Good Reads: From John Kerry's first year, to the cost of the poor, to political reporting
This week's roundup of Good Reads includes a look at John Kerry's first year as secretary of State, lessons from the island nation of Kiribati about global warming, how much government spending goes to the poor, protection for US media, and a reporter's view on covering Gov. Chris Christie.
Senior Editor and Washington Bureau Chief
Cook is senior editor and Washington bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor and host of the Monitor's newsmaker breakfasts.
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While it is early in his term, Secretary Kerry’s turn could end up outshining Hillary Rodham Clinton’s time in Foggy Bottom, Mr. Rohde argues. “[I]t’s looking more and more possible that when the history of the early-21st-century diplomacy gets written, it will be Kerry who is credited with making the State Department relevant again,” writes Rohde.
The comprehensive article does not stint on cataloging Kerry’s quirks, including what Rohde calls the “grandiosity and ambition that make Kerry so insufferable to some journalists and senators.” But Rohde credits Kerry for being the driving force behind a flurry of diplomatic initiatives including reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, brokering a deal with Russia to remove Syria’s chemical weapons, and holding high-level talks with Iranian diplomats.
The global warming lessons from Kiribati
Some Americans still wonder if global warming is real, but not the residents of the island nation of Kiribati, where rising water levels are expected to force a mass evacuation in 20 years, according to a story in Bloomberg Businessweek by Jeffrey Goldberg.
Kiribati is a collection of 33 islands in the central Pacific where nearly half the nation’s 103,000 residents live on a strip of land less than half a mile wide. Even before the rising ocean covers the available land, it will “infiltrate, and irreversibly poison, their already inadequate supply of fresh water,” Mr. Goldberg writes.
Island President Anote Tong is searching for a place to move his citizens and recently purchased 6,000 acres of land in Fiji. Mr. Tong wants to attract investment to his island nation but, as Businessweek notes, “It’s difficult to attract investment to a place that might soon drown.”
Is government beholden to the rich?
Washington Post economics columnist Robert Samuelson takes a hard look at the popular notion that the White House and Congress are manipulated to serve major corporations and wealthy individuals. While acknowledging that the wealthy do get tax breaks and regulatory advantages, these “are small potatoes in the larger scheme of things,” Mr. Samuelson contends.