Five Best Friday Columns

Roger Cohen on self-absorbed foreign policy, Eugene Robinson on America's identity, Jonathan Cohn on the auto bailout, David Brooks on being moderate, and Evan Osnos on China's corruption. 

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Roger Cohen in The New York Times on the self-absorbed foreign policy debate Romney mentioned Timbuktu twice in the foreign policy debate while topics like Europe's financial crisis or drone wars got little to no time. "The United States is self-absorbed. It is licking its wounds after two bad wars. It has, to judge by this, little interest in a serious discussion of the world."

Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post on America's fight for identity Obama has enormous leads with Latinos and African Americans while Romney has leads with white voters, particularly white men. "It would be disingenuous to pretend not to notice the obvious cleavage between those who have long held power in this society and those who are beginning to attain it. When Republicans vow to 'take back our country,' they never say from whom. But we can guess."

Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic on the philosophy of the auto bailout Obama and Romney's different philosophies are illustrated by the auto industry bailout. The key disagreement between Obama and Romney "was over whether the government should act to make the industry's survival possible—whether, facing an instance of market breakdown, the government should intervene," and that answer can be applied to healthcare, global warming, and bank bailouts, too.

David Brooks in The New York Times on what it means to be moderate A moderate is not just someone in the middle of two opposing oints. A moderate understands the tradition of conflict and "has a deep reverence for the way people live in her country and the animating principle behind that way of life. In America, moderates revere the fact that we are a nation of immigrants dedicated to the American dream—committed to the idea that each person should be able to work hard and rise."

Evan Osnos in New Yorker on the degenerative corruption in China There have been several corruption scandals in China as of late, from a housing official who acquired 22 homes to a safety administration official who had an extensive collection of high-end watches. It hurts the economy as money flows to Swiss bank accounts. But "the Party is running out of time not because corruption is a drag on the economy—it can outrun that effect—but because the public is losing confidence."

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