Jueves, 30 de agosto de 2007

Hace unos días publicó el CIS los resultados de su encuesta Los ciudadanos y el Estado, llevada a cabo en el marco del International Social Survey Program (ISSP), y con datos recogidos entre enero y marzo de 2007. Gracias a ella podemos comprobar cómo los españoles siguen, al menos en sus opiniones, fiando una gran parte de las soluciones de sus problemas al Estado.

La primera impresión que ofrecen los datos es la de un acendrado estatismo. No me refiero sólo a proporciones de más de tres cuartas partes de los encuestados que están absolutamente seguros de que el Gobierno tiene la responsabilidad de ofrecer asistencia sanitaria para todos o asegurar pensiones dignas para los ancianos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ayad Allawi, the former interim prime minister of Iraq, hinted in a television interview last weekend at one of the war's least understood turning points: America's decision not to challenge Iranian intervention in Iraq's January 2005 elections.

"Our adversaries in Iraq are heavily supported financially by other quarters. We are not," Allawi told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We fought the elections with virtually no support whatsoever, except for Iraqis and the Iraqis who support us."

Behind Allawi's comment lies a tale of intrigue and indecision by the United States over whether to mount a covert-action program to confront Iran's political meddling. Such a plan was crafted by the Central Intelligence Agency and then withdrawn -- because of opposition from an unlikely coalition that is said to have included Rep.…  Seguir leyendo »

"We," the finance minister says, "have a terrible past." She also says: "In a way, we've had it too easy." Christine Lagarde is correct on both counts.

Her first "we" refers to Europe, the second to France. Both Europe's cataclysms and France's comforts condition the context for reforms.

Lagarde, 51, has a more informed affection for America than anyone who has ever risen so high in this country's government. She was an exchange student at a Washington prep school and a Capitol Hill intern during the Nixon impeachment proceedings. As a partner in a large law firm based in Chicago, for several years she lived in, and loved, the most American city.…  Seguir leyendo »

In early 2005, Americans still seemed interested in the war in Iraq. If I mentioned that I had been a soldier there, they wanted to learn more about the country and how our troops were faring. By the end of 2005, as the violence continued to rise, they began to seem less interested, and by mid-2006 nobody wanted to talk about the war.

Regardless of their feelings about the troops or the case for going to war, Americans I spoke with last year either wanted to ignore Iraq or believed it was already lost. That seems to be the prevailing sentiment today, and it's something the Democratic Party has used to great effect: We've lost the war, so let's get out.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nearly 40 years after the Americans escaped from the rooftops of Saigon, this great country may be on the verge of a second retreat, this time from Iraq. To be sure, this exodus has not begun yet, and President George Bush's recent speech on the "lessons from Vietnam" suggests that he is in denial. How superficial the parallel was that he drew has been noted by many. The consensus is that the speech was little more than spin, preparing official reaction to the publication of General David Petraeus's report on the effects of the "surge" of US forces in Iraq.

Yet no amount of spin or simplification should conceal the magnitude of the Iraq disaster and the damage to America's reputation.…  Seguir leyendo »

I had sworn never to fall into an anti-globalisation rant but, let's face it, globalisation is a bummer. And I'm not saying this because I'm French. All of us watch the daily turmoil in the financial markets with fear and little understanding; wake up in a gut-wrenching panic about the imminent housing property crash; suffer devastating floods and unprecedented heatwaves (don't tell me there is no link between globalisation and climate change). And soon we'll be struck by an even bigger crisis. Globalisation is going to strike us where it hurts most: in our stomachs. Some of us have already forgotten the meaning of seasonal fruit and vegetables and think that Starbucks offers authentic Italian coffee culture.…  Seguir leyendo »

There is no foreign country that matters more to Iran than Iraq (except perhaps the US). The puzzle is why the US imagines that Iranian involvement in Iraq will melt away if it protests angrily.

Yesterday’s skirmish, in which the US arrested eight Iranians in Baghdad and then let them go after consulting the Iraqi Government, was trivial and irrelevant to the broader clash between the two countries. However, it is another small sign that Iraq’s Shia-led Government is prepared to side with Tehran against the US, if only to avoid antagonism.

There is no reason – although Tehran may not need one – to connect the incident with President Bush’s speech the previous night, in which he declared that Iran’s nuclear ambitions put the region “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust”.…  Seguir leyendo »

A un país se le pueden plantear dos problemas en lo que atañe al número de sus habitantes. Uno es que ese número crezca demasiado, con lo que la llamada tarta nacional, si no aumenta en proporción, tendrá que repartirse entre más personas y cada una tocará a menos. Un país pobre, donde tal suceda, en lugar de salir de la pobreza, se hundirá más en ella. Pero también puede darse el problema contrario, a saber, que la población, en vez de crecer, disminuya. Entonces, la cifra de personas económicamente activas acabará bajando y, en cambio, la de jubilados aumentará, creándose una situación insostenible a la larga.…  Seguir leyendo »

Poco a poco Irán va logrando sus objetivos. Tras la guerra privada entre Hizboláh e Israel, que puso en evidencia la extrema debilidad de las instituciones libanesas, ha llegado el conflicto civil entre nacionalistas e islamistas en Palestina, con el resultado de todos conocido. En ambos casos el objetivo era el mismo: impedir los procesos de democratización en marcha y cualquier entendimiento con las potencias occidentales e Israel.

Con un gobierno provisional, una Autoridad Palestina extremadamente debilitada y una sociedad rota hablar de «proceso de paz» es un anacronismo. Un acuerdo resultado de un diálogo entre israelíes y palestinos es imposible, por la inexistencia de un gobierno árabe suficientemente representativo al oeste del Jordán.…  Seguir leyendo »