For Tocqueville, there are Cartesian Americans who have never read Descartes: they are rational, but perhaps a little miraculous, in their own way, which is rediscovered every day. For quarterly review American affairs, (in any case, one of its analysts, Ruchi Shah, who embodies the spirit of review) American political currents seem to be moving away from the Tocqueville truth: this rational constant, which denoted American identity, will become more and more a thing of the past. Without wishing to make this inevitable, it should be noted that this negative development is very real: everyone will be able to observe that more and more American political parties and candidates are telling stories to their viewers-voters. We are no longer in ideology; we are no longer – nor – in a simple “government economic process”: from now on, elections are won with beautiful narration; a small Hollywood story to which voters urge that “(American) humanity will be saved by building a” wall “or saved from” fascism “or a” fought by an evil pandemic. “
That is why we must welcome the creation of this intellectual magazine, American Affairs, which seeks traces of rationality in the fog; keys to understanding (1) change.
When American Affairs was launched (Julius Kerin in 2017), it was largely in line with Trumpian’s national industry “MAGA” and questioned the merits of relocating American industry abroad. We should not draw hasty conclusions: in this review, Trump’s policies are the target of criticism as well as the policies of his successor, and this is a tangible aspect in an extremely polarized, artificially divided political and media environment. The authors are more conservative intellectuals and academics, it shows, but they are more attached to “searching” than “preserving.”
The review opens many doors and questions that political parties should appropriate, and that is its main concern. To be clear, we are all used to the political interrogation of Marxists, and the “non-Marxist” version delivered here is also interesting, everyone is free to judge.
In some areas, American affairs have set themselves the goal of uniting opponents on the right and left to neoliberalism, which has led to this situation of deindustrialization and its consequences. So it began to exist on topics that dealt mainly with trade and industry, which is quite original in the American media environment, where the factory is often depicted as an old vintage red brick hired by young beginning painters. …
And then American affairs evolved and gave us the right to talk about all aspects of America, which is undergoing profound change. Among the tangible specifics of this overview, let us recall well-argued comparisons with the policies of other countries of the world. Neoconservatives had (2) this faculty – not “neutrality”,that’s for sure – but in any case, international curiosity, which is generally lacking in both America and its intellectual magazines.
Let’s say hello to the work of American Affairs, whose summer issue we have read for you! However, don’t think that the review is limited to these topics: each issue is a new experience ($ 10 cost).
1 – This is also our goal in the Courrier des Amériques: to help understand the United States.
2 – Until the death of Weekly Standard in December 2018.
Salute Operation Warp Speed
Concerns and doubts about RNA-based vaccines have been discussed for months. On the other hand, American Affairs emphasizes (in its first article in the summer edition) the extraordinary scientific and industrial prowess that has enabled the United States to develop these vaccines in record time. Some – you have heard them – suspect that these vaccines have been “messed up” by “Big Pharma”. Everyone can think what they want without ignoring the positive facts behind the launch of this RNA technology. However effective it may be against covid, it is an extraordinary scientific revolution based on an emergency industrial policy that will affect those who care about it. Sure, it’s a fair game for countries that haven’t had the resources to develop their own vaccines to challenge the ingenuity of policies introduced in the United States in 2020, but reading an article on the US affair examines the process in detail and points out that “Operation Warp Speed” (OWS) it should even become an accelerator model to support US industry in other key areas.
For those who think that RNA vaccines have been “messed up”, it should be noted that it only took Modern two days to start their own. In the end, it may not be a rush or a true American genius, because the company has specialized in RNA modification (that is, its name = Mode-RNA) since its inception. Founded in 2010 and that its CEO is a Frenchman, Stéphane Bancel …
One way or another, such an industrial revolution deserved an article.
“The end of history”
In the Western world, there are still people who believe, like Fukuyama in 1992, that history ended in victory for neoliberalism over the Soviet Union. The shocks caused by the Covid crisis should be able to complete the persuasion of the undecided, and in any case, this crisis justifies the title of this article for American affairs, which marks the beginning (for them) of a new era: we should therefore reach the “end of history.” In short: Western democracies believed in this “end of history” and now we are witnessing the opposite movement; the beginning of the deconstruction of neoliberalism. This part of the review brings together five very diverse articles. The first is called “Towards the Brazilization of the World”. In the author’s mind, it is a matter of creating a (Western) world with extreme social differences, where both a technocratic model and advanced anarchy coexist. At the same time, there is a significant decrease in the middle class.
The second article in this section describes the way in which Italians, often tempted to “turn the table,” always end up in 30 years returning to a “technical government” that puts the imperatives of financial stability ahead of the country’s wealth. At the same time, as in Brazil, populist protest is raging in Italy.
The review covers other international aspects, such as China, or a very interesting comparison of the US, Canadian and European immigration systems, highlighting their weaknesses and strengths. The author is appalled by the insult of two American political camps on the subject of immigration (and is quite favorable to the Canadian model).
About Canada, in this “End of History” section, the article summarizes feature films directed by Denys Arcand, for his works qualified by American affairs as “Montesquieu de Montréal”, where he shows accurately since 1986 (with “The Decline of the American Empire”) by Quebec intellectuals they lost in society in leaving. Arcand began three years before the collapse of the USSR, before the “end of history”, to show in a visionary way the boundaries of the American dream, from a fabulous social angle and a culture that makes his work unique.
Other articles in the review may have fallen into this category, such as “Is populism something important”. Everyone knows that this theme of populism is inseparable from current politics in the Western world. American Affairs brings interesting analyzes thanks to a good knowledge of issues in other countries around the world. Populism is currently on the decline and will it survive its recent election defeats (Trump, Sanders, Corbyn, Italy …)? Or has it become a sustainable and inherent alternative to the “power of technocrats”?
“Shaping the information environment”
This is the title of another section on American affairs: two articles on the challenges and possibilities of better controlling the dissemination of information at a time when censorship and propaganda are developing in the Western world, especially on the Internet. We appreciate the effort to find a solution (this is unfortunately too rare), although a possible reform of “§ 230” (communication acts in the United States) seems a bit naive. A small remark: this “section 230” has guaranteed full immunity from internet platforms since 1996, both for the comments you make here and for debates that would be regulated by the “moderators” of these platforms. It is clear that from that date onwards, if you write something reprehensible on the social network, only you are responsible in court. And even if, for example, the social network intervened to adjust / soften part of the discussion, you and you are always and always responsible for your comments. This immunity of social networks has led them to no longer intervene at all in the United States, except where the comments made are unacceptable in view of their personal ideology.
Both problems – letting misinformation go through or abusing censorship – are too big a bet to be left in the hands of private companies. So it’s up to American Affairs to think about these issues.
Articles on American affairs will be of interest to those interested in the “big picture”: how the world is changing, starting with our (western) part of the planet. We also note Michel Foucault’s article on re-reading the relationship between power and science, which is interesting to rediscover in the middle of a pandemic. American affairs still add analyzes that run counter to “official thinking,” such as this statement by David P. Goldman: China regulates its technical giants for it so as not to assert the strength of the socialist state, but vice versa. To achieve what Western powers should have done a long time ago: set limits for the creation of stock monopolies and financial bubbles. Thus, China tries not to create better socialism for it, but on the contrary conditions for better capitalism (in any case, less dangerous capitalism for itself).
Whether we agree with American affairs or not – the magazine has the advantage of opening up interesting paths of reflection.