Europe fights to survive
Greece is broke and cannot find an easy way out of its crisis. Whether or not it stays in the eurozone, the outcome is equally nightmarish. And whatever happens, the rest of Europe, already tossing in its sleep, will pay a hefty price.
As Greece causes Europe to flounder in fits of indecision, an opening is breached for those waiting to take advantage – who know that nothing wins friends and allies better than lending a helping hand.
Europe, already withering under austerity measures, needs to grow its economies. But how? The recent G-8 summit sought to address the inability of governments and institutions to agree on a course of action that would avert paralysis and stagnation.
We need to adapt the European model to respond to today’s challenges. Only the European Council can establish an agenda for more Europe to overcome the current situation and set the path for the future.
With victory under his belt, France’s new President François Hollande faces the challenges of a Europe on the brink. His call for growth must now withstand the reality of predatory markets in
a sovereign debt nightmare.
Looking back to the negotiations in 1997 that led to the start of the euro – which took a turn after the election of Lionel Jospin as Prime Minister of France – may shed light on François Hollande’s future dealings with Germany and Italy on economic policies.
Wedged firmly in the current European morass, Poland has somehow managed to thrive. Now with the credibility that success generates, it is trying to guide a sclerotic EU toward a more pragmatic union.
Why the aerospace industry matters
There is an undeniable relationship between funding for scientific and technological research in the military and the rate of innovation spinning off and spilling over into the industrial spheres. Like it or not, military innovations have accelerated economic development.
The more a country invests in defense, particularly for export, the more leverage it has over countries that either buy the technology or need to join in a partnership. As such, the US will continue to have much influence over a large part of the world.
In a rapidly changing geopolitical environment the aerospace and defense industries must adapt or fall by the wayside.
It would be mistaken to see defense expenditures and growth as either antagonistic or mutually exclusive. In fact, each feeds the other.
When it comes to high-tech defense systems, European companies are still competitive as they continue to prove their capacity to adapt and open up to the new emerging markets.
When the EU spends on defense, the money is spent poorly due to the lack of a unified command structure. As technology evolves, Europe will need to integrate, consolidating its security structures and industries.
Despite Obama’s pledge to hold America’s military to higher moral standards, his secret drone war may be opening an ethical Pandora’s box, especially as other countries acquire the technology.
The idea that China and the US, as presiding superpowers in a multipolar world, must be mutually antagonistic is not reflected in the strategic interests of both countries.
Global markets now tend to fragment into diverging regional blocs. We need to find and propose a different global architecture, one that can keep the international market fluid and facilitate a convergence among nations in order to avoid chaos, conflicts, and poverty.
The economic growth of the BRICS has conjured scenarios of the West’s demise. Is this vision realistic? If one considers that emergent countries owe their growth to Western values, it is unlikely that any alternative system will have as much success.
Since Fukushima, Japan has been reluctant to restart its nuclear plants. Yet as the Japanese face difficulties in making up for the lost source of power, they are beginning to realize that they may be worse off without it.
After abandoning its nuclear program, Germany’s lack of clear vision in resolving its energy needs is due largely to a significant increase in costs, the fear of handing over geopolitical power to Russia, and the possible end of the renewable energy dream.
As the sanctions imposed by the US and EU on Iran gain traction, other nations have come up with creative solutions for continuing the flow of discounted oil and even insuring the ships. The irony is that by imposing sanctions, the West has encouraged a situation that may obviate their effect.
Coastal cities like Venice have the most to lose as sea levels rise. Yet the need to protect homes, habitats and heritage has inspired an international collaborative effort to adapt as the sea encroaches inexorably on one of Italy’s cultural treasures.