The Well-Liked Hegemon, Still

warningYou won’t be surprised to know that I think polling to be a very limited resource for leaders and managers. But it does have the advantage of giving us an idea of what others think, and so it has value, at least when it is done well. I’m a pure consumer, I don’t really know what goes into making a reliable poll but, experience suggests that Pew does a reasonable job. And they have recently released a poll on how the USA is perceived in the world. I found it pretty interesting, and bet you would too. The complete poll is here, but I’ll talk a bit about what struck me.

First, they don’t like our monitoring of private citizens, which seems reasonable, really, since the poll says Americans don’t like it either. They also don’t think we should spy on other countries leaders and there I mildly disagree with them, it’s kind of important to know what they are planning.

In general, though, we are mostly still liked. Click to embiggenPG_14.07.08_LedeNSA_640px

PG-2014-07-14-balance-of-power-0-01The really interesting thing is that nearly everybody agrees that it is OK to spy on suspected terrorists, and that it is not OK to spy on American citizens, that’s true with Americans, and it’s true with pretty much everybody else, as well

What we do that almost no one likes (only bare majorities in the US, Israel, and Kenya) is our use of drones to attack suspected terrorists. I don’t know but I know for me, I think we are a bit too indiscriminate in target selection, and it is not very respectful of other nation’s sovereignty. In other words, I don’t much like it either, except maybe in clear-cut cases.

What I don’t understand completely is that worldwide, or at least 44 nations, 56% of the respondents think Obama is doing an OK job and is likely to do the right thing. But then, I am not exactly an unbiased observer here, and probably care much more about the Constitution than the average world citizen. I note that his rating is declining, just not as precipitously as it is here.

PG-2014-07-14-balance-of-power-0-03More people worldwide still think we respect personal liberty than France, China, or Russia, in fact, except for France, it’s not even close, which is nice feeling.

The Middle East, is the one area in the world, where we are not very well liked, to quote the poll.

“The Middle East is the clear exception. China’s favorability in the region is not especially high, but is higher than that for the U.S. Anti-Americanism has been common in many Middle Eastern nations throughout the Obama presidency, as was the case during the George W. Bush-era. And again this year some of the lowest ratings for the U.S. are found in the region. Only 19% of Turks and 12% of Jordanians offer a favorable opinion of the U.S., and at 10% Egypt gives the U.S. its lowest rating in the survey.”

We are pretty much liked better than China though, everywhere but the Middle East, which is rather heartwarming, to a point, anyway.

PG_14.07.08_LedeU.S.ChinaMedianMap

One thing that is highlighted pretty heavily here is that China’s neighbors don’t like her very much. This map pretty much tells the story.

PG_14.07.14_SouthChinaSea_640px

Remember that Pakistan has a treaty relationship with China, but everybody else is a bit nervous.

This chart pretty much goes with that

PG_14.07.10_AlliesThreats_640px

OK, guys, if you are anywhere my age, did you ever think you would see a reputable poll saying that Vietnam considers the US its greatest ally? Tells you a lot, I think, about how Asia views China.

This is getting a little long, so I’ll just give you a couple more, and you can follow the link (above)

Who loves us, baby?

PG-2014-07-14-balance-of-power-1-02

PG-2014-07-14-balance-of-power-3-03It looks to me (and the world, as well) that we better get our economic act together if we are going to remain the leading economic superpower. I would add to that it will be very difficult to retain our influence on world events, if we don’t. We got to where we are by strong freedom loving individual efforts, and that is the only way we will get back.

Personally, i think we need to start repairing our ties with India, which were quite close under George W. Bush but that Obama has let fray rather badly. India, which is pretty much an English-speaking, common law observing, counterweight to China, would be an ideal partner for us in Asia. Sure, it has some ethnic and religious problems, but we don’t?

 

So while it’s not exactly good news here, It could be a lot worse, and it does give us some idea of what we need to work on.

 

So let’s get back to work.

I Am Become America; the Destroyer of Dreams

Or not, what will we choose?

In 1903 this happened

First_flight2

Those bicycle mechanics from Ohio flew about half the wingspan of a 747, and changed the world, forever.

66 years later, yesterday we, America, did this.

moonlanding

Later on, we left a car, like this:

That’s a good summary of my America

But 24 years to the day before that flag went up, a man, in Alamogordo, NM said this:

I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

He had just watched this

But, you know, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was wrong, at least so-far. The nuclear weapons program has not destroyed any worlds, in fact its very first result was to save at least two million casualties, half of them Japanese, it then went on to help prevent war between the US and USSR.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

And thus America’s course through the stormy 20th century.

But you know, yesterday was the 45th anniversary of the day we landed on the moon. Other than the internet, what have we accomplished since?

Maybe this is why.

Think about it.

This is more like America

Video Monday: The (Mostly) Whittle Edition

In a sense, I’m cleaning up after the holiday, these have been in the queue for less than a week. All are valuable, and all but one feature Bill Whittle. Normally I would say enjoy, but in this case, pay attention and learn, and start thinking how we are going to fix it.

Obamadelphia, well, why not?

Trifecta on ISIS and why it has erupted, and some on its methods.

Continuing with Trifecta

And a reminder of who we are, and how we got that way.

Oh, yeah, from Norfolk, Nebraska. Which strikes me as a very significant name, combining the stronghold of the Parliamentary forces with a good conservative state.

Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, and Remedial Economics

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the University of Southern California (Video of the speech) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I’m sure you know that the Supreme Court decided that a privately held corporation (defined as held by less than 5 people) can have religious beliefs. In fine it was decided that Hobby Lobby has the right not to provide, without cost 4 (out of 20) contraceptives. Their employees still can, of course, still obtain them, they just have to pay for them, as they have for twenty years. Those four act as abortifacients, which are defined as stopping a fertilized egg from implanting. It was a very narrow decision, not that you can tell from the absurd wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But what I really want to talk about today is economic theory. We are watching the greatest economic miracle in world history be subverted by a bunch of economic Luddites. I’m not at all sure that they are not full disciples of old Ned as long as they get to be the aristocracy. And that’s the difference as we’ll see here.

Let’s start with a superficial overview of world economic history. Here there really is a graph that looks like a hockey stick, unlike the charlatans of the ‘Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming’.

In case you missed it in the video, here is that graph again

Why then? Because of this

We’ve been hearing all our life how FDR saved the country in the Great Depression. He didn’t. He continued Hoover’s policies and even made them worse. What brought us out of the Great Depression was World War II, which you could make a pretty good case that the ‘great’ Progressive, Wilson, caused. Here:

Let’s bring it on down to now, and talk a bit about Obama’s policies

And do note that Bush played Hoover to Obama’s FDR quite well.

Just to bring us around the circle, here is what Dr. Sowell told us about Obamacare, even before it was passed.

The View From the North

Barack Obama, President of the United States o...

Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, with Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s important, I think, to occasionally take a look at how we look from the outside, especially how our friends, especially the really good ones see us. And who would be better friends that the Canadians? What are they seeing, particularly since so many of us admire PM Harper so much. So let’s have a look. The first article is from Colin Robertson of The Globe and Mail it’s entitled

Why Canada wants to feel more love from the U.S.

Living beside the United States, remarked Pierre Trudeau, is like sleeping with an elephant: “No matter how friendly or temperate the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” The twitching is getting to the Harper government and it has responded with a series of pokes.

A trio of senior ministers – John Baird, Joe Oliver, Greg Rickford – travelled to New York this month to voice what Stephen Harper calls our “profound disappointment” over the delayed Keystone XL KXL pipeline. Said Mr. Oliver: “This isn’t right, this isn’t fair.”

In Winnipeg, Agriculture Minister Gary Ritz accused the United States of behaving like a “schoolyard bully” over country-of-origin labelling.

Last week in Washington, Ambassador Gary Doer and MP Rob Merrifield delivered an invitation from House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer to Republican House Speaker John Boehner to visit Canada for discussions on KXL and other issues.

If the Obama administration wants further evidence that Canada deserves some attention it should watch the recent exchange between former ambassador Frank McKenna and U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman. “It’s like a marriage. It might be really good for you but I’ve got some problems,” said Mr. McKenna of Canadian frustration over KXL and financing the Windsor-Detroit customs plaza.

Canada-U.S. relations operate on three levels: international, intermestic and people-to-people.

Ours is a complex relationship that goes beyond the traditional diplomatic conventions. Supported by the hidden wiring of connections between provinces and states, business and civil society, it is usually a model for neighbourly relations.

In international summitry, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Harper are aligned on the big-ticket issues of peace and security, banking and finance, even if they differ on approaches to climate change.

The people-to-people relationship is solid. Americans like us more than we like them. We share much in common, at work and at play, although beating Team USA at hockey is now our main Olympic goal.

It’s on the transactional level of trade and commerce that we have problems, with KXL top of the list. For Canada, KXL is i>the problem with the partner. For the United States, KXL is a problem with a partner.

via CDFAI – New From Colin Robertson.

If I’m honest (and I always try to be) I think he’s pretty much right on all counts

Daryl Copeland give us a Canadian view of the world. While I don’t completely agree with everything he says here, his view is certainly at least as valid as mine, and I think we should at least consider what he says.

Blowback: Iraq and the law of unintended consequences

Under relentless pressure from the jihadist movement Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the political collapse and territorial disintegration of Iraq in recent weeks has been striking. If this process is not reversed, the emergence of a radical Islamist enclave is likely to cause serious security problems for decades, both in the Middle East and beyond.

That has been the focus of most reporting to date. The big-picture implications are even more profound.

To be sure, the roots of the current crisis are complex and tangled. They can be traced back at least to the unravelling of the Ottoman Empire following the First World War, and the subsequent division of the territorial spoils by Britain and France according to the terms of the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

That said, and notwithstanding Tony Blair’s apparent amnesia, much of the current disaster appears directly attributable to the ill-fated decision on the part of the United States and its coalition allies to intervene militarily in Iraq 2003-11. As it happened, much of the “shock and awe” was reserved for the invaders. That colossal strategic error cost some $1.7 trillion, resulted in the deaths of over 150,000 Iraqis and 4,800 coalition soldiers and, together with the Great Recession, spelled the end of unipolarity — American international dominance.

While those costs are extraordinary, the longer term damage may prove even greater. The ISIS gains in Syria and Iraq may be only the beginning, and could give rise to further developments inimical to peace, progress and prosperity, both in the region and further afield. The obvious hazards are related to Islamic extremism, sectarian strife, civil war and ethnic partition.

Of even greater concern, however, is the continued militarization of international policy.

via CDFAI – In the Media

I think one of the key points here is that the world is seeing that the unipolar power structure that has held since 1990 is unraveling. It is doing so because America is letting it, nothing has really changed, except for the will of our government. If that is what the American people want (which I doubt, very strongly) then so be it. If it isn’t we need to start thinking about what we are going to do after Obama. We haven’t been thinking long-term we have been fighting a reactive (not pro active) battle against the administration, and that is why we’re losing. What are we for. Americans are an optimistic forward-looking people, we’re not known for being against things but for better things. We should be doing politics the same way.

What are we for; and will we fight for it?

That Was the Week That Was

thobamaSo, it’s been quite a week, hasn’t it? And we haven’t even got to the ‘Government by Blog Post’ Friday document dump yet. So we’ll see what else can go wrong.

I don’t ever tell people how to vote but if I was a Mississippian, I would not vote for Cochran, this kind of despicable conduct has no business in America, let alone in a so-called principled party. And yes, that does mean that I have no use at all for the national republican party. I think it to be no more than the sort-of right facing part of the party of government, and not an iota different from the democratic party. Here’s a couple of stories about it:

Here’s The Worst Part of Thad Cochran’s Victory

MASSIVE VOTER FRAUD UNCOVERED IN MISSISSIPPI GOP RUNOFF ELECTION

Then there is the Mexican (used to be) border

AS THE SOUTHERN BORDER BURNS, THE DEMOCRATS FIDDLE

Then there is the piece of the world formerly known as Iraq. It hard to see how there could have been a worse foreign policy debacle, short, I suppose, of surrendering to the Soviet Union. It’s bad, it’s going to get worse, and I don’t have a clear idea of what, if anything we should do.

Why an Isis caliphate is no more than a pipe dream

That’s sort of reassuring, isn’t it? Then there is this:

The Mouse that roared

I frankly don’t know which of them is right, if either but. If I had to bet, I’d bet on an American Marine before I bet on any sort of reporter. If he’s right, we are in for a very long and bleak few years, and if I was a European, I would think very strongly about whether I wanted to place my entire defense in the hands of the American led (sort-of) NATO. Because by the time we get ourselves sorted out again, Europe is very likely to look like it did in late 1941, except the Turk is far more bloodthirsty than Hitler ever was. Of course, it probably doesn’t really matter since Europe is committing suicide by abortion anyway.

Then there is the Veteran’s Administration

VA Flags “Disgruntled” Vets

Obamacare anyone, or would you prefer the NHS?

And the Internal Revenue Service

Lies, Damned Lies, and the IRS

And that is pretty much the news from ‘Chicago on the Potomac’

The Age of Mafia Government

Pretty depressing round-up isn’t it? But you know this is still America, and we (most of us, anyway) are still Americans who remember a free country. So let us join with Bill Whittle to

He’s right you know, we built it, with sweat, and blood, and tears, and we can damned well rebuild it as well, and laugh at the losers while we do.

Since you hung around through all that crap they’re throwing at us, you deserve a treat. How about this.

And a hat tip to Big Fur Hat at I Own the World for reminding me that we need some cowbell in our life.

 

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