FROM Jane Loeffler
Should America Use 'Soft Power' in the Middle East? In the aftermath of World War II, the United States was known for generosity to allies and former enemies. Lately, the US is seen as an international bully as President Bush and his neo-conservative advisors project America's "hard power" militarily and economically. Now, isolated and overstretched, as the wars grind on in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US is losing the battles even some Administration officials now say should be fought with "soft power." Even Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a recent reference to this prime American asset when he said that American has "a variety of tools. Not all of them are hammers." What is "soft power?" Are Iran and China beating the US at what used to be its own game? How could "soft power" serve America's interests in a world of terrorism and nuclear weapons?
Why did Jared Kushner want a back channel with Russians? News broke Friday that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, tried setting up a back channel between the Trump transition team and the Russian government. What are the consequences for Kushner, President Trump, and the investigation into Russian meddling?
Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture?