September 16th, 2013
12:08 PM ET

What I'm reading: How Summers nomination fell apart

By Fareed Zakaria

“Something very strange has been happening during President Obama's second term. It's called dissent. And, unusually for a chief executive, Obama is letting it – even inviting it – to get in his way,” writes Ezra Klein on Wonk Blog.

“In two of the most significant decisions Obama has had to make – whether to strike Syria and who to appoint to the Federal Reserve – Obama has chosen processes that left a lot of space for Congress and the public to weigh in. And the result, in both cases, was that the resulting criticism led the White House to change course.”

“From newspapers and magazines to satellite television and radio stations, China is investing heavily in African media. It’s part of a long-term campaign to bolster Beijing’s ‘soft power’ – not just through diplomacy, but also through foreign aid, business links, scholarships, training programs, academic institutes and the media,” writes Geoffrey York in the Globe and Mail.

“Its investments have allowed China to promote its own media agenda in Africa, using a formula of upbeat business and cultural stories and a deferential pro-government tone, while ignoring human-rights issues and the backlash against China’s own growing power.”

“Government data indicate that our energy-saving efforts already have yielded some amazingly good news,” argues Ralph Cavanagh in the New York Times. “Our factories and businesses are producing substantially more products and value with less energy, which goes to the heart of the president’s climate strategy. In fact, energy use in the United States has been dropping since 2007, and last year’s total was below the 1999 level, even though the economy grew by more than 25 percent from 1999 to 2012, adjusted for inflation.”

“So what are the possible outcomes of diplomacy? The Iraq analogy is worth considering,” writes Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker. “In that case, a policy of disarmament eventually morphed into a policy of régime change. Many Syria hawks, like John McCain, are far less concerned with the narrow issue of disarming Assad of chemical weapons, and are more interested in defeating him militarily. The White House has said that Assad must go, but it has also strained to point out that Obama is only considering military intervention to deter Assad’s use of chemical weapons, not to change the trajectory of the war.”

“One danger of a successful United Nations resolution is that it puts the U.S. on the same path as in Iraq: a cat and mouse game with inspectors, repeated confrontations over compliance, and mission creep that draws the U.S. inexorably into a war.”


soundoff (One Response)
  1. Brenda Witt

    Your comment makes it sound as if Obama changing his mind due to public opinion is a bad thing. Seems to me that is part of being a good President.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Reply

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