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Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

ILO had a very interesting discussion about climate change policy in chapter 2. The U.S. must consider the perception it has to the international community. Being a model for other countries and hoping that they follow suit in becoming democracies, having better human rights standards, and helping the environment are all things that we hope to influence. How is it that we can tell other countries to help the environment and to slow pollution rates if he fail to sign and ratify the single most influential agreement in that department? The Clinton administration signed the Kyoto protocol but failed to ratify it, a step in the right direction, but not quite enough to avoid hypocrisy. The Bush administration seemed to support the ratification of Kyoto and other emission reduction policies but abandoned everything when the economy was threatened by these policies. This was most definitely a step in the wrong direction but definitely fixable. Obama came into office with a goal to pass policy that reduced emissions and hoped to pass Kyoto. Appointing Steven Chu and focusing on China were two very important things that Obama did and everything looked to be in place to get ground breaking changes through. However, China refused to sign any internationally binding agreements to reduce emissions and cited Annex II as the reason why Kyoto did not apply to their country. This ruined the good vibe at Copenhagen and stalled all progress on the issue. 

Bush cited the economy as the reason for scrapping policy change and Obama won’t act without China. A deeper look at this reasoning may reveal that these are actually the same reason for the same decision. China and the U.S. are the biggest polluters and change would be very dramatic and impact-full. Obama is probably shying away from giving reasons like: I am avoiding climate change policy because the economy cannot handle it. However, blaming it on China is a legitimate excuse and also expresses the same message. Without China on board with strictly enforced emission reduction policies the Unites States would be putting its businesses at a huge competitive disadvantage with China and China would massively benefit from avoiding policy change that helps the environment. Also, without China on board, progress by the U.S. and other countries in helping the environment could be erased by China’s lack of cooperation as well as the probable increase in demand for Chinese goods once they are benefited by U.S. policy change that damages its own businesses. Can internationally binding climate change policy pass for the U.S. absent China being on board or will China always be a prerequisite for major change in this area?

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I found this reading very interesting because I felt like some of the predictions that were made were made very accurately but others were not. I agree that Nanotechnology leading to breakthroughs. It has captivated the attention of many to the point where there is a lot of money being invested by people today.  I also agree that the higher education of the U.S. has some of the best schools yet I don’t know exactly how I feel about them still getting the attention of other foreign students as much due to the economic problems that we have encountered. I also liked that he mentioned that the U.S. was recognized for its diversity and then gave an example on the presidential election. These aspects of the United States I felt were portrayed accurately but I don’t think the author was close in analyzing the economic downfall the U.S. would go through. The major economic deficit that came about is what is obviously not portraying the U.S. as a leader today. I believe that the economy and the debt that the U.S. is going through today can be changed and improved. There needs to be a set plan and a lot of thinking that must take place before actions are taken. I don’t think that where the U.S. stands in this area today will improve unless a well thought of plan is implemented for the well being of every individual in the country.

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Robert Haddick’s recent post on his Small Wars blog raises several fascinating questions about the United States strategic approach to China.

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Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

Image via Wikipedia

Drezner on the unlikelihood of a foreign-policy focused Obama.

Amplify’d from drezner.foreignpolicy.com
I’d say “post-Great Recession world,” but that’s quibbling.  If Americans are fed up with how long it takes for anything to get done in Congress, wait until they pay attention to foreign affairs.  The Doha round is on year nine and counting.  With important exceptions, the United States has military forces in practically every country it’s intervened in since 1945. Who knows how long a global warming treaty — or the reconstruction of Haiti — will take.

Are there exceptions?  Sure, but they’re ephemeral.  I suspect the follow-on to START-II would get through the Senate, because, really, is now the time to pick a fight with Russia?  Osama bin Laden’s head on a pike would probably warm the cockles of most Americans.  But they wouldn’t stay warm for long.

No, it’s the economy, stupid.  The healthier the economy, the more political capital for Obama, and the less likely he will be punished for taking an interest in foreign affairs.  If Obama has any political self-preservation instincts at all, international relations will be done on the DL for a while.

It’s unfair, and very problematic for foreign policy wonks, but no one said life is fair.

Read more at drezner.foreignpolicy.com

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In a move to start reversing the economic crisis, the President and about a dozen other world leaders met together in Washington, coming out with the new message to request unity and collaboration as he hopes to work together with other countries.

For the US, this week was particularly grueling as the Dow Jones industrial average experienced its worst week in history. According to the FP Passport blog, investors have lost “an estimated 8.4 trillion dollars over the past year.” (Blake Hounshell, 10/10/08) Specific to the US, part of the 700 billion dollar plan will be used to purchase stocks in banks and financial institutions, but other countries may need to begin making the same moves. Stocks in Asia and Europe fell great amounts as well, further illustrating the global level of this crisis that requires immediate attention on an international level.

From the standpoint of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “it strongly endorses a plan by rich countries to fight the global credit crisis.” (Martin Crutsinger, 10/11/08) Present with the other wealthy nations at Bush’s gathering, the IMF supported the plans set and claimed that the widespread crisis required “excellent coordination among nations and a willingness to take bold action.” (Martin Crutsinger, 10/11/08)

If the wealthy nations and other countries (I am pretty sure poorer countries will be hit as well, though I can only guess that the effects will vary) can work together and pull through this crisis, it will not only speak volumes in terms of success as a global community, but also for the proper approach towards solving such issues in the future. During the Great Depression, the US stuck primarily to “go-it-alone protectionist trade strategies” which worsened conditions. (Jennifer Loven and Martin Crutsinger, 10/11/08) So, perhaps history lessons have been taken to heart and hopefully, that will encourage countries to work together in improving the ailing economic situation.

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