Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Commentary: Fame or shame?
by Arnaud De Borchgrave
Washington (UPI) Jun 14, 2012

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The equivalent of Hollywood's Walk of Fame in the nation's capital is Massachusetts Avenue, the diplomatic walk of fame. Major embassy residences line both sides of what is now known as the Walk of Shame.

Pot holes, steel plates over excavations and a jumble of construction detritus litter the once-proud avenue used by prominent diplomatic visitors from all over the world. Many Third World capitals keep their main thoroughfares in better shape. But then everything in Washington seems to be falling apart.

The chairman of the District of Columbia Council -- Kwame Brown -- recently pleaded guilty to bank fraud and resigned, the latest in a long line of con artists who keep proving that the nation's capital is unworthy of home rule. His boat is named "Bullet Proof."

Brown's resignation followed the resignation of another council member who also confessed to embezzling $350,000 in public funds earmarked for youth sports and arts.

There is also a federal investigation of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's campaign spending that already triggered confessions by two campaign aides.

Scandal is almost synonymous with home rule government in Washington. One-time Mayor Marion Barry resigned after being caught smoking crack. But six months in prison and other legal problems didn't prevent him from winning a fourth term and retaining a D.C. Council seat.

Legislators in dozens of U.S. states have made sure they would receive "outlandish retirement perks irrespective of length of service."

The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Steven Malanga, who says huge retirement perks are protected by public employee unions and are piling up to the tune of $3 trillion in "unfunded promises to state and local workers."

Median U.S. family income, adjusted for inflation, fell to $45,900 in 2010 from $49,600 in 2007.

The U.S. public debt has almost doubled since 2008 -- $9 trillion to $16 trillion in 4 years.

The U.S. government owes $30 trillion in liabilities (e.g., unfunded Social Security and Medicare benefits) -- or twice the amount conceded by the Treasury's official report, says a new study by the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Across the Atlantic, the European Union narrowly escaped collapse with an emergency $125 billion bailout for Spain's banking system. Greece will be hanging by a thread following national elections Sunday.

Commentators on both sides of the Atlantic are drawing parallels between Europe in the 1930s and Europe today -- soaring youth unemployment (up to 40 percent in Spain versus a national average of 24.5 percent) with corresponding political support for left- and right-wing extremist parties.

On Tuesday, the venerable, authoritative BBC aired "The Great Euro Crash." The network's Business Editor Robert Peston talks to historians, economists and politicians and then makes clear that "some countries lied about their financial position in the lead up to unification."

The cost of saving the euro may be high, the program concludes, "but the alternative could be a return to the mayhem of the 1930s."

Almost all commentators turn to Germany to rescue the European enterprise before it implodes. How could Germany save the slowly sinking enterprise? By throwing its weight behind a European fiscal and banking union.

But even those who need bailing out urgently are reluctant to relegate their countries to the equivalent of a canton in the confederal makeup of Switzerland -- or of a U.S. state in the United States.

In America, the 13 British colonies broke away from Great Britain in 1776 but there was no federal U.S. entity till 1789. The dollar became official national currency in 1785.

In Europe, the euro became official currency in 11 countries Jan. 1, 1999, but euro bank notes and coins didn't enter circulation until Jan. 1, 2002, adding six more countries. Ten members of the European Union, including Britain, continue to use national currencies.

A new European treaty with full-fledged economic, fiscal and political union like the one that binds 50 U.S. states, with all the constitutional changes this would entail, is still a bridge too far.

Hence, Europe's current systemic crisis. A common currency without a fiscal union (which at the very least mandates common taxation, pension and other treasury functions) is like a Ship-of-Fools with a frivolous crew without a skipper who practice deceit, stupidity and greed.

In Greece, for example, the government kept public workers satisfied with generous salary and pension benefits. Salaries alone doubled in real terms every 10 years.

Each European country involved in the crisis loaned big money to different sectors of their economy. The average fiscal deficit in the euro area in 2007 zoomed from 0.6 percent to 7 percent. The traffic cops noticed the infractions but were powerless to issue speeding tickets.

In the Middle East, Egypt is gradually falling under the spell of a Muslim Brotherhood government and its Salafist extremist backers who command a majority in the new Parliament.

In Syria, President Bashar Assad's military regime, ostensibly backed by Russia, is engaged in a ruthless civil war that is killing thousands of civilians as it uses helicopter gunships to suppress an uprising, now in its second year.

And in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai, just back from a summit in Beijing, orders the United States to cease and desist bombing civilian houses used by Taliban guerrillas as they seek shelter from U.S. drones and helicopter gunships.

This now informs Taliban that all they have to do after a hit-and-run attack against NATO or Afghan forces is retreat to the nearest civilian dwelling.

The 2014 Afghan exit for U.S and allied forces won't be soon enough. The additional 10 years for a protective U.S. umbrella? Pie in the sky.


Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

British army to rely on allies, reservists as cuts bite
London (AFP) June 7, 2012
The British army will rely more on reserve forces, contractors and support from its allies as its full-time force is slimmed down by a fifth, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Thursday. Entire units will be axed or merged with others as the army is shrunk from 102,000 soldiers to 82,000 by 2020 under a tough programme of cuts that forms part of Prime Minister David Cameron's austerity dr ... read more

Missile defense system for Europe and potential threat to Russia

Rafael seeks to boost range of Iron Dome

Lockheed Martin Delivers Core Structure for Fourth SBIRS Satellite

NATO activates missile shield, reaches out to Russia

Javelin Missile Proves New Capability during Vehicle-Launched Norwegian Tests

Lockheed Martin Partners With Turkey For PAC 3 Missile Canister Production

US Navy awards Raytheon $338 million for Tomahawk

Israel 'to evacuate Tel Aviv' in event of missile attack

Sagem tests UAV, announces contract

Swedish Defence Materiel Administration Orders AeroVironment Puma AE and Wasp Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Chavez reveals Venezuela has built first drone

US drone kills three militants in Pakistan: officials

Raytheon receives contract to link Navy Multiband Terminal to USAF's Polar Satellite

Raytheon receives $79 million award for US Navy Multiband Terminal systems

Northrop Grumman Completes CDR For Integrated Air And Missile Defense Battle Command System

ASC Signal Introduces Redundancy Technology For Seamless Switching of Antenna Systems

NTU researchers study little mighty creature for scientific breakthrough

Corruption causes Cold War arms to still kill in Bulgaria

US Marines fire Excalibur from record range in Afghanistan

Canada to spend $600 million on new armor

Saudi, Japan deals drive record US arms sales

Defense industries face $100B less orders

China, US smash international arms trafficking ring

Britain axes hundreds of Gurkhas in new round of cuts

Commentary: Fame or shame?

India 'lynchpin' for US strategy in Asia: Panetta

British army to rely on allies, reservists as cuts bite

China, Russia vow to tighten UN partnership

Self-assembling nanocubes for next generation antennas and lenses

Researchers watch tiny living machines self-assemble

'Nanocable' could be big boon for energy storage

Researchers love triangles

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement