Sunday, March 18, 2012

Michael Mandelbaum

Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor and Director of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

His latest book, co-written with Thomas L. Friedman, is That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back.

From Mandelbaum's Q & A with PulseBerlin:

Professor Mandelbaum, one issue you and Mr. Friedman discuss in your most recent book is the challenge the United States faces in terms of America’s growing deficits and debts. In short, what solutions do you prescribe?

We believe that the United States needs both lower medium- and long-term spending and enhanced revenue to deal adequately with its deficits and debt. The paralysis of the political system, due to the sharp polarization of the two major parties, is responsible for preventing the appropriate measures.

You have said that keeping gas cheap is a failure of political will. Why is this a failure in the States?

Europeans and Japanese tax gasoline far more heavily than the United States does. America and the world would be better off with higher American energy taxes. Taxes are ultimately a political matter.

You’ve shown that America must wean itself from foreign oil. What would be the immediate benefits in terms of foreign policy?

The world won't be able to do without oil entirely for many decades. Reducing American, and therefore global, consumption, however, which is feasible, would reduce the revenues available to oil-producing countries, such as Iran, that oppose Western interests and values.

If a future America is able to wean itself from foreign oil and foreign credit to a considerable extent, what kinds of consequences do you see this having for us in Europe?

Lower American oil consumption would be...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue