Author: Anna Cherkasova

Crystal Ball and New World Order: Predicting the Future Can Jeopardize the Present

Over and over again I hear people discussing the possibility of the United States losing its position of leadership in the world. China, they say, is rising. Russia, they worry, is becoming more belligerent. What is going to happen, they wonder, when America is no longer number one? This subject attracts a lot of attention. After the Cold War ended and a simple division of the world under the rubrics of “good” and “evil” was no longer appropriate, an opening was created for a new, equally simplistic, explanation. Scholars of international politics have indulged themselves in hypothesizing about the makeover of the world: trying on different shapes and discussing whether they fit. Different theories have emerged: from returning to great power politics to becoming an integrated world where nation-states no longer matter and international corporations conduct the orchestra. So which world is it going to be and what should we do about it? These are the wrong questions: They are also useless and destructive. Wondering about the shape of the world takes our attention away from real problems and instead makes us worry about monsters under the bed. After the September 11 attacks, however, confused and discombobulated, we felt the need for this shape to be defined. We found a definition in the 2002 National Security Strategy, otherwise known as the Bush Doctrine. In it, President Bush attempted to...

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Hillary McCain-Obama

I’d like to put forward a new candidate. Her name is Hillary McCain-Obama, and she is perfect! She has all the credentials needed to be a great president. She is a wonderful legislator, has great military experience and projects a unifying and inspiring presence that mesmerizes not only people here in the United States, but all over the world. And as an African-American woman who is not trying to hide her grey hair, she is poised to make history. The point of this absurd exaggeration is to show that none of the presidential contenders is perfect for the role, but then, very few presidents were; the role is too demanding of people who want to fill it. The U.S. presidency involves many responsibilities and it is nearly impossible for one person to have the talents or the energy to be equally strong at all of them. No wonder Thomas Jefferson called the presidency a "splendid misery." A president must perform three main functions. He must be head of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief. Since each of these has elements that contradict the others, no one person can fit the bill. The head of state, in the words of Charles de Gaulle, should embody "the spirit of the nation." This person is the face of the country, the king surrogate, the symbol of the values for which the nation...

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Bush is No Batman, Unless Batman is Two-Face

The twin towers not rebuilt, bin Laden not brought to justice, Al-Qaeda not destroyed: just a few key failures, among so many, of George W. Bush's presidency. When confronted with such a reality, members of the Bush Administration prefer to stick to a three-word response; "history will judge" has become their ultimate brush off of criticism. Instead of admitting to their mistakes, the members of the Bush Administration tell us that in hindsight Bush will be recognized as one of the most underestimated presidents in U.S. history. Adrew Klavan, a popular novelist, went as far as to compare Bush to Batman, who has preserved the freedom of an ungrateful people and has never taken credit for it. "Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand," wrote Klavan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. "Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past." "When heroes arise who take those difficult duties on themselves," Klavan continued, "it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness." President Bush, unlike his critics, according to Klavan, has shown his "fortitude and moral courage in this time of terror and...

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