This is the second installment of the week in review, which brings you highlights from the week and news from the Team.Via Meadia’s main preoccupation during the week was the breathtaking and audacious series of US moves in Asia. Most mainstream news outlets — weak as always in their Asia coverage — did not seem to get it, but history was being made last week. US and Australian moves signaled a new activism in the region, tightening the cooperation between democracies; by week’s end it was clear that the US, with the backing of almost every country in the region, was pushing China hard on the South China Sea issue. For now, China was back peddling, but the game isn’t over.Two essays hit it big this week. “Listen Up, Boomers: The Backlash Has Begun” went up on Sunday and quickly became one of Via Meadia’s most popular posts of all time. The response has been spectacular: A recent check put the total number of comments at over 230 and rising. “Obamacare, We Hardly Knew Ye” was published on Thursday. Perhaps it’s too soon to wave goodbye to Obama’s healthcare plan but Via Meadia was joined by a large audience eager to lament what appears to be an overhyped, overloaded and inefficient remedy for a bloated system.Short posts, by and large, focused on Europe and Asia. The meltdown on the continent continued, with Germany standing strong against their neighbors to the south and west and against increasingly urgent pleas to permit the ECB to act as the lender of last resort and bail out European sovereigns and banks. Italy and Greece installed new governments; in both cases Via Meadia doubts that technocrats can solve the problems the politicians could not. A leaked document from the Berlin betrayed German sentiment toward its southern neighbors. Meanwhile, the UK faces trouble and opportunity on the mainland, as the discussion of eurozone reforms raises sharp questions for an island never entirely sure of its place in the EU.Iran received some serious attention this week: As Israel, the US, and the UK prepared for war against Iran, the price of oil spiked, a trend that might suggest that markets are beginning to take the war talk more seriously. In the grand bargain/reset department, VM saw signs that Russia might swing toward the West’s track on Iran, if Obama supports Moscow’s entry into the WTO. Meanwhile, domestic opponents to Iran’s nuclear program are making their voices heard. Oddly, the NYT called out Obama for wimpishness on Iran, saying his response to the recently-released IAEA report was an example of “leading from behind at its faintest”.“Meritocracy, Thy Name Is Chelsea” lamented the increased trend toward a hereditary celebrity class and suggested that the privileged children of the rich and the famous might be able to serve their country best by remaining in low profile positions. With “Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Obama” we looked at the unfortunate tendency of the health care reform to accelerate the disappearance of small medical practices and wondered whether the development of bureaucratic and lumbering health care giants would really make health care better or cheaper.In other news, Assad is struggling; Einstein got served; America’s higher education system is wallowing in self-destruction; WRM discussed Europe’s culture war in the WSJ; China hit a wall in its Brazil investment plans; Green propaganda at the NYT; and — in an all too rare piece of good news — Myanmar is cautiously opening its doors to foreign investors and governments.As usual, some readers felt our posts were too right wing, others saw us as a mouthpiece for the left. We attacked the Obama administration over health care, but praised its leadership in Asia. We continued to say nothing about the GOP presidential race; that dismal phenomenon speaks for itself.The Team is expanding. Davis Wert of Denver, Colorado, began posting this week: Check out “The Asian Bazaar: Open For Business” and “Higher Ed on the Rocks” for his contributions. We are also happy to welcome Yair Rosenberg (soon to be a resident of glamorous Queens) and Sean Savage, both currently based in Boston, to the Team. Welcome all.Next week may be slightly quieter on the blog; Thanksgiving approaches, and Team Mead will be observing the holiday with its customary devotion. Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald’s famous piece on Le Jour de Merci Donnant made the point that Thanksgiving is the one day in the year on which Americans eat better than the French; Team Mead plans to make the most of the opportunity, while giving thanks to the Author of Liberty from whose protection and care come all the many blessings of our lives.
Week In Review