The problem with the op-ed on “Marshall Plans, Not Martial Plans” is that we assisted countries that had been and would be well run before and during World War II. They could make effective use of the Marshall Plan aid. I am not sure this is true in the Middle East. The one exception might be Jordan, which has accepted a huge number of refugees from Syria. We have already been pretty generous to Jordan, although it is much less than what we give to Israel. The US provides Israel almost $4 billion per year in assistance, most recently military aid of $38 billion over ten years. We give Jordan about $1.5 billion, about $800 million of that for refugees.
If you look at how American assistance was wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan, it raises questions whether these Middle Eastern countries are capable to managing US assistance. It seems likely the aid would just end up on some politicians Swiss bank account. I would include Lebanon in this untrustworthy group. So, I think a Marshall Plan for the Middle East is unrealistic.
I can’t really relate to the op-ed on “Barack Obama and Me,” since I came from a less than wealthy family in the South, My family was not a dysfunctional pigsty like J.D. Vance’s. I agree that Obama brought much more dignity and respectability to the White House than the Clintons, who were trailer park trash with a little Ivy League polish applied to a messed-up, low-class interior. It’s ironic that Hillary clearly does not like white men, including her husband, who has been her meal ticket to national politics, thus alienating one of the largest groups of Americans. Trump beat her in part because he appealed to the white me she despised. Like Vance, I am happy to see someone who doesn’t despise me as President, but like Vance I am worried that Trump can hardly put together a grammatical sentence at a sixth grade level, while Obama spoke beautifully and had a lofty vision for the US. I was pleased to hear an Obama White House alumnus say that Obama saw being President as public service, rather than personal aggrandizement. I’m not sure we will get that with Trump.
My main object to “Angela Merkel, Russia’s Next Target,” is that it did not mention the fact that the US was caught tapping Merkel’s personal phone. Arguably we did not use whatever personal information we got to undermine her as Chancellor or prevent her reelection, but who knows what the CIA really does. I think it is interesting that Russia did not leak false emails about the DNC; no one has declared that they were not the real thing. Podesta and company are just upset that they got caught.
In “America Becomes a Stan” Paul Krugman remains unable to accept Hillary Clinton’s loss. Trump’s Presidency may be a disaster, but we don’t know yet. It will be different, but he may in fact stand up for America, and may shift some focus back toward the white middle class from the super wealthy and super poor. Trump may see the Presidency as a chance to make America better, not to make himself richer. Even in the worst case, there are enough checks and balances in the Constitution of prevent America from becoming a “stan.” On the other hand, Hillary, as an Ivy League intellectual, is probably very much like most of the women Krugman knows. He feels comfortable with her, and he doesn’t with Trump. It’s understandable that he would have preferred her as President, but “You can’t always get what you want.” Sorry Paul.