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UsernameSlightly Optimistic
Joined04 Feb '06  18:48
First Post04 Feb '06  20:22
Last Post19 Dec '14  13:14
Total Posts7712
Total Recommendations651

Last 10 posts

19 Dec '14  13:14
International Trade
Interesting discussions in the media on the prospective TransAtlantic trade and investment partnership. Many hurdles: eg if the proposal is approved at European HQ it still has to be ratified by all 28 European national parliaments; and then it has to be passed by the US Congress.

Partly responsible for the move away from a global trade agreement is the recognition that few nations have a political interest in enforcing universal rules on financial transactions. Regional enforcement by 'Wall Street' is therefore on the cards. This trend is surely a prelude to the financial deglobalisation that many suspect is the outcome of the present arrangements.

The future of the WTO?
16 Dec '14  15:23
Middle Eastern Political Economy
A global economy that aspires to have no values?

The ambiguous values of China's sphere of influence are certainly suspected by Russia.

For example, six nations were admitted as Observers to the Arctic Council last year: China, Italy, India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. The Council plans to divvy up, peacefully, the Arctic and its resources.

Permanent member Russia was very unhappy about the extended membership, on the basis it might adversely affect its foreign policy re the Arctic. China's membership was especially unwelcome as Moscow is inclined to view the resources there as a regional, not a global, resource. Not a good omen for the security of Russia's existing reserves.

Whereas the resources in the China seas are all regionally claimed by China as its property.

15 Dec '14  21:06
Middle Eastern Political Economy
Spheres of influence, each with their own political values, are surely incompatible with a global economy that aspires to have no values.

The likely territorial disputes in the resource rich Arctic will bring this matter to a head. Pity it can't be addressed before that cataclysm.

A global economy that aspires to have no values? See for example Too big to resist: Wall Street’s comeback
11 Dec '14  13:03
Middle Eastern Political Economy
So your complaint PA is not that the illegal torture policy took place and was paid for with taxes, but that it should have been hidden from the public. Checks and balances?

Reminds me of the dismissive attitude towards the multi trillion global economy.
11 Dec '14  12:36
Middle Eastern Political Economy
The quality of the report is questioned by PA. No doubt in drawing up the report the Senate Intelligence Committee thought they were adequately briefed for the task in hand and content with the final product.

However, much of the report has been redacted at the request of the many nations who assisted the US in its torture.
10 Dec '14  20:48
Middle Eastern Political Economy
Is might right? The view of Congress is referred to in an editorial in the NYT:

Nearly five months and 1,100 airstrikes into the American-led war against the Islamic State, Congress has barely begun to fulfill its constitutional war-making responsibilities. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday belatedly opened up debate on legislation that would authorize the use of force . . .

Presidents often resist attempts by Congress to limit their powers. But after 13 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq that first targeted Al Qaeda and then evolved into conflicts in other states (like Yemen) against “associated” extremists, America cannot afford to get caught up in another endless, all-consuming conflict.

Secretary of State John Kerry argued against [.] limits on ground troops

Mr. Kerry also urged the committee not to specifically bar the administration from taking the fight to other countries besides Iraq and Syria

Authorizing Military Force Must Have Limits

The IMF and the multi trillion economy?
10 Dec '14  17:51
Middle Eastern Political Economy
Yes, the United Nations system is essentially a treaty organisation; the values incorporated in the Charter are those that some nations wanted others to meet. Like most international organisations though, the UN has few powers of enforcement. Accordingly might makes right is encouraged.

A bright spot for American democracy?
The release of the report by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture during the War on Terror is a vital step toward bringing to an end the Age of Fear that has perverted American national security policy and, more importantly, undercut our most basic national values for almost a decade and a half. Indeed, the core abuses listed in the report — and they can go by no other name than torture — are the signal failure of U.S. leadership of that era, worse even than the invasion of Iraq.

The mere production of such a report so long after the fact — five years — suggests that better steps would have been possible sooner. Second, the mentality that led to having a nation that preaches human rights to the world willfully suspending its values at the first sign of a crisis has infused the Obama administration much as it did Bush’s White House. The serial violations of due process and international law associated the National Security Agency’s overreaching surveillance programs also violated core American values, constitutional provisions, and international codes of behavior we have long fought to put in place. Guantánamo is still open. Drone strikes violate sovereign nations and claim the lives of civilians to this day. And President Obama has been seen as seeking to slow-walk the release of even this report.

The IMF and the multi trillion economy? [see below]
10 Dec '14  12:56
Middle Eastern Political Economy
Only civilised states obey the United Nations? Washington, for one, seems to be trying to claw back lost ground with its report.

Wonder if we'll also get a report, courtesy of the departing President Obama, on the much more serious matter of the flawed multi trillion global economy. The US at present has an effective veto on the UN's key economic agency, the IMF.
10 Dec '14  12:40
European Political Economy
Would the EU really benefit from the proposed TTIP with the US?

Germany might; and "as Europe’s economic and political powerhouse, could have the last word on its [TTIP] contents and approval."

However one study from a university in the US says "the TTIP would lead to net losses in terms of GDP, jobs and net exports in the European Union".

TTIP: Germany’s got the upper hand
10 Dec '14  10:04
Middle Eastern Political Economy
The US report has shone light in other areas.

For example,

Less well known is that 54 other countries, including British territories, were induced to collaborate. The UN outlawed torture in 1975.

Yet no area of government is so enveloped in secrecy and hypocrisy. The British government lectures the world on civil and human rights, but has yet to account for the use of torture – water-boarding and other methods. . .

Democracy’s only defence is to demand that account be subsequently rendered.

Citizens must know what is done in their name, even if it takes time. It has taken the US more than a decade. Britain is still waiting for its Chilcot report on Iraq.

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