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21 December 2009

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Charles I

As Prof Brenner iterates, more of the same all around, only more. He's upset by the war sociopolitical manifestations of the drugs, yet calls for more. I understand the conflation of drugs with the lack of social anchors supplied by religion, etc., and the absolute of prohibiton as a practical and moral response.

We just had a thread on absolutes, legal, moral sacramental and opinion. The humans opined they are human, while one of the commentators above assured us the foreign policy establishment would continue to go its own way. The plaintive call for an end to Soma and increased religiocultural awareness and community as a tool against Prohibition-pumped-up criminality run amok in a matrix of dope, money, guns, sex, national and foreign policies fueld by human nature and its attendant miseries is understood, but unlikely in to resound in impoverished times of war and uncertainty.

Steven Metz wants a security Constitution of some undefined sort. Nobody follows the current one, what's the problem?

Obviously the Dems are hopeless at leading.

Frank Schaeffer's memoir, Crazy for God details the penetration of the GOP by fundamentalist/evangelicalcurrents devoted to the most alarming social and foreign policy agendas, and they are a way more coherent force than us bleeding heart liberals.

In his words, they want America to fail. Be proof that mushy headed moral relativism, human rights, feminism, sex and drugs and rock and roll are the problem that they can redeem America from. They also have a rather rosy view of Armageddon, and the kinds of outrages that will contribute to it. Hello, Rush Limbaugh.

As you so pointedly drive home here, there's only so much we can do over there, yet the wars go on, while China emerges. Predictions of 3% growth next year do not negate the derivatives house of cards underlying the global financial system, whatever the price of oil.


An there appear to a be Freudian typo in Ron Marks's comments:

"much dismissed US economy will make a strong comeback of 3 percent plus growth. Europe will remain a laggard and the Far East will be boosted less by internal demand than the mighty American economic engine. And both US and Europe will continue to have high EMPLOYMENT -- always a lagging indicator, but now compounded by a shift away from the financial services/housing industry model of the 00 decade. In this manner, it will look a lot like the painful 1970's readjustment.'

I am certain it should read "high UN-employment" which as concluded is a lagging indicator.

N. M. Salamon

As most of the submissions were somewhat pessimistic, the one thing which surprised me was the notion that Israel might attcak Iran. This can happen only if the USA has that as foreign policy, for with the carrier groups in the Persian Gulf, the US Navy has complete control over all air space to the ex USSR border between Isral and Iran - a veritable NO GO BARRIER!

For it is the USA economy which would collapse fastest if there is no ME oil [ The $ would be unacceptable, thus the credit/trade collapse]!

JM

pl on the Nat Journal blog: "The American people will come to feel during the coming year that most of them are poorer than they were a few years ago."

And this is likely to be an ongoing trend, unfortunately. Historians a few decades from now will write about how our generation failed to realize that you've got to have an educated and healthy workforce to compete (i.e., to stand out from the others) in this time of increasingly highly integrated and synchronized international economies (what a few economists are referring to as the "Great Synchronization").

When the world's economy moves essentially as one entity, you need to have a lot of sharp people on hand to maintain a high standard of living. It's what I've never really understood about the standard conservative position on health care and education; I've always considered those as "investment goods."

N.M. Salamon: "As most of the submissions were somewhat pessimistic, the one thing which surprised me was the notion that Israel might attcak Iran."

Coming from that particular commenter, a nice little laugh to start my day!

curious

Hey, what happens to last year predictions? Time to take inventory who made the best prediction for 2009. (I like to claim a win before the counting begin.. haa haa.)

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My take for 2010.

1. In general the world economy will improve, Asia leads, followed by Latin America, North America, Russia, and EU being the last one. The big theme is: global recovery and how to sustain it.

2. Greece, Ireland, Eastern europe (latvia, lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia) will be in deep economic funk. May lead to political change if not instability. UK budget will be in deep doo.

3. US economy. Obama not managing unemployment more aggressively will cost Dems mid term. Historically, the average mid term loosing seat is 15. I would say few more than that. Senate composition matters more, specially if GOP gains more seat (seems unlikely at this moment). Worst case scenario: Obama becoming lame duck. But more likely his remaining term will be muddle around since he can't get the party to put the pro-corporation senators to go behind him.

with that, the problem of huge budget debt will start to hurt. Specially when global interest rate start to climb. (relapse to mild recession instead of anemic growth is real)

4. Israel. Too chicken to start a war on his own. More petty scheming, gaming the peace process. Bibi survives much longer than everybody thought. Basically: more of the same. Fatah fractured, Hamas popularity raising, West bank turns to Hamas. Abbas becoming senile, but hanging on. Sharon-Arafat redux basically.

5. Iran. The big question: what happens if The Supreme leader pass away. The current status quo of political thight grip is obviously sustainable, but the urban youngs are very unhappy, they want more open and worldlier society. Maybe a blow up? I for one think the current dubious balance of power between Israel-iran with US watching will linger far into the future even with nuclear. Iran's task is fairly simple: expand international relationship and trade while oil price is high. Develop conventional deterrent and prepare for controlled political reform. (South Korea model, if not the slower china model) The last few weeks prove that Iran is more than capable controlling regional event. (not going to war)

6. Af-Pak. more of the same.... taliban withering, but still dangerous. Afghanistan political establishmen still has no clue how to run a country beyond "I am the biggest warlod around". No political initiative, no meaningfull developmental progress, all corruption. Pakistan slowly sinks into chaos. Everybody plays game. What's new?

7. Iraq? more of the same.

8. Single currency in GCC/arab states. This will have important effect on US dollar/oil price if they decide to decouple from USD. But I don't know enough how far advance or what they will decide.


Biggest development:

1. US losts asia. (Economic decoupling against china. political rift with Japan. Bunch of failed political coups in rest of asia, none of which improve US standings.) For the first time since war of independence, US bond price and US budget deficit will be decided by external force.

2. Germany has had it and finally show the entire world the middle finger. Tired of bailing out europe, tired of following US leadership, tired of slow economic growth, and tired of getting beat up in international market by asia, they finally say enough and start taking names. (Energy supply with russia, middle east. Start developing market for advance gears that previously not allowed to compete with US, does not go along with US foreign policy, distancing away from NATO, etc.)

essentially: China, Japan, Germany are exerting their independent outside the usual US leadership.

Tyler

Fire in the streets and the beginning of the end of the Republic.

If you have never played any of the Fallout games, I think reading the game's background would be interesting to many of the old timers here.

To wit? US annexes Canada, global war for resources with China invading Alaska. The whole shebang ends with an atomic exchange and you are a survivor 300 years later.

Harper

I agree with all the issues raised by Col. Lang, although I think that, unless there is a dramatic change in the economic policy of the Obama Administration, I cannot rule out a catastrophic loss for the Democrats in 2010, meaning they lose the majority in the House. Right now, between 50-65 percent of African-American registered voters are saying they will stay home on election day 2010. They are truly disgusted that, with an African-American in the White House for the first time in American history, unemployment in the African-American community, nationwide, is at 49 percent--and the President does not really seem to care.

With Ford announcing they are offering buy-out packages to all 41,000 of their remaining assembly line workers in America, under threat of shutting down all U.S. production and moving to Mexico and Canada, the collapse of the economy could very well trump all other stories for 2010. Peter Orszag, the OMB head, is telling the President there is going to have to be $1 trillion in budget cuts, to deal with deficit. Health care is still not a done deal, by a long shot. And in the third-quarter, there were one million homes foreclosed! Every time Larry Summers appears on the talking head shows on Sunday and declares that the "recession is over, and job growth will begin by the Spring," Obama's poll number crash a little further. I recommend that people watch the Rasmussen Report's daily presidential tracking poll, which is a good measure of the incredible shrinking Obama support base. On their index (comparing strong support and strong opposition to the President), Obama is now at -21 (25 percent of those polled strongly support the job the President is doing, and 46 percent strongly oppose), an unprecedented collapse in support in just the first year in office. I think James Carville had it right when he famously said, "It's the economy, stupid." That, I fear, is the big story of 2010, and the other developments will be feeders.

William R. Cumming

Ah! Predictions! Predictions! If unemployment near 12% by October, DEMS lose both HOUSE and SENATE!
Health Care fails to pass after House-Senate Conference issues a completely incoherent conference version of health care reform. DOD discovers a major weapons system will not fulfill requirements even after partial deployment. A major US Warship is sunk by unknown causes. While no asteroids land on earth causing damages, major climatic or seismic events cause in excess of 10,000 deaths. No hurricanes make landfall in US but if one does it is a category 4. Gates resigns as SECDEF. Associate Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsberg retire from SCOTUS. President fails to submit new nominees to SCOTUS until after fall elections. Over 150 more smaller banks fail largely over commercial real estate loans. Saints win the Super Bowl. NOLA rejoices. Yankees win Pennant but not World Series. A major member of NATO withdraws from the Alliance. The Euro collapses and loses 50% of its value against the dollar. But Iceland admitted to the EU on an emergency basis. US GDP increased 1% for the year ending September 30, 2010. Chrysler goes out of business.
Enough from Nostradamus. Good news! Redskins start over. Wizards start over! Nats start over!
Obama tries to start over and conducts major purge of White House staff.

Fred Strack

Dr. Vlahos has an interesting take on the Roman Republic and its end. I would suggest he go back a couple of centuries to Scipio and Hannibal. The Carthaginian general's foreign expedition won battle after battle, yet received little support from home. The merchant prince's of Carthage were apparently too busy making money to give financial or material support to the war they 'supported'. Their way of life ceased to exist within a few decades of Hannibal's defeat. Scipio saved Rome from Carthage, yet is forgotten by all but historians. As are the people and culture of Hannibal.

Trent

Curious, where do you find hints that the West Bank turns to Hamas? I disagree but am open to the discussion.

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