Links and Such for the Week of August 28, 2017

Must-Read: Some wishful thinking from Larry Summers. No, it is not true that "the United States does the right thing", not even "after exhausting the alternatives..." And I am not reassured but horrified by how the "business community, cultural leaders and many congressional Republicans" have responded to Donald Trump as President and what surrounds him:

Larry Summers: Mexico isn’t taking Trump’s threats seriously now: "Relative to my last visit to Mexico in March, leaders have moved from being appalled and alarmed by the Trump administration to being appalled and bemused...

...I suppose this is a kind of progress for the US, if not for the US president. It is not that they find Donald Trump’s rhetoric any more rational.... But they have come to understand that... there is likely to be less connection between his rhetoric and action than they had previously supposed.... Relative to a few months ago, I was asked much less about excessive presidential power or risks to democracy, and much more about impeachment scenarios. I did not know what say when asked whether the president and his team believed what they said about bilateral trade deficits as way of judging trade relationships. I responded by saying that using bilateral trade deficits to diagnose trade barriers was to economics what creationism was to biology, or the idea that the sun revolves around the Earth was to astronomy. Increasingly, I think the president and Wilbur Ross, his commerce secretary, believe what they say, which is an embarrassment to their alma maters.

I left my Mexican friends with a line of Churchill’s in which I have increasing confidence after seeing the response of the business community, cultural leaders and many congressional Republicans to this administration: “The United States does the right thing, but only after exhausting the alternatives.” The exhaustion of alternatives stage in our national life will end, and in my view its end cannot come soon enough.