He was cheerful -- not in an entertaining way, but in a goofy fashion -- and he was different. I'd say quirky; the guys would say weird. His bright cheer disappeared quickly as the boys took hold of his neurotic flaws and molded them into the butt of their jokes. Day one, he was shining; day two, he was dark. I was in no position to stand up for him. I was dealing with my own darkness.
And then day three arrived and we were set upon pretty viciously by the enemy. Without an order given, Cain took point and headed straight towards them. He stopped directly in the line of fire and gunned down every single Nazi before him. After that, the jokes ended. The eye-rolling was replaced with looks of respect; the sniggers with words of admiration.
The day that Cain Lawrence became a brother was the day that Cain Lawrence won respect. You can't make fun of bravery. I had spotted him a week before but paid him no heed. He was just another face the world would soon forget. You know me, Percy -- I have faith in life and in living and that's about it. But this guy had something about him -- a way and a manner, as if he was being held safe by a greater power, or greater truth.
When he spoke those six words to me, I didn't offer a response. I stood up and walked away.
But I began to take more notice of him -- finding some form of soothing in his steady nature and affable temperament. And eventually, we spoke. Larry Jackson was a preacher -- drafted like so many of us. I asked him once what he made of war -- no doubt it conflicted with his belief. His response was that he never questioned God's plan. If he was called to fight, then he would fight. Simple as that. And this man knew how to fight. He could haul a bazooka like it weighed no more than a feather and maneuver it with ease.
He had the comfort of knowing that his god was by his side. And I guess, in a similar way, I had comfort knowing that Larry was by mine. What does it mean to have a brother? Is it the shared blood, the childhood memories that we had? You were never just my brother, Percy. How can I express this? You were my brother, you know -- standing by my side both in peace and in war. You knew what every silence said. You could spark a smile in the darkest moments and offer breath and reason to breathe when all hope had been exhaled. War is lonely -- an empty vastness full of people -- but empty nonetheless.
I know you felt it too: a lonely place where men become soldiers. And soldiers become brothers. And in this empty hell, this is what counts. Do we fight for peace? Do we fight for salvation? Or do we fight for our brothers? I fought for you, Percy -- for that six-year-old boy kicking the sky on his swing, for the son of the woman weeping in my arms, for the play in my head of us both standing on the loose floorboard in front of the door, offering a gentle knock to announce that we were home.
I fought for you and the promise to bring you home safe. And then you were gone. And then, you were gone.
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He was standing at a bus stop when she arrived -- carrying a bag too big for her and eyes drenched in stories. She announced that she could sense a fellow Jew from miles away and scolded him for not wearing his kippah. As the fall leaves fell silently over the red bricks of Brooklyn, she started with a simple "Do you want to know something? He never told me what she had revealed to him that day. What stories she had shared to cause him to uproot and make the decision to fight.
She had just arrived from Europe, had fled Germany -- schlepping her life and stories-unimaginable along with her. When rumors of atrocities filtered through and were discussed over late-night cigarettes, Gann would slip quietly away. Whatever tales he had heard, he had enough of them. And so this is how he battled: with a gun in his hand, an anger in his eyes and the suffering of strangers on his back.
When I was drafted, you voluntarily signed up too. You didn't even flinch at the thought. If I was going to fight, you were going to fight by my side. Time flew as time does in these situations and suddenly we were bags-packed and leaving. I never told you about the kitchen that morning. Never told you how she refused to look me in the eye as the sharp knife skillfully knocked off the crusts. She swept them away and took out another slice, then another. The pile of sandwiches beside her was growing rapidly and she was lost in them.
She'd give us every last piece of bread in the house -- of that she was sure. God knows, she'd have given us everything, Percy: every scrap of food, every knife, every gun -- anything to make sure that her boys would come home to her safe.
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And then she was in my arms -- sorrowing and keening into my chest. In an instant I stopped being son and her, Mother. I was Father, her, Daughter, and for a split second I felt what it must feel like to lose your child. The moment vanished: the sandwiches crammed into a bag; the promises made to be safe, to come home; and then with a wave and a wipe of a tear, we were gone -- and so was she. I could have attacked him. I should have attacked him. But my body grew cold when I saw the life drain from you.
The world became invisible, the night became unspoken and mobility was stolen from me. My eyes stayed focused on yours, my fingers clamped to the dirt. My mind froze. Even your killer and his hungry pistol blanked from my mind as I fell into emptiness. It was the sound which awoke me from my stupor.
The quick catch in the pistol as it sought a bullet which was not there. It not only woke me but triggered the panic of the shooter who tried once, twice, three times more. I wrenched my eyes from yours and slowly looked behind. He was but meters away from me.
An officer; I hadn't realized before. His pistol was cast towards me and dismay was rapidly flooding over his previously detached expression. Energy surged through my body once again as the rage ripped through my cells. He took one step back, then another -- before turning and racing away. With a frenzy-fuelled eruption, I launched to my feet and took off after him. Do you remember the day you arrived home bloody-nosed and bruised, Percy?
You sniffled back the boy inside and dispelled the urge to cry. You refused to reveal the owner of the fists that had pummeled you -- for fear of being called a squealer -- but I coaxed and drew it out of you. Jake Lawson -- lanky and lawless Jake Lawson. I was on my bike in seconds, peddling to the town with the fury bubbling in my belly and the mid-July heat spiraling past me. My brain relinquished to brawn and as he opened his mouth to protest, my fist found its place on his jaw and the sweet shatter announced the arrival of another fist across his head.
Jake Lawson -- clobbered and crippled -- would never forget the day he touched my little brother. As he lay sprawled on the ground, the earth absorbing his blood, my brain regained control once again. I felt the shooting pain in my knuckles and the sweet release as the fury in my belly simmered to calm. And for a moment I did not recognize the boy on the ground in front of me nor register why he was clutching himself to soothe the pangs and throes. I quietly got back on my bike and cycled home. You were eating ice cream on the porch -- trying to devour it quicker than the sun could melt it.
Contentment had been patched on your face once again and I sat beside you. Together, we silently watched the soft clouds float by and the summer wind tickle the trees -- you immersed in calm and me at ease by your side. My feet pounded against the earth as my heart raced in my chest. He was quicker than I expected. The clouds had dispersed completely and the moon offered a permanent spotlight on the chase. Two enemy soldiers at war had become simply two men dashing for survival. It was me or him, him or me. My foot squelched deep in a stream and I felt the strain in my ankle as I yanked it out.
The shooting pain was pushed to the back of my mind as my legs refused to decrease speed. My brain ran through battle logistics and arrived at Sergeant Cole Adler -- the close-combat instructor's -- fury-filled face. Do you think this is good advice? A young Texan boy piped up with a meek "Yes" and got a face-full of Adler's temper. We were bursting through a forest and snagging branches. One bough failed to succumb to his weight and instead launched him back towards me.
And suddenly our roles had reversed. He was groveling on the ground before me and I stood above him -- the cool killer in the position of power. The situation was nothing but gratifying. I allowed him to crawl as I paced behind him -- my mind was awash with emotion -- so much so that it bridled the desire to instantly leap on top of him and destroy him there and then with my fists.
I was in the midst of wallowing in satisfaction -- my breath reaching deep, my knuckles tingling with anticipation -- when it struck. My sight erupted into stars and then it was black. My mind went wandering -- to the soft swing in the backyard and your fervent yells to go higher, to go higher. Freedom was painted in the landscape with clouds sailing across the open sky -- and the wind roamed freely through the creaking whitewashed house.
Your pleas became more and more frantic and your legs kicked so high they scraped the sky. You were six and we were free. The vision spiraled and I opened my eyes. The trees loomed above me. All was silent. The rock he had thrown lay bloodied beside me. Why he didn't kill me then, I'll never know. But he had fled. And I was alone. I pushed you so hard that you fell flat on your face -- cried your little blue eyes out and, as Mama held you sobbing in her arms, I swore that day never to push you again.
I stopped pushing and you started following: tottering after me -- to the store, to school, up trees, across rivers. As six became seven and seven became eight, you became my ever-present shadow. And so that's how it was -- you and me, chum -- Lewis and Percy -- brothers-inseparable.
I stayed on the cold forest floor for an infinity -- urging death to arrive. Begging him to come and unite the brothers-inseparable once again. And then I saw your eyes. I saw your lifeless body, alone. Food for the birds -- that is what you would become. And the thought drove me to my feet as I asked death to wait for me. The pain in my ankle began to announce itself in immense throbs as I retraced my steps. And after what seemed like hours, I found you and collapsed into the long soft grass beside you -- once again allowing my body to grow cold as I gazed at your empty eyes.
When the sun rose once again to kiss the sky, feeling began returning to my legs and spread throughout my body. My nose was raw from the sweet stench of the earth. I hadn't moved from the long soft grass. And my eyes hadn't left your wide-open stare. The glimmer had long gone -- it had fled the lifeless corpse and the intoxicating inferno around you -- and yet I could not avert my eyes for fear that it would return and I would miss it.
I staggered to my feet, stumbled and then retched. The sun was stinging and the birds had stopped singing. All life had ceased -- all color gone and I began to dig -- attacking the clay with bare fists and tears to fog the pain. I clawed through damp soil and cold rocks; land that was not our own, earth with stories that should never have been ours. I dug until it was deep enough to cradle you.
And that's where I left you, Percy. In an unsung grave, in an ungodly pit, under a nameless tree with leaves I didn't recognize. As the final handful of earth covered you, I collapsed to the ground and watched the day swim into night. The world began to spin and blur -- my eyes had been attacked by a haze and my mind awoken to a gentle rain which quickly grew into a heavy downpour. I staggered to my feet and cast my arms to the ashen clouds above. The gesture sparked something inside and screams began gushing out of my mouth -- guttural, violent expletives surged and spurted as the skies and the heavens were berated by my grief.
And then the rain stopped. And I collapsed -- cowering in my sorrow.
With my eyes clamped shut, I urged the image of your eyes out of my mind -- the glimmer and then gone, the glimmer and then gone. And thereupon it materialized: another image -- lugging another carriage of emotions -- the officer helpless before me. As the image of the officer became stronger, the grief became softer. My stomach was filled with a slow-stewing gall. It amplified with an intense burn that quenched the sorrow as it grew.
Strength trickled back into my being and I rose to my feet. I knew which direction I had to go in. I knew what I had to do, and in a silent field in an empty land, I pocketed my tears and left. I discovered that his name was von Dreichber. They told me about the things he did, the people he killed, his nefarious plots and plans -- but the numbers, the facts and figures, rang hollow. They drifted over me as -- in my mind's eye -- all I could see was your blank stare. It loops, Percy. Endlessly loops. The glimmer and then gone. I stopped sleeping because closing eyes sent me looping again.
Maybe that's why I began writing this thing; words to save me from sight? Soft scribbles to write you alive again. I miss you, Percy. I miss you every goddamn day. Today I was told we saved the lives of millions of people. And it had no effect on me. Because out of every single person in the world, I need just one to be alive -- and he's not; he's gone. I am cold, Percy. And I wonder if I am still the brother you knew.
The brother you followed to war. Did my heart die with you? Will killing him bring it back? I don't know, brother. I don't know anything anymore, except that I have to finish this. I have to finish what I began. I dreamt it again last night. The same haziness -- the same floating sensation of leaving the town and taking the shortcut by the big old oak; over Everett's unkempt corn fields and Grandma Ruth's cottage, overwhelmed by ivy.
The house was in the distance but, in the manner of dreams, I found myself on the porch in an instant. The door was locked -- the windows smeared with dust from the wicked wind. I wiped it and peered inside. She was sitting there, Percy. Alone on the couch, the letter crumpled in her fist and her tears tearing her eyes from their sockets. You were gone. And she knew. The world had crumbled and she was gripping the epicenter.
I woke with a prod. A new feeling, a new emotion had risen. A pledge I had forgotten -- the promise to be safe; the promise to come home. Von Dreichber, el nombre que atormenta mis pensamientos. Von Dreichber, la sombra que cosquillea mis nudillos. Yo era un soldado y ese era mi deber. No te mencionaba a ti, Percy. Y, a decir verdad, no se mencionaba la palabra venganza. Mis hermanos. Todos ellos, desaparecidos. En la oscuridad, tuve que enfrentarme cara a cara con el furioso deseo de venganza.
La caza continuaba. La venganza. Un trago dulce para un soldado amargo. Cada soldado que mataba era sacrificado en su nombre. Los nazis estaban desarrollando armas de represalia, su vendetta particular. Siempre dispuesto a aprender y a echar una mano a cualquier soldado roto que se cruzara en su camino. Vi el mismo cambio en tus ojos. Te contaba cuentos para que recordaras y nunca olvidaras.
Un campamento en un bosque. Con una fugaz mirada y sin cruzar palabra intentamos huir de la emboscada. Nos abrimos camino, arma en mano, uno al lado del otro, hermano junto a hermano; uno menos, luego otro. Nos arrastramos de manera silenciosa hacia la oscuridad. Las nubes se estaban retirando y la luna, llena de luz, arrojaba sus haces sobre el yermo paisaje. Fijamos nuestra mirada al frente y continuamos avanzando. No puedo pensar en esas cosas, Percy. Tengo una certeza sobre la guerra: la muerte suena igual en todos los idiomas. Pero entonces, en medio de todo el horror y el miedo, aparece una risa como una estrella nueva en una larga noche.
Como un rugido que anunciaba una personalidad similar. Dean Miller era la chiflada luz del amanecer que alejaba mis nubarrones. Si la risa es la mejor medicina, Dean era la Cruz Roja. La noche se detuvo. Adorabas ese poema. Tosiste y escupiste hasta volver a ti mismo y abriste los ojos. Cada grupo necesita alguien a quien atormentar.
Desde el primer momento que vi a Cain, supe que iba a reclamar ese puesto. Era diferente, extravagante, aunque los muchachos pensaban que era raro. Tras este incidente, los chistes se terminaron. Me conoces, Percy. Su naturaleza inmutable y su temperamento gentil me aportaban serenidad. Finalmente hablamos. Larry Jackson era un predicador, reclutado a dedo como muchos de nosotros. Tan sencillo como eso. De la misma manera, creo que mi consuelo era que Larry estaba a mi lado. Nunca fuiste solo mi hermano, Percy.
Por supuesto que eras mi hermano, a mi lado tanto en la paz como en la guerra. La guerra es solitaria. Un lugar solitario donde los hombres se convierten en soldados, y estos, en hermanos. Yo peleaba por ti, Percy. Peleaba por ti y por la promesa de llevarte de vuelta a casa sano y salvo. Entonces desapareciste. Y entonces, desapareciste. Acababa de llegar de Europa, huyendo de Alemania, andando penosamente por la vida con sus inimaginables historias. Cuando me reclutaron, te alistaste de manera voluntaria.
Dios es testigo de que nos hubiera dado todo, Percy: cada resto de comida, cada cuchillo, cada arma En un instante dejamos de ser madre e hijo. Yo era el padre y ella, mi hija. Mis ojos no se apartaron ni un segundo de los tuyos. Te vi comiendo helado en el porche, intentando devorarlo antes de que el sol lo derritiese. Pinceladas de libertad dibujaban el paisaje con nubes que navegaban por el cielo y el viento soplaba alegremente entre las grietas de la casa blanca.
Solo se escuchaba el silencio. Cuando los seis pasaron a ser siete y los siete, ocho, te convertiste en mi sombra perpetua. Entonces vi tus ojos. El dulce hedor de la tierra inundaba mi nariz. En una tumba sin valor. Serpentea en mi interior, Percy. Orbita sin parar. Puede que por eso empezara a escribir palabras que me rescataran de las visiones. Frases inconexas que te devuelvan a la vida.
Te echo de menos, Percy. Hoy me han dicho que hemos salvado la vida de millones de personas. Me he endurecido, Percy. La puerta estaba cerrada y las ventanas llenas de polvo por culpa del endiablado viento. Los cimientos del mundo se derrumbaban y ella trataba de aferrarse a algo. La promesa de volver sanos y salvos.
La promesa de regresar a casa. The Markit iTraxx Europe this week is closing at bp, 6bp tighter, helped by the good performance of the iTraxx Senior Financials that is 11bp tighter at bp. This amount is expected to cover capital needs of EUR7. Last Friday, the Spanish Government announced that the regional deficit in was 0. This correction raises the public administration deficit for Spain to 8. The main regions responsible for the deficit adjustment are Madrid, Valencia and Castile-Leon.
These three regions have revised their accounts mainly as a result of some unpaid bills which had to be accounted as part of the deficit in The recent implementation of the Supplier Payment Financing Fund has forced regions to report total unpaid bills, in order to be able to request the credit line. Whether it is Russian forces seizing Crimea, China making aggressive claims in its coastal waters, Japan responding with an increasingly assertive strategy of its own, or Iran trying to use its alliances with Syria and Hezbollah to dominate the Middle East, old-fashioned power plays are back in international relations.
The United States and the EU, at least, find such trends disturbing. Both would rather move past geopolitical questions of territory and military power and focus instead on ones of world order and global governance: trade liberalization, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, the rule of law, climate change, and so on. Indeed, since the end of the Cold War, the most important objective of U.
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As the atmosphere turns dark, the task of promoting and maintaining world order grows more daunting. But Westerners should never have expected old-fashioned geopolitics to go away. They did so only because they fundamentally misread what the collapse of the Soviet Union meant: the ideological triumph of liberal capitalist democracy over communism, not the obsolescence of hard power.
China, Iran, and Russia never bought into the geopolitical settlement that followed the Cold War, and they are making increasingly forceful attempts to overturn it. That process will not be peaceful, and whether or not the revisionists succeed, their efforts have already shaken the balance of power and changed the dynamics of international politics. When the Cold War ended, many Americans and Europeans seemed to think that the most vexing geopolitical questions had largely been settled. With the exception of a handful of relatively minor problems, such as the woes of the former Yugoslavia and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the biggest issues in world politics, they assumed, would no longer concern boundaries, military bases, national self-determination, or spheres of influence.
Still, Westerners often forget that this project rests on the particular geopolitical foundations laid in the early s. In Asia, it meant the uncontested dominance of the United States, embedded in a series of security relationships with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, and other allies. This settlement reflected the power realities of the day, and it was only as stable as the relationships that held it up. Unfortunately, many observers conflated the temporary geopolitical conditions of the post—Cold War world with the presumably more final outcome of the ideological struggle between liberal democracy and Soviet communism.
After all, the idea of the end of history has rested on the geopolitical consequences of ideological struggles ever since the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel first expressed it at the beginning of the nineteenth century. For Hegel, it was the Battle of Jena, in , that rang the curtain down on the war of ideas. This spelled an end to history, Hegel argued, because in the future, only states that adopted the principles and techniques of revolutionary France would be able to compete and survive.
Adapted to the post—Cold War world, this argument was taken to mean that in the future, states would have to adopt the principles of liberal capitalism to keep up. Closed, communist societies, such as the Soviet Union, had shown themselves to be too uncreative and unproductive to compete economically and militarily with liberal states. Their political regimes were also shaky, since no social form other than liberal democracy provided enough freedom and dignity for a contemporary society to remain stable.
The only remaining dangers to world peace would come from rogue states such as North Korea, and although such countries might have the will to challenge the West, they would be too crippled by their obsolete political and social structures to rise above the nuisance level unless they developed nuclear weapons, of course.
And thus former communist states, such as Russia, faced a choice. They could jump on the modernization bandwagon and become liberal, open, and pacifistic, or they could cling bitterly to their guns and their culture as the world passed them by. At first, it all seemed to work. With history over, the focus shifted from geopolitics to development economics and nonproliferation, and the bulk of foreign policy came to center on questions such as climate change and trade.
The conflation of the end of geopolitics and the end of history offered an especially enticing prospect to the United States: the idea that the country could start putting less into the international system and taking out more. This vision appealed to both liberals and conservatives in the United States. At the same time, policymakers assumed that the international system would become stronger and wider-reaching while continuing to be conducive to U.
Republican neo-isolationists, such as former Representative Ron Paul of Texas, argued that given the absence of serious geopolitical challenges, the United States could dramatically cut both military spending and foreign aid while continuing to benefit from the global economic system. Bush based his foreign policy on the belief that Middle Eastern terrorists constituted a uniquely dangerous opponent, and he launched what he said would be a long war against them.
In some respects, it appeared that the world was back in the realm of history. In very different ways, China, Iran, and Russia are all seeking to revise the status quo. At the same time, however, Obama planned to cut defense spending dramatically and reduced U. All these happy convictions are about to be tested.
Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, whether one focuses on the rivalry between the EU and Russia over Ukraine, which led Moscow to seize Crimea; the intensifying competition between China and Japan in East Asia; or the subsuming of sectarian conflict into international rivalries and civil wars in the Middle East, the world is looking less post-historical by the day. In very different ways, with very different objectives, China, Iran, and Russia are all pushing back against the political settlement of the Cold War.
The relationships among those three revisionist powers are complex. In the long run, Russia fears the rise of China. Iran and Russia are oil-exporting countries and like the price of oil to be high; China is a net consumer and wants prices low. One should not speak of a strategic alliance among them, and over time, particularly if they succeed in undermining U.
What binds these powers together, however, is their agreement that the status quo must be revised. Russia wants to reassemble as much of the Soviet Union as it can. China has no intention of contenting itself with a secondary role in global affairs, nor will it accept the current degree of U. Iran wishes to replace the current order in the Middle East -- led by Saudi Arabia and dominated by Sunni Arab states -- with one centered on Tehran. Leaders in all three countries also agree that U.
Their hostility toward Washington and its order is both offensive and defensive: not only do they hope that the decline of U. Rather than challenge the status quo head on, they seek to chip away at the norms and relationships that sustain it. Since Obama has been president, each of these powers has pursued a distinct strategy in light of its own strengths and weaknesses.
China, which has the greatest capabilities of the three, has paradoxically been the most frustrated. Its efforts to assert itself in its region have only tightened the links between the United States and its Asian allies and intensified nationalism in Japan. Iran, by many measures the weakest of the three states, has had the most successful record. In Syria, Iran, with the help of its longtime ally Hezbollah, has been able to reverse the military tide and prop up the government of Bashar al-Assad in the face of strong opposition from the U.
So has the growing split among Sunni governments over what to do about the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots and adherents. Russia, meanwhile, has emerged as the middling revisionist: more powerful than Iran but weaker than China, more successful than China at geopolitics but less successful than Iran. To build a real Eurasian bloc, as Putin dreams of doing, Russia would have to underwrite the bills of the former Soviet republics -- something it cannot afford to do.
Nevertheless, Putin, despite his weak hand, has been remarkably successful at frustrating Western projects on former Soviet territory. He has stopped NATO expansion dead in its tracks. He has dismembered Georgia, brought Armenia into his orbit, tightened his hold on Crimea, and, with his Ukrainian adventure, dealt the West an unpleasant and humiliating surprise. From the Western point of view, Putin appears to be condemning his country to an ever-darker future of poverty and marginalization.
Obama now finds himself bogged down in exactly the kinds of geopolitical rivalries he had hoped to transcend. As a result, Americans have been slow to realize that these states have undermined the Eurasian geopolitical order in ways that complicate U. Still, one can see the effects of this revisionist activity in many places. Asian politics today revolve around national rivalries, conflicting territorial claims, naval buildups, and similar historical issues.
China and Japan are escalating their rhetoric, increasing their military budgets, starting bilateral crises with greater frequency, and fixating more and more on zero-sum competition. Although the EU remains in a post-historical moment, the non-EU republics of the former Soviet Union are living in a very different age. In the last few years, hopes of transforming the former Soviet Union into a post-historical region have faded. The Russian occupation of Ukraine is only the latest in a series of steps that have turned eastern Europe into a zone of sharp geopolitical conflict and made stable and effective democratic governance impossible outside the Baltic states and Poland.
In the Middle East, the situation is even more acute. Dreams that the Arab world was approaching a democratic tipping point -- dreams that informed U. Rather than building a liberal order in the region, U. Russia sees its influence in the Middle East as an important asset in its competition with the United States. This does not mean that Moscow will reflexively oppose U.
Russia cannot make itself a richer country or a much larger one, but it has made itself a more important factor in U. If these revisionist powers have gained ground, the status quo powers have been undermined. The EU may have avoided the worst possible consequences of the euro crisis, but both its will and its capacity for effective action beyond its frontiers have been significantly impaired.
The United States has not suffered anything like the economic pain much of Europe has gone through, but with the country facing the foreign policy hangover induced by the Bush-era wars, an increasingly intrusive surveillance state, a slow economic recovery, and an unpopular health-care law, the public mood has soured. On both the left and the right, Americans are questioning the benefits of the current world order and the competence of its architects.
Additionally, the public shares the elite consensus that in a post—Cold War world, the United States ought to be able to pay less into the system and get more out. In any case, there is little public appetite for large new initiatives at home or abroad, and a cynical public is turning away from a polarized Washington with a mix of boredom and disdain. Obama came into office planning to cut military spending and reduce the importance of foreign policy in American politics while strengthening the liberal world order.
A little more than halfway through his presidency, he finds himself increasingly bogged down in exactly the kinds of geopolitical rivalries he had hoped to transcend. The reality is more complicated. He predicted that there would be disturbances in the provinces, even as the heartlands of European civilization moved into a post-historical time. We are living in the twilight of history rather than at its actual end. A Hegelian view of the historical process today would hold that substantively little has changed since the beginning of the nineteenth century.
To be powerful, states must develop the ideas and institutions that allow them to harness the titanic forces of industrial and informational capitalism. There is no alternative; societies unable or unwilling to embrace this route will end up the subjects of history rather than the makers of it. But the road to postmodernity remains rocky. In order to increase its power, China, for example, will clearly have to go through a process of economic and political development that will require the country to master the problems that modern Western societies have confronted.
The twilight of history is not a quiet time. As Fukuyama investigated what a post-historical society would look like, he made a disturbing discovery. They are competent enough at managing their affairs among post-historical people, but understanding the motives and countering the strategies of old-fashioned power politicians is hard for them. Unlike their less productive and less stable rivals, post-historical people are unwilling to make sacrifices, focused on the short term, easily distracted, and lacking in courage.
The realities of personal and political life in post-historical societies are very different from those in such countries as China, Iran, and Russia, where the sun of history still shines. It is not just that those different societies bring different personalities and values to the fore; it is also that their institutions work differently and their publics are shaped by different ideas.
The tide of history may be flowing inexorably in the direction of liberal capitalist democracy, and the sun of history may indeed be sinking behind the hills. But even as the shadows lengthen and the first of the stars appears, such figures as Putin still stride the world stage. They will not go gentle into that good night, and they will rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Los esperanzados no tienen culpa. Tras los incidentes del S, el presidente George W. Las relaciones entre estas potencias revisionistas son complejas. A largo plazo, Rusia teme el ascenso de China. El poder de EE. En lugar de desafiar abiertamente el statu quo, intentan desmenuzar las normas y relaciones que lo sustentan. Desde la presidencia de Obama, cada una de estas potencias ha seguido una estrategia distinta a la luz de sus puntos fuertes y debilidades.
Rusia, que utiliza su asiento en el consejo de seguridad de la ONU y su apoyo a al-Asad para entorpecer los objetivos de EE. Las potencias revisionistas han ganado terreno, mientras los poderes del statu quo han visto socavada su credibilidad. Tanto a la izquierda como a la derecha, los norteamericanos cuestionan los beneficios del orden mundial actual y la habilidad de sus arquitectos. La figura del presidente de EE. No obstante, la senda hacia la posmodernidad sigue siendo abrupta. Es posible que el curso de la historia fluya inexorablemente hacia la democracia liberal capitalista y el sol se oculte tras las colinas.
Unless these institutions can garner legitimacy among European citizens and transform the EU into a real federal union, with common fiscal and economic policies to complement its single currency, Europe will be worried by its future as much as its past and continue to find its social model battered by the gales of an ever more competitive global economy.
Along the way, France will have to yield more sovereignty than its historic comfort zone has so far allowed, and Germany will have to realize that its own self-interest calls for it to bear the burden of resolving the current account imbalances within the eurozone. Without reform, in an ever more competitive international economic environment, it will be difficult to finance the generous welfare state that Europeans are used to. In fact, he points out, the reverse is true: the only way to make Europe competitive again and reap the benefits from globalization is to embark on a political union.
These have helped manufacturing to continue to account for a healthy 24 percent of the German economy. What never seems to be debated in Germany, however, is how this industrial foundation of German prosperity would be threatened if the euro failed. In that case, Germany would be forced to return to the deutsch mark, the value of its currency would skyrocket, and the competitiveness of its manufacturing sector would plummet.
German multinational companies would waste little time before shifting their production out of Germany to take advantage of lower foreign labor costs, the global spread of technology, and the web of supply chains that enables quality production elsewhere. Research and design might remain at home, but the production and assembly associated with plentiful middle-income jobs would move away. The big losers in such a scenario would be the members of the German middle class -- and so, properly understood, for Germany, the euro is a class issue.
Today, however, the reality is that those bond markets will dictate not only whether the euro will survive but also the costs that the German middle class will pay. If Germany wants to remain a broadly prosperous and fair society in a globalized world, it can do so only within a stable eurozone and all that that entails -- to start with, a banking union, then fiscal union, and, ultimately, a federal political union.
Like Switzerland, Europe needs a strong but limited central government that accommodates as much local diversity as possible. If the euro were to fail, moreover, the German financial sector would also take a hit and further damage the economy. The domino effect of default in the European periphery would ultimately end up hitting German banks and savers alike, since they are among the major creditors owning those troubled debts with outstanding loans in of more than billion euros to Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
And failure of the eurozone due to hesitation in Berlin would place the blame for the ruin of Europe on Germany, something neither the public nor elites there want. Indeed, with a diminished surplus, the so-called transfer union that so many Germans oppose -- a permanent subsidy for the weaker peripheral states -- would be unnecessary.
But with continued large external surpluses, it would become indispensable, since only that would allow other Europeans to finance the purchase of German goods. The real issue for Germany today is thus not about bailing out the rest but about saving itself before it is too late. At its moment of federation, in the s, the United States was a sparsely populated handful of young states with a common culture and common language, and so it does not provide many relevant lessons for Europe today.
That transition was made only following an historical moment of great tensions between liberals and conservatives, Protestants and Catholics. All powers not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Swiss constitution, moreover, continue to be held by the cantons. With decades of step-by-step integration already behind it and an accelerating world ahead, Europe must accomplish its shift to full political union in years and decades, not centuries, but this shift can nonetheless usefully follow much of the Swiss model.
Asked once how he would account for the prosperity of the Scandinavian nations despite their high tax rates, the economist Milton Friedman responded that it was because their common identity and homogenous culture had enabled consensus to emerge. Free markets, he pointed out, were important precisely because they allowed people without a common identity to work together, even if they hated one another. Such a process of integration has worked well in Europe so far, but in order to lock in the gains and connections, institutions need to follow where markets have already gone.
Like Switzerland, in other words, Europe needs a strong but limited central government that accommodates as much local diversity as possible. As is the case everywhere, it is a matter of balancing priorities. Governance works best -- because it is more legitimate and accountable -- when the scale is small; markets are most prosperous when the scale is large. One area that certainly needs centralized regulation and institutional guidance is finance. The absence of homogenous regulation will only sow the seeds of the next financial crisis and hobble Europe in the decades ahead as it faces new competitive challenges in the global economy.
Such moves would help drive deep structural reforms in individual countries, such as increasing flexibility in labor markets, that would promote competitiveness. Some argue that aligning European states more closely on issues such as wage levels, the social contract, and tax rates should be the task of the European Commission -- which represents all 27 member states -- rather than of intergovernmental treaties whose negotiation is inevitably dominated by France and, particularly, Germany. This makes sense, but for the commission to take on such a role, it will need to acquire much more popular legitimacy.
The parliament and the council, meanwhile, need to be able to initiate legislation a power only the commission has now. It would also make sense to allocate seats in the parliament in a way that more accurately reflected the populations of the member states and to create the office of a commissioner for savings, who could help see to it that the member states met their various financial and budgetary commitments and obligations.
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- Mountain Breathing.
- All About Anatolian Shepherd Puppies?
- Synonyms and antonyms of mirrusca in the Spanish dictionary of synonyms.
- Estrada, Rafael [WorldCat Identities].
- The Consolation of Philosophy;
Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, meanwhile, has suggested leveraging the current legitimacy of the nation-state to forge a more effective common European budget policy. The democratic public of each state will have to decide whether it is in its long-term interest to join the federation or opt out. It is an illusion to believe that a strong political union can be built on the weak allegiance that results from tweaking treaties.
Its foundation must be a popular mandate. The appropriate venue for these discussions, as Schroeder and others have suggested, would be a full-scale European convention. Former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, the German politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit both members of the European Parliament , and others have proposed turning the elections for the European Parliament into the election of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution for Europe that would incorporate these sorts of ideas.
How, specifically, might a political union in Europe work? The European Parliament could elect the chief executive of the European Commission, who would then form a cabinet of ministers out of the larger parties in the parliament -- including a finance minister with the capacity to levy taxes and formulate a substantial budget on a Europe-wide basis. Other cabinet positions would cover the provision of supranational European public goods defense, foreign policy, energy, infrastructure, and so forth , leaving as many decisions on other matters as possible in the hands of the national governments within the federation.
The European Court of Justice would arbitrate any issues of disputed sovereignty arising between the commission and the member states. Because the parliament would have enhanced power, selecting a chief executive for the union, it would make sense to have parliamentary elections based on Europe-wide lists instead of national party lists. Having more at stake in the elections would lead to more discussion and higher rates of voting, which would mean more legitimacy for the results and the institutions in general.
Parties that obtained less than ten or 15 percent of the vote in Europe-wide elections would be present in debate but could not vote. Such a rule would tend to push politics toward centrist compromise and avoid gridlock that might arise from the veto power of small parties in a coalition. Members would be selected by nation-states for staggered terms longer than the shorter electoral cycle of the lower house of the parliament, thus encouraging a longer-term perspective on governance.
Unlike the lower house, which would focus primarily on the short-term interests of its national constituents, the upper house would be a more deliberative body, focused on broader and longer-term questions. In order to preserve some of the nonpartisan, meritocratic quality of the current commission, each cabinet minister in the commission would be paired with a permanent secretary from the European civil service in his or her area of competence.
A constructive no-confidence vote is a consensus-forging mechanism whereby a no-confidence vote can take place only if majority support for a new, alternative governing coalition has already been secured.
does "narizon" also mean nosey ?
Taxes and legislation would have to be approved by a majority of both legislative houses. Any move toward such a political union would obviously raise myriad thorny issues. The new institutions and their rules would ideally be established from the bottom up through a constituent assembly, rather than by a treaty change -- but how could a truly ground-up process ever get traction? The large parties that would win the most seats in the European Parliament would need to hash out a compromise or a common agenda robust enough to make governing possible -- but what if they did not? And what is most fundamental, could a political union ever really cohere if not preceded by continent-wide nation building aimed at forging a forward-looking common identity?
What is crucial now, however, is recognition that the current system is not working and that closer, rather than looser, integration is the more sensible and attractive option. In , Alexander Hamilton, then the U. This was the first step in making the United States a continental and, ultimately, global power. So, too, in Europe, debt resolution can be the midwife of a political union that could make Europe a powerful pillar in the geopolitical order of the twenty-first century. Como Suiza, Europa necesita un gobierno central fuerte pero limitado que acomode el mayor grado de diversidad local que sea posible.
En otras palabras, Europa necesita —como Suiza— un gobierno central fuerte pero limitado que acomode el mayor grado de diversidad local que sea posible. Su cimiento tiene que ser el mandato popular. What happened was, a couple of years ago Osama bin Laden said in one of his intermittent recorded messages to the world that during the previous Gulf War Colin Powell and Dick Cheney had destroyed Baghdad worse than Hulagu of the Mongols.
Bin Laden provided no further identification of Hulagu, probably assuming that none was needed. Of course, almost no one in America had any idea what he was talking about, so news stories helpfully added that Hulagu, a grandson of Genghis Khan, was a Mongol general who sacked Baghdad in the year At the time, I was doing research for a book about a subject in which the Mongols came up occasionally. Anyone who does research knows you have to stay focussed on your topic and not go down every interesting avenue you pass, or you will end up wandering aimlessly in attention-deficit limbo.
I wondered how a world figure like Hulagu could be so well known, apparently, in the far reaches of Asia, and the opposite of that here. I also wondered, in terms of simple fact, if it could be accurate to say that Cheney and Powell were worse than he. Reading about the Iraq war seemed to segue unavoidably into reading about the Mongols.
Finally I quit resisting and went with the Mongol flow. Like the Huns and the Scythians before them, they came from the steppe grasslands of central Asia, which produced their great resource of horses and draft animals. Cosa diminuta, migaja. Esto es una mirrusca , una parte insignificante. Desgraciadamente los pobres estamos condenados a no salir, a nacer, crecer y vivir siempre en el mismo lugar. Debe ser lindo viajar, conocer otras tierras, otras gentes. En la escuela hay dos Las aventuras de Gustav Von Kleinrothe que Myriam Bustos Arrati, Mirrusca [online]. Spanish words that begin with m.
Spanish words that begin with mi. Spanish words that begin with mir.