The State of U.S. Power: Perceptions across the Globe

Critical Questions – by Kathleen H. Hicks, Ernest Z. Bower, Heather A. Conley, Jennifer G. Cooke, Andrew C. Kuchins, Carl Meacham, and Richard M. Rossow, CSIS*

In December 2013, the Pew Research Center released data suggesting that Americans’ views of U.S. power and prestige abroad had reached a 40-year low. That poll came in the wake of the first releases of National Security Agency (NSA) documents by Edward Snowden and the August 2013 Syria crisis and amid heated battles in Washington over the federal budget.

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Once Again on the Subject of Theory and Politics

By Gianfranco La Grassa*

For (theoretical) convenience I have always used the tripartition of the society in three “spheres”, three great areas never factually separated by clear delimitations of a boundary): political, economic (with a productive and a financial subsphere) and ideological that I sometimes name ideological – cultural to indicate, on one hand, everything that moves in the field of ideas, of points of view, of the battles between these(i), and on the other hand, the deposits accumulated during this movement in the course of long periods of time in certain social environments, also provided with a territory (usually it is what we call a country, and often from a certain period onwards, even a nation).

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Has the Fed Learned Monetary Policy Lessons from the Financial Crisis?

By Richard Alford* – naked capitalism

In the last two years, some economists and even current policymakers have acknowledged that interest rate policy and financial stability are connected. They’ve also admitted external factors can have have a significant impact on US economic performance. However, economic policy itself still ignores these issues. Today, US monetary policy is based on a very narrow interpretation of the Fed’s legal mandate. The central bank pursues price stability and full employment without considering possible negative feedback loops via the financial markets or from abroad.

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Did CIA Director Brennan Visit Kiev Recently?

Submitted by Tyler Durden – Zerohedgefund

Just a few weeks ago, someone (allegedly Russia) leaked a recorded phone conversation of Victoria Nuland commenting “fuck the EU” and how she (the US) wanted the political stage set in Ukraine. A lot has happened since then but as multiple pro-Russian sources have now ‘confirmed’, the new puppetmaster appears to be in town (or was). As Interfax reported, citing sources inside the Ukrainian parliament, none other that CIA Director John Brennan landed in Ukraine on Saturday under an assumed name and held a “series of secret meetings” with the country’s “power bloc” Interfax reported.

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Is Estonia Worth a War?

Justin Logan [2] * – The National Interest

No one near the levers of power in Washington suggested that Ukraine’s territorial integrity was worth risking a war with Russia. That stark reality offers an opportunity to evaluate U.S. alliances. Which European countries should the United States be willing to go to war with Russia over?

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Developing Nations Seek U.N. Retaliation on Bank Cancellations

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 2014 (IPS) – The 132-member Group of 77, the largest single coalition of developing nations, has urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to provide, “as soon as possible…alternative options for banking services” in New York City following the mass cancellation of bank accounts of U.N. missions and foreign diplomats.

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How Ethnic Tensions and Economic Crisis Have Strengthened Europe’s Secession Movements*

Conn Hallinan – The Nation and Foreign Policy In Focus

Happy families are all alike: every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

The opening to Tolstoy’s great novel of love and tragedy could be a metaphor for Europe today, where “unhappy families” of Catalans, Scots, Belgians, Ukrainians and Italians contemplate divorcing the countries they are currently a part of. And in a case where reality mirrors fiction, they are each unhappy in their own way.

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EU’s error was not recognising Putin’s red line

Prof David R Cameron* – Financial Times

Sir, In “Why Europe can’t think strategically” (FT.com, April 3), Gideon Rachman argues, against the British politician Nigel Farage and others, that it is not fair to blame the EU for what happened in Ukraine, that the crisis has been a chapter of unforeseen developments and that it was hard to foresee that, just hours after signing an agreement negotiated by the three EU foreign ministers, President Viktor Yanukovich would order or allow scores of his own people to be gunned down and would then flee.

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Post-Constitutional America, Where Innocence Is a Poor Defense

By Peter Van Buren – TomDispatch

Rahinah Ibrahim is a slight Malaysian woman who attended Stanford University on a U.S. student visa, majoring in architecture. She was not a political person. Despite this, as part of a post-9/11 sweep directed against Muslims, she was investigated by the FBI. In 2004, while she was still in the U.S. but unbeknownst to her, the FBI sent her name to the no-fly list.

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Ukraine: Eurasian Bastion in the face of NATO

Umberto Mazzei*

Since the Seven Years War (1756 – 1763) until the First World War the British Empire expanded, almost unchallenged, its political control and trade to all non European corners of the world. By that time there was a scientific and technological revolution in Europe that created the basis for the Industrial Revolution. Then also began the preaching for a liberal economy, for the opening of markets that produced the imperial exchange of manufactured products for raw materials. It is then when the Great Game begins, the British siege of the Euro-Asian mass where Russia was moving towards India, China and Japan. One hundred years later, the British financial control of the former Spanish colonies and the partition of Africa already outlined the Anglo-Saxon prototype for globalization. Its check was the alliance between the Russian Empire and the newly reconstructed German Empire.

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Guantánamo Bay Is the Most Ridiculous Place on Earth

By Alexander Nazaryan – Newsweek

Forgive me, please, for being frivolous. I am acutely aware that the situation calls for sobriety. Guantánamo Bay evokes morbid images the world over, but the place is, let’s be honest, fundamentally ridiculous, so bizarre that you have to laugh at its existence. It may be tantamount to laughter at a funeral, but it’s laughter all the same.

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Climate Change: Is Anybody Listening?

By Max Strasser – Newsweek

The planet is poised for disaster, according to a landmark study released yesterday. Forests will burn, cities will flood and infrastructure will collapse under the strain of a warming climate. Climate change will also lead to increased food insecurity and even wars over resources, says the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was set up by the United Nations’ Environment Program.

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Misdirection – Galbraith on Thomas Piketty’s New Book on Capital

By Philip Pilkington*

I’ve been waiting for this for some time but now Jamie Galbraith has come out and provided an extensive discussion of Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twentieth Century. While I haven’t yet read Piketty’s book its difficult not to have heard about it given how much of a response it is getting among economics types.

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