Thursday December 12, 2013
September 12th, 2013
In a few days, we'll reach the fifth anniversary of the fall of Lehman Bros. - the moment when a recession, which was bad enough, turned into something much scarier. Suddenly, we were looking at the real possibility of economic catastrophe.
And the catastrophe came.
As the United States prepares for a potential attack on Syria, China is left in the awkward position of reacting to the news and occasionally justifying opposition to any U.S. action.
The debate over Syria is a jumble of metaphors, proof that every discussion of military action involves an argument about the last war. Yet beneath the surface, the fight in Congress over President Obama's proposed strike against Bashar al-Assad's regime is a struggle to break free from earlier syndromes to set a new course.
It was one of the biggest surprises pulled off by any president. The entire nation tuned in on Saturday afternoon, August 31, to hear President Obama detail his plans to bomb Syria in retaliation for Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons. Instead, we heard the president announce that while he'd made his own decision about the need to launch a military strike against Syria, he would not proceed until Congress had a chance to debate the issue and vote it up or down.
Germany is the world's most popular country, according to a BBC World Service survey this year, not bad for a nation that has probably fretted more over its self-image than any other. It is also an enigma, a powerful state wary of power, a lusterless leader. Angst is a German word but not a German condition.
"Were you wearing a bra?" asked lawyer Andrew Weinstein. "Were you wearing underwear?"
Weinstein represents 22-year-old Tra'ves Bush, one of three midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy accused of sexually assaulting a female classmate.
If military officials want to know why service members are reluctant to report such incidents, they need look no further than the appalling proceedings just concluded at the Navy Yard here.
Thousands of Chinese are fleeing to the United States. We are not talking about impoverished peasants hiding in cargo containers. We're talking about millionaires flying first class and buying condos in the choicest ZIP codes. A big reason for this relocation, real estate agents say, is a desire for America's clean air, as opposed to China's suffocating smog.
By seeking congressional approval for military action against the Syrian government, President Obama has accomplished something that the nation hasn't seen in some time: He's compelled Republicans to divert their attention from their concocted crises to an issue of actual substance.
So we’re going to war in Syria. Maybe. We won’t know for sure until Congress gets back from the vacation it’s taking from its other vacations.
One can live in hope, however. What would autumn be without a fresh war in the Middle East to occupy us?
I know, the Obama-Bush administration is saying that it’s not going to be a real war, that we’re simply going to conduct a punitive raid to teach Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad a lesson.
Critics of U.S. military action in Syria are right to point out all the risks and uncertainties of missile strikes, and they have U.S. public opinion on their side.
But for those of you who oppose cruise missile strikes, what alternative do you favor?