FM newswire for May 11, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. Everyday another potential shockwave:  “Rumbles hint that Mount Fuji is getting angry“, New Scientist, 5 May 2010
  2. Sovereign Debt Problems in Advanced Industrial Countries“, Willem Buiter (Chief Economist, Citi), Council on Foreign Relations, 7 May 2010
  3. Please read this:  “Disposable Soldiers“, Joshua Kors, The Nation, 8 April 2010
  4. Remember the Blitzkrieg before it’s too late“, Douglas Macgregor (Colonel, US Army, retired), Washington Times, 10 May 2010 — “Building a military to fight only the weak will cost us later”
  5. More evidence of our dysfunctional political regime:  “Untried, Untested, and Ready“, Emily Bazelon, Slate, 10 May 2010 — “Elena Kagan’s youth and judicial inexperience recommend her for the Supreme Court.”
  6. Good question.  Is he stupid?  Or does he believes his listeners are stupid?  “Why is Rush Limbaugh defending slavery?“, Media Matters, 10 May 2010 — Note that this article provides detailed excerpts and links.
  7. Afghan Escalation Funding: More War, Fewer Jobs, Poor Excuses“, David Swanson, TomDispatch, 11 May 2010

Today’s Feature Articles

(8)  “A Question of Balance Political Context and Military Aspects of the China-Taiwan Dispute“, RAND, 2009 — Conclusion:

In the longer term, the United States and Taiwan may confront an even more fundamental strategic dilemma, one inherent in the basic geography of the situation. This geographic asymmetry—Taiwan lies close to China and very far from the United States—combined with China’s growing capabilities and the lack of basing options for U.S. forces in the vicinity of the strait, call into question Washington’s ability to credibly serve as guarantor of Taiwan’s security in the future.

The situation in the Taiwan Strait can be seen as a possible prelude to a broader challenge to the United States in East Asia that might emerge in the next 10–20 years. What roles can and should the United States seek to play in an East Asian landscape that includes an economically vibrant, militarily powerful, politically unified, and self-confident China? Looking at Taiwan and beyond, what is the new equilibrium in East Asia, and how can the forces at work there be managed to make that equilibrium tolerable to the United States?  That, indeed, is the ultimate “question of balance” posed by any examination of the growing imbalance of military power across the Taiwan Strait. 

(9)   Bad news about the Gulf oil leak — seldom mentioned by the news media

The dispersants prevent oil slicks by dissolving the oil in to the Gulf’s waters, but the oil remains toxic even if invisible.   BTW, the dispersant chemicals are poisons.  But the government is there to protect us (or rather, protect BP Inc).  Note this little gem:  “BP sprays more chemicals into main Gulf oil leak“, AP, 10 May 2010 — Excerpt:

Crews using the deep-sea robot attempted to thin the oil which is rushing up from the seabed at a pace of about 210,000 gallons (795,000 liters) per day after getting approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, BP spokesman Mark Proegler told The Associated Press.  The agency had halted two previous rounds of the dispersant to test its potential impact on the environment, and approved a third round of spraying that began early Monday, Proegler said. The EPA said in a statement the effects of the chemicals were still widely unknown.

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