Der amerikanische Geheimdienst-Komplex vor schwierigen Zeiten

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CIA-Direktor Leon Panetta hat eingeräumt, dass die Vereinigten Staaten mit einem Haushaltsdefizit von 1,5 Billionen Dollar „gegen die Wand fahren“. Die Kosten für den gigantischen amerikanischen Geheimdienst-Sicherheits-Komplex – mit mehr als 800.000 Akteuren – sind unerschwinglich geworden. Dies ist der Hintergrund der aktuellen Debatte über die Dysfunktionalität und Ineffizienz des amerikanischen Geheimdienst-Systems.

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Disenchantment with Politics

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Not only in respect to the financial crisis and its consequences, the people sense that the political class is unwilling and/or incapable to explain how and why policy choices have been made. Consequently, there is widespread frustration with politics. By its submission to the imperatives of the mass media, the political class has almost eliminated the public discourse on the contents of strategic political issues – and thereby undercut its claim for political leadership.

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Austerity in “Old Europe”

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The current wave of fiscal austerity across Europe, should not have surprised anyone. While the insistence on social justice is warranted, excessive state debt is also a symptom of basic demographic shifts impacting society, economy and social security systems. A re-definition of “work life” seems to open up the chance of preserving social security systems.

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The US National Security Strategy, “Smart Power” & Karl Mannheim

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While the European Union is still reeling from the “Greece”/“Euro” crisis and Asia is facing a nasty conflict escalation on the Korean Peninsula and a social-political crisis in Thailand, it seems things are going well for the United States. The seemingly bright picture is only disturbed by the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which will have ugly environmental, economic and political consequences for months to come. Looking beyond the headlines, there was an another important event in Washington on May 27, 2010: The release of the “National Security Strategy” of the United States[1]. Barely covered in the mainstream media, NSS 2010 provides key insights into the strategic thinking of the Obama Administration.

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(Preliminary) Lessons from the “Euro Crisis”

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Slowly the smoke is clearing over the “Euro battlefield”. The speculative “war of aggression” against the Eurozone, as the head of the German Financial Supervisory Agency (Bafin), Jochen Sanio, put it on May 5, seems to have topped out. The pundits are proclaiming that the battle was lost by Europe and the euro. Supposedly, the status of the euro as a world reserve currency has been irreparably damaged, while the US dollar has asserted its role as “the” world reserve currency and safe haven for angst-driven investors.

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Beyond Greece: The Inflation Debate – The IMF’s Blanchard vs. the Bundesbank

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The „Greek crisis“ has become the catalyst for long overdue regulation of derivatives speculation. As Western governments will have to raise $4 trillion in 2010, speculation against sovereign debt simply cannot be tolerated any longer. But the next big issue of financial policy is already on the table: „Controlled“ inflation as an instrument of crisis management. That is what the IMF’s chief economist is recommending. Not only the Bundesbank is not amused.

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Die Krise des Ökonomismus

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In der Schweiz ist es inzwischen ein klassischer Bestseller: Roger de Wecks Buch „Nach der Krise – Gibt es einen anderen Kapitalismus?“, das Ende 2009 im Verlag Nagel & Kimche erschienen ist. Der Publizist, Volkswirt und ehemalige Chefredakteur der Zeit Roger de Weck begab sich Anfang Februar auf Tour, um im Gespräch mit Joschka Fischer sein Buch vorzustellen. In Berlin war die Veranstaltung im großen Saal des Ethnologischen Museums in Dahlem von der Schleicherschen Buchhandlung organisiert, in Hamburg von der Körber-Stiftung. Es folgt eine etwas andere Buchbesprechung.

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“New Normal”: The Return of Power Symmetry in Global Affairs

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Reportedly, at the 2010 “World Economic Forum” in Davos, the informal motto is “new normal”. However, this catchword is not supposed to mean that there is a return to the “normality” of the “anything goes” decade prior to the financial crisis. Of course, many financial actors in the USA and Europe are indeed trying to go back to the paradigm of financial speculation with no regard for the real economy. However, I venture the forecast that this attempt will fail. Why? Because another “financial crisis” of the the type we have seen in 2007-08 would not only blow the financial system, but would demolish the whole Western societal “system.” And the political class does know that. Moreover, the Western finance class is the prime “loser” of the new power symmetry in world politics.

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“Controlled Inflation“ as Exit Strategy?

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In 2010, a key issue of the political agenda in Euro-Atlantic space will be the costs of the financial crisis. Governmental debt has exploded because of bank bailouts and support measures for the real economy driven into deep recession by the financial crisis. How should the immense state indebtedness – often at ratios of 100% of GDP or even higher – be brought down to manageable levels? Progressive public debt reduction by the growth of the real economy? Or by “controlled” inflation, which “devalues” national debt and state expenses – in particular social expenses?

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The Reconfiguration of the World Economy – and Germany’s Geo-Economic Readjustment

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In 2009, we have witnessed a “world in transition.” The global economic-financial system has not disintegrated, as many feared a year ago, but both the world economy and the global political system are being profoundly transformed. Old habits have become unsustainable – and are indeed being replaced by new attitudes.

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