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“Great Powers” with Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett

Tuesday, February 3, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

A couple of years back I conducted a series of interviews with Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett on his best-selling and hugely influential The Pentagon’s New Map. We spent an hour a week for eight weeks doing a chapter-by-chapter conversation about the book. I don’t think anything like it had ever been done on talk radio, but the audience loved it. Dr. Barnett and I don’t agree on crucial issues –especially on how to deal with Iran– but my job is to deliver a program that attracts as wide an audience as possible for subjects that matter greatly. That series did exactly that.

Dr. Barnett has a new book out, one that is often very critical of President Bush and his Administration’s conduct of American foreign policy. Unlike most such books, this one balances the criticism with calibrated appreciation, and argues not from any agenda of scoring political points but of advancing a competing approach to the conduct of grand strategy. It is thus a fascinating and detailed counter-account of what just happened, and a detailed prescription of what should happen next. Great Powers: American and the World after Bush is thus part of the necessary bookshelf that any serious participant in the conversation of where we ought to go next will have to read.

As an assist to that project, I begin a series of interviews with Dr. Barnett on Wednesday’s program. We’ll cover chapters one and two of Great Powers in the first hour of the program, and reconvene for about a chapter a week for the next few weeks thereafter. Get the book, catch up and read along. You will be very glad you did, even if you are, like I am, a great admirer of the Bush Administration’s strategic direction.

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If President Obama Blows The Stimulus….

Tuesday, February 3, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

A serious slow-down in the crafting of the stimulus package is necessary because increasing attention on it has revealed that it simply won’t do what the public expects of it. It is a “stimulate-the-Democratic-Party” bill, not a job creating jump start to a faltering economy that needs to turn over into growth mode.

And voters –especially the young ones who supported the new president so decisively– know it. There’s a story in the WSJ.com today on how the jobless are spending a lot of time online as a diversion from their predicaments, but they are also exchanging information and political opinions. The “stimulus bill” has been debated and dissected for just about 10 days, but its brand is already pork, and sites like ReadTheStimulus.org guarantee that the brand won’t improve unless the bill improves.

Which means that there is a high degree of expectation about the bill’s impact, and a high degree of awareness about its imperfections –a situation of political peril for the new president.

President Obama has been given an opportunity to spend a trillion dollars, and if he does and the economy stays flat or in even negative growth because he chose a partisan path at the opening of his allegedly bipartisan adminstration, that story line will never get rewritten.

Senators McConnell, Kyl and Alexander represent the GOP. The new president ought to be working with them to make sure the bill works, and not just for Acorn and various special interests.

“Laid Off and Looking”

Tuesday, February 3, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Wall Street Journal has an innovate blog that follows eight MBAs caught in the financial crisis as they look for new work.

The Journal continues to use its online operations to adapt to the new media world with a rapid deployment of storylines, news silos and features like this one that grab whole segments of readers based on their personal stories. Why every major paper isn’t this innovative is puzzling. Only by taking such risks and rapdily trying new features can they hope to survive.

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