Saturday, October 15, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
A Brief Foreign Tour
One can get a good overview of what Republican candidates for president may or may not be thinking about national security and America's role in world affairs in a current Foreign Policy article. Nothing too surprising. Except for Ron Paul and John Huntsman, the candidates are basic America Firsters and military enthusiasts. The most interesting part of the article is evidence of growing skepticism among Republican rank-and-file to foreign interventions, military and otherwise, in these dire economic times.
When you're done reading that article, go read Mitt Romney's declaration of trade war against China.
Then go back to Foreign Policy and check out the revolutionary graffiti from the Arab Spring.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The Enemy As a Real Human Being
From the diary of Dang Thuy Tram (1942-1970)
26 November 1968
It’s my birthday, and the sounds of the enemy’s guns reverberate in all directions. I am used to helping wounded soldiers evade the enemy, wearing a heavy backpack on my shoulders. It’s nothing. Two arduous years have hardened me to the bullets and the fire of war. The forest has gone peculiarly silent, the sound of gunfire gone. Everyone is intently following the status of the battles.
As for me, I suddenly remember the peaceful days in the North—sunlight in the winter, the warmth of great joy, Dad and Mom buying me flowers, having a party, friends coming to congratulate me…Now my desires are different from those of the past. If I have those things, I should save them for those people who have risked death for the last twenty-three years, and for the adolescents growing up with suffering, hatred and sacrifice. And for my dear friends in this land of the South. Oh, Dad and Mom, save your love for us, prepare to welcome me and all your sons from the South when we return. My young brothers will deserve your love.
Monday, October 10, 2011
We're Chasing the Wrong Deficit
If you want to understand the root causes for the nation's (and the world's) economic distress, you can do no better than get hold of the 17 October 2011 issue of The Nation which features an in-depth article on John Maynard Keynes and his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.
Keynes believed that practical leaders would always see the supreme importance of keeping the country out of external debt—indeed, he seemed to see this as the first duty of the state. For Keynes, in his later years, it was the economic analogue to defending one’s country. Avoiding an external debt was an act of patriotism and national self-preservation in a sense that even reducing unemployment was not. ...Keynes would not believe how Obama, the Tea Party, the Democrats, the Republicans—our leaders—pay so little attention to our whopping trade deficit, as if it had nothing at all to do with our slump.
The right, the Tea Party, the Concord Coalition, Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson, Peter Peterson—they want to bring down the federal deficit. The left, our side, generally wants to go deeper into debt and get to full employment. Then we’ll bring down the federal deficit. Then we’ll have full employment and all will be well.
But until we bring down the trade deficit and fix our balance of payments, there is no way out of debt.
The bottom line: our corporate overseers have de-industrialized this nation to the point where even if Americans have money to spend, we will spending it on foreign made goods.
There's much more to the article. It's worth a second and even a third read.