Daily Archives: January 27, 2012

Not Fade Away: Against the Myth of American Decline


By Robert Kagan – Is the United States in decline, as so many seem to believe these days? Or are Americans in danger of committing pre-emptive superpower suicide out of a misplaced fear of their own declining power?

There have been moments when the United States was more influential than today and moments when it was less influential. The exertion of influence has always been a struggle, which may explain why, in every single decade since the end of World War II, Americans have worried about their declining influence and looked nervously as other powers seemed to be rising at their expense. The difficulties in shaping the international environment in any era are immense. Few powers even attempt it, and even the strongest rarely achieve all or even most of their goals.

The underlying assumption of such a course is that the present world order will more or less persist without American power, or at least with much less of it; or that others can pick up the slack; or simply that the benefits of the world order are permanent and require no special exertion by anyone. Unfortunately, the present world order—with its widespread freedoms, its general prosperity, and its absence of great power conflict—is as fragile as it is unique. Preserving it has been a struggle in every decade, and will remain a struggle in the decades to come. more> http://tinyurl.com/7nowq3y

Fear may well save the euro. Now for the politics of hope


By Timothy Garton Ash – If we are witnessing the euro being saved, this is a triumph of fear, not of hope. Other great moments of the European project – the introduction of the single market, 1989, successive enlargements, the launch of the euro itself – were driven by hope. Here, it is fear that has led Germany and others to do the minimum necessary.

If the euro-zone does not return to growth, or does so only in a few better-placed countries, these resentments will multiply. Even if it does, there will be a legacy of bitterness. More and more people inside Europe will ask: “So what is this Europe really for?” more> http://tinyurl.com/74lln9v

X-ray laser creates matter at 2 million C


R&D Mag – Researchers working at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have used the world’s most powerful X-ray laser to create and probe a 2-million-degree piece of matter in a controlled way for the first time.

The experiments were carried out at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), whose rapid-fire laser pulses are a billion times brighter than those of any X-ray source before it. Scientists used those pulses to flash-heat a tiny piece of aluminum foil, creating what is known as “hot dense matter,” and took the temperature of this solid plasma—about 2 million degrees Celsius. The whole process took less than a trillionth of a second. more> http://tinyurl.com/8yz897y

The beginning of the end


BOOK REVIEW

Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis, Author: James Rickards.

By Steven Martinovich – James Rickards, who has an extraordinary educational and career resume, recently waded into the debate with the compelling Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis and his effort may be the most distressing yet. Rather than “simple” global economic dislocations which end with the United States assuming a second-tier economic role, civilization itself may collapse due to an unfortunate confluence of factors which includes the growing complexity of interconnected economies and civilization, out of control growth of government spending and debt, irresponsible economic policies and currency manipulation, among others.

Rickards argues that we’re currently entering the first stages of what argues is the third currency war – the first two occurred in the 20th century – with the primary combatants consisting of the U.S., China and Europe. This currency war, he writes, “will be truly global and fought on a more massive scale than ever. Currency War III will include both official and private players. … Today the risk is not just of devaluation of one currency against another or a rise in the price of gold. Today the risk is the collapse of the monetary system itself – a loss of confidence in paper currencies and a massive flight to hard assets.” That collapse could include civilization itself. more> http://tinyurl.com/78hye5x

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CONGRESS WATCH What is the State of the Union? [VIDEO 2:40] US Senate State of the Union Essay Contest, [VIDEO 1:26] US Senate Jennifer Sikorski, Winooski High School (Winner), US Senate Vermont Students on the State of the Union, US … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Cost Estimate for H.R. 3289, Platts-Van Hollen Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2011 Cost estimate for the bill as ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on November 3, 2011 Cost Estimate for H.R. … Continue reading