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Friday, April 19, 2019
  • Fragmentary signs point to another economic downturn. Here are my non-economist’s fears regarding what could turn a moderate recession into one rivaling 2008. 1. New investment gimmick. Before the 2008 financial collapse, investors ...
  • A dozen or so years ago the internet was hailed as the perfect tool to bring down dictatorships, build democracy and prosperity, and interconnect the world. But cyberpessimism has replaced cyberoptimism. Now we fear that the ’net ...
  • College-admissions trickery reflects the shallow transactional mentality surrounding us. It degrades universities’ prestige and the purpose of higher education. Parents too eagerly presume big payoffs in smarts, earnings and ...
  • President Trump’s abbreviated Hanoi meeting with Kim Jong Un reveals again the limits of personal diplomacy. After 2017’s “fire and fury,” Trump in early 2018 abruptly welcomed a summit with Kim. Trump basked in Singapore’s ...
  • Great to be back! My dissertation supervisor at American University, Marian Irish, always used to say that political issues routinely changed sides when the previous minority party won elections. Then the newly ousted party would ...
  • Socialism, thought to have died years ago, is strangely reviving. Or at least people calling themselves “democratic socialists” are starting to rock the Democratic Party. This first appeared in 2016 with Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose . . .
  • Our war in Afghanistan, which started in October 2001, will soon be older than our youngest soldiers. Endless, unwinnable Middle East conflicts have left Americans frustrated and impatient. Candidate Trump vowed to keep us out of these . . .
  • How quickly the June 12 Singapore fiasco with North Korea has vanished from the media! For a few days, Trump looked foolish but obscured it with the NATO, England and Putin meetings and Kavanaugh nomination. . . .
  • Malcolm Gladwell argued in his 2000 “The Tipping Point” that slowly building trends let things stay pretty much the same until some relatively small incident tips them into major change. Are we approaching a “Trumping Point” in . . .
  • We’ve been paying extravagant attention and money to the wrong hemisphere, to the one that includes Iraq and Afghanistan, while ignoring the one that really matters: Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The payoff is desperate, frightened . . .
  • Kim Jong-un “won” the Singapore summit. He initiated and dominated every step of the process and got more than he gave — vague hints at denuclearization in exchange for ending joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. . . .
  • Russian villains have become standard in television dramas, much to President Trump’s chagrin. Scarcely an evening goes by without at least one program featuring a Russian spy, hitman, hacker or mobster as chief antagonist. . . .
  • Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s new book “Facts and Fears” confirms the intelligence community’s certainty that Russia interfered with our 2016 election. But he takes it further, asserting that Moscow . . .
  • The great facilitator of crime and corruption in our day is offshore accounts, hidden under the guise of shell corporations. Drug cartels, foreign-aid skimmers, tax avoiders and ill-gotten gainers of all nationalities love them. . . .
  • The opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem Monday did not cause the deadly Gaza protest, but it sure didn’t help. Gazans planned the “Great Return March” in December, days after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. . . .
  • Critics (myself included) tend to predict President Trump’s policies will lead to catastrophe. But with Trump, catastrophe is always coming but never gets here. At least not yet. His disruptions of normal economics and diplomacy . . .
  • What changed Kim Jong Un’s mind to suddenly throw away all the money, security and family heritage he has invested in nukes? In less than a year he has switched from threatening nuclear holocaust to sweet reason and brotherly embraces. . . .
  • Trump supporters are analyzed in two general streams: the economically left-behind vs. the culturally displaced. The first seeks explanations in stagnant wages, dying industries and offshoring. The second seeks explanations in the rise of . . .
  • The U.S.-U.K.-French strike of 103 cruise missiles on Syrian chemical-warfare installations and Moscow’s reaction were so restrained they almost look pretend, as if the two sides were doing reality TV. Missing was the horror, rage and . . .
  • On Syria, what will we do — too much or too little? Initial betting is on too little, that is, not enough to change Damascus’s (and Moscow’s) mind on using, with impunity, poison gas. A year ago, Syria killed nearly 100, mostly civilians, with Sarin gas. . . .
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