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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 17th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

While the world was watching the Chilean mine, Fared Zakaria says – much else was going on in the world. and we’ll span the globe with a terrific GPS foreign policy panel.

The panel was made up as follows:

– Gideon Rose who was appointed Editor of Foreign Affairs in October 2010. He was Managing Editor of the magazine from 2000-2010.  He has also served as Associate Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council and Deputy Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and has taught American foreign policy at Princeton and Columbia.  He is the author of How Wars End (Simon & Schuster, 2010),

– Danielle Pletka – a specialist on Counterterrorism at the American Enterprise Institute were she is Vice President for Foreign and Defense matters,(Washington’s right wing AEI), She was born on Melbourne and has experience in the Middle Easr, South East Asia and the US Senate,

– and Crystia Freeland the Global Editor-at-Large at Reuters News until march 1st, 2010 she was the US based editor in Chief of The Financial Times. She is an Alberta Ukrainian-Canadian and had a brilliant record on the McLaughlin Group.

Among other people on the October 17, 2010 program, the likes of the would be rulers of North Korea of the Kim Jong-il’s family and the Sunni backed contender for the Iraqi leadership – Iyad Allawi, a secular Shia, there was also Peter Diamond, The newest American Economist to win the Nobel Prize – nearly unbelievable for Unemployment studies at a time that all agree the US must do something about Unemployment.

In this posting I do not intend to review the contributions of each one of these people. I rather want to say – that as different as they might be – I sensed that there was a clear unity in the way they evaluate the policy choices before Washington,

First let us look at Peter Diamond of MIT. He was nominated January 14, 2010 by President Obama to be on the Federal Reserve Board that is chaired by a former student of his – no other then Ben Bernanke – but Senator Shelby of the GOP from Alabama had the audacity to say that Peter Diamond will have to “Learn on the Job” – so he is not the man up to the job. Strange as it is – it reminded me of the Peace Prize having been awarded to Liu Xiaobo. The Chinese also said he was not up to the job either. ERGO – THERE IS A DEEP SIMILARITY BETWEEN SHELBY AND WEN – THEY ARE BOTH FAT – but that is where it ends. Premier Wen Jiabao has done a lot of good to his country while Senator Richard Shelby has mainly interfered with efforts to find solutions for the USA.

Is this an offensive depiction of Washington? I do not think so, neither do I believe that any of that panel would have said that it was.

First – everybody knows that the Republicans will win the House of Representatives on November 2nd 2010, and get close to equalize their position in the Senate – so next year they will have to take responsibility in the governing of the country. Frivolty will not fly anymore or they will dig themselves a very large hole come the 2012 elections.

Second – it does not seem that the Republicans have asked Professor Diamond for his opinions. He said to Fareed that, allowing for not everything to be always done to perfection, Obama was to be commended for having provided the needed stimulae to help the economy from avoiding a deep Depression – and Bernanke as “a student of the Depression,” understood you have to “step in” – so here a bravo from the teacher. Asked if  the real problem is that there is a structural problem that American workers do not have the skills for new Jobs? Diamond said that actually the catch is not that the labor market does not work, but that there is no demand. The government must provide money to the States and local Government to reduce the lay-offs. There must be credit flows and when the financial markets seize-up it gets worse he said. If the government did not act it would have been much worse. Diamond believes the Federal Economy is resilient and will adapt to new situations even in the situation of 10% unemployment. It will take at least another year to start moving.

Third – asked – “what would you do about the Bush Tax Cut?” he said that it is important to preserve some of it, but in the long run we should not make it permanent – we must look into the detail – some will get more taxes and some will get less.

In summary – Peter Diamond is no different from the Goldman-Sachs economists that supported the Clinton and Obama economics so far. That does not make him a favorite of mine, but it cearly made him very much the consensus candidate of the people on this TV program. That clearly should also cause a change of mind of Senator Shelby comes 2011 and a year after the job offer to him from President Obama, Nobel Prize winner Peter Diamond could be the third Scandinavia recognized American in the Obama Administration.

Listening to Allawi, we learned that it is almost full 9 months of gestation and pregnant Iraq has not given birth yet to a government. This is the longest time in history of elections that a country stayed without a government – said Fareed. With one major bloc backed by the Shi’a of Iran and the other main bloc hindered by Sunni extremism that re-established its links to Al-Qaida, we can predict a mess by the time the US proceeds with its pull-out. Services are lacking, the economy is stagnant, unemployment – this is the Iraq of today. From Somalia to Pakistan via Palestine  – it is the political environment that breeds extreme forces. Also the Saudis – it is said that they back Sunni hold-outs. This works in the favor of the Shi’i and the peace process is sabotaged. But then, the good politician he is, Allawi says that the kings of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, President Mubarak want to see positive moves – it is only Iran that stands in the way.

All the above set the stage for the panel were Gideon Rose is responsible for having written “HOW TO END WARS.”

Fareed remarked that it is easier not to start new wars then to pull out from existing wars.

Chrystia said that “WARS END BECAUSE COUNTRIES RUN OUT OF MONEY” and Fareed mentioned that no-one remembers now why there was the war in Korea that dragged for one and a half years for no clear reason.

THE CONSENSUS WAS THAT IT WILL BE EASIER TO GET OUT OF AFGHANISTAN THEN TO CUT ENTITLEMENTS.

So, back to it – it is all about availability of money – if there is no money you can have no war. The US issue in the November 2nd 2010 elections is unemployment and money – no one taks now of Iraq or Afghanistan. What if there will be a new war situation? and the North Korea developments might pose the US against China.

Let’s see. Fareed and the others agreed that the media has now 25 times more questions on China then Afghanistan – and let us not forget that future global relations will be about who owes what to whom.

WE WILL NOT TALK ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS ANYMORE WHEN ADDRESSING CHINA – THERE WILL BE MANY ISSUES WE WILL NOT MENTION ANYMORE.

There will be a change from China being now second power to becoming first power – America will be the second power by 2030.

Pletka supported Obama on Afghanistan. She still believes in power play but Fareed remarked to her that Obama probably did well about Iran – at least judged from the fact that the Israelis do not scream as much s before.” But her answer was that most of Irans neighbors are warried about Iran, and they tell you so the moment the door is closed behind you.

Rose remarked that when America pulls back that is when we find that America gets more desired around the world – as they see America is needed.

Fareed – in korea they told me that they are worried if America pulls out and Pletka hopes we will not be constrained by the economy.

Chrystia remarks that America sees that China is able to do great infrastructure projects. But earlier we saw that nuclear North Korea is going to implode. Next leadership is not built on charisma and is rather a construct with a halfwit at top entrusted to a regent who is the the brother in law, while the sister was just taken out of her home and closed in a general’s uniform.

If South Korea moves in and brings about the logical reunification – what happens to the nuclear weapons? Can China accept a strong united nuclear Korea at its border? Will this lead to a US – China confrontation? Is this part of a post Iraq/Afghanistan US adventurism?

How will the shared Republican/Democrat Congress react to an incident these coming two years?

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