American Views Abroad

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Less than a week to go before the election and tension and anxiety at the outcome is high. Yet in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in one of the most contested parts of a swing state, the mood, according to a home town man who fled at age 17 and returned recently for a weekend to see what has and has not changed, is rather sullen. He had difficulty finding more than one angry white man. People are far more worried about health care and the economy. His report: Meeting Myself in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the Political (and Personal) Crucible by Robert S. Eshelman at

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our webmaster, Fred Roberts, who has been MIA (Missing in Action) on this blog as a writer for some time now has won the Loebner Prize for his Elbot. So what or who is Elbot? Find out at its/his/her website at According to Silicon Valley news yesterday Elbot 'its shtick --- trying to sound like a puckish human attempting to sound like a computer --- successfully fooled three of the twelve judges. '

Congratulations Fred and now we know what you have been doing with your time and talent!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

James Carroll in Making Some Sense of $700 Billion:

Step back. All of last week's handwringing hoopla over the emergency bailout stands in stark contrast to utter indifference with which politicians approved an equivalent layout for the military --- an approval so routine that it was ignored in the press and by the public.

.....Here is a question that no one is asking about America's grave financial crisis: By fueling corporate profits, jobs, and private-sector growth for two generations with massive over-investment in the military, has the United States gutted the real worth of its economy? One needn't be an economist to know that spending money on war planes, missiles and exotic weapons systems, not to mention combat operations, creates far less social capital than spending on education, bridges, mass transit, new forms of energy --- even the arts.

The New Yorker's Choice for President:

At a moment of economic calamity, international perplexity, political failure, and battered morale, America needs both uplift and realism, both change and steadiness. It needs a leader temperamentally, intellectually, and emotionally attuned in the complexities of our troubled globe. That leader's name is Barack Obama.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Via Sudeutsche Zeitung under the headline Imperailer Blues is this commentary by John Gray, a professor at the London School of Economics, which appeared in The Guardian on Sunday:

....Here is a historic geopolitical shift, in which the balance of power in the world is being altered irrevocably. The era of American global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War is over.

....Despite incessantly urging other countries to adopt its way of doing business, America has always had one economic policy for itself and another for the rest of the world.

....Outside the U.S. most people have long accepted that the development of new economies that goes with globalization will undermine America's central position in the world. They imagined that there would be a change in America's comparative standing, taking place incrementally over several decades or generations. Today, this looks an increasingly unrealistic assumption.

Having created the conditions that produced history's biggest bubble, America's political leaders appear unable to grasp the magnitude of the dangers the country now faces. Mired in their rancorous culture wars and squabbling among themselves, they seem oblivious to the fact that American global leadership is fast ebbing away. A new world is coming into being almost unnoticed, where America is only one of several great powers, facing an uncertain future it can no longer shape.

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