Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Syria: War Without End Game

When George W. Bush declared his War on Terror, he was looking for allies to shoulder the burden and to help fight the common foe, but little did he, or any of us at that time, envision just what that war would look like, and who would be fighting it, a little more than ten years later.

Could any of us have known that the terrorist's dream of one day challenging governments, of massing armies of followers to their cruel cause, would be realized on the road to Damascus, and that the West would move from being the victim of Terror, to become it's greatest sponsor?

What madness has possessed our leaders is still a mystery to me, but madness it is.

We have changed from the opponent of Terrorism to it's champion, and the notion that our ambition of removing Bashar al-Assad is justified by the means of murder and mutilation mocks those who perished on 11th. September 2001.

The self-referencing cartwheel that is our fear of Iran, and the destruction of the most pluralist and secular state left in the entire Middle East, is nothing short of insanity in itself. The fact that we now support and applaud extremism and intolerance, just leaves me stunned.

As someone who grew up throughout the cold war years, when each International Incident could be the last, I cannot fathom today's thinking. We stood then for Democracy and Freedom, feeling that they were values worth risking everything for, but today?

The regime in Syria has been a tough and uncompromising opponent for many years, but is our enemy's enemy really someone that we want to embrace when their methods are so cruel, and their avowed aim is our very own destruction.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

USA: What's Wrong with Washington?

When president Obama says that American politics is effectively broken and beyond even his repair, then the time has come to wonder, just how can Washington be changed?

With Tuesday November 6th. fast approaching, The State and Washington, and the state of Washington are understandably top of the President's agenda, but if he's unable to fix the problem, then what hope is there for change in the capital of the erstwhile world's leading Nation?

Second Term Presidents are noted for their desire to leave some sort of lasting legacy, so will Obama really tackle the bribery and corruption, otherwise known as election contributions and lobbying, if he gets to serve a Second Term?

One thing's for sure, if the other guy gets in, he won't even try.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

LIBOR: When the circus comes to town.

So the Interest Rate fixing kerfuffle has crossed the Atlantic, with another set of indignant and surprised investigators and commentators, but I am left to wonder what all the fuss is about.

A bunch of large corporations manipulate a market to their mutual advantages, so what's new?

Laws are broken and trust is abused, but that's why we pay for police and regulators. 

And it's not just the Financial Sector that's guilty, almost every business, and a great many individuals, will do dirty deeds if left to their own devices; but that is precisely why we legislate against monopolies and why business ethics are essential to free enterprise.

The only surprising thing here is the pretend outrage and ignorance that it goes on.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Financial Fraud: A very necessary evil?

Anyone believing that sustainable economcs will be a wonderful, egalitatian experience, should look closely at what is happening around the developed world today.

Setting aside the spreading popular unrest, it is the utter cluelessness of our politicians and business leaders that is most startling.

Europe much prefers to borrow than to build, and the new American Way is to plunge itself deeper into debt, rather than to fairly tax those who can well afford it: the economics of the madhouse.

But we all know the truth.

Over-consumption and over-population are flame and fuel, and cannot co-exist indefinitely, so, like it or not, we'd best get used to these changing circumstances.

It could be that the financial fraudsters and bent bankers have unwittingly given us a ray of hope. As global output falls, new economic systems and social structures will evolve to take us forward.

Sounds a bit utopian, though. And as the rest of us learn to live within this more austere environment, the rich and the greedy just become richer and greedier.

What's that about money is power, and power corrupts...

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

2012: A Year to remember?

Although 2011 was yet another year that many would prefer to forget, could 2012 buck the trend of recent history?

Keeping focused on the clear and present dangers facing us all becomes increasingly difficult as governments flounder and flap in the face of economic and political turmoil, but here are a few of the perenial problems that we would do well to remember:-

Climate change - denial is still surprisingly popular (and profitable).

Corruption - what used to be a Third-world condition has now reached epidemic proportions in the English-speaking world.

Over-population - not so much the elephant in the room, more the acid in the bathtub.

Pollution - from the plastic Pacific to any place else you care to look, the only question here is where to begin.

Iraq - it started with political isolation followed by sanctions and invasion: sound familiar?

If only one of these issues was even partially addressed, then 2012 might actually become a year worth remembering.