Showing posts from July, 2008

US voters still unsure if they know enough about Obama

Business Times - 01 Aug 2008 By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT THE country was in a bad mood. America had suffered major diplomatic and military setbacks in the Middle East. Oil prices were rising to ever new heights. A nasty mix of economic slowdown and inflationary pressures were creating a sense of economic anxiety among the American people, a majority of whom were telling pollsters that they are very worried about the future of their nation. And a relatively unknown politician - but one with a lot of charm and charisma - was running for the White House against a former naval officer with more experience in national politics and foreign policy. It all sounds very much like the political and economic reality of Summer 2008 - a sense of gloom and doom among the American people against the backdrop of a military quagmire in the Persian Gulf, skyrocketing energy prices, and a recession coupled with inflation, not to mention the crises in the financial and housing crises. But it als

Peace Not Near on Middle East’s “Time Horizon”

posted on PRA Right Web Peace Not Near on Middle East’s “Time Horizon” By Leon Hadar | July 30, 2008 Members of Washington’s band of foreign policy realists are high-fiving each other these days. First there was the news that the Bush administration decided to have Undersecretary of State William Burns sit in the same room in Geneva with Iranian nuclear envoy Saeed Jalili and high-ranking diplomats from five other countries and try to negotiate a deal to suspend Tehran’s plan to continue with uranium enrichment. And then came reports that Bush agreed to set a general “time horizon” for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq as part of a long-term security accord that Washington is trying to negotiate with Baghdad. If these moves seem odd, it’s probably because they came from the administration of President George W. Bush, the man who just recently compared those who would engage Iran to the “appeasers” who talked to Adolf Hitle

Why blame 'speculators' for oil price run-up?

Business Times - 25 Jul 2008 Their upward pressure on prices drives down demand; falling demand leads to lower prices By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT DEMOCRATIC and Republican lawmakers in Washington, led by the two presumptive presidential candidates, have been blaming 'speculators' for some of America's current economic problems. They indict these people for rising energy prices and the housing market mess. And they want the government to take action against energy traders, short-sellers and other evil-doers. Senator Barack Obama has promised voters that as president he would strengthen government oversight of energy traders. He has blamed them for the skyrocketing oil prices. Senator John McCain has called for a 'thorough and complete investigation of speculators' to see if they have been driving up energy prices. At the same time, responding to pressure from Capitol Hill where lawmakers have placed the responsibility for some of the turmoil in financial s

Return to Indo-Kush

Please read my article Losing Afghanistan in the new issue of The American Conservative (July 28, 2008)which provides a critique of the bipartisan-backed plan for doing nation building in Afghanistan. It's not yet online but if you click on the pics below you could read it.

Economic sentiment in the US getting gloomier

Also check-out my posts on @TAC here and here Business Times - 17 Jul 2008 Bernanke says growth could be slower, inflationary pressures could continue mounting By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT US FEDERAL Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was a bearer of bad economic news during his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, suggesting that the problems facing the American economy were actually more severe than they have been for several years. Economic growth would probably be slower than expected while inflationary pressures could continue mounting. And the notion that inflation is up while growth is down isn't going to improve the mood of officials and lawmakers in Washington. American consumers and investors may have already concluded that the Fed, believing inflation could get higher than expected in the coming months, is not going to lower interest rates anytime soon. 'Over the remainder of this year, output is likely to expand at a pace appreciably below

US economy to see painful correction

Business Times - 15 Jul 2008 America is now witness to a major shake-up that will affect more than just the 'mental' faculties of its businesses By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT FOR a while it seemed as though there were some signs of light at the end of the long economic tunnel. In Washington and on Wall Street, one could sense that both officials and investors were contemplating the possibility that the worst of the financial meltdown was perhaps behind us, that we were going to see indications of economic rebound around the corner, and that from now on, the Fed would have to focus on dealing with the expectations of inflation. In fact, former Senator Phil Gramm, who is serving now as the top economic advisor to presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain, explained to reporters last week that the American economy was basically doing quite well. He said that the US country was not in a true recession but in a 'mental recession', adding that America

Travel is enriching is you're a presidential candidate

Business Times - 04 Jul 2008 By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT THERE is nothing new about the notion of American politicians running for local, state and national office, including the White House, spending some time in their campaign visiting foreign locales, including those countries with which their voters maintain close cultural, religious and family ties. After all, America is a country made up of immigrants whose descendants continue to care about the Old Country. Hence, it's not surprising that politicians representing New York tend to travel quite frequently to the three I's - Ireland, Italy and Israel. If you want to get elected in Chicago, make sure to take a trip to Warsaw; while the favourite travel destination of politicians seeking votes in Florida is Latin America. And guess why many members of Congress from New England love to spend some time in Portugal? You're right. Many immigrants from that country had settled in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and