Last month, with the challenges facing the country escalating, President Biden published a pair of op-eds: In The New York Times, “What America Will and Will Not Do in Ukraine;” in the Wall Street Journal, “My Plan for Fighting Inflation.” Those pieces were intended to reassure the American public that the administration had matters under control – and to signal what having matters under control might entail.

The idea was an admirable one. Governments are supposed to have plans and democratic governments are supposed to communicate those plans in a clear and timely fashion with the population.  Biden’s op-eds hit all the right beats. But they failed to back that narrative with substance; to offer real, practical solutions – rather than quick, band-aid fixes. As such, they reflected a larger lacuna in US political discourse.

This is the gap that Force Distance Times intends to fill.

Force Distance Times is dedicated to re-inserting solutions into the conversation. That starts at productive capacity. It ends with a future that works.

The mismatch between problem and solution is not unique to the Biden administration. It has become an endemic feature of US policy making and analysis more broadly: The United States – and the US-led international order – face unprecedented challenges from every corner. These are uncharted waters geopolitically, economically, technologically, and socially, all at once. But the United States seems to have run out of solutions.

This might be a function of problem overload: Burned out from a global pandemic, the US is facing down simultaneous threats of inflation and recession, environmental crisis, and technological upheaval – all against the backdrop of a rising great power challenger intent on subverting the international order in Beijing and a disruptor in Moscow actively violating international norms and assumptions about 21st century international affairs.

Faith in government is at rock bottom. That in the private sector is not much higher. Once, technology seemed a panacea; now it more and more seems part of the problem. Conventional logics get stuck at the tension of long-term solutions – like investment in domestic production and true economic competition with international adversaries – exacerbating short-term challenges, like inflation.

But these challenges are not insurmountable.

Take inflation, the lightning rod of the moment. President Biden framed the problem deftly in his Wall Street Journal op-ed: To fix inflation, the US will have to fix domestic productive capacity, supply chains, and infrastructure. But doing that will demand more than new affordable housing units and strategic petroleum reserve releases. It will demand investing in trusted supply of critical resources ranging from food to energy; the processing and manufacturing built on top of them, and the systems of exchange, like shipping logistics and pipelines, to transport them. It will require doing so in coordination with the private sector, through high-level carrots and sticks that regulate and adjust incentives but do not bloat government involvement. And it will demand working with allies and partners to leverage relative strengths; to reinforce a trusted international economic architecture rather than hunkering ineffectively down in fortress America.

Staring at the problem side of the equation breeds more problems. But solutions create one-stone, multiple-birds situations: Investment in productive capacity also promises to beat back geopolitical adversaries that weaponize dependence. It promises to restore a foundation for domestic economic – and, with it, political and social – dynamism and resilience.

Force Distance Times is dedicated to re-inserting solutions into the conversation. That starts at productive capacity. It ends with a future that works.

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