What others think around the U.S., world
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:
Are we, to borrow a bit of a phrase from Milton Friedman, “all Keynesians now?”
John Maynard Keynes argued, among other things, that in the short run a depressed economy can be stimulated by an infusion of capital by a central bank and/or complementing actions by a central government.
This can be seen in practice in the Federal Reserve’s decision last week to spend billions buying bonds in order to keep interests rates low, which makes borrowing money more attractive and, in this time of lackluster economic growth, helps to spur investment.
However, the Keynesian express seemed about to end as word spread before last week that the Fed would begin to slow its buying.
U.S. Stock Exchange investors had been particularly nervous, so when the Fed announced that it had met with central bankers who promised to continue loaning if the government would continue to buy bonds, the stock market responded just as Keynes said it would.
No one expects the Fed to continue to buy bonds at this rate, but the Keynesian approach has given the economy a boost as well as a little more time to recover.
That was what Keynes predicted in the first place.
In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Obama on Tuesday promised to engage Iran’s new leadership in negotiations to prevent the development of nuclear weapons in that country as part of a broader normalization of relations.
An Iran that possessed nuclear weapons would be a deeply destabilizing development. The most commonly cited concern is that Iran might launch a nuclear attack on Israel – an operation that would be suicidal in light of Israel’s own (if unacknowledged) nuclear arsenal. But a more likely danger is that a nuclear-armed Iran would seek to maximize its political influence in the region, inspiring other states to seek nuclear weapons of their own.
Economic sanctions have taken their toll, and in June, Iranians elected as their president Hassan Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator who ran as a reformist. Rouhani has suggested that he would be open to creative negotiations to resolve the nuclear issue. Skeptics in the U.S. and Israel are warning that this is trickery designed to soften sanctions while the nuclear program quietly progresses. But Obama is wise to engage the new Iranian leader, especially given the alternative.
The slaughter of innocent men, women and children perpetrated by Islamic militants at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Kenya should leave the international community in no doubt about the dire consequences when failed states are allowed to become breeding grounds for terrorism.
Somalia, the wreck of a country on the Horn of Africa from which the evil, al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabab thugs responsible for the massacre emanate, has lacked stability since the regime of General Siad Barre, a Soviet toady, lost power in 1991.
In the ensuing anarchy – with the international community unable and unwilling to do much – the worst forms of malevolent Islamic extremism have spawned and thrived, leading to the attack by the al-Shabab terrorists that claimed the lives of scores of people.
Such atrocities cannot be tolerated and the international community cannot turn a blind eye. It is to the credit of the African Union that it is leading the way in seeking to deal with al-Shabab, but far more than Africa’s interests are at stake in the battle. As the death toll in the Nairobi massacre again shows, Islamic terrorism threatens us all, and the international community must do all it can to confront it. Somalia’s chaos and the terrorism it has spawned as a failed state was allowed to fester for far too long.