Popular Posts

Friday, September 2, 2011

Economics, Libya and Religion and International Diplomacy

 I am taking a break this morning from reading about the New Apostolic Reformation and the Religious Right debates. Here are a few things I have read that will be of interest to many.

Commonweal has the best article I have yet seen on the entire deficit debate and its implications for the common good. It reflects the frustration of many that President Obama has allowed the debate to run towards an effect—high deficits, rather than the cause—economic recession, while at the same time laying bare the folly of Boehner’s analysis of the economy. This is particularly important reading for those Christians on both sides of the debate. A serious piece for serious questions.

The biggest economic problems the United States now faces are unemployment, income inequality, and the fact that much of the financial sector still operates like a casino. If the country could solve these problems, the gap between government outlays and government spending would immediately shrink, if not disappear. By instead focusing attention on the country’s debt, politicians are getting it backwards. Contrary to the claim of many leading Republicans on Capitol Hill, there is no reason to think that immediate cuts to government spending will help the economy—or that spending cuts can’t wait until the economy improves. Behind the confusion on these points are four myths about national debt that have somehow become conventional wisdom in Washington and in most of the media.

 The International Center on Religion and Diplomacy is a great group with a great mission—“to address identity-based conflicts that exceed the reach of traditional diplomacy by incorporating religion as part of the solution.” Their director, an evangelical Protestant named Douglas Johnston, has recently published a book that is garnering significant attention: Religion, Terror, and Error: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement.

"I consider this to be the best book that has yet been published on how religion can be deployed to improve U.S.-Muslim World relations.” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

“From my two decades of experience in the Islamic world, I am convinced that the vast majority of Muslims would embrace this approach as a means of clearly expressing their beliefs and enabling them to understand ours.” General Anthony Zinni

The New York Times has a lead story on the interesting journey of one of the Libyan rebel commanders—from former CIA prisoner and torture victim, to NATO and U.S. ally.

As the United States and other Western powers embrace and help finance the new government taking shape in Libya, they could face a particularly awkward relationship with Islamists like Mr. Belhaj. Once considered enemies in the war on terror, they suddenly have been thrust into positions of authority — with American and NATO blessing.”

No comments:

Post a Comment