Jueves, 16 de agosto de 2007

Before the recent global financial crisis began, the Federal Reserve Board under Chairman Ben S. Bernanke was ready to take a subtle step toward easier money in order to stave off U.S. recession fears. Ready for approval was a new Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement ending the central bank's neutrality and putting it on a bias for an interest rate cut. But international credit scares changed all that.

The Fed and other central banks moved quickly and in unison last Friday to pump more cash into financial systems, successfully stabilizing markets made jittery by collapsing hedge funds around the world.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Bush administration's reported intention to place Iran's Revolutionary Guards on its list of terrorist groups is part and parcel of a wider strategy to increase Tehran's international isolation, in particular through bilateral diplomatic, financial and commercial sanctions that other countries' foreign ministries, banks and businesses feel obliged to emulate or observe.

But the move looks largely symbolic. It is unlikely to have any appreciable impact on terrorism in Iraq, where the US says the Iranians are assisting both Shia and Sunni insurgents, or in the wider Middle East. The Guards ideological support for Hizbullah in Lebanon - Washington says they furnish the Shia group with weapons while Tehran denies it - will not be affected by a bureaucratic notification in Washington.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. and Mexican authorities are nearing agreement on an aid package to support Mexico's courageous new offensive against the deadly drug syndicates that threaten both our nations. The stakes are high for the United States: We depend on Mexico as a cooperative neighbor and trade partner, and most of the marijuana and as much as 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in this country pours over our southern border. If Mexico cannot make significant headway against the bloodthirsty cartels, our security and our people will suffer the consequences.

Since President Felipe Calderón's victory last year, Mexican authorities have stepped up efforts to fight drug sales and have paved the way for increased cooperation with the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

There is now a regular season for discussing drugs in sports, one that arrives every year with the Tour de France. This year, the overall leader, two other riders, and two teams were expelled or withdrew from the race as a result of failing, or missing, drug tests. The eventual winner, Alberto Contador, was alleged to have had a positive test result last year, although he was cleared by the International Cycling Union. So many leading cyclists have tested positive for drugs, or have admitted from the safety of retirement that they used them, that one can plausibly doubt it possible to be competitive in this event otherwise.…  Seguir leyendo »

El debate en torno a la política de inversiones públicas en infraestructuras es recurrente en nuestro país. Cada año, cuando se presentan los Presupuestos Generales del Estado (PGE), asistimos a la consiguiente carrera por ver quién lidera el ranking territorial de crecimiento inversor y quién decae; y también sale a relucir el tema cuando surgen anomalías y deficiencias en el normal funcionamiento de las infraestructuras, como ahora en Cataluña.

Insistentemente, se reproduce el mismo análisis, centrado exclusivamente en las cifras económicas. Parece que lo único que importa es cuánta inversión presupuesta el Estado anualmente en cada comunidad autónoma, cuál es el ratio resultante de la inversión por habitante y quién resulta más agraviado y puede incidir con más virulencia en el victimismo.…  Seguir leyendo »

While Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert is busily courting Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas as a "partner for peace", successive voices continue to speak out against efforts to sideline the democratically elected Hamas government. As the Britain's Commons foreign affairs committee concluded on Monday, this strategy is counterproductive and doomed to fail, for the simple reason that the support of the Palestinian people is unmistakably lacking. Abbas's party does not democratically represent the Palestinians, yet what is in effect now a dictatorship in the West Bank is being welcomed by Israel and its western allies. The duplicity of this situation is shameful. Israel and its allies were quick to dismiss Hamas and the national unity governments and isolate both, and are now equally as quick to welcome an illegally formed self-proclaimed government for the Palestinians.…  Seguir leyendo »

In an ideal world, arms sales are hardly the tool the United States would use to win stability and influence. America does not, however, exist in an ideal world, nor in one that it can suddenly reform with good intentions and soft power. Those pressuring Congress to kill the Bush administration’s proposed $20 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states need to step back into the real world.

America has vital long-term strategic interests in the Middle East. The gulf has well over 60 percent of the world’s proven conventional oil reserves and nearly 40 percent of its natural gas.…  Seguir leyendo »

The crisis now rocking Pakistan springs directly from the disaster of Partition 60 years ago. The cards that it scooped up, in the rush to carve out a separate Muslim state, were not just inferior to India’s; they were inadequate to build any kind of stable nation.

In this week’s commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the independence of India and Pakistan from British rule, Pakistan’s desperate struggles have often been treated merely as a foil with which better to display the shining performance of its giant neighbour. India, revelling in its status as the world’s largest democracy, has arrived at the memorial date at the crest of a glittering boom, while Pakistan is a military dictatorship on the brink of emergency rule.…  Seguir leyendo »

Parece que es llegado el momento de hacer algunas reflexiones históricas que permitan comprender este título. Nación, en principio, no significó otra cosa que naturaleza o nacimiento, de acuerdo con los términos latinos. Esto implicaba la pertenencia a una determinada comunidad definida por sus estructuras jurídicas y el orden de valores éticos que garantiza sus costumbres. A finales del siglo III de nuestra Era, Diocleciano reconoció que la mitad occidental del Imperio estaba formada por seis de estas entidades a las que llamó diócesis, es decir, formas de convivencia. Una de ellas, África, desapareció a causa de la expansión musulmana, pero las otras cinco pervivieron formando aquello que Beda recomendó llamar Europa.…  Seguir leyendo »

No he podido tener noticia de la manera conforme a la cual se ha decidido el rearme de casi todos los países árabes -creo que sólo hacen excepción Siria, Jordania, el Yemen y los africanos salvo Egipto-. Con "la manera" me refiero a la relación de oferta o demanda. ¿Había ya una demanda explícita y reciente o bien tácita y permanente, por parte de los países agraciados, de tales herramientas de desgracia que la oferta de los americanos ha venido oportunamente a satisfacer, o el origen de tan sonada compraventa ha sido una ocurrencia totalmente surgida motu proprio de los deseos de la Casa Blanca?…  Seguir leyendo »