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“Debate over the health of democracy and the liberal world order is all the rage these days, sparked by President Trump’s brand of “America First” nationalism, similar movements in Europe, the emergence of a revanchist Russia, and the rise of China.
In 1989 Francis Fukuyama published an essay heralding the “end of history,” by which he meant the triumph of representative democracy over all other forms of government. For a decade he appeared prescient, as democracy swept through Central and Southeastern Europe, Latin America and much of Asia. More recently some of those democracies have faltered. Although few have definitively collapsed, the democratic wave seems to have begun ebbing.
Yet in a larger sense, the “end of history” came in 1945. Since then there have been no wars between major powers and few between smaller states. The business cycle has been moderated if not eliminated. The subsequent seven decades saw almost continuous economic growth, lifting nearly half the world’s population into the middle class.
These accomplishments are based on two basic, widely accepted norms of international behavior: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s territory, and thou shall open thy markets to all equally. The norms were buttressed by numerous postwar institutions—the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, now the World Trade Organization. Equally important, the norms were backed by U.S. military and economic power and the attractiveness of the American political and economic model.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""
"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"