The 2015 American Public Policy

Article 1

Summary of the Article

The article written by David Herszenhorn aims to discuss the nuclear treaty signed by Iran and six leading countries, including the United States. In particular, the author speaks about the attempts of the Obama administration to promote the ratification of this agreement (Herszenhorn par. 1). The treaty has given rise to severe debates among policy-makers. Some of them believe that this step can strengthen the position of the United States in the Middle East.

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Their opponents think that this decision can increase the risks of a nuclear confrontation in this region. However, the supporters of this bill were able to find a sufficient number of senators who could ratify the treaty. Provided examples show that the party affiliations of legislators can influence U.S. foreign policy significantly. The orientation to the U.S. national interests explain policy-makers’ decisions only partially, and the focus is on the role of sanctions to improve the nation’s position.

Personal Opinion and Commentary

From my point of view, it is important to identify the risks associated with this agreement. It is necessary to examine the capabilities of the Iranian nuclear program thoroughly. I think that diplomats can pay much attention to the rhetoric of the Iranian policy-makers whose statements can demonstrate their actual attitude to the deal. In this case, the U.S. policy-makers should set aside their political affiliations and ideological differences to find the right solution to the nuclear problem. I believe that the United States can serve as an impartial and influential arbiter to preserve peace in the Middle East. It is irrelevant to focus only on the short-term benefits of possible compromises because this approach can cause many significant risks.

Article 2

Summary of the Article

In his article, Timothy Egan discusses the political views expressed by Donald Trump. Thus, Trump made several controversial statements that became the objects of various social groups’ criticism. For instance, Trump actively demonstrates his hostility toward Mexican immigrants.

Egan notes that such actions of Trump can undermine the reputation of the Republican Party. Nevertheless, the author also admits that the leaders of this party should take responsibility for the situation. Many of them support Trump’s arguments tacitly. For instance, the party did not denounce Trump’s assumption regarding the connection of people coming from Latin America with such illegal activities as drug trafficking (Egan par. 3). Therefore, the key task of this political party is to find a Republican candidate who can successfully compete with Trump. This struggle can have profound implications for the U.S. internal policies, especially for immigration rules and economic policies.

Personal Opinion and Commentary

It is my impression that the criticism of Trump’s rhetoric is reasonable due to the inappropriateness of his statements and ideas. In this case, I agree with the author of the article. Moreover, it is important to note that Trump’s popularity indicates the developing crisis in U.S. political life. In particular, the elites of the Democratic and Republican Parties failed to meet many citizens’ needs. Under such circumstances, people tend to support those candidates who can express rather unconventional opinions similar to the demagogy. I think that individuals like Trump offer simple solutions to such problems as unemployment or social inequality. However, these solutions are not efficient in the long term. More likely, such expressed ideas can increase tensions in society.

Article 3

Summary of the Article

The article by Lynn Vavreck explores the importance of fundraising for political candidates, even for those people who have the access to considerable financial resources. In particular, the author mentions such people as Mitt Romney and Donald Trump, who are extremely affluent individuals (Vavreck par. 1). They can fund their political campaigns independently. However, the author argues that fundraising activities are important for the ability of policy-makers to find supporters.

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In this way, politicians can show that they value each potential voter. Vavreck notes that the candidates who finance their political campaigns by themselves can appeal to many citizens. However, none of them should neglect the importance of fundraising because this behavior is comparable to arrogance. Moreover, citizens can assume that a candidate relies only on the assistance of influential lobbying groups. This public reaction is one of the dangers that one cannot disregard.

Personal Opinion and Commentary

I agree that fundraising is an essential element of U.S. political life. However, I believe that candidates should pay more attention to how they can implement the policies. In many cases, they do not discuss these issues in detail. Candidates usually put importance on slogans that can appeal to various social groups. Sometimes, these slogans can be controversial and demagogical. I hold the opinion that such slogans do not show how exactly candidates can bring tangible improvements to the lives of people. In this case, a successful fundraising campaign indicates that an individual can gain the trust of sponsors and voters. Still, it is vital to work out new public policies, proving that candidates do not abuse citizens’ expectations.

Article 4

Summary of the Article

Barney Jopson and Anjali Raval discuss the U.S. trade policies in the article. In particular, they focus on alleviating restrictions on the volume of exported oil. Currently, American oil companies can export only a limited amount of petroleum abroad (Jopson and Raval par. 1). The Republicans and Democrats continue to discuss this question actively. The issue has become particularly relevant after signing the treaty with Iran.

The reason is that this agreement enabled Iran to export oil to many Western countries. At the same time, U.S. businesses have to struggle with quotas set by the state. The authors note that it may be difficult for these companies to compete with exporters from such countries as Saudi Arabia. The article emphasizes that authorities should determine the degree to which states can intervene in economic activities to address both political and economic interests.

Personal Opinion and Commentary

I believe that it is no longer necessary to pursue the policy adopted more than four decades ago. That was the period when the United States suffered from considerable oil shortages. During the last five years, oil supplies have increased dramatically due to technological innovations. Furthermore, I think that alternative sources of energy contributed to resolving the problem. Still, it is not clear how exactly American exporters can gain a competitive edge over other companies. It seems that many of the existing restrictions can prevent U.S. companies from achieving growth. It is one of the problems that the government needs to address. Thus, I suppose that the U.S. governmental agencies can support these enterprises by removing artificial barriers that no longer contribute to the welfare of society.

Article 5

Summary of the Article

In his article, Reed Abelson discusses such a trend as the merger of private companies that offer healthcare plans. Recent changes in policies influenced the development of this tendency, and it led to the situation when several organizations control a significant part of the entire market. The author notes that, in the long term, this consolidation of companies can reduce the bargaining power of people who need to purchase healthcare plans (Abelson par. 1). Abelson avoids stating that such mergers are monopolistic practices. However, he believes that such activities can weaken competition in this industry. Customers will have no choice but to purchase healthcare plans at a higher price. The discussed problem addresses the successes of the reform implemented by the Obama administration.

Personal Opinion and Commentary

I hold the view that governmental interventions should influence the work of different industries significantly. Nevertheless, healthcare is one of those areas that can profoundly affect the lives and well-being of many people. In this case, I think that one should pay much attention to the needs of those individuals whose income level is low. Despite policy-makers’ proclamations, these persons are more likely to be disadvantaged if insurance companies can dictate their terms to customers.

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Therefore, I believe that the government should control the situation and ensure that monopolistic practices do not impair the lives of U.S. citizens. In particular, the critical task is to develop procedures that can prevent the prices from rising. To my mind, authorities should avoid such pitfall while limiting excessive interventions into the activities of businesses. In many cases, this control can only impair the work of the healthcare system.

Article 6

Summary of the Article

Carroll Doherty discusses the way in which racism may influence the work of the U.S. governmental institutions. The author examines how the government could respond to natural disasters. In particular, the writer discusses the functioning of these agencies during Hurricane Katrina (Doherty par. 2). The victims of Hurricane Katrina were primarily black people living in New Orleans. People criticized the rescue operations carried out by the government significantly. The author notes that the work of these organizations was more efficient in those cases when natural disasters struck white people (Doherty par. 2). Thus, Doherty notes that U.S. policy-makers may stress the idea that they do not tolerate any form of discrimination.

Personal Opinion and Commentary

I agree with Doherty that the problem of hidden racism can profoundly influence the political and social life in the United States. In particular, such issues can intensify the tensions in the community significantly because people can believe that governmental institutions do not try to reduce inequalities. Moreover, citizens can lose trust in various internal policies implemented by the state.

Still, I have the feeling that arguments made by Doherty require additional verification. I suppose that one can explain the inefficient response to Hurricane Katrina by the lack of coordination, rather than by racism or prejudice. Moreover, this case prompted policy-makers to improve many practices adopted by existing emergency agencies. Nevertheless, policy-makers should not overlook the examples offered by the author. The reason is that Doherty accentuates critical flaws in the work of governmental agencies that might influence the success of emergency operations.

Article 7

Summary of the Article

The article written by Julie Davis and Peter Baker discusses the change in the U.S. international policy and its relations with Cuba. Hostilities were usual for dealings between these countries during decades, and they included cases of military confrontations (Davis and Baker par. 2). However, the situation reversed considerably after the negotiations between President Obama and Raul Castro.

The negotiations led to the release of prisoners in both countries. Nevertheless, some profound differences between the United States and Cuba can challenge this political dialog. In particular, American diplomats are extremely critical discussing the political suppression typical for the Castro regime. Overall, this article shows difficulties in overcoming some of the obstacles viewed as the legacies of the Cold War.

Personal Opinion and Commentary

From my point of view, new developments in the foreign policy of the United States are a positive phenomenon. In particular, this change can help America strengthen its influence in the region. Moreover, this situation can create new economic opportunities for people living in Cuba. At the same time, I believe that American diplomats must ensure that the Castro government offers reimbursement to those persons forced to flee from Cuba.

My conviction is that diplomats should insist on freeing the prisoners of conscience. These people were imprisoned due to their criticisms of the Castro regime. If leaders cannot achieve these goals, the negotiations with Cuba will not bring any long-term improvements. There will be profound differences in the political values of these two nations. These discrepancies can result in other conflicts in the future.

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Article 8

Summary of the Article

In their article, Helene Cooper and Gardiner Harris discuss the U.S. foreign policy and relations with Saudi Arabia as the nation’s ally in the Middle East. The government of this country is extremely concerned about the U.S. agreement with Iran. The authors emphasize that the Obama administration wants to secure the support of this state. Therefore, America provides military equipment that can help Saudi Arabia shield itself from external threats. Additionally, the United States decided to offer training programs to the soldiers of the Saudi Army (Cooper and Harris par. 1). This article illustrates that the allies of the United States have conflicting interests, and it is problematic to reconcile them. However, this task is essential for promoting the geopolitical agenda advocated by the United States.

Personal Opinion and Commentary

In my view, the current foreign policies of the Obama administration can be very dangerous because they cannot secure the long-term support of the country’s allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. The governments of these countries may believe that the growing economic and military strength of Iran is a significant threat to their security. They may conclude that the foreign policies of the United States are not consistent.

My belief is that the U.S. authorities should take into consideration this risk. Admittedly, the United States can offer additional military assistance to Saudi Arabia, but it is not clear if this help can ensure the political stability of the Middle East. This region suffers from many various conflicts and tensions that can affect the allies of America significantly. Therefore, one should find ways to resolve these conflicts efficiently. I feel that it should be the top priority for American diplomats.

Article 9

Summary of the Article

Shawn Donnan discusses the recent financial crisis that has engulfed China. The author reports that many government officials in the United States have criticized the policies of China. Politicians tend to pay much attention to the lack of transparency. They say that the Chinese government did not explain how it would respond to the downfall of the stock market (Donnan par. 1). This behavior creates considerable difficulties for American investors.

Furthermore, authorities believe that China may only try to devalue its currency because in this way the state can assist exporters. Furthermore, this policy can pose a threat to American producers that will find it a difficult task to sell their goods. Thus, Donnan’s article indicates that American policy-makers should respond to the strategies adopted by other countries. In particular, they should anticipate how these policies could influence various stakeholders in the United States. In this case, authorities should pay much attention to the needs of local businesses and their employees.

Personal Opinion and Commentary

It seems to me that China has become a leading exporter in the world because many manufacturing companies decided to outsource their business activities to this state. Nevertheless, it is important to create mechanisms that can protect local enterprises. I should say that companies will face significant risks if the products of their competitors become less expensive. Moreover, these companies may need to dismiss their employees. I agree with the author that American policy-makers should not disregard this danger. The laisser-faire approach to the economy is not entirely acceptable because it can deprive many Americans of their income.

Article 10

Summary of the Article

Alan Rappeport examines the economic policies that Donald Trump advocates. He stresses the need to impose tariffs on those businesses that prefer to manufacture their products abroad. In his view, this approach can motivate them to return to the United States. Additionally, Trump believes that the salary of senior executives should be limited. For example, he mentions the managers of hedge funds. In his opinion, the compensation of these professionals is not justified.

The author argues that this rhetoric makes many entrepreneurs very concerned (Rappeport par. 2). The adoption of such policies can slow down the growth of the economy. The main problem is that some representatives of the Republican Party can adopt Donald Trump’s arguments. Thus, in the long term, they can become acceptable to many American citizens.

Personal Opinion and Commentary

I accept the fact that the American economy may have certain deficiencies. However, I think that it is not permissible to adopt a populist approach to discussing these problems. Politicians try to identify the culprits to blame for various problems faced in society. For instance, Donald Trump focuses on the managers of hedge funds. Nevertheless, I have the feeling that he does not offer solutions that can stimulate the growth of businesses. Additionally, it is not permissible to shift the blame onto certain social groups. This approach can increase the risk of social conflicts. In many cases, restrictive policies can have adverse effects, and they can make companies operate in foreign countries. Therefore, authorities should adopt a more responsible attitude towards economic and social policies because these issues can shape the future of the entire country.

Works Cited

Abelson, Reed. “With Mergers, Concerns Grow About Private Medicare.The New York Times. 2015. Web.

Cooper, Helene, and Gardiner Harris. “An Arms Deal Is Aimed at Saudis’ Iran Worries.The New York Times. 2015. Web.

Davis, Julie, and Peter Baker. “A Secretive Path to Raising U.S. Flag in Cuba.The New York Times. 2015. Web.

Doherty, Carroll. “Remembering Katrina: Wide Racial Divide over Government’s Response.Pew Research Center. 2015. Web.

Donnan, Shawn. “US Urges China to Improve Communication.Financial Times. 2015. Web.

Egan, Timothy. “Trump Is the Poison His Party Concocted.The New York Times. 2015. Web.

Herszenhorn, David. “Obama Nears Needed Votes on Iran Nuclear Deal.The New York Times. 2015. Web.

Jopson, Barney, and Anjil Raval. “Pressure Grows To Scrap Controls On US Oil Exports.The Financial Times. 2015. Web.

Rappeport, Alan. “Increase Taxes? Talk by Donald Trump Alarms G.O.P.The New York Times. 2015. Web.

Vavreck, Lynn. “Why Fund-Raising Is Important, Even if You Are Trump.The New York Times. 2015. Web.

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