The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Obama honeymoon ends in Europe

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Robin Shepherd

-- Robin Shepherd is Director, International Affairs at the Henry Jackson Society. His areas of expertise are transatlantic relations, American foreign policy, Middle Eastern relations with the West, Russia, eastern Europe, NATO and the European Union. The views expressed are his own. --

It is to be hoped that President Obama has a developed sense of humour. The man heralded by many as the new Messiah of political renewal lands in London this week not to the chorus of approval he might have expected on his first official trip to Europe but to crowds roaring with anger and frustration at the global economic system which his country underpins.

It isn’t personal – yet. Few but the most unreasonable would hold the new American president responsible for woes that he inherited. Nonetheless, Obama campaigned on a platform of change. The implicit claim that his election was a grand, indeed poetic, instance of the time finding the man will be explicitly rejected – in Europe as well as at home – if he fails to deliver. We know he can give a pretty speech. But at the G-20 summit in London this week, that simply won’t be enough. For the first time at a major international gathering the blinding lights of international scrutiny will pour over Obama’s credentials on substance. His mettle is about to be tested.

It is true, of course, that there is tremendous accumulated goodwill towards the new American president in Europe. But time may yet show that much of that was merely the counterpoint to a hostility felt by so many against his predecessor. That, at least, is the risk. Obama can no longer play good cop to George Bush’s bad cop. He alone now has the stage, and when people are losing their jobs and homes they will want to see results. As leader of the Western world, the buck stops with him.

from The Great Debate:

World stuck with the dollar, more’s the pity

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jimsaftcolumn5-- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The dollar is, and will remain, the U.S.'s currency and its own and everyone else's problem.

The idea of creating a global currency, as espoused by China earlier this week, is interesting, has a certain amount of merit and is simply not going to happen any time soon.

from The Great Debate:

First 100 Days: What not to do in public diplomacy

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Kristin Lord-- Kristin Lord is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of the recent report, “Voices of America: U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century.” The views expressed are her own. --

As Senate confirmation hearings approach, America’s next public diplomacy leaders will get abundant advice about how to improve America’s standing in the world. The Obama administration’s nominees (an under secretary and at least two assistant secretaries in the State Department alone) would be wise to listen.

from The Great Debate:

Setback for America’s pro-Israel hawks

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Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

"The brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending ... Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians, it strives to pacify them ... American identification with Israel has become total."

from The Great Debate:

U.S. cap-and-trade choice inferior to carbon tax

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John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

President Barack Obama's first budget puts climate change at the heart of the administration's long-term economic plan. But despite the clear theoretical advantages of a simple carbon tax, he seems set to follow the EU and California in opting for a cap-and-trade system.

The budget plan commits the administration to work with Congress on an economy-wide emissions reductions program, based around cap-and-trade.

from The Great Debate:

In Cuba, low-hanging fruit for Obama

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Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

A look at a list of the foreign policy problems facing U.S. President Barack Obama could send the sunniest optimist into depression.

from The Great Debate:

Let housing find its clearing price

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James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The U.S. government should just get out of the way and allow the crash in U.S. housing; the market is too big, has too far to fall and Americans' finances are too strained.

President Barack Obama's measures, unveiled on Wednesday, are part of a $275 billion plan to try and stabilize the housing market and prevent foreclosures. It aims to encourage lenders and their agents to cut repayments for homeowners in difficulties to lower, more affordable levels as well as other steps.

from The Great Debate:

Goodbye to rugged American individualism?

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Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

Shock!! Horror!! The United States is becoming more like Europe! The rugged individualism that makes up part of the country's self-image may be doomed. Paternalism threatens to throttle enterprise and initiative.

That has been the reaction of Republican leaders to the $787 billion stimulus package President Barack Obama signed this week after a contentious debate that echoed arguments made more than 80 years ago on the eve of the Great Depression.

from The Great Debate:

First 100 Days: Obama’s foreign policy challenges

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Willis Sparks-- Willis Sparks is a Global Macro analyst at the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group. The views expressed are his own. --

Few things in life amused my dad more than a good karate movie. I once asked what he found so funny about Bruce Lee’s jaw-dropping display of poise and power. “Nice of the bad guys to attack him one at a time,” he said. In the real world, threats don’t arrive single-file, like jets lining up for takeoff.

from The Great Debate:

The case for a broadband bailout

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ericauchard1- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

By Eric Auchard

LONDON (Reuters) - With world economies fast running out of steam, it may seem an unlikely time for cash-strapped governments to discover universal broadband access as an urgent national funding priority.

Yet in this financial plague year, the Great Broadband Bailout of 2009 is rocketing up the political agenda as the global economic crisis deepens further.

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