Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

For Dec. 7: Iran (again)

Next week, we’ll revisit this topic that continues to be relevant and has recently returned to the headlines.

  • Do we think, as some have asserted (NYT), that the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist was intended to complicate any Biden Administration efforts to rejoin the Iran Nuclear deal?
  • Or will it actually make a renewed Iran Nuclear deal more likely, as at least one other has speculated (WaPo)?
  • Or will it expose vulnerabilities (NYT) within the Iranian government and its people?
  • What should be the U.S. approach to Iran (and Israel)?
  • And how will it all play out?

If there’s time and interest, we may also discuss Afghanistan (again)—another area in which the Trump Administration appears to be taking significant action before the end of the Trump presidency. Who’d have thought the New York Times Editorial Board would credit the Trump Administration with “laudable steps toward a U.S. exit?”

For Nov. 30: The Biden Cabinet

“What does Biden’s choices for key Administration roles tell us about his Presidency?

This coming Monday, we’ll discuss the announced (and rumored) picks for key roles in the incoming Biden administration, and what they signal about the next four years:

  • Will the progressive wing of the Democratic Party get any influential seats in the Cabinet? What will that mean for their respective departments?
  • What do Biden’s choices for Treasury, etc. imply about his economic and tax policy?
  • How about the foreign policy team (Secretary of State, UN Ambassador, Director of National Intelligence)?

Here’s a New York Times article to get us started.

Don’t forget to register on the Blue Hill Public Library event calendar if you want to participate–that’ll get you the Zoom login info.

For Nov. 23: Globalism and World Trade

The Trump Administration seemed to make the term “globalist” a perjorative and to approach trade as a zero-sum game.

Heading into a new, Biden, administration, we’ll revisit some fundamental questions about the United States’ role in global affairs:

  • What is the proper role of the U.S. in global affairs? Leader? Equal partner? Lackey?
  • Are global trade policies/practices amongst the big players sufficiently fair? Where they fall short, what should be done (if anything) to correct the issue?
  • To what extent does our increasingly interconnected world constrain the effectiveness of U.S. domestic policies? For example, to what extent have domestic labor/pay policies intended to help the “working poor” been responsible for “exporting” manufacturing jobs to less wealthy countries?
  • …And lots more to discuss on this broad subject.

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