Third Way Perspectives

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Archive for April, 2013

Failing to Succeed: Fisker’s Demise Offers America a “Teachable Moment”

April 29th, 2013

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By: Woei Ling Leow* and Ryan Fitzpatrick

The tragic losses of Apollo 1 did not petrify the U.S. and derail the Moon Shot program. The collapse of Henry Ford’s first car company did not mean that the world would never want his product. And the demise of Fisker does not condemn the electric vehicle (EV) to certain failure.

If anything, Apollo 1 strengthened the resolve of those involved to do better. It also provided NASA with information and experience that would one day be critical to successfully landing Apollo 11 on the moon and ensuring the safe return of the Apollo 13 crew despite overwhelming odds. Apollo 1 was a great teacher, and perhaps its biggest lesson is that a nation cannot be held back by individual losses if it intends to achieve greatness.

Yes, Fisker is in the tank. But like Apollo 1, lessons will be learned from this failure. For one, future entrepreneurs and venture capitalists will take note of business strategies that are helping Fisker’s competitors succeed. For instance, Fisker focused on body styling and depended on other companies for technology. Tesla, on the other hand, developed its own technology that eventually brought in revenue streams through partnerships with Toyota and Daimler.

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Obama Toes the Red Line in Syria

April 26th, 2013

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Syria is a test for President Obama and the New America coalition he brought to power. Can the U.S. fulfill its obligation to be “the world’s indispensable nation” while at the same time avoiding the kind of military quagmire that enrages Democrats?

The Obama Administration did it once before, in Libya. The U.S. had limited interests in Libya. The Obama Administration proved that it could make a limited commitment, using limited resources, for a limited goal. No invasion, no nation-building. Syria, however, is more complicated and more dangerous.

There are two arguments propelling the Obama Administration to intervene in Syria. One is political. President Obama has drawn a “red line” in Syria. The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad appears to have crossed it. Obama said last year, “A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”

Now the White House has released a finding by the intelligence community asserting “with varying degrees of confidence” that the Assad government has used chemical weapons “on a small scale.” The Syrian regime has called Obama’s bluff. Now what will we do?

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Bera and Gerwin: Getting ‘LinkedIn’ to Asia

April 10th, 2013

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By Rep. Ami Bera and Ed Gerwin 

Need a better job? Want a more fulfilling career?

In today’s digital world, social networks such as LinkedIn are vital for professional success. A strong network of friends and colleagues can break down barriers and open doors, and it is often the surest way to find a job, land business and build a career.

In the global economy, networking is critical for countries too. By linking economies and reducing impediments to commerce, trade agreements can boost economic growth, open up business opportunities and support better jobs for workers.

When America networks on trade, we succeed. More than 45 percent of U.S. goods exports go to the 20 countries with which we have trade agreements, including Canada and Mexico, our biggest export partners. And our trade with these partners tends to be more balanced. In recent years, America has had trade surpluses in manufactured goods and services with our trade agreement partners.

But America still has considerable trade networking to do, especially in forging stronger links with the fast-growing economies in East Asia — a region that will add over a billion new middle-class consumers in the next decade and import an estimated $10 trillion in 2020 alone.

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Supreme progress on marriage

April 9th, 2013

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On March 26, 2003, a lawyer stood in front of the nine Justices on the Supreme Court and argued that states should not be allowed to criminally prosecute gay and lesbian people for engaging in sexual activity. At the time, 14 states still had laws on the books that made “homosexual conduct” a crime. Flash forward exactly ten years later, and the Court was considering whether Proposition 8, (barring gay couples from marrying in California) violates the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution. What a difference a decade makes.

To say our country has undergone a rapid transformation on the issue of marriage for gay couples is an understatement. The speed and breadth of this evolution have shocked even the most optimistic advocates. Just in the past two weeks, a cascade of Senators from purple and red states have added their voices to the chorus of marriage supporters, including Rockefeller, Kaine, Tester, McCaskill, Portman, Warner, and Hagan at last count. And this week’s Supreme Court arguments were another landmark moment for the cause.

Because this progress has come at such an astonishing clip, it is understandable that many had hoped the Supreme Court would take this opportunity to issue a broad decision that acknowledged a Constitutional right for gay couples to marry nationwide. After this week’s oral arguments, that outcome seems unlikely. But that reality should not be seen as a setback — rather, it is an opportunity to continue our nation’s swift journey toward full acceptance of gay and lesbian couples.

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