The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books - Stephen Loosley

By EJ Dionne, Jr.

Saint Martin’s Press, 272pp, $44.99 (HB)

Wood­ward has had re­mark­able ac­cess to the play­ers in Wash­ing­ton DC. He en­deav­ours to be fair, but he con­cludes that Trump is not right for the job.

A sim­i­lar con­clu­sion is reached by EJ Dionne, a colum­nist with the Wash­ing­ton Post. His book, Code Red, ar­gues thought­fully for mod­er­ate and pro­gres­sive Democrats to fo­cus on their com­mon be­liefs and reach out to lib­eral Repub­li­cans, es­pe­cially on core is­sues such as health­care and liv­ing wages.

The ef­fec­tive co-oper­a­tion be­tween the Bi­den and San­ders wings of the Demo­cratic Party, and the emer­gence of the Lin­coln Project by dis­si­dent Repub­li­cans, shows that some un­der­stand this com­mon sense no­tion. It was Gore Vi­dal who made the case that the US ceased be­ing great when it be­came a debtor na­tion. Most would agree that this oc­curred sys­tem­i­cally dur­ing the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion, when the US fed­eral deficit metas­ta­sised.

The US had been the ‘‘in­dis­pens­able coun­try’’, to bor­row Madeleine Al­bright’s mem­o­rable ex­pres­sion, since the Great War. In 1915, the An­gophilic JP Mor­gan and a group of New York bankers mar­shalled a loan of some $US500m for the An­gloFrench al­lies to en­able them to main­tain their war ef­fort.

Nick Bryant’s book, When Amer­ica Stopped Be­ing Great, is an im­pres­sive en­deav­our to iden­tify just when the US ar­rived at the thresh­old of de­cline. He comes close. Bryant is a BBC cor­re­spon­dent in Wash­ing­ton DC, hav­ing pre­vi­ously worked in Aus­tralia among other des­ti­na­tions. He is a first class jour­nal­ist, but he is also pos­sessed of un­de­ni­able skills as an his­to­rian, hav­ing earned a PhD in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics from Ox­ford. He writes with


One of Us is Ly­ing


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