I used to be the foreign editor of In These Times in Chicago. I didn’t particularly enjoy the job, because I have never been fascinated with the world outside of the United States. I am not sure whether I could find Honduras or Liberia on a map, and I have never mastered the current spelling of Chinese names.
Washington Diarist: Obama Has No ‘Magic’ Overseas by Leon Wieseltier Why We Need a Federal Agency That Actually Protects Consumers by Martha Coakley and Elizabeth Warren Five Ways the Recession Has Turned Immigration Upside-Down (#1: Mexicans Are Sending Money to Relatives in the U.S.) by Jill Wilson and Audrey Singer The Virtue of Shutting up About Sarah Palin by Damon Linker How Republicans Have Changed the Senate (and How Democrats Have Let Them) by E. J. Dionne Jr. Freaking out About Breasts.
The absence of Barack Obama from Berlin on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall may be explained in many ways, and one of the explanations may be his view of the world. He is kein Berliner. No, he is not soft on communism, not least because there is no longer any communism, at least of the classical kind, to be soft on. In the video message that was broadcast to the commemoration--it allowed him once again to have the stage to himself, and to describe his own election as a climactic event in “human destiny”--Obama spoke all the right words for all the right sentiments.
I haven't said much about Obama's China visit trip, in part because I'm no expert on Sino-American policy. But what Peter Beinart says here rings quite true for me: So it’s all well and good for the Obama administration to pay more attention to China. But the more attention the activist left and right pays, the harder it will be for Team Obama to come to terms with the new limits of American power. Try convincing the tea-bag crowd that the U.S. should cut its greenhouse gasses more than China does.
With U.S. unemployment at a 26-year high Americans will be feeling the economic downturn for some time. Immigration experts are seeing global signs of the recession in major shifts in U.S. immigration trends, especially at the high and low ends of the skills spectrum. Here are the most significant changes. You know the U.S. is in a recession when… Mexicans are sending money to relatives in the United States. In 2007, Mexicans living in the U.S. sent about $26 billion to relatives living in Mexico.
With the global talks over a climate treaty decelerating, Obama's trying to see if there are side deals to strike with China—something that could ease the worldwide talks along. So far, progress has been pretty modest. Earlier today, Obama met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and the two announced several key energy issues on which the countries would work together. There's $150 million over five years to start a joint "clean energy research center." There's cooperation on electric-vehicle standards and on sharing knowledge about energy efficiency.
I agree with pretty much everything Paul Krugman writes in his column today about the Chinese and their currency shenanigans--especially the point that the Chinese have rigged it so that our bilateral trade deficit will spike once the recovery gets going. (And the point that the forces driving our trade deficit were only temporarily suppressed by the recession.) The only thing I'd quibble with is the implication of these two paragraphs: So picture this: month after month of headlines juxtaposing soaring U.S.
When President Obama arrives in Tokyo on Friday, he will confront a country that seeks to be an ally of the United States. For Japan has never been an American ally. It was first a rival, then an enemy, and finally, after it lost the war it foolishly started with the U.S., it became a protectorate, not an ally. The distinction matters. An alliance is an institution negotiated between two sovereign governments in which each agrees to a series of reciprocal obligations that have the force of law.
As the world tries to cut its carbon emissions in the next few decades, natural gas will become increasingly crucial as a stopgap fuel, since it produces less CO2 pollution than coal or oil. At least, that's what the EIA thinks will happen. And the geopolitical implications of this trend are interesting.
Are representations of the Prophet Muhammad permitted in Islam? To make or not to make images of the Prophet: that is the question I will try to answer. It is an unexpectedly burning question, as the newspapers regularly demonstrate. But both the answer to the question and the reasons for raising it require a broader introduction. There have been many times in recent years when one bemoaned the explosion of media that have provided public forums for so much incompetence and ignorance, not to speak of prejudice. Matters became worse after September 11, for two additional reasons.