Summary of “Understanding Trump’s Trade War – Foreign Policy”

2019 could be a defining moment for U.S. trade policy.
Two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, it should finally become clear whether the U.S. president’s brazen rhetoric on the subject is simply a negotiating ploy in the pursuit of new deals or whether a trade war-and with it the destruction of the post-World War II international order-is his real end goal.
Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership without ever proposing a replacement, and he appeared ready to do the same with the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Trump administration’s actions could be read as either an attempt to force China to change its economic practices or an effort to simply punish it by dismantling the trade partnership.
Third, Trump will have to take a stand on the World Trade Organization, a body that regulates trade among its 164 members.
Trump has called the organization the worst trade deal ever reached-even worse than NAFTA-and on several occasions has expressed his desire to leave it.
The final area to pay attention to will be how Trump deals with the trade deficit.
Whereas previous presidents have raised trade barriers in difficult economic times, Trump has initiated them during a period when U.S. economic performance is strong and domestic industries are not asking for such help.

The orginal article.

Summary of “10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019 – Foreign Policy”

So too has his flouting of America’s international commitments: tearing up the Iran nuclear deal and, worse, threatening to impose economic punishment on those who choose to abide by it; hinting he will leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty if U.S. demands are not met rather than working within it to press Russia to comply; and signaling, through attacks on the International Criminal Court and chest-thumping speeches about U.S. sovereignty, that Washington regards its actions and those of its friends as beyond accountability.
U.S. pressure to end the conflict could intensify in 2019.
Only pressure from Europe, Oman, and Iran on the Houthis; from the United States on Saudi Arabia and the UAE; from those two Gulf countries on the Yemeni government; and from Congress on the U.S. administration stands a chance of making a difference.
U.S. policymakers mostly regard such an arrangement as inimical to U.S. alliances and interests.
Much like 2018, 2019 presents risks of confrontation-deliberate or inadvertent-involving the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iran.
The murder amplified criticism in the United States of both Saudi foreign policy and the seemingly unconditional U.S. support for it.
Foreign actors would maintain a fragile equilibrium in various parts of the country: among Israel, Iran, and Russia in the southwest; Russia and Turkey in the northwest; and the United States and Turkey in the northeast.
Nigerians will go to the polls in February 2019 to elect a president and new federal legislature, and again in March to choose state governors and lawmakers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China is not the economic superpower people think. That’s why it’s important to wait it out.”

As U.S. leaders chart a new course with China it is crucial that they understand an important truth: Time, contrary to popular belief, is on their side.
Twenty years ago, a strategy of economic engagement with China made sense.
Economic development, it was also possible to hope, might nudge China toward political liberalization.
Achieving that goal in a highly interconnected world requires a massive, increasingly sophisticated surveillance state at home and efforts to promote the legitimacy of illiberal economic and political models abroad. China meddles in the elections of nearby democracies and uses carrots and sticks to tie the fortunes of other countries ever closer to that of the Chinese state, thus raising the economic and political costs of defying China.
The challenge China poses to the democratic world looks insurmountable because its path to economic dominance seems certain.
As its economic boom has unfolded, China’s expansion has come to rely more on investment in capital and less on figuring out how to use resources more effectively.
Third, the United States can increase pressure on China by taking advantage of its greater economic and fiscal capacity.
China could either sit the soft-power competition out or try to keep up despite its weaker economic circumstances.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the U.S. Has Failed to Protect the 2018 Election-and Four Ways to Protect 2020”

While this failure has left the U.S. unprepared to protect the 2018 elections, there is still a chance to defend American democracy in 2020.
Following an acrimonious debate inside the White House, as reported by the New York Times’s David Sanger, President Obama rejected several retaliatory measures in response to Russian interference-and U.S. intelligence agencies did not emerge with a full-throated description of Russia’s meddling until after the election.
Republican efforts to downplay Russia’s role constitute a dangerous gamble: It is highly unlikely that future election meddling will continue to have such an unbalanced and positive impact for the GOP. The Russians are currently the United States’ most visible information-warfare adversaries, but they are not alone.
Direct attacks against the U.S. election system itself-as opposed to influence operations aimed at voters-were clearly a consideration of U.S. adversaries: There are multiple reports of the widely diffuse U.S. election infrastructure being mapped out and experimentally exploited by Russian groups in 2016.
The combination of offensive cyber techniques with a disinformation campaign would enable a hostile nation or group to create an aura of confusion and illegitimacy around an election that could lead to half of the American populace forever considering that election to be stolen.
While it is much too late to effectively rehabilitate election security for the 2018 midterms, there are four straightforward steps the United States can take to prepare for potential attacks in 2020.
In the run-up to the most recent French and German elections, the respective cybersecurity agencies of these countries had access to intelligence on likely adversaries, the legal authority to coordinate election protection and the technical chops to work directly with technology platforms.
For states’ autonomy to thrive, it is critical for every state to follow the lead of Colorado and a handful of others in building competent statewide election security teams that set strong standards for verifiable voting, perform security testing of local systems, and provide a rapid-reaction function in case of an attempted attack.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is it great to be a worker in the U.S? Not compared with the rest of the developed world.”

Joblessness may be low in the United States and employers may be hungry for new hires, but it’s also strikingly easy to lose a job here.
An average of 1 in 5 employees lose or leave their jobs each year, and 23.3 percent of workers ages 15 to 64 had been in their job for a year or less in 2016 – higher than all but a handful of countries in the study.
Decade-old OECD research found an unusually large amount of job turnover in the United States is due to firing and layoffs, and Labor Department figures show the rate of layoffs and firings hasn’t changed significantly since the research was conducted.
The U.S. ranks at the bottom for employee protection even when mass layoffs are taken into consideration as well, despite the 1988 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act’s requirement that employers give notice 60 days before major plant closings or layoffs.
Fewer than half of displaced workers find a job within a year, the researchers found.
Japan’s rate was similar to the U.S., but Finland, Australia and Denmark were well ahead. Furthermore, the report’s authors find that “Two in three families with a displaced worker fall into poverty for some time.”
The United States spends less of its economic wealth on active efforts to help people who either don’t have a job or who are at risk of becoming unemployed than almost any other country in the study.
Based on an OECD review of almost four decades of data, countries that have decentralized collective-bargaining systems, like the United States, tend to have slower job growth and, in most cases, higher unemployment than other advanced nations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China increasingly challenges American dominance of science”

The Spanish geneticist struggled to renew his visa and was even detained for two hours of questioning at a New York City airport after he returned from a trip abroad. In 2012, he made the surprising decision to leave his Ivy League research position and move to China.
The United States spends half a trillion dollars a year on scientific research – more than any other nation on Earth – but China has pulled into second place, with the European Union third and Japan a distant fourth.
China is on track to surpass the United States by the end of this year, according to the National Science Board.
Recent restrictions on H-1B visas sent a message to Chinese graduate students that “It’s time to go home when you finish your degree.” Since 1979, China and the United States have maintained a bilateral agreement, the Cooperation in Science and Technology, to jointly study fields like biomedicine and high-energy physics.
“At this rate, China may soon eclipse the U.S.,” Sen. Bill Nelson warned at a January congressional hearing on the state of American science, “And we will lose the competitive advantage that has made us the most powerful economy in the world.”
“When the program came out in 2008, it was almost perfect timing because of the global economic crisis,” said Cong Cao, who studies Chinese science policy at the University of Nottingham in Ningbo, China.
According to National Science Foundation statistics, China has almost caught up to the United States in its annual number of doctoral degrees in science and engineering, with 34,000 vs. the United States’ 40,000.
While China recently surpassed the United States in sheer volume of scientific papers published, U.S. papers were cited by other researchers more often.

The orginal article.

Summary of “White House Considers Restricting Chinese Researchers Over Espionage Fears”

The administration is expected to detail new plans for restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States by the end of May. Congress is also considering giving the United States broader authority to restrict Chinese investments.
The Committee of 100, a group of prominent Chinese-Americans, has denounced government assertions that Chinese professors, scientists and students in the United States may be gathering intelligence for the Chinese government as “Disturbing and prejudicial” and warned that it has overtones of anti-Japanese sentiment that was rampant during World War II.”To target a whole group of people as being subject to greater suspicion, based purely on race and national origin, and in advance of any facts or evidence, goes against the fundamental American ideals of the presumption of innocence, due process and equal protection for all. It also fans the flames of hysteria,” the group said in a statement.
Administration officials have been debating restricting visas offered to Chinese nationals for months as part of the broad package of measures targeting China economically.
If the proposal is approved by the Commerce Department, and ultimately by Mr. Trump, American companies and universities would be required to obtain special licenses for Chinese nationals who have any contact whatsoever with a much wider range of goods – making it harder for Chinese citizens to work on a range of scientific research and product development programs.
The academic community is likely to push back on the administration’s efforts over concerns that tighter controls on Chinese nationals could hurt American universities’ ability to collaborate on cutting-edge research and wind up benefiting China even more.
If the United States makes it harder for aerospace manufacturers, defense contractors and others to employ Chinese nationals, more of these recently trained Chinese graduate students may return to China, taking their skills with them.
Stephen A. Orlins, the president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, said that restricting Chinese researchers would be “Tragic” for American universities.
Even Mr. Smith said he did not support tougher restrictions on Chinese researchers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The United States could have Nordic-style welfare programs, too”

Left-leaning Americans should be thrilled that a new subgenre of political commentary has emerged aimed at explaining why the United States simply can’t brook Nordic-style welfare programs.
The reasons adduced to argue that the United States has no hope of establishing programs like the ones enjoyed by Europe’s social democracies are more disturbing than commonly credited.
In a 2014 Slate essay calling for an end to the United States’ Nordic fantasies, Emily Tamkin cited the “Homogeneity of the Nordic countries, on which, one could argue, their stability and equality hinges.” This would prove to be a running theme.
The United States is a liberal democracy, and a unique one at that: While many of Europe’s liberal democracies were formed with a distinctive nationalist bent – that is, as nation-states, or countries composed primarily of single, self-governing ethnic groups – the United States was never any such thing.
Romantic nationalists argued that a country built on a contract – the theoretical premise that one can be an American as long as it’s in his or her best interest, and no longer if it isn’t – simply couldn’t be as successful as states united by language, tradition, an intrinsic sense of shared destiny, and so on.
On the above view, the United States was always doomed to merely marginal achievements where justice, equality and freedom are concerned.
This is where the thinking of romantic nationalists dovetails with today’s Scandi-skeptics: If the United States has a poverty rate about triple that of Denmark, or a child poverty rate about eight times higher, or millions more lacking access to health insurance, each camp would propose, it’s at least partially due to the kind of country we are.
The United States might have to chart a different political and sociocultural path to the universal programs Scandinavians enjoy, but if some zeal for justice and equality is there, I’m not sure why we can’t aspire to cultivate more.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Hamburger: An American Lyric”

In 1993, the Boca Burger appeared, a veggie burger made from soy protein and wheat gluten.
Citizen Burger Bar in North Carolina proclaims, “A delicious burger is your right.” Following the trope, they identify the burger and beer as “Essential liberties.” Ray Kroc in the film The Founder gives a pep talk to the McDonald brothers-whom he will soon be undercutting-by echoing nationalist themes.
Before the Berlin Wall crumbled, the Soviet-run GDR desired to demonstrate its “With-it-ness” with a burger joint-offering, of course, a better burger than any in the West.
If Harold and Kumar traversed the United States in the 1970s with Charles Kuralt, they would have passed by bridge burgers, Cable burgers, Dixie burgers, Yankee Doodle burgers, Capital burgers, Penta burgers.
Or they might have chosen: “Grabba burgers, kinga burgers, lotta burgers, castle burgers, country burgers, bronco burgers, Broadway burgers, broiled burgers, beefnut burgers, bell burgers, plush burgers, prime burgers, flame burgers dude burgers, char burgers, tall boy burgers, golden burgers, 747 jet burgers, whiz burgers, nifty burgers, and thing burgers.”
Curators are found not only in art museums overseeing giant floor burgers; they can be found in restaurants where they are creating veggie burgers.
“Sometimes you see veggie burgers made with a hundred ingredients, a kitchen-sink burger,” said Chloe Coscarelli, the chef and co-owner of Chloe’s.
From references in popular culture to investors like Bill Gates seeking to find the non-animal burger that can feed the world, the burger’s identity is as malleable as that patty of protein itself before it is thrown on a grill.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The U.S. Can No Longer Hide From Its Deep Poverty Problem”

Even in the United States, it is no accident that there are more homeless people sleeping on the streets in Los Angeles, with its warmer climate, than in New York.The Oxford economist Robert Allen recently estimated needs-based absolute poverty lines for rich countries that are designed to match more accurately the $1.90 line for poor countries, and $4 a day is around the middle of his estimates.
When we compare absolute poverty in the United States with absolute poverty in India, or other poor countries, we should be using $4 in the United States and $1.90 in India.
Once we do this, there are 5.3 million Americans who are absolutely poor by global standards.
Pakistan has twice as many poor people as the United States, and Ethiopia about four times as many.
All these essentials of health are more likely to be lacking for poorer Americans.
In my own giving, I have prioritized the faraway poor over the poor at home.
There are millions of Americans whose suffering, through material poverty and poor health, is as bad or worse than that of the people in Africa or in Asia.Practical considerations reinforce the argument for recognizing America’s poor in the global context.
The United States is committed to eliminating $1.90-a-day poverty in the world, a target that is not contingent on poverty at home.

The orginal article.