Almost all political commentators agree on one thing. The Republican presidential campaign is unlike any we have experienced. It is not a campaign of steady trends and continuities, but rather of emotional reversals and discontinuities. Perhaps this is so because the last 3 to 4 years have been a shocking time of discontinuities and reversals for America.
One of the nice things about human history is that no matter how much people or their leaders misjudge events and make a hash of things, within a few centuries, the debris is cleared away, and we can have another go at getting things right.
Sunday on "Meet the Press" Colin Powell blamed divisive, poisonous Washington politics on the media and the Tea Party. The essence of Powell's argument was: "Republicans and Democrats are focusing more and more on their extreme left and extreme right. And we have to come back toward the center in order to compromise. ... The media has to help us.
As we approach the festive season -- the elongated, enchanting month from Thanksgiving through Christmas to New Years -- my mind has been drifting through various memorable past holidays. Some have been personal -- the last one with my father before he died. But one that stands out for historic reasons was Christmas 1991.
A just released book, "Bowing to Beijing" by Brett M. Decker and William C. Triplett II, will change forever the way you think about China -- even if, like me, you already have the deepest worries about the Chinese threat. As I opened the book, I was expecting to find many useful examples of Chinese military and industrial efforts to get the better of the United States and the West.
Here's a thought: The GOP presidential primaries may well prove to be inconclusive, with the nominee actually being chosen at the convention in Tampa, Fla., in the fourth week of August next year.
Now is a particularly dangerous moment for American national security interests. Not just because threats are growing. Not just because the current administration is making a historic bungle from China to Iraq to Iran to Russia to Europe to Mexico to our historic allies in the Middle East -- both Jewish and Muslim. All that would be bad enough.
"No one should miscalculate America's resolve and commitment to helping support the Iraqi democracy.
-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, October 23, 2011
For the past few years, fear of China's predatory mercantilism has been steadily growing in America, both amongst the public and in elite business and political circles. But last week, for the first time, one could discern the genuine possibility that America might actually do something about it -- even if it means a trade war.
How dangerous is the European financial condition? On Monday, while stock markets from the DAX and FTSE to the New York Stock Exchange were up sharply on report of French and German cooperative murmurs regarding sovereign debt negotiations (and on temporary easing of U.S. double-dip recession fears), the financial and political European press were warning of a coming financial crisis of unmatched dimensions.