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In the category of: Someone’s not off to a good start for the week.
In the category of: Be careful what you wish for when you run for office.
With Brexit looming, the Prime Minister is battling Trump, Europe, and her own party.
Since the referendum, the central task in British politics has been to try to square two conflicting demands: to respect the democratic impulse of Brexit while limiting the economic consequences. It is a version of the challenge posed by populist anger everywhere. How far should governments go in tearing up systems that people say they dislike—the alienating structures of global capitalism and multilateral government—when the alternatives risk making populations poorer, and therefore presumably more furious than before?
May’s best hope has been to contain the damage on all sides. Between 2016 and 2018, the U.K. went from being the fastest-growing major economy in the world to the slowest, as businesses halted investment plans, migration dwindled, and foreboding filled the air. The government’s own estimates show that every form of Brexit will make people worse off, ranging from a relatively modest impact, if the country ends up somehow entwined in the E.U.—and thereby less free—to a cost of around eight per cent of G.D.P., if it leaves with no formal deal at all.
In the category of: YES – just yes.
Earlier this year, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) sponsored legislation requiring the president to receive congressional approval before initiating a first-use nuclear strike. “No one person should have the power to decide when the U.S. will be the first to use nuclear weapons,” Markey declared on Twitter.
He’s right. It’s also true that no one person should have the power to threaten the use of U.S. nukes in willy nilly fashion, as President Trump has done. Nukes are too dangerous, the mere threat of their use has the potential to unleash instability throughout the world. Trump’s threat doesn’t make America safer, nor does it feel safer: Instead, his casual threats raise fears of a return to the bad old days of the Cold War, when the possibility of the end of the world loomed constantly in the background.
The best way to put a leash on Trump’s wild threats is for Congress to assert its authority. The time to act, clearly, is now.
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