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TLP Week in Review, 8/20-8/25
Your weekly summary of what we've been up to here at The Liberal Patriot.
Editor’s note: The Liberal Patriot will be on end-of-summer break through Labor Day. Publishing will resume September 5th. Thanks as always for reading and sharing TLP posts.
What We’re Reading (and Watching and Listening To…)
“Xi’s Age of Stagnation”: Long-time Beijing correspondent Ian Johnson recounts his recent trip to China in Foreign Affairs and argues that the country faces not just an economic slowdown but is undergoing “a broader process of political ossification and ideological hardening.” Thanks to Xi Jinping’s leadership and policies, China has entered “a new national stasis” that “permeates all aspects of life” and has left “the country more isolated and stagnant than during any extended period since Deng launched the reform era in the late 1970s.”
“John Le Carré and the spectre of British decline”: In the New Statesman, BBC radio producer Phil Tinline takes a fascinating tour of the London haunts of the famous spook George Smiley created by John Le Carré, best known as author of the spy novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Despite modern doom and gloom about the state of Britain, Tinline finds many of Smiley’s old spots far better off today than they were in the early 1970s: “Compared with how this place looks in the 1979 BBC TV adaptation of Tinker Tailor, everything seemed so much more affluent. There are shops offering sushi, tech repair and flavoured vapes: teak, amber, sienna. The pavements are strewn with bin bags and bundled cardboard, but unlike in 1979, they’ll be collected before long.”
Taking the Edge Off the Middle East: A Middle East Institute podcast series of casual conversations with leading policy professionals on the most important happenings in the Middle East today. Hosted by MEI Vice President for Policy and TLP editor-at-large Brian Katulis, the show has featured former Trump administration official David Schenker, counterterrorism expert Richard A. Clarke, and Haaretz journalist Ben Samuels.
Star Wars: Ahsoka: This new Star Wars series continues the story of Ahsoka Tano (portrayed by Rosario Dawson), the one-time apprentice of Anakin Skywalker and fan-favorite character first introduced as a young Jedi padawan in The Clone Wars animated movie and television series fifteen years ago. If the first two episodes are any indication, Ahsoka will be a feast for those who have followed the character and her adventures over the years—but Ahsoka’s extensive backstory could prove daunting to more casual viewers.
Secret Stratosphere by William Tyler & the Impossible Truth: Solo guitar ace William Tyler is on a short run of shows in the northeast and south with a full band (including stellar musicians from the Raconteurs, Silver Jews, and Margo Price’s outfit) playing blown-out versions of his best instrumental compositions. TLP will be at The Ottobar show next week—check them out!
What We’ve Posted
“America Needs a Better Foreign Policy Debate: Why it matters and how to get it,” by TLP editor-at-large Brian Katulis.
“Normie Voters Want Common-Sense Politics!: Why Can’t Either Party Give It to Them?” by TLP politics editor Ruy Teixeira.
“The Three Faces of Right-Wing Populism in Europe,” by TLP contributor John B. Judis.
“In Search of Purple Rain in the Middle East: Why the only effective pathway for US policy in the region combines blue and red approaches,” by Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Steven A. Cook.
“Turning Down the Temperature on Extreme Claims About Extreme Weather: A genre of studies has emerged that purports to blame large portions of extreme weather impacts on climate change—but these studies make one big basic error,” the first in a new regular column from the Breakthrough Institute’s Patrick T. Brown.
“A Not-So-Cruel Summer: Americans have good cause for optimism about their nation and its future as the summer of 2023 draws to a close,” by TLP senior managing editor Peter Juul.
Ruy’s Science-Fiction Pulp Cover of the Week
Just one more thing…
A pair of solar system mysteries, one apparently solved and the other still unexplained. Data from NASA’s InSight lander on Mars indicates the Red Planet is spinning at a noticeably faster rate, but scientists remain uncertain as to the underlying cause. Meanwhile, observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and its ground-based counterparts have given astronomers an explanation of the incredible vanishing clouds of Neptune—they’re probably the result of the regular cycles the sun goes through every eight to fourteen years.