Vol. 55, No. 2

In this edition

by LOU ZICKAR This edition of the Ripon Forum focuses not only on the road ahead for the Republican Party, but on some of the solutions GOP leaders are putting forward to meet the challenges Americans will face in 2021.

What Trade Means to My State

With over 350,000 jobs in Arkansas dependent on international trade, our nation must open up more global markets for our goods and services.

Strengthening Global Supply Chains in the Wake of COVID-19

If the past year showed anything, it is that we can no longer depend on a single, long supply chain. Instead, we should depend on a regional node or decoupled supply chain.

A Nation Silenced

Americans are now collectively afraid to raise questions and speak their minds — even if well intentioned — for fear of a woke-mob coming for them and their families.

Winning the Future

With America’s global leadership in science and technology being challenged by a state capitalist regime in Beijing, it is critical that Congress take steps to win this critical fight.

Getting the U.S.-EU Trade Relationship Back on Track

For the last few years, the U.S. and EU have spent too much time and energy fighting each other that is better spent on coordinating on action against China.

Time to Revitalize Pursuit of a U.S.-UK Free Trade Agreement

An Anglo-American trade agreement would be a force generator for greater economic dynamism and prosperity. And it would play a key role in reinvigorating the global free-trade agenda.

WTO at a Crossroads

The World Trade Organization can have a bright future. But that future is certainly not assured, and threats to it will continue to expand as countries seek out alliances outside of the WTO.

Legalizing Marijuana is a Threat to Public Health & Safety

Despite industry rhetoric, marijuana is indeed addictive. A recent study found one in three past-year users had what clinicians call a Cannabis Use Disorder, or addiction.

Washington Needs to Get Out of the Marijuana Enforcement Business

Our nation’s federalist principles demand that Congress respect voters’ decisions on cannabis — and repeal the failed policy of federal prohibition.

Ripon Profile of Michelle Steel

The first-term Congresswoman from California’s 48th District discusses her goals in office and what the American Dream means to her.

In this edition

If there was ever a loaded term in American politics, it is the term that has been used to describe U.S. foreign policy over the past four years — America First.  To some, it means America going it alone in international affairs — not being the world’s policemen sending our troops around the globe, and not being the world’s bank bailing other countries out.

Others define America First as the United States continuing to lead by the power of its example — being at the front of the line when it comes to standing up for freedom and justice and being a beacon of hope, and a refuge, for those who are being oppressed.  Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats expanded on this definition in an interview with The Ripon Forum a few years back.

“The old America First once attached to pre-war isolationism has led many to misinterpret the concept now relevant to the modern world,” Coats explained.  “Isolationism was rejected back then as an irresponsible dream.  Since then, American foreign policy has always been centered on American national interests, but as properly defined and accurately understood.  Our core national interests — peace, prosperity, security — have always included nurturing everywhere our core values.  Extending benefits of freedom, democracy, human rights, and free enterprise to others has always served our national interests.  This is the real America First.”

In addition to serving as DNI in the Trump Administration, Coats also spent nearly two decades serving as U.S. Senator from the State of Indiana.  Today, Coats’ successor on Capitol Hill, U.S. Senator Todd Young, is promoting much the same vision of America First that Coats’ once embraced.  In this edition of the Forum, we shine a light on Young’s efforts in this regard and, more specifically, his work to ensure that America remains first in the world when it comes to science and technology.

“Today, our leadership is being challenged by a state capitalist regime in Beijing that threatens to win the next century by dominating the critical technologies that are bound to shape it,” Young writes.  “The country that wins the race in key technologies — such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, advanced communications, biotechnology, and more — will be the superpower of the future.”  Young has authored legislation called the Endless Frontiers Act to help the U.S. achieve this goal.  He writes about the bill in this latest edition and explains why he believes being first in the race in science and technology is key to winning the future.

To the extent that the Young/Coats vision of America First requires America to be reengaged, this edition of the Forum also examines two areas where that can be achieved.  In the first essay, Clete Willems, who served as Deputy Assistant to President Trump for International Economics, looks at the importance of the U.S.-EU trade relationship and proposes five steps to getting the relationship back on track.  In the second essay, Anthony Kim and Terry Miller of the Heritage Foundation look at the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom and explain why a trade agreement between the longtime friends should be a top priority.

In other essays, Mark Linscott of the Atlantic Council examines the performance of the World Trade Organization and writes that 2021 could be a year of reform or irrelevance for the global intergovernmental group.  And at a time when some Americans still believe the U.S. should turn inward and close its doors to the world, Governor Asa Hutchinson explains  what trade means to his state, pointing out, among other things, that over 350,000 jobs in Arkansas are dependent upon access to and interactions with global markets.

With shortages of personal protective equipment and other pandemic-related supplies still fresh in the minds of many Americans, Nick Vyas, who serves as Executive Director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Global Supply Chain Management, looks at ways to strengthen global supply chains in the wake of COVID-19.  Sarah Lawrence College Professor Samuel Abrams examines the fallout from cancel culture, while Kevin Sabet and Paul Armentano debate when pot should be legalized in the United States.  And in our latest Ripon Profile, first-term Congresswoman Michelle Steel shares why she ran for Congress and her goals on Capitol Hill

As always, we hope you enjoy this latest edition of The Ripon Forum, and welcome any thoughts or comments you may have. 

Lou Zickar
Editor of The Ripon Forum