We hope you are having a great weekend.
Now that COVID stimulus is in the rearview mirror, the rest of the Biden agenda is ready to move forward, save for one tiny technical detail—the Senate filibuster. Though Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema promised repeatedly that they would not vote to eliminate the filibuster, Manchin indicated that he is open to “reforming” the filibuster. As Democratic priorities to enact major legislation on gun control, climate change, and federalizing elections hit a roadblock, there is no doubt that pressure will grow to eliminate the filibuster, nevermind that the leading voices supporting abolition were the filibuster’s staunchest defenders four years ago. Some would remember Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s prescient warning to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid all too well when he went ahead and eliminated the filibuster for most presidential nominations—and the rest they say, is history. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, McConnell does not mince words in laying down the consequences of going nuclear this time—the end of the Senate as we know it.
But it’s not only the filibuster that has come under attack from the progressive left, they have misgivings about the Senate as a whole, mostly because the institution is too “undemocratic.” They are right that the Senate is not a “democratic” institution because it was hardly meant to be. The Senate’s progressive critics misunderstand the Senate’s counter-majoritarian role in building national consensus, writes Jay Cost at National Review.
This week, the first high-level meeting between Chinese and American officials from the Biden administration was held in Alaska. Noteworthy was the fiery exchange between both sides at the start of the meeting, and credit to Secretary of State Antony Blinken for calling out China for its human rights abuses from Xinjiang to Hong Kong. Though the exchange is yet another demonstration that there is no going back on US-China relations, it underscores something deeper: that the rivalry between the two powers is ultimately a contest of values. At Foreign Affairs, Hal Brands and Zack Cooper note that as is always the case with great power competition, the United States can only win if it highlights its moral superiority over China while also focusing on national interests.
Around this time last year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was under heavy fire for being complacent in imposing lockdowns, while the European leaders were being praised for their supposed “competence.” Fast forward to the present and the roles have been reversed. Johnson has salvaged his popularity with an effective vaccine rollout in the UK, as Sebastian Payne and George Parker explain in the Financial Times. Meanwhile, “blunderous” might be too kind a word to describe the progress in vaccines in the EU, thanks to multiple missteps in procurement and rollout. Since Britain’s successful vaccination strategy has vindicated its decision to leave the bloc in the interim, the EU’s leaders have resorted to what they do best: play the blame game. In the latest issue of The Spectator, Wolfgang Münchau details how Europe’s self-inflicted recklessness is causing nothing but harm.
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The Newsletter Team
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.