S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Is the World More or Less Secure Today?

Is the World More or Less Secure Today? There are many kinds of security. Uppermost in may people's minds these days is financial security around the globe. And probably the best place to find out about that question is the Financial Times. A good place to start is their World headlines page. There we learn that right now European leaders are meeting to discuss the financial crisis. The UK may have to cut interest rates. British banks are braced for an insurance crackdown. California may have to get an emergency loan. The U.S. has lost 159,000 jobs recently, and our Federal Reserve system may have to do something with interest rates. Following the passage of the so-called "rescue" legislation, the financial markets remain somewhat in turmoil. Stocks fell sharply again. Financial Times also has a good International economy page.

European Leaders Hold Emergency Finance Summit in Paris -- The website Deutsche Welle has the best story about the economic Summit in Paris. It is a must read to get the full picture of the EU dilemma. To quote:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called an emergency finance summit in Paris Saturday. Washington has approved its historic $700-billion bailout package, but EU leaders are divided over what action to take. Disagreements, however, center around a plan, reportedly favored by France, to set up a 300 billion euro ($415 billion) fund to help troubled European financial institutions.

In particular, this has provoked tensions between France and Germany, who have diverging views of how the European Union should function. Berlin is traditionally more opposed to a centralized approach, especially in monetary affairs.

Britain, along with Germany, has been reluctant to commit taxpayers' money to a Europe-managed fund and advocates a case-by-case approach to rescuing financial institutions. . . . The British prime minister's spokesman said that while the financial crisis had a "European dimension," individual countries wanted to come up with their own solution because it is their taxpayers' money that is at risk.

The Asia Times has an Asian Economy page analogous to the others mentioned in today's post. New Zealand's market did the best this week with only a 1% drop. Japan saw declines it had not seen in almost 25 years. It was reported that Asian markets "barely blinked" at the passage of the U.S. bailout package. Gold markets in Sydney and Hong Kong have been doing a brisk business. An article, "Asia still fatally coupled," by Thomas I Palley, offers a fascinating perspective on Tom Friedman's flat world.

Another interesting perspective is the one from Russia's RIA Novosti. Their Global financial crisis page is a good place to start. There we learn that only 7% of Russians believe that the economy is healthy. And, no surprise, Putin blames the U.S. for its inadequate response to the financial crisis. Russia's Central Bank gave $50 billion (9/29/08) to bolster its financial system.

Another kind of security is national security, or being protected from terrorism. For catching up on what is going on in this world I looked to my 10/3/08 CQ Behind the Lines newsletter, by David C. Morrison. Here are a couple of paragraphs that give some hints about how much more or less secure we are this week.

About security, the answer is, we don't know yet. To quote:

Four young Muslims went on trial in Paris on Wednesday accused of operating an extremist network that planned attacks in Europe and sent volunteers to fight in Iraq, Agence France-Presse reports. The two terror suspects arrested at a German airport last Friday may be released for want of evidence against them, Cologne’s Express explains. A Thai documentary that played at this month’s Toronto Film Festival centers on a teacher who was kidnapped and beaten by a group of Muslim women in 2006, dying after eight months in a coma, Reuters’ Chawadee Nualkhair spotlights.

About security the answer is, probably more secure. To quote:

In what is likely their last public appearance before meeting an Indonesian firing squad, the three Bali bombers “acted more like pop stars than prisoners,” The Sydney Morning Herald mentions. The United States has deployed to Israel a high-powered radar for coordinated defense against Iranian missile attack, marking the first permanent American military presence on Israeli soil, Defense News notes. “The Patriot Act-protected title character in ‘Eagle Eye’ [DreamWorks] is a self-aware, anti-terrorism surveillance computer that goes rogue — deciding to assassinate the leaders of America to end the self-imposed state of terror,” The Cleveland Scene’s Jason Morgan capsule-reviews.

About security the answer is, probably less secure. To quote:

The counterterror-oriented U.S. Africa Command debuted Wednesday as well, but hostility and cynicism have forced it to shelve plans to be based on the continent, Reuters updates. “Kylie Minogue and 2,000 VIP guests could be targeted by al Qaeda at the world’s most expensive party, the Nov. 20 opening of Dubai’s Atlantis Hotel,” The Daily Star breathlessly relates.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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betmo said...

thought you would be interested in the world's perspective on america. the recent un meeting was an eye opener to the 2 people who paid attention or cared that it met. another bushco casualty- the un's reputation.

Carol Gee said...

Thanks, betmo, for Mikes fine essay. I think I'll write more on this perhaps Monday.
Much of the foreign press I read this morning can hardly disguise their disdain.
There is no excuse for such administration ineptitude, epitomized by a little news item I saw this morning. The nuclear treaty that Condoleezza Rice flew to India to sign could not be inked because of some little bureaucratic glitch. Ugh!