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While the American espionage and subversion agency, the CIA, announced just last week that, on the basis of their information, it would be unlikely that Iran is working on a nuclear weapon, President Obama used the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the occasion for an overt threat of war, which he garnished with a promise: “I do not bluff!”

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Translated from Gegenstandpunkt: Politische Vierteljahreszeitschrift 3-2010, Gegenstandpunkt Verlag, Munich

Since its beginnings in the markets for American mortgages, the great financial crisis has gone on for over three years now, and for the moment, those in charge are rather satisfied with themselves. A number of bankruptcies have been wound down or prevented by the state. Masses of worthless financial assets have been stowed away in bad banks or carefully written off, with state license and assistance. The ultimate powers have boldly intervened, preventing a massive financial meltdown by having their central banks provide liquidity and by granting loans from special government funds. Speculation against particularly heavily indebted eurozone countries and their common currency has been averted. After the deep recession of 2009, good money is being made again in the financial industry and the real economy — at least as far as German exports are concerned.

On the other hand, that mustn’t fool anybody into thinking that the crisis is “already” over. Experts are warning against announcing prematurely that all is clear and interpret “market signals” this way: from the money markets, which speculate on and then against the dollar and the euro; from the capital markets, which spurred on Greek bankruptcy while at the same time buying low-yield German bonds; from the global commodity markets, on which German firms are enjoying unexpected export success while America is failing as an “economic locomotive”; from the Chinese market, too, whose welcome boom is now suspected of crumbling soon. These are all reasons to worry — but about what exactly? Is inflation looming because of the masses of state-created liquidity? Or is deflation to be feared instead because of the weak U.S. economy, a lack of economic growth in Japan, and austerity policies in Europe? Will the crisis be followed by another bubble inflated by state credit, cheap money, and dyed-in-the-wool speculators? Or should one brace for longer-term stagnation and, at best, a dual-speed world economy? What kind of a risk does rapidly rising government debt pose? Or is there still too little of it to promote a sustained economic upturn? Is the speculation against Greece and the euro a scandal? Or do the speculators only bring up a painful subject, exposing the common currency as a misconstruction that cannot cope with the crisis? Is the credit guarantee for over-indebted eurozone countries a step toward regaining fiscal stability — or toward abandoning it once and for all? And so on, and so forth.

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Translated from Gegenstandpunkt: Politische Vierteljahreszeitschrift 2-2011, Gegenstandpunkt Verlag, Munich

A. Conflicting ways out of the recession

I. Culture War in America

II. Obama’s economic and financial therapy for the nation’s ailing economic base

III. The Republicans’ counterplans

IV. Worries and warnings about the catastrophic consequences of the political dispute help to intensify it

B. The U.S. has to be concerned about its money

I. The U.S. economy is the major exception in global capitalism

II. The identity between America’s national credit and the world’s capitalistic wealth has a price that has fallen due in the wake of the recent financial crisis

III. And the competitors are no longer the same either

Conclusion: New steps in implementing the crisis through the states’ crisis policies

 

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Translated from Gegenstandpunkt: Politische Vierteljahreszeitschrift 1-2011, Gegenstandpunkt Verlag, Munich

The leaders of the Western world are caught off-guard by a people: even though the West did not order it, the Egyptian people refuses loyalty to its authorities! Wherever the ruling friends of freedom call for a refusal of obedience that leads to an overthrow of a regime, they themselves get the appropriate “revolutions” with their pretty nicknames underway. But no one in the political centers from which the free world is ruled reckoned that the masses in a country whose established, sovereign, domestic affairs are exceedingly interesting for a number of reasons would, on their own initiative, get out of hand in such a way. Hence, forming an opinion about the national uprising in Egypt takes a while, but then turns out to be all the more clear. The unanimous commentary is that it is a great thing that — and in particular how peacefully — the people on the Nile have initiated a “movement for freedom and democracy” (Guido Westerwelle, Germany’s foreign secretary); and the patrons of these high values are by no means content with a mere message of greeting to the freedom fighters. They intercede by making use of the political influence they have for the good cause that they see the Egyptians having brought under way. First, they strongly advise the ruler to practice “non-aggression” towards his rebellious subjects — and shortly thereafter declare him to be as “intolerable” as does the crowd on the Tahrir Square. Admittedly, not for the same reasons. The protesters had hardly begun to somewhat destabilize the prevailing forces of power and already the ruling friends of freedom in the capitals of the world interpreted their distress as a desire to “return to stability.” And why this return is necessary is not kept a secret: the range of interests for which the Egyptian people has functioned so well and the reason why it definitely has to continue to function well in the future, too, stretches from its role in keeping peace in this well-known problematic “crisis region” to its secure supply of oil and car parts to the conservation of cultural goods and diving sites.

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Translated from Gegenstandpunkt: Politische Vierteljahreszeitschrift 3-2010, Gegenstandpunkt Verlag, Munich

In the Gulf of Mexico, the Deepwater Horizon oil-rig explodes. For months, huge amounts of oil flow out of the borehole into the sea, reaching the American coast and in effect ruining the environment in several states, together with the livelihoods of large parts of the population. According to experts, this is the biggest environmental catastrophe in American history — and in view of this occasion, the country’s president, in his speech to the nation, draws attention to the importance of what is happening on the Gulf coast.

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Translated from Gegenstandpunkt: Politische Vierteljahreszeitschrift 3-2009, Gegenstandpunkt Verlag, Munich

Caution is in order when world leaders find an idealistic motto for their plans for world politics, announcing a dream for a better world or a mission for humanity. The submissive habit of checking the leading personalities for credibility — whether they honestly mean what they say and have the means to keep their fine promises — doesn’t do. However hopeful or skeptical, however quickly or deeply disappointed civic-minded souls may be, they are all credulous.

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Translated from Gegenstandpunkt: Politische Vierteljahreszeitschrift 2-2009, Gegenstandpunkt Verlag, Munich

I.

One thing is clear to states as a result of the destruction of all sorts of capital, on whose success they and “we all” live: the services of financial institutions terminated through mismanagement are one, if not the, pillar of the common good. The economic capacity of the financial sector is to be maintained or, as the case may be, restored; the banks are to be enabled to use their financial power once gain. Their rescue is being carried out by the authorities providing the funds that the banks are authorized, and usually also able, to generate.

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Translated from Gegenstandpunkt: Politische Vierteljahreszeitschrift 4-2007, Gegenstandpunkt Verlag, Munich

… not a pleasant sight

Anyone who expects a well-ordered world under the heading of world order is way off. Today’s order is an accumulation of “hot spots.” The biggest and most crucial, the “Middle East arc of crisis,” stretches from East Africa to Pakistan.

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Translated from Gegenstandpunkt: Politische Vierteljahreszeitschrift 3-1996, Gegenstandpunkt Verlag, Munich

The various “foreign affairs” a modern state pursues when dealing with its peers are not easily understood right away. This is not only because these affairs involve foreign matters far from the compass of one’s familiar concerns, but also to a considerable extent because of the way one comes into contact with them. One must acquaint oneself with the fact that major foreign political projects between states are now and then said to depend on exactly what kind of “atmosphere” exists between them.