Today’s headlines

December 8, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Must Reads

Smart Power

Obama’s economic speech shifts the focus from deficits (Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post)

The big shift in the United States over the past two decades is not a rise in regulations and taxation but a decline in investment — in physical and human capital. And investment is the crucial locomotive of long-term growth. Michael Spence, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, points out that the United States got out of the Great Depression because of the spending associated with World War II but also because during the war, it dramatically reduced its consumption and expanded investments. People spent less, saved more and bought war bonds. That surge in investment — by people and government — produced a generation of growth after the war. If we want the next generation of growth, we need a similarly serious strategy of investment.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy: Now Hear This, Moscow (David Kramer, NPR)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s clear and repeated condemnation of the Kremlin’s efforts to rig Sunday’s Duma elections was refreshing to hear. Her comments were invigorating to civil society activists with whom I met at a gathering in Vilnius, Lithuania earlier this week — and not just those from Russia but those from elsewhere in Eurasia. In the clearest, strongest language uttered by a Cabinet-level Obama administration official to date, Clinton unambiguously stood with those who protested against Vladimir Putin and his party of power, United Russia, both in the voting booth and on the streets of Moscow on Monday and Tuesday.

Our View: Aid a key component of foreign policy (The Free Press)

The short answer is that even halfway across the globe, the problems of one country have a way of impacting the rest of the world, and the U.S., too. Americans understandably fume when Pakistan closes NATO supply routes, instructs the U.S. to vacate an air base and announces a re-evaluation of its military cooperation with us. But the outrage dissipates somewhat when we remember that Pakistan is a nuclear power in a very dangerous region, that it remains crucial to our aims in Afghanistan, and that if it were aligned with a hostile power instead of us it would become much more of a thorn in our side. This is the nature of world politics. Friendships aren’t always friendships. Sometimes (in Pakistan’s case especially) the relationship barely even functions. But by refusing to play at all, we risk even more.

Gingrich: John Bolton will be my secretary of state (Stephen Dinan and Seth McLaughlin, Washington Times)

Courting conservatives in a closed-door meeting Wednesday, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich said he would ask former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton to be his secretary of state should he win the White House. Promising to seek out Mr. Bolton’s help is one way Mr. Gingrich tried to convince conservatives that he would be trustworthy on their issues, and it comes as most of the Republican presidential field looks to take a harder line on the possibility of Iran getting nuclear weapons.