Articles / Opinion Editorials archives

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Oct 23, 2013 0 Comments

Is Iran Killing the U.S. With Kindness? Articles / Opinion Editorials

Authors: J.D. GORDON

Obama shouldn’t be fooled by the Iranian president’s charm offensive

One negotiating tactic for prying desired results from important yet reluctant people is the time-tested principle of “killing them with kindness.” Charming others to your side is generally well received, and can produce win-win scenarios. 

Though what if one side only wants to trick the other into lowering its guard so it can achieve goals at the other’s expense?  In the business world, it happens often. Like buying a lemon from a used car salesman – the guy who was so incredibly nice! But nations also play this game. Japanese diplomats infamously delivered a memo to the State Department in Washington on the afternoon of Dec. 7, 1941 stating that Tokyo was breaking off negotiations. Too bad it came an hour after Pacific Fleet battleships were being sunk at Pearl Harbor.

Fast forward to 2013.

Iran has suddenly taken a kinder, gentler approach to the West. Newly elected President Hasan Rouhani is communicating directly with President Barack Obama. He’s signaled compromise over Tehran’s nuclear program, freed political prisoners and replaced the military with the foreign ministry to lead nuclear negotiations. His boss, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, even saluted Jews worldwide by tweeting Rosh Hashanah well wishes. 

But is it all for show?  

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Oct 23, 2013 0 Comments

Freedom Is Not Free: How Should Think Tanks Address The National Security Question? Articles / Opinion Editorials

Authors: ALEX CHAFUEN

The unhindered movement of money, goods and people are essential aspects of economic freedom. These same freedoms, however, can be used for violent purposes by national or international aggressors. The same freedom that allows the government to pull back money from a country known to seize private deposits, can be used to launder money from kidnappings or terrorist activities. The same smuggling, that helps one avoid customs when buying something, can be used to smuggle a shoulder missile. Security is key component of economic freedom.

The 9/11 attacks, a failure in national security, changed the dynamics of the economic discussion in the United States. We are still paying the costs. I followed this impact on immigration, trade and monetary policy. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox was in the U.S. days before the attack to help consolidate an immigration reform policy. The U.S. was advancing to push free trade in the Americas. A high level Argentinean delegation was also in Washington to help seal an agreement. After 9/11, major concerns of war creating a possible recession encouraged the continuity of an easy monetary policy. These policies, kept in place because of failed national security, fueled massive spending and enabled the 2008 bubble.

Other mishaps in national security can completely shift the economic debate. Take for exampleBitcoin, the electronic payment system which is out of reach of central authorities. Just imagine the impact of a terrorist organization taking advantage of one of its features to pass money to finance a major operation.

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Oct 9, 2013 0 Comments

Good Money After Bad Articles / Opinion Editorials

Authors: FERNANDO MENÉNDEZ

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro recently returned from Beijing with a $5 billion line of credit from the China Development Bank (CDB).  This comes at a very difficult time for Maduro, whose regime’s support is at an all time low since his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, first came to power 15 years ago.  For Maduro things abroad look better than things at home. 

A former bus driver, named as successor to the late, charismatic Chávez, Maduro is driving his country’s economy into a ditch.  Instead of correcting his path, he has been shifting blame for his mismanagement on to others. 

The Broken Record 

Despite one of the largest oil booms in history, yielding over $90 billion a year to the Venezuelan government, Maduro runs one of the worst performing economies in the Americas. 

Since coming to power in April, after a hotly contested election in which he claimed to receive just over fifty percent of the vote, Maduro has presided over recurrent national electricity blackouts, one of the highest murder rates in the world, shortages of basic goods such as rice, oil, butter, flour, and even toilet paper. 

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