Showing posts from September, 2011

The IMF meeting achieves not a lot

Business Times - 28 Sep 2011 IMF meeting makes little difference in current crisis The main obstacles to resolving the economic woes are political in nature By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT WHAT happens if a tree falls in the forest and everyone does hear it - but then no one cares? Assessing the outcome of the weekend's meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington - a lot of important attendees, including finance minister and central bankers and a lot of media hype - the answer is: Not much happens. The global economy may be on the verge of another devastating financial crisis that could be precipitated by Europe's government debt problems. That is the main reason why the financial markets have been trembling in recent days. But after days of meetings in Washington where leading financial officials from around the world convened for the IMF-World Bank fall meeting, it was obvious that notwithstanding another statement in which the 187 members of the IM

Pax Americana is over Home Opinion Published 20:16 23.09.11 Latest update 20:16 23.09.11 Pax Americana is over By Leon Hadar For several decades, the world’s leading superpower has been trying to help Jews and Arabs reach an agreement over a disputed territory in the Middle East, and to secure its own hegemonic status in that region. But another diplomatic effort to make peace in the Holy Land reached a deadlock, because it was becoming too costly for the superpower to maintain its military presence and diplomatic influence in Egypt, the Levant, the Persian Gulf, the Eastern Mediterranean and South Asia, at a time of growing financial constraints and challenges from new international players. On Friday afternoon, February 21, 1947, the British ambassador to Washington, Lord Inverchapel, showed up at the State Department and informed Under-Secretary of State Dean Acheson that his country could no longer continue providing financial and military

Fed takes action despite Republican opposition

Business Times - 23 Sep 2011 Fed takes action despite Republican opposition By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT ALL signs are suggesting the recovery of the United States economy has been slowing and may be even coming to a halt: the unemployment rate is hovering around 9 per cent; consumer and business confidence is continuing to fall; a political stalemate over fiscal policy in Washington has already brought about a US credit downgrade; and the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is making things worse. All these problems have put pressure on the US Federal Reserve to do something about the American economy and prevent it from experiencing the dreaded double-dip recession. Indeed, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the US could slip back into recession without further fiscal and monetary stimulation. So the Fed will try once again to stimulate the weak economy - that grew at an annual rate of less than one per cent over the first half of the year - by using another mone

Obama's class warfare or just plain fairness?

Business Times - 21 Sep 2011 Obama's class warfare or just plain fairness? With his debt-reduction plan, he hopes to change the terms of the debate over fiscal policy By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT AFTER months of urging Congress again and again to start doing something about America's ballooning federal deficit, US President Barack Obama decided that it was time for him to set the agenda and provide some leadership on the issue. US lawmakers may not be ready to come up with a concrete plan to put America's fiscal house in order. But Mr Obama made it clear on Monday that he had a debt-reduction plan. He challenged Republicans on Capitol Hill and those who are hoping to get him out of the White House next year to a fight over the nation's social and economic priorities. He framed the debate thus: Who would have to carry the main burden of balancing the budget? The struggling middle class and the poor or the country's millionaires and billionaires? The plan th

What Would Ataturk Do? Leon T. Hadar Journalist and foreign affairs analyst Turkish Foreign Policy: What Would Ataturk Do? Posted: 9/16/11 09:02 PM ET ween Israel and Turkey over the raid on the Gaza "Peace Flotilla" had erupted last December, right-wing Israelis and American neoconservatives were promoting a new Grand Narrative: Turkey was joining forces with Iran and Syria in an anti-American and anti-Israeli Islamofascist Axis of Evil, seeking to destroy the Jewish State as part of a long-term strategy of re-establishing the Ottoman Empire and a Global Caliphate. Turkey was becoming the New Iran. Indeed, according to a report in Haaretz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet last January that Turkey was "consistently gravitating eastward to Syria and Iran rather than westward over the last two years" and that "the trend certainly has to worry Israel." Moreover, Netanyah

The changing narratives of US president campaigns

Business Times - 15 Sep 2011 The changing narratives of US president campaigns By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT AMERICANS will have to wait for 14 more months before having the opportunity to decide who will occupy the White House for four more years. Yet it is starting to feel as though the country is already in the midst of a heated presidential election campaign, providing a lot of business for pollsters, consultants, pundits, and making it all seem like paradise on earth for your average political junkie. The Republican presidential candidates have been holding televised debates almost every other week, and much of the discussion on cable television news shows and the blogosphere has been focused on who was 'up' and who was 'down' in the Republican race, which will open officially only early next year when the party's first presidential primaries take place in Iowa and New Hampshire. Already it seems that the members of Washington's political punditry

Will Obama's plan save US jobs - and his own?

Business Times - 13 Sep 2011 Will Obama's plan save US jobs - and his own? If the Republicans try to torpedo plan, that could ironically help Obama in the 2012 poll By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT US PRESIDENT Barack Obama is hoping that the US$447 billion mix of tax cuts and spending that he proposed during a televised address to the politically divided Congress and the economically distressed American people last week would 'restart' the slow economic recovery and avert a double-dip recession. No doubt, he must also be hoping that it will revitalise his limping presidency, regain the support of the electorate and ensure that he get to serve a second term in the White House. Indeed, as Mr Obama delivered his 30-minute-long speech - challenging lawmakers to pass his job plan as soon as possible - both the American economy and the Obama presidency seemed to be heading into dangerous territories. With the unemployment rate stuck at 9.1 per cent while consumer confidenc

No more Mr Nice Guy against Republicans

Business Times - 06 Sep 2011 No more Mr Nice Guy against Republicans Obama should blame them for the political and economic mess in Washington By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT IT HAS been common practice in Washington for more than two centuries: The US president sends a letter to the leaders of Congress in which he asks to be allowed to address the two legislative chambers on matters of national importance. There has never been an instance in which Congress denied the White House's request. But there is always a first time for everything in Washington. And in a year dominated by nasty political and legislative fights, it was not surprising that even the tradition of an American president addressing a joint session of Congress - reflecting bipartisanship and a sense of national unity and political civility - was going to be challenged. After Congress had shut down for the summer recess - following the nasty battle over raising the debt limit (and the ensuing downgrading of US