Heads of state – presidents, prime ministers, dictators, whatever – cannot know all the details of what is going on in their country much less in the other person’s country. That’s why before a modern “summit” between or among heads of state, battalions of high- mid- and low-level staffers go through every conceivable subject and produce forests of briefing papers to prepare the principal.
According to the late William Safire writing in the New York Times, the word “summit” to describe a meeting of heads of state was coined by (no surprise) Winston Churchill in 1950 when he called for a “parley on the summit” of a few heads of state to chart the post-war world rather than, as Churchill put it, “‘hordes of experts and officials drawn up in a vast cumbrous array.'” Continue reading →
According to the Washington Post, 6,648 U.S. service personnel were killed in Iraq starting in April, 2003. The vast majority of those killed, 4,588 or 69 percent were young people under the age of thirty.
I am not going to re-litigate the Iraq war today. Or, probably, ever. But I do want to point out an issue that has arisen over what has happened to all the oil in Iraq over which, according to many, we had gone to war to protect for our own use.
It didn’t work.
According to an article by reporters Tim Arango and Clifford Krauss in the New York Times over the weekend, “Since the American-led invasion of 2003, Iraq has become one of the world’s top oil producers, and China is now its biggest customer.” Continue reading →
As part of the continuing success story that is the foreign policy of Barack Obama, the U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, found his car surrounded by protesters, blocked, and pelted with plastic water bottles.
This, directly in front of the American embassy. He claimed he felt he was never in any danger and the Chinese have “expressed regret” and the U.S. State Department has expressed the same exact level of outrage as it has exhibited in the attacks on other Embassies around the world.
The G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico is, thankfully, over.
During the proceedings we watched as President Barack Obama maneuvered himself into a position of being – if not totally inconsequential – certain a minor member of the chorus.
From Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush American Presidents have held the title “the most powerful man in the world.” Sometimes it was altered to “the most powerful man in the western world” but, you know what I mean.
Barack Obama has not just allowed that label to lapse. He appears to have been happy to toss it aside.
This isn’t about American exceptionalism. It’s about Obama ordinariness.
Obama is not First Among Equals at international meetings. At best he’s fourth among equals between Russia, China, and Germany. If you include Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Obama is no better than fifth. Continue reading →
Like most people I have gotten so caught up in the rising and falling of GOP Presidential candidates’ fortunes that I more-or-less forgot about President Obama and what else is going on in the world.
What else is going on is that gasoline prices are on the rise.
Some people are following the so-called “Doc Fix” issue – that is to forestall a 27 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to physicians. More people understand an extension of unemployment benefits. A lot of people would recognize whether or not payroll taxes (to pay for Social Security and Medicare) were being withheld from their paycheck. Continue reading →
A just released book, “Bowing to Beijing” by Brett M. Decker and William C. Triplett II, will change forever the way you think about China — even if, like me, you already have the deepest worries about the Chinese threat. As I opened the book, I was expecting to find many useful examples of Chinese military and industrial efforts to get the better of the United States and the West.
Indeed, there are 100 pages of examples of the most remorseless Chinese successes at stealing the military and industrial secrets of the West and converting them into a growing menace — soon to be a leviathan — bent on domination and defeat of America. The authors itemize the sheer, unprecedented magnitude of this effort. But the opening chapters dealt with human rights abuses, and my first thought as I started reading was that I wanted to get right to the military and industrial examples.
But the authors were right to lead with 50 pages itemizing in grizzly detail Chinese human rights abuses — for the profound reason that after reading those first 50 pages, the reader will be impassioned to resist Chinese domination not only on behalf of American interests, but also for the sake of humanity. Continue reading →
BY JOHN FEEHERY
Reprinted from the FeeheryTheory.com
According to the United Nations, the 7 billionth person came into the world the other day. I was wondering why it felt kind of crowded around here.
The 1 billionth person arrived when Thomas Jefferson was president. No. 2 billion came when Calvin Coolidge was president, the 3 billionth when Dwight Eisenhower was president, the 4 billionth when Nixon was getting impeached, the 5 billionth when Reagan was in his second term, the 6 billionth when Clinton was in his second term, and now Obama is president with No. 7 billion.
If it seems like the pace is picking up, well, you are right. At this rate, we will hit 10 billion by 2050.
Most of the growth is occurring in Asia, Africa and South America. The United States and Europe are expected to stay fairly flat in their population growth, but that doesn’t mean that Europeans and Americans won’t be profoundly affected by the population explosion in other parts of the globe. Continue reading →
For the past few years, fear of China’s predatory mercantilism has been steadily growing in America, both amongst the public and in elite business and political circles. But last week, for the first time, one could discern the genuine possibility that America might actually do something about it — even if it means a trade war.
It’s not that anything new has been revealed about China’s practices, but rather that something new has emerged about the nature of Washington’s opposition to it. Last week, the Senate passed a bill that would force U.S. retaliation against China’s currency manipulations. The bill passed with 63 votes — including 16 Republican votes.
There is nothing new about most Democrats supporting what some might consider “protectionist” legislation. But 16 Republican Senate votes are new and revealing. There was no ideological or regional pattern to them. They included Ohio’s Rob Portman, a solid senior member of the Republican free-trade establishment who served as President George W. Bush’s trade representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget; Maine’s liberals Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins; conservative southerners such as Jeff Sessions and Lindsey Graham; and the Rocky Mountain’s conservative Mike Crapo. Continue reading →
Amidst all the confusion over our new little war in Libya , one thing is clear: Notwithstanding the bravery and professionalism of our troops in naming it Operation Odyssey Dawn, the Pentagon has invoked a haunting specter. The war’s namesake Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey” is the tale of the hero, Odysseus, taking 10 years to get home from the Trojan War which itself took 10 years to fight.
After the riots in Athens , the Greek authorities decided to enact laws to deal with their obvious problems. The laws, which treat rich and poor alike for the first time, have been seen as harsh. The name of the legislator who wrote the laws is a man called Draco. The date is believed to be 621 B.C. And more than 2,600 years later, the adjectival form of his name – draconian – is still tossed around here in Washington anytime someone proposes real budget cuts.
A few years ago, I was inChina and, through the help of a friend, had the chance to spend a few hours with a senior editor of the People’s Daily – the Communist Party‘s voice and the most influential journal in China.
Before we get too far into a discussion about the climate conference which just ended in Cancun, Mexico, let me restate my firm opinion on global warming:
I am not a scientist, nor a statistician and have no idea what is what with regard to the data. Here’s what I do know: It is better to put less junk into the atmosphere than to put more junk into the atmosphere.
I suppose it is to be expected that the Great Recession should be accompanied by a sweeping national pessimism in which our purported leaders and commentators express historic despair, while the people and corporations mope about, convinced that the sun will not come up tomorrow.