Insights – Week of January 21st, 2019

Insights – Week of January 21st, 2019


[The shutdown debate]…has become not just a debate about immigration policy, but a fight about the character of America—in particular, whether this is a country that will embrace Central Americans seeking asylum at the border, or see them as a threat. And lines have hardened. To see why, it’s instructive to look back at a series of immigration questions asked of Americans in The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in mid-2017…As those numbers suggest, the lines that have formed in today’s border-wall fight were clearly visible back in 2017. The big difference is that the 2018 midterm election served only to harden them, sharpening the distinctions between Trump supporters and the Democratic party that took control of the House in that election. Now, on both sides, the wall isn’t just a wall. It’s a symbol for two different visions of what really will make America great in the 21st century.” – Gerald Seib [Past TCG Speaker], Wall Street Journal, MORE

U.S. intelligence officials have met with North Korean counterparts secretly for a decade, a covert channel that allowed communications during tense times, aided in the release of detainees and helped pave the way for President Trump’s historic summit last year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The secret channel between the Central Intelligence Agency and spies from America’s bitter adversary included two missions to Pyongyang in 2012 during the Obama administration by Michael Morell [Past TCG Speaker], then deputy CIA director…The channel appears to have gone dormant late in the Obama administration…By early 2018, a whirlwind of secret and public talks were underway, which brought together Messrs. Trump and Kim in a pomp-filled Singapore meeting in June. The intelligence channel played a role.” – Michael Gordon and Warren Strobel, Wall Street Journal, MORE

The world today needs a new framework for global cooperation in order to preserve peace and accelerate progress. After the cataclysm of World War II, leaders designed a set of institutional structures to enable the postwar world to trade, collaborate, and avoid war…Faced with a changing world, today’s leaders must undertake such a project again. This time around, however, the change is not just geopolitical or economic in nature. The Fourth Industrial Revolution—the complete digitization of the social, the political, and the economic—is tugging at the very fabric of society…In this era, economies, businesses, communities, and politics are being fundamentally transformed…Government leaders, supported by civil society and businesses, have to collectively create a new global architecture. If they wait, or simply apply a “quick fix” to repair the deficiencies of outdated systems, the forces of change will naturally develop their own momentum and rules, and thus limit our ability to shape a positive outcome.” – Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, Foreign Affairs, MORE

The race to develop artificial intelligence (AI) is gathering momentum, and as the United States and China pull ahead, other countries, especially in the developing world, are lagging far behind. If they don’t catch up, their economic and political prospects will be grim. For those countries at the back of the pack, the economic challenges will be hard enough…AI already makes it possible to hack human beings—to collect data about individuals and then use it to decipher, predict, and manipulate their desires…All countries, regardless of whether they are tech superpowers or not, will feel the effects of the AI revolution. But there’s an added challenge for those left behind in the race.” – Yuval Noah Harari, historian and author, Foreign Policy, MORE