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Must Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, December 14, 2011


AS CHINA RISES, A NEW U.S. STRATEGYBY DR. ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKIWALL STREET JOURNALA great power that allows itself to be preoccupied only with the problems of today is likely to end up mired in the conflicts of yesterday. A great power must be guided by a longer-range strategic vision. For the United States, the central challenge over the next several decades will be to revitalize itself while promoting a larger West and accommodating China's rising global status. A successful U.S. effort to enlarge the West, making it the world's most stable and democratic zone, would seek to combine power with principle. A cooperative, larger West—extending from North America and Europe through Eurasia (by eventually embracing Russia and Turkey), all the way to Japan and South Korea—would enhance the appeal of the West's core principles for other cultures, thus encouraging the gradual emergence of a universal democratic political culture.

THREE WEEKS AND COUNTING. ARE WE IN A SUICIDE PACT?BY ERICK ERICKSONRED STATEAnd three weeks out is perhaps the perfect time for me to ask this. Have conservatives entered a suicide pact? Has the Republican Party, as a whole, done the same? We got a preview of Mr. Obama’s campaign strategy in Kansas. He intends to make the moral case for government and wealth redistribution. The campaign will be about the morality of government picking winners and losers and will be presupposed by a belief that the free market has failed. Scoff all you will that this will be successful, but know that lots of people in the great mass of the undecided are not so sure Obama isn’t right. They may not like him, but they aren’t sure the Republicans are the people who can fix the problems. The reason to me is rather simple. We do not have anyone on our side making the moral case for the free market.

HONEYMOONS IN SPACEBY MAUREEN DOWDNEW YORK TIMESBy the time he was 16, Newt Gingrich was sure of two things. He would marry his high school geometry teacher. And he would save Western civilization. Gingrich has moved on to younger wives. But he’s still obsessed with numbers and rescuing the planet. In 1994, he described himself to me as “a conservative futurist,” which seems like an oxymoron. The man George Will once called a “a cherub with a chip on his shoulder” finds the future simultaneously apocalyptic and massively fun. You can picture President Gingrich on his first day in the Oval Office, emanating an impish doomsday aura of “Let’s see what happens if we press this button!” In his own feverish, gee-whiz imagination, Newt is both the arsonist and the fireman.NEWT, MITT, BIBI AND VLADIMIRBY THOMAS FRIEDMANNEW YORK TIMESI don’t think America should play the role of the leader of the peace process. Instead, we should stand by our ally.” That’s right. America’s role is to just applaud whatever Israel does, serve as its A.T.M. and shut up. We have no interests of our own. And this guy’s running for president? ... So while Newt is cynically asking who are the Palestinians, he doesn’t even know that more than a few Israelis are asking, “Who are we?”NEWT GINGRICH COMMITS A CAPITAL CRIMEBY GEORGE WILLWASHINGTON POSTGingrich is reusing the attack honed by Ted Kennedy in 1994. ... Romney, while at Bain, performed the essential social function of connecting investment resources with opportunities. Firms such as Bain are indispensable for wealth creation, which often involves taking over badly run companies, shedding dead weight and thereby liberating remaining elements that add value. The process, like surgery, can be lifesaving. And like surgery, society would rather benefit from it than watch it.ROMNEY'S $10,000 WAGER WAS A SAFE BETBY KATHLEEN PARKERWASHINGTON POSTIf Romney had really wanted to punch out his only credible opponent (not Perry), he might have pointed out that only one Republican presidential candidate has supported a federal individual mandate — Gingrich. This is easily documented, beginning in 1993, when Gingrich said: “I am for people, individuals — exactly like automobile insurance — individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance.” ... Gingrich may have changed his mind. It happens. But the claim that Romney supports a federal mandate is a fib. You can put money on that.MITT'S MOMENTBY HOLMAN JENKINSWALL STREET JOURNALLunar mining will not rescue Medicare. People like Mr. Gingrich play a useful role in politics: It's good to be able to talk thrillingly about history, civilization. But they make bad—perhaps we should say, unnecessary—presidents. When ideas are new and unfamiliar, they're not executable. When they're executable we need people who can execute. The consensus for painful reform comes when the status quo hits the wall. It's a myth that we don't know what our choices are. That's the Romney moment. His strong suit has always been to do what everyone else has put off.A MANIFESTO FOR SUSTAINABLE CAPITALISMBY AL GORE & DAVID BLOODWALL STREET JOURNALThe disruptive threats now facing the planet are extraordinary: climate change, water scarcity, poverty, disease, growing income inequality, urbanization, massive economic volatility and more. Businesses cannot be asked to do the job of governments, but companies and investors will ultimately mobilize most of the capital needed to overcome the unprecedented challenges we now face. ... Those who advocate sustainable capitalism are often challenged to spell out why sustainability adds value. ... Experience and research show that embracing sustainable capitalism yields ... important benefits for companies.