Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is a Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His website can be found here and his blog can be found here.
So who will be in charge of the most powerful nation on Earth come January? Neither George W. Bush nor Al Gore. The new center of power in Washington will lie with the moderates in both parties--liberal-leaning Republicans and conservative-leaning Democrats who together will be the only ones capable of setting Washington's agenda. A president will occupy the Oval Office, but he will be dependent on the approval of congressional moderates for almost anything he'd like to accomplish.
Forget George W.'s proposal to use much of the government's projected budget surplus for a large tax cut. The congressional moderates will whittle it down. Gore's proposals for an expensive new prescription-drug scheme for retirees and for a new government-subsidized savings plan on top of Social Security will be similarly downsized. In fact, you can safely forget most of what the presidential candidates proposed during their interminable campaigns. None of it matters any longer.
Virtually every member of the U.S. Senate knows there aren't nearly enough
votes there to convict the president and send him packing. The only real
question is whether the Senate, which is likely to open the trial today,
censures the president within a couple of weeks or the process drags on for
Should we care?
If it goes on and on, you can forget Social Security reform or tax cuts. But
these were long shots anyway. Even if it were business as usual, the
Democrats would block any privatization of Social Security. And the
Republicans want to reserve their big tax-cutting crusade for the millennial
Congress has been deadlocked for a year. Even when it had no
impeachment trial on its hands, the Senate did nothing. Why suppose that a
long impeachment trial would stop it from doing something else?
The dirty little secret is that both houses of Congress...
A s I write this, the Taliban are on the run. By the time you read it, they may be back in their caves. What's the lesson here? Already some in Washington are pronouncing the Bush strategy for dealing with terrorism a resounding success. A few are even suggesting that what we've accomplished in Afghanistan should encourage us to topple Saddam Hussein and any other state that harbors or sponsors terrorists. Not so fast. We may have won or be close to winning the war against the Taliban, but that's not the same as winning the war against terrorism. Even if we topple the Taliban, we still have to install a new government in Afghanistan that is more respectful of human rights and less sympathetic to terrorism--a regime that has sufficient involvement of Pashtuns and Afghanistan's northern ethnic groups to remain in power without our continuous military support. And we've got to accomplish all this without destabilizing Pakistan and without heightening tensions between Pakistan and India,...
A t the heart of President Bush's war on terrorism lies a deepening contradiction that, unless resolved, will undermine the legitimacy of the entire war effort. The contradiction is embedded in the narrative of why we are at war and what it will take to win. On the one hand, the White House describes the war as one without obvious end. Administration officials say repeatedly that victory is elusive and may last decades or more. Indeed, we're told, the fight has barely begun. "Afghanistan is just the beginning of the war against terror," the president said recently. "There are other terrorists who threaten America and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them." America's goal is breathtaking in scope; it is also vague. The administration has committed itself to no less a task than rooting out global terrorism. "We will not be secure as a nation until all of these threats are defeated," Bush said. "Across the world and across the years, we will fight these evil...
This week, as Congress reconvenes, President Clinton will be coming under increasing
criticism for the inadequacies of NATO's bombing campaign. But the favored alternative - a
ground war - is something for which we are wholly unprepared. It's not just a matter of
military tactics; it's a question of national will.
There are two great opposing forces in the world today. The first is technology. The second
is tribalism. Technology is based on knowledge, rationality and invention. Tribalism is based
on passion, ethnicity and myth. We like to think that technology is about the future, and
tribalism about the distant past.
Both of these great forces have been at work in the Balkans. So far, the United States and
its NATO allies have waged a technological war - replete with Stealth bombers,
computer-guided cruise missiles and digital satellite imaging.
Serbia is waging a tribal war. President...