Obama Isn’t Trying to ‘Weaken America’

Posted by osurce, 14th February 2011

obama_contemptMichael Medved
2/14/2011

Some conservatives call the president the political equivalent of a suicide bomber: so consumed with hatred that he’s willing to blow himself up in order to inflict casualties on a society he loathes. Against this, Medved says the White House record of more than 200 years shows plenty of bad decisions but no bad men. For all their foibles, no president ever displayed disloyal or treasonous intent. He criticizes Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin for hyperbole in criticizing Obama. For 2012, Medved says Republicans face a daunting challenge in running against the president, which becomes impossible if they’re also perceived as running against the presidency.

Medved hosts a daily, nationally syndicated radio show and is the author of “The 5 Big Lies About American Business” (recently out in paperback by Three Rivers Press).

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The Misleading Metaphor of Decline

Posted by osurce, 14th February 2011

us-flagJoseph Nye
2/14/2011

Nye reflects on whether the US is in decline. He considers the rising power of China and other future challengers to American hegemony. America, he writes, is likely to remain more powerful than any single state in the coming decades. At the same time, it will certainly face a rise in the power resources of states and nonstate actors. America’s capacity to maintain alliances and create networks will be an important dimension of its hard and soft power. What it needs now is a vision that combines domestic reforms with smart strategies for the international deployment of its power in an information age.

Nye is a professor at Harvard and author of “The Future of Power” (Public Affairs, 2011).

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Eat the Future

Posted by elvira, 14th February 2011

SurveyPaul Krugman
2/14/2011

A new survey released by the Pew Center reveals that Americans want more, not less, spending on education and Medicare, and are divided about spending on defense. Yet Republicans insist the last election was about spending cuts, not unemployment, and are determined to slash the budget even though they do not have a mandate for that. As a result, to keep people happy now, the party is making cuts for the future, allowing them to appease their Tea Party factions without imposing immediate pain on voters without forcing them to admit they are wrong about not raising taxes and only harming the nation down the road.

Krugman is a New York Times columnist.

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Reviving Japan

Posted by osurce, 11th February 2011

Japan Prime Minister KanDavid Abraham
2/11/2011

Late last month, Japanese PM Kan proclaimed 2011 to be the “third opening of Japan”, equating his agenda to the great waves of transformation that swept the country in the mid-19th century and in the years after World War II. That will sound hyperbolic to anyone familiar with economically moribund, politically fragmented Japan, but his aspirations should not be dismissed out of hand. Kan can reopen his nation’s economy–the world’s third largest–to competition, and Kan has shown that he understands Japan’s competitiveness problem and has managed to push forward some substantive changes. This suggests that Kan has at least some capacity to address it.

Abraham is a Hitachi international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and previously worked as a sovereign analyst at Lehman Brothers.

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From freedom agenda to freedom doctrine

Posted by osurce, 11th February 2011

Egyptian2011ProtestsBCharles Krauthammer
2/11/2011

The United States needs to adopt a Freedom Doctrine that unabashedly supports democracy throughout the Middle East. Such a doctrine would include aiding emerging democracies in throwing off dictatorships and protection for new democracies against regional and global totalitarianism. It would allow time for key elements of democracy (such as a free press and independent political parties) to establish themselves before holding elections so as to avoid rogue coups coming to power and destroying the democracy that elected them. This is not reinventing the wheel, says Krauthammer. Similar foreign policy was implemented successfully in post WWII Europe and during the Cold War. A freedom agenda powered by guiding principles can be as effective now as it was in Truman’s day.

Krauthammer is a weekly columnist for The Post, writing on foreign and domestic policy and politics.

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The Next Step for Egypt’s Opposition

Posted by osurce, 11th February 2011

Mohamed-El_BaradeiMohamed ElBaradei
2/11/2011

ElBaradei lists the problems facing Egypt, including poverty, illiteracy, and being listed as a failed state, while people live in a state of fear and repression where democracy has been denied to its people. Young people have been preparing for this moment through the Internet, which gave them opportunities for expression and assembly that their government did not. The tipping point was the Tunisian revolution, which sent them the message that they, too, could succeed. President Mubarak can no longer hold on to power that is no longer his, ElBaradei says. He outlines the actions needed next to ensure a peaceful and orderly transition of power to a new Egypt based on freedom and social justice.

ElBaradei, as the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. He is the author of the forthcoming book “The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times.”

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Merlin deal will not fix flawed banks

Posted by osurce, 9th February 2011

Austerity-Plan-Announced-by-British-governmentDaine Coyle
2/8/2011

Bankers are once again doing well in the financial sector but businesses and consumers are not, which is leading to popular anger, especially as the bonus round is about to be paid. Coyle says that Project Merlin, which the British government hopes will smooth relations between the country’s banks, politicians, and the electorate, does not address the fundamental problem that Britain’s banks are uncompetitive. Competition reform, along with replacement of the complex regulations that act as barriers to entry, are now the only ways forward for the banking industry. Coyle says we need a healthy undergrowth of smaller financial institutions to balance the existing monoculture of vulnerable giants, but Project Merlin will not deliver this.

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Egypt’s revolution to win or lose

Posted by osurce, 9th February 2011

Egyptian RevoltsGeorge Will
2/9/2011

Events in the Middle East have taken the world by surprise. Even Israel’s formidable intelligence services and strong self-interest were unable to predict such a development. As the Egyptians have taken center stage, the protesters’ enduring nationalism must be taken as an encouraging sign: their hope is expressed positively rather than negatively against their national identity. The United States must be careful not to take a paternalistic approach to events in the region so that it does not alienate a new generation of leaders and states.

Will is a twice-weekly columnist for The Post and approximately 400 other newspapers, writing about foreign and domestic politics and policy.

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Up With Egypt

Posted by osurce, 9th February 2011

Egyptian_Army_Soldiers_001Thomas L. Friedman
2/9/2011

The Egyptian army is, for the moment, staying neutral, but Friedman wonders if it will stay loyal to Mubarak or establish the army as the guarantor of a peaceful transition to democracy. In order for the second scenario to unfold, people need to see that the uprising is post-ideological, unlike Iran’s 1979 revolution. In Egypt the protests are about Egypt depriving its people of political rights and being forced to live with a declining standard of living. Rather than asking for Palestine or Allah, Egyptians are asking for the right to their own future.

Friedman is a New York Times columnist.

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