Tidibits and Morsels (4)



Regardless of whether you are among those who are baffled about the economic problems that continue to ail the U.S. with no end in sight, or among those who are cheering the noisy fall of the mightiest among nations, here is one of the most cogent explanations that Nathan Gardels provides in the Fall 2008 issue of the New Perspectives Quarterly about the grim situation that the lone uberpower faces.  He writes:

In the space of a few short months, we have morphed from the citadel of free-market capitalism and freewheeling consumerism — from a land of high-flying hedge funds, Hummers and homes that doubled as ATMs — to a system in which the banks, insurance companies, mortgage industry and auto manufacturers are quasi-socialized

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Tidibits and Morsels (3)



The Cold War in its old form disappeared when the Soviet Union imploded.  But the U.S.-Russian competition did not.  The United States continued a strange policy of expanding the NATO membership and bringing that Alliance all the way to the Russian borders, despite strong and continued protestations from Mosow.  It was highly irrational on the part of the United States to think that Russia should only listen to its rhetoric–which went along the lines that “we are no longer adversaries”–and totally ignore its near obsession with the NATO enlargement.


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Tidbits and Morsels (2)

The post-9/11 era popularized the phrases “weak states,” “failing states” and “failed states.”  Those were places where terrorist organizations evolved and eventually took over the country.  Somalia emerged as the archetype (if that is the right adjective) failed state.  Even if the world wanted to forget Somalia, it could not, when that country became a stronghold for pirates.  While children in Manhattan, New York, Dubai, or Copenhagen aspire to become successful business executives when they grow up, children in Mogadishu dream of becoming pirates.  Somalia hit the world news when, on November 18, 2008, pirates hijacked the Saudi-owned supertanker, The Sirius Star.  The Saudi government promptly equated piracy with terrorism.


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Tidbits and Morsels (1)

These are brief comments on stories that caught my attention.  I will attempt to write this series on my website as frequently as I can.  If you would like to see more of these in the future, please drop me a note on my gmail account: ahrarie@gmail.com


OPEC is reducing its production by 2.2 million barrels per day (bbl/d).  That is a desperate attempt of the oil cartel to firm up the declining oil prices, which stand at $41.99/bbl.  Recall that only three or four months ago, the same barrel of oil was going for around $140/bbl. 

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