Opinion (Lawrence Summer, American economist, President Emeritus, Charles W. Eliot University Professor – Harvard University, former Treasury Secretary): “This past month may be remembered as the moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system. This failure of strategy and tactics was a long time coming, and it should lead to a comprehensive review of the US approach to global economics. With China’s economic size rivalling America’s and emerging markets accounting for at least half of world output, the global economic architecture needs substantial adjustment. Political pressures from all sides in the US have rendered it increasingly dysfunctional.
“With US commitments unhonored and US-backed policies blocking the kinds of finance other countries want to provide or receive through the existing institutions, the way was clear for China to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. There is room for argument about the tactical approach that should have been taken once the initiative was put forward. But the larger question now is one of strategy. Here are three precepts that US leaders should keep in mind.
“First, American leadership must have a bipartisan foundation at home, be free from gross hypocrisy and be restrained in the pursuit of self-interest. As long as one of our major parties is opposed to essentially all trade agreements, and the other is resistant to funding international organisations, the US will not be in a position to shape the global economic system.
“Other countries are legitimately frustrated when US officials ask them to adjust their policies — then insist that American state regulators, independent agencies and far-reaching judicial actions are beyond their control. This is especially true when many foreign businesses assert that US actions raise real rule of law problems.
“The legitimacy of US leadership depends on our resisting the temptation to abuse it in pursuit of parochial interest, even when that interest appears compelling. We cannot expect to maintain the dollar’s primary role in the international system if we are too aggressive about limiting its use in pursuit of particular security objectives.
“Second, in global as well as domestic politics, the middle class counts the most. It sometimes seems that the prevailing global agenda combines elite concerns about matters such as intellectual property, investment protection and regulatory harmonization with moral concerns about global poverty and posterity, while offering little to those in the middle. Approaches that do not serve the working class in industrial countries (and rising urban populations in developing ones) are unlikely to work out well in the long run.”
My Comment: I don’t want to be like an armchair political observer, reflecting on whether it is good for the Jews, but the truth is that the good in the long run will only be what is consistent with the program of creation, which is to bring all humanity to one body.
In the last 20 years, the United States has performed a different function: divide and conquer. Therefore, not only is the US losing the role of economic leader but also its role as being an example to the world.