U.S. Politics Publications
The Senate will decide in January whether it wants to change its filibuster rule. How it is done could usher in either a constitutional nirvana or a nuclear winter.
Although Iran’s mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle presents an inherent option for creating a bomb, the Tehran regime has no urgent incentive to build nuclear weapons. Current U.S. policy, which emphasizes coercive sanctions and diplomatic isolation to compel Iran to comply with its obligations under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), would fall squarely under the rubric of containment, even as the term has been eschewed and delegitimized in the U.S. policy debate. As long as Iran does not overtly cross the U.S. “red line” of weaponization, U.S. policy will likely remain containment in form, if not in name.
Manufacturing plays a key role in the U.S. economy and will continue to do so. Looking ahead, the United States needs a manufacturing strategy that can support the emergence of advanced manufacturing processes that, in conjunction with low-cost energy, can revitalize the U.S. manufacturing sector.
The U.S. innovation system has enormous strengths, including public and private support for research and development, the world’s best university system, and an entrepreneurial risk-taking culture. But those elements of the system now face several domestic and international challenges. The United States will need to maintain support for research and development (R&D), improve its education system, and learn from best practices around the world if it is to compete in the 21st century.
The next industrial revolution will fundamentally change the way we make things, and where. Government needs to create policy frameworks that support the transition to a new manufacturing paradigm and we also need to have a public conversation about what this world should look like and what policies are needed to make sure that both society and the planet will benefit.
President Barack Obama has made “pivoting” or “rebalancing” of U.S. policies toward Asia one of his strategic priorities. The next administration must not simply maintain this policy on autopilot; it must also provide institutional structure, budgetary support, and conceptual legitimacy to the policy.
Promising to level the playing field with China has been a vote-winning mantra among Democrats and Republicans alike. Yet competition for new markets, natural resources, good jobs, and global talent is as likely to come from Japan and South Korea as from China.
Washington and Beijing both consider good bilateral relations to be vital, but their growing strategic rivalry has the potential to evolve into mutual antagonism. In this new policy brief, published as the new leadership was announced in Beijing, China expert Stapleton Roy argues that the US should focus on regional engagement through multilateral organizations like ASEAN, as opposed to its military presence in the region.
In a rare show of bipartisanship, Congress agreed in October to fund the government for six more months rather than suffer the political consequences of a government shutdown. While outrage over the killing of U.S. personnel in Libya threatened to derail the agreeement, pressures to adjourn for election campaigns prevailed.
Is the dysfunction and policy gridlock in government simply a product of our polarized country politically, or a deeper symptom of a changing culture in Congress aimed more at gaining and holding political power than in producing good public policy for the country. Don Wolfensberger sees more signs of the latter taking place.