partners, each comprising countries with shared interests within a geographic region. At the center of each group, setting the agenda, is the United States. This senatorial approach to foreign policy may be the Biden Doctrine: Form “gangs” of partners on issues of importance, and work to reach a desired outcome by exerting as much influence in as many groups as possible—especially when it’s impractical to go through the formal “committee” of a multilateral organization.
The major foreign policy accomplishment of the Biden administration’s first year was the creation of AUKUS. The partnership’s crown jewel is sharing nuclear submarine technology with Australia, but the agreement, in accordance with the U.K. government’s Integrated Defense Review, would also demand a greater degree of involvement from the United Kingdom in the Indo-Pacific. AUKUS came on top of the administration’s increased investment in the Quad, a security partnership among the United States, Australia, Japan, and India. It was followed by the rollout of I2U2—a partnership among Israel, India, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States—and a botched attempt to re-energize the Organization of American States (OAS).
Enough unforced errors, Democrats: 1. Get mayors to talk up the infrastructure & inflation bills. 2. Be like Warnock, Shapiro, and Kelly —> cut into GOP margins in red areas. Plus, Trump lawyer missteps and staying honest in your writing. Bakari Sellers and Lis Smith join guest host Tim Miller.
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CATHY YOUNG: Mikhail Gorbachev, 1931–2022.
Looking for symbolic meanings in current events always carries the risk of reaching for facile or far-fetched interpretations. And yet it’s difficult not to see symbolism in the fact that Mikhail Gorbachev, the first and last president of the Soviet Union, died just a few months after the final death agony of the new Russia that he had, not always willingly, midwifed: a Russia of free travel and free speech, of McDonald’s restaurants and Adidas shoes, of openness to Western culture and Western values; a Russia that aspired to join the global community of liberal democracies.
By the time of his death this week at the age of 91 following a long illness (reportedly kidney ailments), Gorbachev had become a relic of a distant past. Yet for a while, he was a global star; in 1988, he even made it on Gallup’s Top Ten Most Admired Men list, one of the very few non-American men to have that distinction and the first Soviet man to appear on it since its introduction in 1955. Rush Limbaugh coined the term “Gorbasm” to mock the transports of delight with which America’s liberal intelligentsia greeted Gorbachev, and on that occasion the right-wing radio jock was on to something. But Gorbymania was not just an American or left-wing phenomenon; it swept up even a Cold Warrior like Margaret Thatcher. (A little-known fact: the Iron Lady made her famous remark, “I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together,” in late 1984, when the future superstar was only a rumored heir to the USSR’s top leadership.)
BRENT ORRELL: Another Weirdness of the COVID Labor Market.
Our labor market feels like it is lit by lightning. Just when you think you have the narrative down about what’s happening and what it means, new data emerges that makes the picture look very different.
A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that as of a couple months ago, the U.S. labor market was, for the most part, back to its pre-pandemic levels with two key exceptions: a lagging employment ratio (the number of people in the labor force divided by the number of working-age individuals) driven almost entirely by early retirements, and a slightly diminished number of low-skilled workers. As it turns out, these two things may be related.
We all understand the basic story: When COVID-19 hit in February 2020, U.S. consumers shut down the economy. (Government edicts to close businesses actually followed public attitudes rather than leading them.) There was a rapid shift to telework and unprecedented furloughs and layoffs. According to the NBER study, 8 percent of the working-age population was out of a job and not looking for work by April 2020. Some relied on emergency, enhanced unemployment benefits while others continued to receive their wages through their employers under the Paycheck Protection Program. Without other options for controlling the spread of COVID-19, these measures made it possible for individuals and families to isolate while also keeping their refrigerators stocked until vaccines started arriving in early 2021.
Happy Wednesday! What did you expect was going to happen when you nominate crazy? Getting out fundraised 10 to 1? The sad part is that the election margins won’t be 10 to 1, and they should.
Did Gavin McInnes fake his arrest? Nobody’s sure, but his fans are turning on him.
Is the military having a problem with aircraft? An awful lot of them are being grounded.
LIV vs. PGA. This line in a Defector column slayed me: “I continue to find it grimly funny that a business operated by the investment fund of an infinitely oil-rich authoritarian monarchy could offer almost a billion dollars in upfront money to 46-year-old Tiger Woods to essentially serve as their mascot, and then turn around and say with a straight face that its viability and existence is meaningfully threatened by restrictions on who is allowed to participate in its competitor’s events.”
The longest game… As a former minor league baseball employee, I enjoyed this, and if you love baseball, you will, too. There comes a point where you conclude: how much longer can this go on? My JV hockey coach ran into this when the state title game went into its seventh overtime.
The DOJ picture… An analysis of where we stand, and why it matters.
The secret ‘Fraudit’… Arizona can keep this clown show’s details from Arizona voters, who paid for it. Insane.
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