Why We Might All Have to Play Make Believe With Kim

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

May 17, 2018

Why We Might All Have to Play Make Believe With Kim

South Korea may have snookered President Trump into agreeing to a summit with Kim Jong Un "before he understood the full implications of what he had done," writes David Frum in The Atlantic. But now that the administration has started down this road, we might all be better off pretending that it's a smooth ride—however bumpy it gets.

"US options in the Korean peninsula depend heavily on the cooperation of South Korea. Trump has now thoroughly frightened and alienated South Korean opinion. South Korea's dovish president, Moon Jae-in, was elected with only 41 percent of the vote. Polls now show his approval rating in the mid-70s, because of his success in drawing Trump away from 'fire and fury' and toward negotiations," Frum writes.

"The South Korean leadership is not only seeking to constrain Trump's options—it is advertising that constraint to the world. In August 2017, Moon asserted a veto over any US military operations on the peninsula. Maybe Moon can enforce that veto. Maybe not. But US strategic planners have been put on notice that America's most important ally in this theater wants no part of a Trump-led war. Under the circumstances, pretending to believe in the success of a Trump-Kim summit may become the least-bad option inside the Pentagon as well as in Seoul."

The Folly of Britain First

British Prime Minister Theresa May appears determined to pursue a "Trumpian interpretation" of the 2016 Brexit referendum result, writes Philip Stephens in the Financial Times. In doing so, she is turning her back on the very things that made Britain a success.
 
"Before the Brexit vote net migration was running at almost 300,000 a year. It has fallen since to about 250,000 as many EU citizens sense they are no longer welcome. The intention is to slash the number by another 60 percent to 100,000 or less," Stephens says.
 
"The essence of the great expansion of cross-border trade and investment—and of Britain's success as a global business hub—has been that borders have been opened to people as well as capital, goods and services. Every significant trade deal includes provision for freer movement of workers."
 
"[P]rospective partners want lighter visa controls as a part of any deal. To borrow a phrase coined by a distinguished British diplomat, modern economies cannot be open for business and simultaneously closed to foreigners."

The Workforce of the Future Should Be Gray, Not Shiny

The rise of the robots might make for more exciting headlines, but aging economies like the United States should be rethinking their workplaces in a different way, writes Tyler Cowen for Bloomberg: Making them more appealing for older workers.
 
"The populations of the US and many other developed nations are aging, and the big surprise has been that older people want to work more than in previous generations," Cowen writes. "Against many prior expectations, the labor-force-participation rate of older Americans started rising in the 1980s and 1990s. For instance, the labor-force-participation rate for men ages 65 to 69 was 25 percent in 1985 but 37 percent in 2016. By 2020, over one-quarter of the workforce will be over 55 years of age.
 
"I would suggest that the ability to spot, mobilize and deploy older workers is the next biggest source of competitive advantage in the US. The sober reality is that many companies should retool their methods to fit better with the experience and sound judgment found so often in older workers."

Baby Boomers Have Broken America

America's Baby Boomers may have worked hard to climb the economic ladder. Unfortunately, those that succeeded pulled up it up behind them—and broke America in the process, writes Steven Brill in Time.

"[T]he celebrated American economic-mobility engine is sputtering. For adults in their 30s, the chance of earning more than their parents dropped to 50% from 90% just two generations earlier. The American middle class, once an aspirational model for the world, is no longer the world's richest," Brill writes.
 
"On one side are the protected few—the winners—who don't need government for much and even have a stake in sabotaging the government's responsibility to all of its citizens. For them, the new, broken America works fine, at least in the short term. An understaffed IRS is a plus for people most likely to be the target of audits. Underfunded customer service at the Social Security Administration is irrelevant to those not living week to week, waiting for their checks."
 

Rise of the Megacities

The number of megacities is set to jump over the next decade, according to a new UN report, while urban dwellers are expected to make up more than two-thirds of the world's population by 2050, up from just over half today.
 
By "2030, the world is projected to have 43 megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants, most of them in developing regions," according to the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
 
Currently, "Tokyo is the world's largest city with an agglomeration of 37 million inhabitants, followed by New Delhi with 29 million, Shanghai with 26 million, and Mexico City and São Paulo, each with around 22 million inhabitants. By 2020, Tokyo's population is projected to begin to decline, while Delhi is projected to continue growing and to become the most populous city in the world around 2028."

 

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