Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:49 PM
yurbud (35,054 posts)
TOM FRIEDMAN's new level of stupid: Arne Duncan for Secretary of State
Obama is better than anyone the Republicans put up for president any issue I can think of even education FUNDING, but when it comes to education "REFORM," he is so wrong that Republicans applauded the appointment of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education.
Republicans and corporate Democrats love the current version of education "reform" because Wall Street hedge fund managers have figured out how to financialize educating our kids and skimming yet more tax dollars into their own pockets instead of putting them in the classroom, and they will pay top dollar, both in campaign donations and after office high paying jobs, to the politicians who will put them in the driver's seat and our money in their pockets.
I doubt that the problem with our foreign policy is that we kowtow to business interests TOO LITTLE.
You just have to read the Wikileaks on State Department cables about say Haiti, Levi Strauss, and the minimum wage to see how our current foreign policy already puts corporate profits over any hope of the poorest people in the world climbing out of poverty.
About the only way a corporate tool like Arne Duncan could improve on that is a "Race to the Top" to see which country can donate the most organs of those who die from our other foreign policies.
At the same time, as our foreign budget shrinks, more and more of it will have to be converted from traditional grants to “Races to the Top,” which Duncan’s Education Department pioneered in U.S. school reform. We will have to tell needy countries that whoever comes up with the best ideas for educating their young women and girls or incentivizing start-ups or strengthening their rule of law will get our scarce foreign aid dollars. That race is the future of foreign aid.
Finally, there’s a reason that since the end of the cold war our secretaries of state have racked up more miles than they’ve made history. Before 1995, the job involved ending or avoiding superpower conflicts and signing big arms control treaties. Those were the stuff of heroic diplomacy. Fortunately, today there are fewer big wars to end, and the big treaties now focus more on trade and the environment than nukes — and they’re very hard to achieve. Also, today’s secretary of state has to deal with so many more failed or failing states. Secretary Hillary Clinton practically had to forge the Syrian opposition groups into a coherent collective, as a necessary precursor to persuading them to do the right things. Today, to make history as a secretary of state, you have to make the countries to deal with first.
In short, we’re still indispensable, but the problems are much more intractable. Our allies are not what they used to be and neither are our enemies, who are less superpowers and more superempowered angry men and women. A lot of countries will need to go back to the blackboard, back to the basics of human capacity building, before they can partner with us on anything. So while we’re not likely to shift our secretary of education to secretary of state, let’s at least understand why it is not such a preposterous idea.
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