A Money Too Far

Posted by , 7th May 2010

Paul Krugman
5/7/2010

greek crisisKrugman says the only plausible ending for the financial nightmare in Greece is for the country to end up in default and perhaps its eventual departure from the euro. Unlike California, which also has a history of financial woes, Greece has no central government to bail them out. California’s budget woes seem to have little effect on the state’s residents who can always rely on Washington to keep funding their Medicare reimbursements, Social Security checks, and defense contracts, but Greece has no such system in place. The only thing that could help Greece avoid default and get back on its financial feet is to leave the euro behind and go back to its own currency, which it could then devalue and increase its export competitiveness.

Krugman is a columnist for the New York Times.

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America and Europe meet midway

Posted by , 18th April 2010

Clive Crook
4/18/2010

us-europeThe gap in the political landscape that separates the US and Europe is shrinking, writes Crook. European governments from both the left and right have adopted ideas from American capitalism in recent years, while Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms show the US is being influenced by policies on the other side of the Atlantic. Crook says that in general this is to be welcomed, although the US must be careful about some of the influences it embraces. European governments have become more moderate in recent years, and governing from the center ground is well suited to making a success of welfare policies. With the Democrats and Republicans seemingly moving towards opposite political poles, US policymakers will find it harder to make welfare reforms workable.

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Indo-China relations

Posted by , 16th April 2010

Ajay Kaul
4/16/2010

india-china_relationsOn the 60th anniversary of India-China relations, the ties still remain complex, suspicious, and uncertain. From border disputes to India’s dejection in China’s involvement in PoK, both countries have remained strained over the years. But the recent high-level meeting was highly optimistic, where they agreed upon broadening the bilateral connections in economy and trade, says Kaul. At the same time, the envoys have realized the complexities of the border disputes and appointed special representatives to address it on a long-term basis. Both countries have also appealed to the media to desist from exaggerated criticisms which could cause mutual harm.

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The Age of Concrete

Posted by , 15th March 2010

Blaine Brownell
3/13/2010

burj-khalifaDubai’s Burj Khalifa, now the world’s tallest building, is made of reinforced concrete, a material that has surpassed the use of steel used to build the previous recordholder for height. This engineering achievement shows that the strength of concrete has tripled in the last four decades, allowing concrete structures to be thinner, lighter, and far taller.

Brownell, the author of “Transmaterial: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine our Physical Environment,” is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture.

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Is Google now a monopoly?

Posted by , 26th February 2010

Christopher Caldwell
2/26/2010

google logoGoogle has reacted to accusations that its internet searches produce results that can be unfair to rival firms by saying that they are “neutral both in appearance and fact”. Caldwell says there would only be a need for Google to declare its neutrality if the company had no real competition. With Google, people either think that there is a big problem and the company is enjoying a monopoly or that there is no problem at all. Google tends to cast attempts to regulate it as assaults on fundamental freedoms, but Caldwell says such a view smacks of 1990s utopianism and needs to be re-examined.

The writer is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.

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The 9/11 of 1859

As the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attacks, looms, Horwitz says we should look at the parallels between John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 and Al Qaeda’s assault in 2001.

Posted by , 3rd December 2009

Tony Horwitz
12/2/2009

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Brown believed he was chosen by God to destroy slavery, the size and make-up of his strike-force was similar to that of the 9/11 hijackers, he used covert backers, and the group used aliases and coded language. John Brown sought to free slaves, terrorize the South, and incite a broad conflict. The 9/11 terrorists sought to hobble America, and after eight years, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed nearly twice as many Americans as the hijackers did. And Americans domestic and foreign policy options will continue to be hobbled as it increases troops in Afghanistan.

Horwitz is the author of “Confederates in the Attic” and “A Voyage Long and Strange.” He is working on a book about John Brown’s raid.

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How Europe can be heard in Washington

Posted by , 19th November 2009

Jeremy Shapiro and Nick Witney
11/15/2009

Obama EUEuropeans need to learn that Barack Obama will continue to listen to those from the Old Continent who have something useful to say. He will not, on the other hand, have much time for others who are just there to glad-hand the president or who show no understanding of how he is trying to reposition the US in the world. The authors say that Europeans need to overcome a number of illusions that dominate the transatlantic relationship, including the misperception that they must continue to turn to America when fearful for Europe’s protection. The authors say the cold war ended 20 years ago and the US government finds the constant attention of European governments to be tiresome.

Jeremy Shapiro is a director of research at the Brookings Institution. Nick Witney is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

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Ramallah’s road map to statehood

Posted by , 19th November 2009

David Ignatius
11/19/2009

RamallahRamallah, a Palestinian settlement on the West Bank, is making great progress toward functionality and prosperity. But the peace process has imploded and opportunities have been missed as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and President Obama have failed to reach effective terms in their negotiations. The author suggests following the example of Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, who is largely responsible for the current successful state of Ramallah. Fayyad has drawn up a detailed, two-year plan for its transition into statehood, with the ultimate goal being for Palestinians to have “strong, competent institutions”. The author believes that Fayyad’s plan is the only hope for the region and that the United States should strongly support it.

Ignatius is a twice-weekly columnist for The Post, writing on global politics, economics and international affairs.

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How Iran’s Revolution Was Hijacked

Posted by , 19th November 2009

Mark Bowden
11/19/2009

Islamic RevolutionThree decades after Iranian college students overran and occupied the American Embassy in Tehran, Bowden considers how we continue to deal with that country’s revolution. America’s reductionistic way of remembering the “hostage crisis” ignores its larger significance in Iran and impedes our understanding of the political drama unfolding there today. The movement to oust the Shah was primarily a nationalist one. Many of those in the streets in 1978 and 1979 desired the establishment of a theocracy in order to cast off authoritarianism and found a democracy. Bowden explains how the Islamists schemed to take power. However, 30 years after seizing control, the mullahs of Qom find themselves in a difficult spot. Younger Iranians want real democracy and the revolutionary rhetoric of change is no longer anti-American and Islamist.

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