“Ever since the tightening of security after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, scientists have worried that a scientific development would pit the need for safety against the need to share information. Now, it seems, that day has come.” Denise Grady and William Broad report on moves by the US government to effectively censor influenza research.
“Spending billions to force the terrorists to alter their plans in one particular way does not make us safer. It is far more cost-effective to concentrate our defences in ways that work regardless of tactic and target: intelligence, investigation and emergency response.” Bruce Schneier debates the former head of the Transportation Security Administration, Kip Hawley, on airport security. This is from the first of Schneier’s three statements on the topic.
www.economist.com 20 March, 23 March, 28 March
“Despite fearful rhetoric to the contrary, terrorism is not a transcendent threat. A terrorist attack cannot possibly destroy a country’s way of life; it’s only our reaction to that attack that can do that kind of damage.” In the wake of last week’s failed bombing of an airplane over Detroit, Bruce Schneier asks us to leverage the inherent strengths of our democracies.
“Like it or not, I fear it will not only be the cartoonists and impressionists who will miss the easy target in the White House when he has gone”, writes Mick Hume on the day George W Bush leaves office.
I was just following the swearing-in of Barack Obama as the 44th President and listening to his Inaugural Address. It appears to me that, at long last, the United States of America have got a class act to lead them.
“To all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world—our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.”
President-Elect Barack Obama
“It is the intersection of several underlying trends that have brought us to this point, not a breakdown in any specific part of the financial sector.” Michael Flynn looks at the underlying reasons for the current Wall Street crisis.
“It would have been nice to let Bush’s two terms marinate a while before invoking Herbert Hoover and James Buchanan from the cellar of worst presidents. But then—over the last two weeks—he completed the trilogy of national disasters that will be with us for a generation or more.” Timothy Egan assesses the Bush Presidency.
“We did not go into Iraq to impose representative government on the Iraqis. We went there to manage a threat to our own safety.” Richard Perle explains why, in his view, the United States of America had to invade Iraq and topple Sadam Hussein.
“Gorbachev has been a persona non grata in his own country ever since. In the West he remains a hero, a respected historical figure, a man who peacefully cut a superpower down to its true size.” Newly published minutes from meetings of the Politburo reveal what really happened behind closed doors.
Robin Cook, one of few political figures to command my lasting respect, has suddenly died on August 6, 2005. If you are only ever going to read one political statement made to the House of Commons, read Robin Cooks’s resignation speech from 18 March, 2003.
Was Ross Perot right in suggesting that NAFTA would result in a “giant sucking sound”, with US jobs fast disappearing over the border to Mexico? Or did the number of jobs increase after NAFTA went into effect? Thomas Sowell is in search of the facts.
“The president and his speechwriters have yet to confront the tension between their rhetoric about freedom, which is universally popular, and their practice of projecting US firepower, which is resented in equal measure.” Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook on the day George Bush began his second term in office.
“It sounds like science fiction, but it’s true.” Andrew Bomford first published this article in November 1999. Will matters have improved since then?
“The transfer of power from West to East is gathering pace and soon will dramatically change the context for dealing with international challenges—as well as the challenges themselves.” James Hoge highlights some of the main issues facing today’s foreign policy makers in the US and around the world.
“Divine ordination is a very dangerous idea, especially when combined with military power. With God’s approval, you need no human standard of morality.” Howard Zinn expands on the myths of American exeptionalism.
“Oil and the dollar were the real reasons for the attack on Iraq, with weapons of mass destruction as the public reason now exposed as woefully inadequate.” A disturbingly coherent explanation put forward by John Chapman.
“Is globalisation sending the best American jobs overseas? If you get your news from CNN’s Lou Dobbs, the answer is ‘of course’.” Brink Lindsey puts some commonly made assumptions about the US American economy to the test. Useful reading even if, like me, you do not live in North America.
“Wars are a major threat to civilised existence, and a corporate commitment to weapons procurement nurtures this threat.” Economist John Kenneth Galbraith argues that companies control the state.