During tonight's State of the Union address, President Joe Biden needs to ditch the "usual laundry list of policy proposals," and switch from "being the 'protect the middle class from the pandemic' president to being 'prepare America for the struggle ahead' president," according to former Treasury Secretary and Democratic heavyweight Larry Summers, who spoke with Bloomberg TV on Friday.
"We are looking at an event of potentially vast significance and concern," Summers said in a follow-up interview Monday - referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Moscow's increasing alignment with Beijing.
"Our ability to meet these challenges depends on recognizing them for what they are."
According to Summers, Biden will need to rally Americans to support the principles of democracy against authoritarianism.
"The United States faces far graver challenges to its security than anyone would have thought likely even several years ago," said Summers, who served as head of the National Economic Council during the Obama administration."That needs to have ramifications for almost every aspect of our national life."
Summers, also a former director of the White House National Economic Council, likened the importance of the tightening bonds between Moscow and Beijing today to the realignment of China toward the U.S. that President Richard Nixon achieved in 1972.
American corporate leaders are among those that may need to rethink their approaches in the new environment, he said. “Anyone who thinks that is not a challenge to their ability to flourish and profit as a business is making an enormous mistake.” -Bloomberg
"There was a tendency for some CEOs to treat the United States as a kind of primitive loyalty, but to emphasize that they had to do what was best for their company -- which could mean going anywhere and doing anything," he said yesterday.
When it comes to China, Summers says that too much effort has been spent by US policymakers on corporate interests in that country - while Washington remains "underinvested" in US technological competitiveness.
"When we see the dominant emphasis in the economic policies of many countries shift from international integration to self-reliance as a dominant economic value, we know we are headed into a much more dangerous world," Summers added - while urging Biden to put "more emphasis on our stake in what’s happening globally" - particularly when it comes to challenges such as safeguarding the US Dollar as the global reserve by moving to contain inflation, resisting global aggression, and addressing semiconductor shortages.
Of note, in November Summers was critical of the Biden administration for being "behind the curve" on inflation ravaging the economy.
"We are going to need to spend more on national defense and more on global security -- in terms of not just military threats, but threats from climate change and threats from pandemics."