Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. His website can be found here.

Recent Articles

How Bouncing Bush has Cornered Gore

The London Observer The consensus among political junkies and talking heads on this side of the Atlantic is that Al Gore's pick of Joe Lieberman as his running mate saved Gore's tush. But the new Gore-Lieberman brand has yet to be tested. And the first big test is whether it will fall into the trap the Republicans have set for it this week in Los Angeles. Gore's choice of Lieberman was smart on three grounds. First, the chutzpah of picking an orthodox Jew grabbed the political momentum away from George W. Bush right after Bush's perfectly-scripted Republican convention, thereby checking Bush's convention 'bounce' in the polls. Second, given Lieberman's concern about moral values in America and his outspoken criticism of President Clinton's liaison with Monica Lewinsky, the pick gives Gore some protection against Republican attempts to tar him with Clinton's turpitude. Finally, Lieberman is a conservative Democrat, which helps Gore with the same moderate swing-voters Bush is trying to...

Trouncing the Taliban

As I write this, the Taliban are on the run. By the time you read it, they may be back in their caves. What's the lesson here? Already some in Washington are pronouncing the Bush strategy for dealing with terrorism a resounding success. A few are even suggesting that what we've accomplished in Afghanistan should encourage us to topple Saddam Hussein and any other state that harbors or sponsors terrorists. Not so fast. We may have won or be close to winning the war against the Taliban, but that's not the same as winning the war against terrorism. Even if we topple the Taliban, we still have to install a new government in Afghanistan that is more respectful of human rights and less sympathetic to terrorism--a regime that has sufficient involvement of Pashtuns and Afghanistan's northern ethnic groups to remain in power without our continuous military support. And we've got to accomplish all this without destabilizing Pakistan and without heightening tensions between Pakistan and India,...

The Unending War

At the heart of President Bush's war on terrorism lies a deepening contradiction that, unless resolved, will undermine the legitimacy of the entire war effort. The contradiction is embedded in the narrative of why we are at war and what it will take to win. On the one hand, the White House describes the war as one without obvious end. Administration officials say repeatedly that victory is elusive and may last decades or more. Indeed, we're told, the fight has barely begun. "Afghanistan is just the beginning of the war against terror," the president said recently. "There are other terrorists who threaten America and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them." America's goal is breathtaking in scope; it is also vague. The administration has committed itself to no less a task than rooting out global terrorism. "We will not be secure as a nation until all of these threats are defeated," Bush said. "Across the world and across the years, we will fight these evil...

In Kosovo, Power of Tribe Outweighs Power of Technology

USA Today This week, as Congress reconvenes, President Clinton will be coming under increasing criticism for the inadequacies of NATO's bombing campaign. But the favored alternative - a ground war - is something for which we are wholly unprepared. It's not just a matter of military tactics; it's a question of national will. There are two great opposing forces in the world today. The first is technology. The second is tribalism. Technology is based on knowledge, rationality and invention. Tribalism is based on passion, ethnicity and myth. We like to think that technology is about the future, and tribalism about the distant past. Both of these great forces have been at work in the Balkans. So far, the United States and its NATO allies have waged a technological war - replete with Stealth bombers, computer-guided cruise missiles and digital satellite imaging. Serbia is waging a tribal war. President Slobodan Milosevic's troops are burning, destroying and killing their way through Kosovo...

Three-legged trick to square vicious circle of job losses

The Guardian The central reality of our age is that globalisation and technological change have increased the demand for people with the right education, skills, and connections - and reduced the demand for those without them. The bottom third of our citizens are either paid less or have fewer job opportunities than before. The top third are doing fine. The middle third are just getting by. Different nations have responded in different ways. In the United States, there are lots of new jobs, but the wages of the bottom third continue to drop, while people at the top have never done as well. In France and Germany, the bottom third are either unemployed or in constant danger of being so, but inequality is not nearly as wide as in America. Britain stands between the two extremes. So here is the big question: are all advanced economies condemned to be somewhere on this line running from widening inequality to permanently high unemployment? The answer is no. Imagine a three legged stool...

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