A Foreign Policy For The American People

Joe Biden’s foreign policy is evolving before our eyes. It’s refreshing to see a policy and an administration that has confidence enough to show us how they’re thinking.

While he was at the Carnegie Endowment, Jake Sullivan, now Biden’s National Security Advisor, led a study called “Making U.S. Foreign Policy Work Better for the Middle Class.” I summarized that report here. It was published in September 2020, before the election, but Sullivan would have discussed it with Biden.

Wednesday this week (March 3), Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave a speech “A Foreign Policy for the American People.” Comparing the report and this speech give insights into the administration’s policy development.

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Foreign Policy For The Middle Class

President Joe Biden has said it. Antony Blinken has said it. Jake Sullivan has said it. “Foreign policy for the middle class.” I think I’ve heard Kamala Harris say it too. It comes from a report that Sullivan and others wrote while he was at the Carnegie Endowment.

Yesterday (March 3) Secretary Blinken gave a speech, “A Foreign Policy for the American People.” It looks like that speech is an upgraded version of the report. What I take from the report and the speech is that the Biden administration is bringing a new approach to foreign policy, and, more importantly, that they can change. I’ll work through the speech in a later post, but here’s the report.

 “Foreign policy for the middle class” combines two concepts not usually combined, but the two interact in many ways. The report highlights these interactions and attempts to provide ways to make those interactions more favorable. International trade is an obvious point of contact, but others are addressed in the report as well.

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I’m Vaccinated! What Comes Next?

I had my second dose of the Moderna m-RNA vaccine yesterday. What comes next?

It takes three weeks to build immunity, and I don’t plan to change what I’ve been doing until then. I have been isolating rather thoroughly. I haven’t been inside a store since last October. I’m taking piano lessons via Zoom. I wear double masks held tight with a clip that pulls the ear loops to the back of my neck. I haven’t seen friends in person since sometime late last summer. My family is at distances that make a year’s separation not extraordinary.

The CDC has promised guidelines on what to do after you’ve had your vaccine, but they haven’t published them yet. Guidelines are difficult to develop because there are so many variables.

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Covid Likely To Become Endemic

Nature magazine, one of the top two science journals in the world, did a survey of 100  immunologists, infectious-disease researchers and virologists working on the coronavirus, asking if they thought that the virus would become endemic in the human population. Ninety percent of them said they thought it would. From just the mathematics of it, and the fact that it’s everywhere in the world now, I agree with that. I don’t see how it can be otherwise.

But that doesn’t mean that our current situation continues. People will be vaccinated; some will acquire immunity by being infected (although current guidance is that they should be vaccinated anyway); and more will continue to die. As immunity spreads, we will be able to relax social precautions, probably this summer or later. We will, perhaps in a couple of years, be able to go back to something like normal.

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We’ve Got To Do Better

I received my first dose of the Moderna covid-19 vaccine yesterday. I’m incredibly grateful and find my free-floating anxiety much relieved. I have an appointment for the second dose. No more reaction than a sore arm so far.

But the method of getting it leaves much to be desired.

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