Our (that is to say the United State’s) requirement that all presidents must be natural-born is patently absurd. Though the first person to make me reconsider this rule was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has shown himself to be an incredibly bipartisan and wise Republican in recent times, it is actually Fareed Zakaria, the Newsweek columnist and generally acute observer of world politics, who has pushed me over the edge.
Zakaria has repeatedly astounded me with his ability to look optimistically and critically and all facets of American policy. Further, he synthesizes this analysis into a size that the average person can easily read, digest, and understand in a very short period of time.
Where the New Yorker seems unable to write a thorough analysis in under 60,000 words, Zakaria regularly makes himself understood in a single page. Though his cover story in this week’s Newsweek is longer than that benchmark, none of the words are squandered.
Some of the most interesting observations:
- “Today, by almost all objective measures, the United States sits on top of the world. But… we have become a nation consumed be fear, worried about terrorists and rouge nations, Muslims and Mexicans, foreign companies and free trade, immigrants and international organizations. The strongest nation in the history of the world, we see ourselves besieged and overwhelmed…”
- Despite all the rhetoric to the contrary, “We will never be able to prevent a small group of misfits from planning some terrible act of terror… The real test of American leadership is not whether we can make 100% sure we prevent the attack, the rather how we respond to it… our goal should be resilience… If one day bombs go off, we must ensure as little disruption–economic, social, political–as possible. The would deprive the terrorists of their main objective.”
- “If America has a core competitive advantage, it is this: every year we take in more immigrant than the rest of the world put together.”
- “Above all, the United States has to find a way to send a powerful and consistent signal to the world that we understand the struggles that it is involved in–for security, peace, and a better standard of living. As Barack Obama said in a speech in Chicago, ‘It’s time to… send a message to all those men and women beyond our shores who long for lives of dignity and security that says, ‘You matter to us. Your future is our future’.’”
- “At the end of the day, openness is America’s greatest strength. Many people of both sides of the political aisle have ideas that they believe will keep America strong in the new world–fences, tariffs, subsidies, investments. But America has succeeded not because of the ingenuity of government programs. It has thrived because it has kept itself open to the world… This openness has allowed us to respond fast and flexibly in new economic times, to manage change and diversity with remarkable ease, and to push forward the boundaries of freedom and autonomy.”
These brief quotes fail to do the article justice. If you do yourself no other favor this week, make it reading the Newsweek cover story, either online, or in print.