One Billion Fans, One Terrible Team: Why is China’s National Soccer Team So Bad?
July 03, 2012

BEIJING, CHINA— On a Friday evening in May, more than 50,000 green-clad Beijingers streamed into Worker’s Stadium to watch the local soccer team, the Beijing National Security, play the Guizhou Harmonious Relations. Harmonious Relations lost that night, in more ways than one. The drone of vuvuzelas was punctuated with periodic chanting, mostly variations on the unprintable-in-English term shabi.

Mitt Romney's Man In Macau
June 13, 2012

There is the presidential candidate with very sharp words for China's business, trade and military practices: "We must change course. In the economic arena, we must directly counter abusive Chinese practices in the areas of trade, intellectual property, and currency valuation.

Revolutionary Road
June 08, 2012

 There is something beautiful and breathtaking about watching a hero of human rights make a clean getaway. The hero may go on to other troubles, and the shadows may triumph in the end. But not yet! Meanwhile, you catch a glimpse of that fleeting thing, freedom, as it goes loping around the corner. And the soul exults. The classic text on this most up-to-date of themes was written by Peter Kropotkin, the Russian anarchist, in his Memoirs of a Revolutionist, which he composed for The Atlantic Monthly in 1898 and 1899.

If Only Tom Friedman Had a Newspaper Column
June 07, 2012

I may be a card-carrying member of the liberal blogging guild, but I'm not a Tom Friedman hater. Seriously, I respect his body of work, going back to his days when he was reporting from Lebanon for the New York Times. I appreciate the breadth of his knowledge, which surely exceeds mine. And I admire his ability to produce columns for as long as he has been doing it. Opinion writing isn’t as easy as it looks. But Wednesday’s column was one of those that drove even me bonkers. And it’s not because the column as a whole was awful.

The Need to Lead
June 07, 2012

Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global PowerBy Zbigniew Brzezinski (Basic Books, 208 pp., $26)  When it comes to offering a vision to guide American foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski’s latest book, unlike so much other literature of this type, refuses to lament or exaggerate the alleged decline in American power and influence. Instead Strategic Vision offers a kind of blueprint—a path that Washington must take, in Brzezinski’s view, to ensure a secure international order, in which free markets and democratic principles can thrive.

Sarah Williams Goldhagen on Architecture: Living High

Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. For any number of pundits, policymakers, and scholars, the new next hot thing, in countries developed and developing, is The City—or, more expansively and more precisely, the megalopolis and its little brother, the metropolis.

Even the Costa Ricans... and Chinese and Mexicans...
May 14, 2012

“Even the Costa Ricans have health insurance for all their people.” That was Howard Dean’s old line, when he was talking about all the countries that had universal health care.

How the Obama Administration’s Narrative About Chen Guangcheng Unraveled, One Tweet at a Time
May 04, 2012

When Chen Guangcheng departed the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Wednesday with apparent guarantees that he would lead a safe and productive life in his native land, it seemed that a major international crisis had been averted. In a startlingly short period of time, American and Chinese officials had hammered out an agreement that seemed to protect Chen, while preserving the bilateral relationship.

WH Official: “Offense is Better Than Defense”
May 01, 2012

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about how the 2012 Obama campaign had a noticeably harder edge than the 2008 edition. While I was reporting the piece, some of the people I spoke to at the White House and working on the campaign downplayed the differences between this time and last time, but none of them put much effort into denying it.

Manufacturing an Issue
April 13, 2012

In a recent post in Slate magazine, Matt Yglesias bemoans the Obama administration’s renewed focus on reinvigorating America’s manufacturing sector as a “foolish obsession.”  “[I]t should be obvious,” he writes, “that the path forward for America is to focus on our strengths in information technology and media, and not compete with the Chinese for manufacturing supremacy.” Yet “the path forward for America” is not principally about competing with the Chinese.   It is about marshalling our significant assets and asserting our leadership position in making all kinds of products--whatever they ma