Sunday, October 12, 2008

Our little world . . .

By Carol Gee

It is incredibly interdependent. And our current U.S. president is incredibly inept, a weakened leader whose words matter little. That has become ever more clear as the market crash shakes the world, as reported by the Financial Times. Dandelion Salad* (0n 10/4/08) says in a very thoughtful essay. that "the American Century, [was] cut short by 92 years."

European Union -- Aljazeera reported that European stocks hit a five-year low.Yahoo! News reports that, "Era of U.S. financial dominance at an end: Germany#." - The FT reported on Germany's contingency plan, modeled after Great Britain's. And, according to Reuters, the "French PM says world 'on edge of abyss#'" Deutsche Welle reports yesterday that France and Germany will be united in their European approach in the face of the economic crisis.

Africa Command* -- In a bizarre and unsettling move the Bush administration blurred the line between its diplomatic and military efforts in Africa. The strategy is reminiscent of the way the military and diplomats have both been used and abused. This administration's worldwide failure was not to provide for robust diplomacy, cleanly separated from an armed military whose business is to fight. " The Pentagon's new Africa command raises suspicions about U.S. motives*". To quote:

The U.S. Africa Command, the Pentagon's first effort to unite its counterterrorism, training and humanitarian operations on the continent, launches Wednesday amid questions at home about its mission and deep suspicions in Africa about its intentions.

U.S. officials have billed the new command, known as Africom, as a sign of Africa's strategic importance, but many in Africa see it as an unwelcome expansion of the U.S.-led war on terrorism and a bid to secure greater access to the continent's vast oil resources. Several countries have refused to host the command, and officials say Africom will be based in Stuttgart, Germany, for the foreseeable future.

U.S.-based aid groups and some in Congress have expressed worries that Africom will tilt U.S policy in Africa away from democracy-building and economic development and toward security objectives such as stemming the growth of militant Islamist groups in Somalia and North Africa, some of which have ties to al Qaida.

U.S. covert operations in Somalia and elsewhere have fueled the controversy. In late 2006, the U.S. military provided intelligence to help Ethiopia topple a fundamentalist Islamic regime in Somalia, an invasion that's fueled a violent Islamist insurgency.

Somalia, a forgotten crisis -- and the perfect illustration of the administration's inept leadership. This "update On Renditions in U.S. Terror War in Somalia*," is from Chris Floyd. The story is about,

. . . inside "Africa's Guantanamo," the Ethiopian prison where refugees fleeing the American-backed invasion of Somalia were "renditioned," often with help of U.S. agents.

Our little world is in big trouble and there is little hope that the current administration will do anything but make it worse. The juxtaposition of an economic meltdown and a Presidential election must make Barack Obama have nightmares. But there it is. And he proves, day after day, in a calm way that he will be the leader needed. But he will not be able to do it alone. We all must share in the commitment to change this very, very small world.

Resources that are trying to help:

Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are "betmo*" and Jon#.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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