Weekend reading links

Suicidal Appeasement
One of the most potent weapons in the jihadist arsenal is the failure of nerve that has afflicted the West for the last forty years. Our own doubts about the core values of Western civilization have hamstrung us in defending these goods against those who want to destroy them. Whether the source of this self-loathing is Marxism, postmodernism, or multicultural noble-savage delusions, our failure to acknowledge the superiority of our own way of life, to teach our children the history of the West and its singular achievements, and to fight against the erosion of those defining beliefs has emboldened the jihadists and confirmed them in their belief that we are decadent and doomed. The latest act of suicidal appeasement is unfolding in the Netherlands. Link Here.

Arnaud de Borchgrave looks at Discordant wavelengths
As key policymakers abroad survey the attempts to stop and reverse the self-inflicted crumbling of the world’s largest economy, they have reached startling conclusions that are out of sync with President Obama’s foreign policy objectives. More here.

Willem Buiter says YES WE CAN!! have a global depression if we really continue to work at it
“I used to be optimistic about the capacity of our political leaders and central bankers to avoid the policy mistakes that could turn the current global recession into a deep and lasting global depression… used to believe that the unavoidable protectionist and mercantilist rhetoric would not be matched by protectionist and mercantilist deeds… used to believe that our central bankers would overcome their natural conservatism, caution and timidity to do what it takes to bring to bear the full measure of what the central bank can deliver on a disfunctional financial sector and on a depressed economy, at risk of deflation…. used to believe that our fiscal policy makers would, when faced with a combination of national and global disaster, manage to come up with a set of national fiscal packages that would be modulated according to national fiscal spare capacity and that would be designed not only to boost domestic and global demand but also to eliminate or at any rate reduce the underlying global imbalances that are an important part of the story of this global crisis. Now I’m not so sure.” More here.

Europeans are finally waking up to the demise of democracy
The peoples of Europe have finally discovered what they signed up to.. and a significant proportion of them are getting very, very angry. More here.

At Window on Eurasia: ‘Nation of Islam’ Movement Wants Muslims at the Center of Russian Political Life
A group of politically radical but not fundamentalist Muslims has set up a new movement, the Nation of Islam, to help Russia overcome its current economic and moral crisis by promoting internationalism, the protection of Gastarbeiters, and the inclusion of Russia’s more than 20 million Muslims in the country’s political life. More here.

Recession? No, It’s a D-process, and It Will Be Long
Barrons interviews Ray Dalio, Chief Investment Officer, Bridgewater Associates. This pro sees a long and painful Depression. More here.

Break Up the BRICs
The acronym BRIC refers to the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, China and India. It was coined by Goldman Sachs in 2001. The Financial Times had an article last Wednesday titled “S&P calls for Brics break-up.“ The gist of S&P’s call was that these countries should not be grouped together now as a single asset class because their outlook has diverged after the credit crisis. These four countries have such different dynamics that it does not make sense to group them together. More here.

Russia: On the Brink of Defaulting Again?
Could they default again on billions of dollars in debt like they did in 1998? If you think things are bad here in the U.S. or in Europe or Asia, then you haven’t taken a look at Russia. Full article at Seeking Alpha.

Shifting horizonsA must read at the Financial Times for international observers of the Obama administration.
Six themes emerge from writings of the Democrat appointees who will shape foreign policy:
● The war on terror needs to be reconsidered.
● The US must rethink its ideas both about power and about threats.
● America should intervene to prevent humanitarian disasters.
● Belief in the UN is firm.
● Diplomacy is back in fashion.
● Old Europe is back too.

Niall Ferguson warns that “Keynes can’t help us now.”
Governments cling to the delusion that a crisis of excess debt can be solved by creating more debt. More here.
“It began as a subprime surprise, became a credit crunch and then a global financial crisis. At last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Russia and China blamed America, everyone blamed the bankers, and the bankers blamed you and me. From where I sat, the majority of the attendees were stuck in the Great Repression: deeply anxious but fundamentally in denial about the nature and magnitude of the problem.Some foretold the bottom of the recession by the middle of this year. Others claimed that India and China would be the engines of recovery. But mostly the wise and powerful had decided to trust that John Maynard Keynes would save us all.”

Nations Rush to Establish New Barriers to Trade
BRUSSELS — Countries grappling with global recession have enacted a wave of barriers to world commerce since early last month, scrambling to safeguard their key industries — often by damaging those of their neighbors. More here.

Moscow, Tehran force the US’s hand
It may seem there could be nothing in common between the blowing up of a bridge in the Khyber, the usage of an air base nestling in the foothills of the Pamirs and the launch of a 60-pound (37.2 kilogram) satellite into the night sky that will circle the Earth 14 times a day. But band them together and they trigger the political and diplomatic equivalent of what is known in the game of chess as zwischenzug, which means an intermediate move that improves a player’s position. Persians, who invented chess, would have mastery over zwischenzug. More here.

The End of American Capitalism?
Has the government ‘bailout’ been so large that capitalism’s founding principle is now irretrievably lost? There is no surer route to misunderstanding the recent financial crisis, and to prescribing the wrong solution, than to blame capitalism. More here.

About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
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