Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Last Debate and Belt-Tightening Continued ...

Jacob Heilbrunnintegrated the belt-tightening theme into his analysis of last night's presidential debate, noting that "both candidates operated in an alternate reality, where the United States can spend as much as it chooses without paying any real consequences."

He also pointed out:

"The strangest part of the debate isn’t what was said but what wasn’t. This was another bout of American solipsism, even if the illusion of American omnipotence has been dispelled, at least temporarily. How often was the term “global economy” used last night? Obama and McCain behaved as if America can act in an economic vacuum. But the recovery will have to be a global one. Here in England, where I’m currently visiting, unemployment is soaring. Germany is looking at a recession. How do either Obama or McCain plan to work with other world leaders to remedy the world economy?

"Nor did the candidates touch upon the question of American global power and economics."

This is an interesting point to consider. The British and French after World War II turned over some of their commitments to the United States. Who picks up the slack today? Germany's surplus is largely utilized within the European Union. The EU is also expanding its efforts across the Mediterranean into Africa and the Middle East--but certainly the EU would never replace the largesse dispensed by Washington to Israel and Egypt. And I doubt that China is going to pick up burdens from the U.S.

Nik, if you haven't seen it, find the editorial from a few days ago in Tai Kung Pao, the Hong Kong paper that reflects the Party line in Beijing. Lot of anger re: sales to Taiwan, and some of the proposed countermeasures wouldn't help the U.S. at all with its burdens.
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