Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and The New York Review of Books. 

Follow Bob at his site,, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

Putin, Trump, and Cold War II

Sergei Chirikov/Pool photo via AP
In the past month, we’ve learned that 13 Russian officials and three Kremlin-linked agencies were involved in 2016 election trolling and hacking, to a sufficient degree to indict them; that the Kremlin was almost certainly behind the assassination attempt on a Russian former double agent living in Britain; and that Russian cyber-war agencies penetrated vital US electrical and other infrastructure systems, and could have shut them down. That latest finding, reported last week by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, was sufficiently alarming that even the Trump White House bleated a mild protest, for the very first time. And the Trump administration joined Britain and other allies in condemning the attempted hit job. Three things are now clear. First, Vladimir Putin has crossed a bright red line and is waging an aggressive Cold War II against the U.S. and the West, using multiple forms cyber-warfare as well as assassinations using nerve agents banned by treaties...

How the Globalists Ceded the Field to Donald Trump

Unless the mainstream offers something better, he will be the voice of economic nationalism.

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/Sipa via AP Images
This article appears in the Spring 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . When it comes to grasping the dynamics of globalization and the backlash against it, the media depiction of Donald Trump’s tariff wars revealed that the trade mainstream is as crackpot in its own way as Trump is—and that Trump is the beneficiary of their myopia. Let me explain. For three decades, the presidential wing of both U.S. parties, cheered on by orthodox economists and financial elites, has sponsored a brand of globalization that serves corporations and bankers but ignores the impact on regular people. This disparate impact is invariably swept aside with the usual platitudes about free trade being efficient and protectionism being narrow-minded and economically irrational. We were treated to those homilies, ad nauseam, after Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. What’s forgotten is the fact that there is more than one form of globalism. In contrast to...

Donald Trump's Good Week

Is Donald Trump some kind of feral genius whose intuition takes him into policy realms where lesser leaders fear to tread? He takes willful pleasure in not reading briefing books or checking with experts, but in trusting his ample gut. Exhibits A and B, which dominated the news last week, were his ordering of tariffs on aluminum and steel, to the horror of every orthodox trade expert (and the joy of his base); and his even more abrupt decision to accept the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un for a face to face meeting. Might either of these impulsive decisions produce policy breakthroughs, proving the conventional view of both substance and process wrong? Take the case of Korea first. Ever since the Clinton administration, the North Koreans have tried to pull the United States into a process that would result in security guarantees for themselves and lifting of sanctions, in exchange for some kind of limits on their nuclear program. But those limits never quite materialize...

Trump: The Bull in the China (Policy) Shop

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Trump is right to attack the foreign subsidy of steel and aluminum exports that threaten to wipe out what’s left of domestic industry. And he’s right to resort to tariffs. But by levying tariffs against the entire world, Trump fails to target the prime offender: China. But Trump’s action has blown open the door to a conversation that America needs to have. The knee-jerk reaction to Trump’s orders shows how orthodox economists and the mainstream press refuse to grasp what’s at stake. Instead, we got the usual sermon about the folly of protectionism and the risks of a general trade war. If you want to appreciate true protectionism, take a good look at China’s entire economic system. Steelworkers’ union president Leo Gerard put it perfectly : “Some of these idiots that say we are going to start a trade war—well, we are in a trade war now, and we are just sitting back.” What’s the nature of this trade war? Beijing...

Putin’s Acts of War and America’s Muddled Response

AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, File
When Vladimir Putin decided to use front organizations to leak confidential emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign and deploy bots and troll farms to rev up domestic hate groups and divide progressive ones, this was nothing less than an act of war. More than a year later, U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that more is coming in 2018 and 2020. But America’s response still leaves much to be desired. For starters, we are getting no leadership from the top. Actions that a normal American president would consider an extreme national security provocation, Donald Trump welcomes as politically convenient. The Kremlin’s hacking is aimed not just at undermining democracy; it’s aimed at undermining Democrats. Trump, no slouch at undermining both, has a foreign enabler. He still has not acknowledged the Kremlin’s role, much less warned Putin of consequences. So while his generals, his intelligence chiefs, the Department of Homeland Security, and most Republicans in...