Monday, December 06, 2004

Thoughts From The Left - Mother Jones: "Think-Tank Roundup" by Bradford Plumer

Think-tank roundup
December 3, 2004 12:37 PM

"For those of you trying to satisfy your inner wonk (and hey, who isn't?), here are some of the best ideas and papers percolating through the liberal think tanks this week:

Brookings: The transcripts from a recent conference on what to expect from Bush's second term domestic agenda are up. A lot of smart people throwing out smart ideas and predictions. Interestingly, on health care, even conservative experts seem to agree that Bush's health savings accounts could unravel employer-based health care and won't solve our health insurance problems.

The Century Foundation: For domestic wonks, Why Social Security Is Not In a Crisis. For foreign policy buffs, Defeating the Jihadists, a Democratic alternative to the "war on terror," written by Richard Clarke and others.

Council on Foreign Relations: A primer on the Shia political strategy in Iraq. I would add that it looks like conservative, theocracy-friendly Shiites are in a very strong electoral position right now. It's also odd that the Kurds don't appear to mind that fact -- an indication, perhaps, that they're confident of using their large militias to get what they want no matter what. (And that's not a good sign.)

CSIS: Anthony Cordesman has a plan (PDF) for fixing Iraq. I talked to Cordesman when researching this article, and his ideas are all terrific. But thinking realistically, the current White House simply has no interest in any of these good options (discussing Iraq's future with Iran; dismantling our military bases), for various ideological reasons.

New America Foundation: Noah Feldman discusses how Sunnis could be brought into the political process. Seems dubious. At the moment, it's entirely rational for the Sunni insurgency to believe it can take over all of Iraq once the U.S. leaves. (Their force is bigger than the Iraqi military, after all.) But right now they have no hope at all of gaining power, as Moqtada al-Sadr has, by entering the democratic process as a small, unprotected minority.

Progressive Policy Institute: Fantastic two-part discussion on how America lost its edge in developing clean technologies, and what we can do to regain that edge."

- Bradford Plumer

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This article has been made possible by the Foundation for National Progress, the Investigative Fund of Mother Jones, and gifts from generous readers like you.

� 2004 The Foundation for National Progress