December 16, 2009
In the popular imagination, the United States and Europe are assumed to be radically opposing poles--"Mars" and "Venus"--on issues such as market regulation, public education, social policy, health care, crime, and the environment. But is that really the case? The numbers would suggest otherwise. My book, The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe are Alike, presents quantifiable data on a wide array of social conditions on each side of the Atlantic.
Squaring Idealism and Realism
December 14, 2009
PARIS -- Europeans are coming to terms with the fact that President Obama is not a miracle worker, and with the reality that everything he does is not magic. Oh, yes, most Europeans are still happy Obama is president.
"Starting From Scratch" in Afghanistan
December 11, 2009
Richard Holbrooke, while drumming up support for the war in Germany, offers a bleak assessment.
Quick Thoughts On Obama's Speech
December 10, 2009
I’m not a big fan of political speeches in general, but I thought President Obama’s Nobel acceptance speech today was unusually good. (If I were a speech-y kind of writer, like Rick Hertzberg, I’d have used a better adjective in the last sentence than “good.”) After again acknowledging that he doesn’t really deserve the award--“I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage.
December 10, 2009
Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity Museum of Modern Art Kandinsky Guggenheim Museum This is an autumn of anniversaries in two of New York’s most important museums. At the Museum of Modern Art, “Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity,” the exhibition saluting the ninetieth anniversary of the opening of the legendary German school of art, architecture, and design, also marks the eightieth anniversary of the founding of the Modern.
Surprise--Obama Changes Up His Copenhagen Schedule
December 04, 2009
It’s official: Barack Obama will attend the Copenhagen climate conference on December 18, the final day of scheduled negotiations. Originally slated only for a brief stopover at the start of the conference, en route to accepting his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Obama’s change in schedule is making enviros hopeful. Politico called it “a strong signal that U.S. negotiators believe the negotiations could result in a political agreement to curb greenhouse gases worldwide and a framework for signing a legally binding treaty in 2010.” Obama’s original plans had been criticized by other world leaders.
Innovation Nation: Israel
December 04, 2009
As America struggles to get its mojo back as a preeminent center of innovation and thereby prosperity, metropolitan and national economic leaders would do well to study the case of Israel. Israel? Yes, Israel.
Is Russia Finally Getting Serious About Iran?
November 24, 2009
In recent weeks, Barack Obama's foreign policy has been derided by critics who say he has almost nothing to show for his first 10 months in office. But on one of his most important priorities--stopping Iran's relentless march towards a nuclear weapon--he may be quietly reaping a critical diplomatic turnaround: Russia may finally be getting serious about Iran's nuclear program. That would be great news for Obama. In recent weeks Iran has shown little sign of cutting a good-faith deal with the West to freeze its nuclear program.
Murder in the Bronx, Business as Usual: A Suggestion for Obama in 2014
November 19, 2009
It’s one of those hideous little episodes making minor headlines this week that will be forgotten by the media next week. 15-year-old Vada Vasquez of the Bronx is in a coma with a bullet in her brain, after being caught in the crossfire when a group of Bloods took aim at 19-year-old Tyrone Creighton (and succeeding; he’s in the hospital, too). The Bloods went after Creighton at the behest of friends of a man in Rikers who suffered a beatdown by Creighton’s two brothers in Rikers with him.
Is Europe Really On Track To Meet Its Kyoto Goals?
November 16, 2009
There's a fairly basic question about climate policy that gets asked a lot: Can a cap-and-trade program actually cut carbon-dioxide emissions? Set aside the question of cost and the endless debate over whether a mythical carbon tax would be sleeker. Can a cap on carbon actually do what it's supposed to do? Right now, the best example of an up-and-running cap-and-trade system is in Europe. And, for years, the continent was seen as a hopeless failure at cutting emissions.