Five Best Monday Columns

Chris Hayes on judging foreign leaders, Jody Greenstone Miller on Sheryl Sandberg, James Temple on Silicon Valley hype, Paul Krugman on Washington's deficit obsession, and Glenn Greenwald on progressive reactions to Rand Paul.

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Chris Hayes at MSNBC on how the U.S. looks abroad Are Americans in a position to judge foreign leaders? Perhaps, says Chris Hayes — but with a few caveats. "When it comes to the leaders of the rest of the world, we are, most of us, critics who haven't even see the movie," he writes. Hayes wants to argue against forming black-and-white judgments of foreign leaders, stripped of the geographic and political context in which they govern. (In this case, the legacy of Hugo Chavez.) "To say another country or another country’s leadership's record is complicated is not to issue an apology for wrongdoing. ... Condemnation and outrage are no substitute for knowledge about the world and other countries' politics which are tangled and complicated just like our own."

Jody Greenstone Miller in The Wall Street Journal on work-life re-balancing In her much discussed book Lean In, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg declares that placing women on the highest rungs of corporate leadership requires a shift in the way women go about getting what they want. "Sandberg," writes Jody Greenstone Miller, "tells women with high aspirations that they need to 'lean in' at work—that is, assert themselves more." Miller wants to refocus the discussion on "the assumption that senior roles have to consume their every waking moment," which, Miller suggests, is neither a sane or satisfying way to balance a life. "More great women don't 'lean in' because they don't like the world they're being asked to lean into."

James Temple in the San Francisco Chronicle on Silicon Valley hype Spend enough time in Silicon Valley — or various outposts like South by Southwest — and you get the sense that its leaders thinks they're steering the course of human achievement. "For all the funding announcements, product launches, media attention and wealth creation, most of Silicon Valley doesn't concern itself with aiming 'almost ridiculously high,'" observes James Temple, "it concerns itself primarily with getting people to click on ads or buy slightly better gadgets than the ones they got last year." Which is perfectly okay, Temple adds: "But maybe let's drop the pretense that we're curing cancer unless, you know, we're curing cancer."

Paul Krugman in The New York Times on Washington's deficit obsession Washington's political establishment believes that deficit spending presents a grave threat to the country's economic security. Krugman deplores such thinking: "Even though the deficit scolds have been wrong about everything so far — where are the soaring interest rates we were promised? — protests that we are having the wrong conversation have consistently fallen on deaf ears." After laying out his evidence — in particular, the fact that the deficit is shrinking — Krugman explains why Beltway leaders have already decided to ignore it: "Fiscal fearmongering is a major industry inside the Beltway, especially among those looking for excuses to do what they really want, namely dismantle Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."

Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian on progressive reactions to Rand Paul's filibuster Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's nearly 13-hour filibuster against the Obama administration's drone policy exposed an array of progressive hypocrisies, argues Glenn Greenwald. "Rand Paul was one of the first — and, from the perspective of media attention, easily among the most effective —Congressional efforts to dramatize and oppose just how radical these Terrorism-justified powers have become," Greenwald writes, emphasizing Paul's allegiance to the Tea Party coalition. "The politician who took such a unique stand in defense of these principles was not merely a Republican but a leading member of its dreaded Tea Party wing, while the actor most responsible for the extremist theories of power being protested was their own beloved leader and his political party."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.