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Week in Review

This past week, our latest essay Beyond Blue series looked at some housing trends which may point the way to an efficient yet distinctively suburban future. It turns out young people prefer free-standing homes over crowded cities, and there’s hope that multi-generational family dwellings are the wave of the future.

As far as the blue model itself, we continued our coverage of the fiscal path to ruin in Detroit, California and New York (and more New York). In addition, we outlined how one of the bastions of the blue model—education—will increasingly come under scrutiny by an increasingly well-educated generation of parents, both at the elementary/high school level and beyond.

In China, Chongqing Committee Secretary and all around demagogue Bo Xilai was shown the door, though we noted that the ideas he represents may not be quite finished. Meanwhile, as Vladimir Putin mimicked Obama and made motions towards what looked like Russia’s own pivot to Asia, other countries in China’s periphery continued to make their moves in the emerging Asian Game of Thrones. Kyrgyzstan pressured the U.S. in negotiations over Manas airbase, South Korea beefed up its naval presence in the China Sea (just as a far-reaching trade agreement with the U.S. came into force), and Mongolia kept its options open by signing a free-trade agreement of its own with Japan. (Japan, for its part, has been looking to China for help with growth.)

In Afghanistan, in the wake of the tragic rampage of a lone U.S. soldier, which itself follows hot on the heels of the Koran-burning incident, we once again advised President Obama that he re-evaluate his strategy for that war. (We also think it would be wise if he spoke more of it with the American people, for wars are serious matters—not inconvenient policies to be swept under the proverbial rug.) Things seem to have cooled off with Pakistan, though. Is it because they sense the United States is on its way out?

In Europe, the French presidential elections went from populism to pander in the course of a few short days (with frightening implications for Europe). The UK prepared for the worst on the continent, as its joint committee on the National Security Strategy issued a profoundly glum report. As the EU stumbles ahead, maybe it’s time to re-read The Radetzky March?

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