The Great Debate UK

Germany’s political and economic phoney war

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paul-taylor– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Germany is becalmed by a political and economic phoney war five months before this year’s most important European general election. But a lack of real economic debate now risks prolonging the political stalemate and delaying much needed reforms.

The export-dependent economy is shrinking faster than any other major economy except fellow exporter Japan. Output is expected to contract by an eye-watering 6 percent this year. German banks turn out to have bought as many toxic assets as their British or American counterparts, proportionate to their balance sheets.

Yet the grand coalition government has just reaffirmed, with broad political backing, that there will be no new stimulus package. And there is little public debate about whether the government has the right economic strategy.

from The Great Debate:

Killer robots and a revolution in warfare

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

They have no fear, they never tire, they are not upset when the soldier next to them gets blown to pieces. Their morale doesn't suffer by having to do, again and again, the jobs known in the military as the Three Ds - dull, dirty and dangerous.

They are military robots and their rapidly increasing numbers and growing sophistication may herald the end of thousands of years of human monopoly on fighting war. "Science fiction is moving to the battlefield. The future is upon us," as Brookings scholar Peter Singer put it to a conference of experts at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania this month.

from UK News:

Iraq cabinet minutes remain secret

So we're not going to know the full details of what the cabinet thought about going to war in Iraq.

Justice Minister Jack Straw has blocked the release of cabinet minutes on the subject on the grounds that to open them up would undermine democratic decision-making. If ministers thought everything they said in cabinet was going to be made public, his argument ran, they might be reluctant to express their full and frank views and therefore the principle of collective cabinet responsibility would be undermined.

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