20091123

The American Presidency III?

America's broken politics Jeffrey Sachs Comment is free guardian.co.uk: "It is hard for international observers of the United States to grasp the political paralysis that grips the country, and that seriously threatens America's ability to solve its domestic problems and contribute to international problem-solving. America's governance crisis is the worst in modern history. Moreover, it is likely to worsen in the years ahead."

Sachs is a little gloomy on the status of America and I can't help compare with Sweden now when the differences in health care in various "Landsting" is noted as well as differences in various communes in education. So it turns out that when people local chose to act for themselves human variability is showing up. Is this bad? I don't think so. However to force everyone into compliance is non-biological and therefore non-optimal. In the US there is a also a lot of variation between different areas. Sachs says the US is polarised on various variables. Is it possible to talk about too much variability within a country and what could be done about this in that case?

The American press is complaining a lot on Barack Obama these days although not as much as on George W. Bush, yet. At the end of the Bush term I predicted that they will soon start yelling at Obama as well. I hope I'm wrong but Sachs seems to lean in this direction. People want him to lead but the issues are more or less stuck all around him.

Sachs have some interesting data on the polarity surrounding the AfPak issue. 60% of democrats want troop reductions whereas only 26% of republicans. I guess this could be interpreted in the direction that about half the population want to see the problem disappear. Sachs ends with concluding that the US could use the $150bn they spend on Iraq and AfPak a year for other purposes, like paying of the debt over 10 years. Carl Bildt said yesterday that we are in AfPak for the stability but Sachs claims that we cause instability by being there. The information I have seen makes me agree with Sachs on that one.

If Sach's rather pessimistic view on the situation is correct, it might mean that some introspection from the point of view of Europe is in order. Relying on an American umbrella without giving much in return would be considered foolish. The $3.7tn trade over the Atlantic is good but when it comes to security arrangements a fresh look on the problem might be preferable. Without making national foreign offices smaller, the EU is now adding 6000 persons, about 30 people per country on average, to a department of foreign affairs under Lady Catherine Ashton. I hope we will see some value coming out from this initiative. I believe we will see this happen.

The technocrats are winning out so far in Europe. On the other hand the difference is not that large with the US. They have one person elected, the president. If he becomes lame duckized, as is hinted at in Sachs article, the technocrats rule in the US as well.

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