Editor's Note

Editor’s Note

Michael Tomasky introduces Issue #40

By Michael Tomasky

The standard line is that foreign policy doesn’t matter much in presidential elections, but we sense that this year is different. The world is on edge, or in fact several edges: Syria, Iran, the volatile Mr. Putin, the worldwide refugee crisis, ISIS and the terrorist threat. In addition to those, there are new crises—things that are not traditionally thought of as belonging under the rubric of foreign policy per se, but that now necessarily must be: the environment and climate change, the pandemic threat, concerns about cybersecurity. Throw in the fact that all these crises now reveal themselves before us instantly, via smartphones and social media, and you have yet another new foreign-policy problem: the fact that, for the government bureaucrats charged with dealing with all this, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day anymore.

These thoughts underpin our foreign-policy symposium that leads this issue. Joseph Nye Jr. provides the overview. Faysal Itani delves into Syria, ISIS, and terrorism. Ronald Klain discusses the pandemic threat. Simon Johnson looks at the global financial system. Cathleen Kelly takes on climate change. Jason Healey and Klara T. Jordan examine cybersecurity. And Julianne Smith offers insight into how the government can better manage these crises. And since it’s an election year, all the pieces are written with an eye toward offering advice for the next President.

Elsewhere in the issue, Lydia Bean and Steven Teles explain how and why the progressive partnership with evangelicals on climate change collapsed and the lessons that can be learned for next time. Heather Boushey makes the case for a new contract between families and employers. Bernard A. Weisberger and Marshall I. Steinbaum tell the fascinating story of the founding of the American Economic Association and its surprising relevance for today.

Finally, we have Marvin Kalb on Putin’s Russia, Ethan Porter on global tax evasion, and Sam Rosenfeld on Jefferson Cowie’s “Great Exception” theory. Alyssa Katz responds to Ryan Grim’s review of her book on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and our Elbert Ventura explains why you get those huge medical bills that no one told you you were getting.

—Michael Tomasky

Michael Tomasky is the editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.

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