The Score: John Bolton, Cold War, Inclusive Economy, Ninth Amendment
This week on The Score – What brought about the end of the Cold War? Will an “inclusive economy” eliminate poverty? Can the United States counterbalance China and Russia in Africa? Is the Ninth Amendment more than an ink blot? All this and more on The Score.
Ending the Cold War
On December 11, the Charlottesville History Club hosted a lecture on the topic of “Ronald Reagan and the Cold War” at the Northside Library. Melvyn P. Leffler, Edward Stettinius Professor of History at the University of Virginia, talked about Reagan’s nearly obsessive goals of eliminating nuclear weapons and ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union. In the process of ending the Cold War, Professor Leffler said, Reagan helped win it.
Leffler is author of Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism: U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015 (2017), For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War (2008), and A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (winner of the Bancroft Prize in 1993), among other books.
After the lecture, I asked Professor Leffler about the strategic history of the 1980s, including the Nuclear Freeze movement and SDI, or “Star Wars.”
Year in Review
It’s December, and the time of year for reflection on the previous twelve months. TV and radio chat shows are filled with retrospectives of 2018, so why not here on The Score, too?
I got together with Young Voices contributor Kayla Stetzel at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington a few days ago and together we reminisced about the past year in politics and culture, including the mid-term elections and some of the prominent personalities who emerged in 2018.
You can follow her on Twitter at @KaylaStetzel.
Reducing Poverty, Increasing Wealth
Earlier this month, the Cato Institute published a new book that looks at how to combat poverty and help people participate in a wealthier economy. It’s called The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor and I spoke to the author, Michael Tanner, and asked him whether we’re asking the right questions.
Tanner is also the author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservativism Brought Down the Republican Revolution (2007), The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society (2003), and Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis Going for Broke (2015), in addition to numerous articles and other books on welfare and health policy.
Follow him on Twitter at @MTannerCato.
Trump Africa Policy
On Thursday, December 13, at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Ambassador John Bolton, who has been White House National Security Advisor since April, unveiled a new U.S. strategy toward Africa. After delivering remarks to a group of diplomats and policy makers, he answered questions from the news media in a brief press conference.
Bolton’s speech emphasized the following points:
(1) “Advancing U.S. trade and commercial ties with nations across the region [will] benefit of both the United States and Africa.”
(2) “Countering the threat from Radical Islamic Terrorism and violent conflict.”
(3) “Ensuring that all U.S. assistance dollars sent to Africa are used efficiently and effectively to advance peace, stability, independence, and prosperity in the region.”
The new strategy focuses on balancing the influence (sometimes seen as interference) of China and Russia in the region. It aims to reprioritize economic and military assistance, with countries that vote with the United States in international organizations and engage constructively in counterterrorism efforts. It de-emphasizes U.S. participation in, and support for, United Nations peacekeeping efforts, which, Bolton said, are often renewed by the Security Council without regard to whether they are successful in reducing the roots of conflict or whether they simply (as is often the case) freeze the conflict in place.
Ambassador Bolton is author of Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations (2007). He is on Twitter as @AmbJohnBolton.
Bill of Rights Day
December 15 is the anniversary of the ratification of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Each year the Jefferson Area Libertarians celebrate Bill of Rights Day at the Free Speech Wall in downtown Charlottesville. At the 2010 event, the keynote speaker was Robert Tracinski, editor of TIA Daily. He talked about the importance of the Ninth Amendment, and I asked him a few questions after his speech.
Tracinski noted that the American constitutional creed “isn’t just a series of legal statements in a document [but] it’s a whole way of thinking about the role of government, a whole way of thinking about the limitations on government and the rights of the people.”
This year’s Bill of Rights Acclamation will take place at 11:00 a.m. today, December 15, across from Charlottesville’s City Hall.
Next week’s episode of The Score will look again at current events, politics, culture, and history. Come back for more news, reviews, and interviews.