May 14, 2007

A Worldview

The U.S. says a gas pipeline deal with Russia would be bad for Europe, and that they should go with a U.S. deal instead. The article cites two incidents of disruptions with existing pipelines through Russia that do bolster this case, but for this to be decisive, the parties would have to believe that the U.S. would never use its own resultant influence in order to economically punish political rivals. If you can find me a european government who'll swear with a straight face that they believe this to be true, I'll give you a dollar (or 0.7383 euros) just for the sake of seeing that show. The U.S. used to straightforwardly have more credibility than Russia, but one of the many things Bush has lost for us is the respect other countries used to have for the way we did business.

China has launched a commercial satellite for Nigeria, the first time they've done such a launch in contract with another country. Also notable, China's ongoing efforts to cultivate economic and social ties with underdeveloped African countries.

The Pope's exhortations of doctrinal purity to Brazilians, no sex and no leftist politics, were surely music to the ears of the world's morality-hijacking neocons. Brazilians, on the other hand, seemed largely unimpressed. This jibes with increasing numbers of people all over the world who are demanding policies that measurably improve their quality of life, even if those demands are heretical to religion, neoclassical economics or nationalist triumphalism.

Musharraf is on the defensive in Pakistan. Musharraf's biggest political opposition is comprised of a party that's too weak to run the government without him and sectarian factions who are no friends of the U.S. Meanwhile, the Afghan-Pakistani border continues to be a dangerous place for Americans.

Southern Thailand, following that nation's recent military coup, is descending into ethnic-sectarian civil war between Malay Muslim insurgents and Thai Buddhist paramilitary groups. However, the country's status as a premier destination for medical tourism is sure to be unaffected by these developments. Surely.

The latest installment of Jerome A Paris' Countdown to $100/barrel oil: The production plateau.

Juan Cole notes that Cheney's mideast visit was a regional flop and, oh yes, the situation in Iraq really is that bad.

BBC: A look at UK citizens joining voluntary carbon rationing groups. The Bush administration seeks to strike concern over climate change and a commitment to firm emissions targets from a G8 statement, while endearingly claiming to be leading the world in efforts to confront our coming, worldwide climate disruption catastrophe.

NarcoNews: U.S. officials said to have known about U.S. aid finding its way to genocidal paramilitaries in Colombia. The Venezuelan government accuses the U.S. government of setting up and managing its own drug cartels. Subcomandante Marcos believes that Mexico is getting ready to blow; which would have a radical impact on U.S. politics and regional policy, regardless of one's opinions on Marcos' politics.

Posted by natasha at May 14, 2007 10:25 AM | Recommended Reading | Technorati links |