Ali’s blog

Mostly quant stuff with occasional digressions

Timothy Garton Ash on the inevitable letdown

Posted by alifinmath on April 24, 2008

Ash has written a piece on the inevitable letdown which will result regardless of which candidate gets voted into the Oval Office:

… there’s the difference in the United States’ position in the world now, compared with that during Kennedy’s time, let alone Truman’s. For all the systemic difficulties in store for China, for all the continued strengths of America’s open society and its military preponderance, the United States’ relative power has diminished, is diminishing, and will continue to diminish. This is true of its economic power, above all, as the nation has lived beyond its means, government spending has been skewed toward the military, and the mighty banks of New York go cap in hand to the sovereign wealth funds of Arabia and Asia. Sound like John F Kennedy he may, but Obama’s United States will not be able – to quote the legendary words of JFK’s inaugural address – to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend”. It can simply no longer afford the cost.

There’s nothing original in Ash’s perspective and I also disagree that Clinton would be the the least of the three evils but he does highlight the inflated expectations that accompany every presidential election — followed invariably by business as usual. Readers’ comments, to be found below Ash’s piece, are entertaining and often hit the nail on the head (IMHO).



7 Responses to “Timothy Garton Ash on the inevitable letdown”

  1. Chris Prouty said

    In reference to an older post, so much for “peak oil”:

  2. alifinmath said

    I mentioned the Brazilian field in a comment to the older post. Yesterday I came across an article with two analysts claiming that the (supposed) 33 billion barrel oilfield in Brazil had been overestimated by 98% (i.e. there’s only 600m barrels in the field — less than 60 days of US consumption). And this is also mentioned in the Bloomberg article. So this is unlikely to be a big field. There may be other big fields but over the last several years, only small- and medium-sized fields have been discovered — corroborating Peak Oil. And the costs of extraction for what oil is left will tend to climb (e.g. for the tar oil of Western Canada and Venezuela). I reiterate that there may be other big finds — but they’ll be few and far between and merely put off the day of reckoning.

  3. Anonym said

    Little Tommy Friedman gets pied. The accompanying excerpt from the book Bad Samaritans is also quite good.

  4. alifinmath said

    Well, I’m not sure what connection it has to the post but since I detest that idiot Friedman, that shill for globalisation, that whore of the ruling class, I’ll let it pass. I notice people were applauding even after he got pied — perhaps I’m not alone in my sentiments. For a good review of “The World is Flat,” see:

  5. Anonym said

    The comment was off-topic, but I’m aware of your disdain for Mr. Friedman, so I couldn’t help myself. I’m in complete agreement with Tom T. at his site in being opposed to the “pie-in-the-face school of ideological disagreement.” I wouldn’t want to see Paul Krugman subjected to such an humiliating (and illegal) act. That said, I’m always interested in taking the temperature of the public’s tolerance for disingenuous journalists who’ve abdicated their responsibilities to inform the public in favor of profitable propaganda.

  6. alifinmath said

    I read the Tom Tomorrow cartoon every week in “City Pages.” Till now I wasn’t aware of his site. Thanks.

    Friedman is just an idiot — a useful idiot for a ruling class anxious that its real motives and objectives be camouflaged. And a Minnesotan to boot. I don’t think he could write if his life depended on it.

  7. alifinmath said

    Incidentally, my contempt for Friedman is at least matched by my respect for another Mid-Westerner, Thorstein Veblen. This dreary part of the world has managed to produce a thinker.

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