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Thursday, 13 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Mar 08, 05:54 PM

10 Days to War
Tonight's 10 Days to War focuses on the vote at the United Nations Security Council on a second resolution. On Newsnight we speak to Britain's man at the UN who was applying the thumbscrews on behalf of Tony Blair - Sir Jeremy Greenstock - and one of those he tried to persuade Ambassador Valdes from Chile. Just how nasty did things get?

Economy
But we begin tonight with the global economy. Today we saw new highs for gold and oil and a new low for the dollar. As Stephanie Flanders explains it could be a real pivotal moment. We'll debate whether the world's central banks can or should do anything to address the continuing turbulence in the markets.

Iran
Finally tomorrow sees parliamentary elections in Iran. Will the result give more power to the Military or the Mullahs? Jon Leyne gives us his assessment.

Don't forget to tune in for a dramatic performance from Tom Conti in 10 Days to War and then join us at Newsnight straight afterwards.

Simon

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:47 PM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

You didn't spell "budget" correctly on the main Newsnight page!

TEN MILLENNIA – AND NO SMARTER

Does it not strike you as strange that we self-aggrandising, civilised, democratic, British still go to war at the drop of a hat? Perhaps I should define war? This is when we serially kill “the enemy”, smash their buildings, infrastructure and possessions; poison their environment and cut off vital supplies until they are crushed into “seeing it our way”. I would be tempted to call this “medieval” were it not for the lack of any chivalry. In our graceless righteousness, we are shrewdly selective regarding who to pick on. We will not take on anyone who might prove to be our equal.
It is now over 100 years since Freud began to probe the human condition. Today much is understood of what makes us tick; a lot of it pretty daunting. We CAN be nice, but for most of the time we are not. Bush’s war was clearly about revenge. Blair’s part in it was about a delusional “Final Battle Against Evil”. Both demonstrated that we – the dumb masses – elevate to power psychologically damaged individuals whose motivations come from the dark crevices of their childhoods. AND WE LOOK SET TO CONTINUE!
No amount of clever wonders in widgetry, science, finance, medicine or technology will bring to us the wisdom we so evidently lack. I think it is time Gordon met the Dalai Lama.


CRAP GAME

The man who gives his life to curing cancer
is not the man who leads us into war
for one a death is loss and ignominy
the other - almost - what a life is for.
The healer mourns the loss of one who passes
the great war-leader hails a hero’s death
one quietly contemplates a life truncated
the other breathes to own that last lost breath.
As science and understanding vanquish illness
so science and cleverness equip the knight
physicians - budget strapped - unseen and hampered
while wars - uncosted - sparkle in the light.
Yet still we cannot see that war is failure
as brutish-being swamps humanity
deep in us all a glory in destruction
of “them” of course, who are not you and me.
As future leaders look to their advancement
our science will one day take us way past Mars
all records for achievement we’ll keep beating
and the crap out of each other round the stars.

  • 3.
  • At 08:22 PM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • wappaho wrote:

It seemed to me last night that there was a docu-drama, the actual authenticity of which was not fully endorsed by the real people it was based on, and the journalist interviewing the real people didn't seem to have correct knowledge / agree with their real experiences either - is this part of the time travel bug the bbc has these days (LOM, ATA etc) in which reality is only one dimension and fanatsy is equally valid?

WAR GAME

Does it not strike you as strange that we self-aggrandising, civilised, democratic, British still go to war at the drop of a hat? Perhaps I should define war? This is when we serially kill “the enemy”, smash their buildings, infrastructure and possessions; poison their environment and cut off vital supplies until they are crushed into “seeing it our way”. I would be tempted to call this “medieval” were it not for the lack of any chivalry. In our graceless righteousness, we are shrewdly selective regarding who to pick on. We will not take on anyone who might prove to be our equal.
It is now over 100 years since Freud began to probe the human condition. Today much is understood of what makes us tick; a lot of it pretty daunting. We CAN be nice, but for most of the time we are not. Bush’s war was clearly about revenge. Blair’s part in it was about a delusional “Final Battle Against Evil”. Both demonstrated that we – the dumb masses – elevate to power psychologically damaged individuals whose motivations come from the dark crevices of their childhoods. AND WE LOOK SET TO CONTINUE!
No amount of clever wonders in widgetry, science, finance, medicine or technology will bring to us the wisdom we so evidently lack. I think it is time Gordon met the Dalai Lama.


FOOL OR KNAVE AGAIN

Greenstock said Blair was working for avoidance of military action.
To anyone with an ounce of perceptiveness, it should have been apparent Blair was "doing Gods Work defeating the Devil" and a "just war" was imperative. Or was Greenstock being economical with the truth? For some strange reason, Paxo went all docile and challenged nothing; is he going for gong?

Outstanding Jeremy tonight - particularly with the trio of Irwin Stelzer (always a huge pleasure to see him on Newsnight),RobReich & Gillian Tetts, as well as the 10 days to war debate. :-)

Central banks are the enemy of their people if they continue to subsidize the stock market parasites and their hedge funds. It is far too easy for any fool or criminal to pay up to $200 to speculate on the price of a barrel of oil with borrowed borrowings. The only true reason the price of oil continues to rise during the spring period is due to hedge funds speculating on their own speculation. Perhaps the combined consumer nations need to impose some form of oil price cap, likewise for other essential commodities where they have got their dirty fingers like wheat. However, closing down the futures markets would probably suffice, if we do not lose these false jobs in markets the real sustainable economy may suffer even further damage in the long run.

  • 8.
  • At 07:20 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • John wrote:

"For some strange reason, Paxo went all docile and challenged nothing; is he going for gong?"

He doesn't want to upset his chums.

https://www.baponline.org/

  • 9.
  • At 10:24 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • David Hartfield wrote:

Its still the economy......


Thursdays` economic forum stopped short, as they always do,on explaining inflation.While your team referred to Keynes who famously said "in the long term you are dead" this was a tacit admission that inflationary policies will eventually catch up with either you or your children.

Thus it is with US monetary policy as it expands the money supply forcing the world`s fiat money system to follow. Your team did not make the link that for as long as the fed prints money producers of commodities will demand more of the rapidly declining American paper for their real assets.

To make sure the debate did not consider a way out of this inflationary self perpetuating negative feedback loop the genial Irwin Stelzer was on hand to steer the talk away from the fact that Ameerica runs the world economy as history`s greatest ever debtor nation that will never pay its debts. The BBC pointed out Mr Stelzer is from the Hudson institute but failed to mention that it serves as a european neo con think tank with some extreme right wing advocates
of war amongst its fellows.

I recall Jeremy Paxman interviewing John Bolton who declared his role
with the American Enterprise Institute.When JP claimed AEI to be a neo con organisation Bolton denied it.Jeremy Paxman was absolutely right of course but he left it there.

So if viewers are to be informed about an issue as crucial as our economy should we not be advised as to what the interests of those discussing these might be and who is behind the so called think tanks they represent.

As the world econonmy proceeds toward its inevitable downwave (ie winter) the BBC might try fielding Keynsian and Austrian school economists for a different more informative debate.

.

  • 10.
  • At 09:22 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • John wrote:

David (message 9).

I refer you to message 8.

  • 11.
  • At 02:08 AM on 16 Mar 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

David Hartfield

"Thus it is with US monetary policy as it expands the money supply forcing the world`s fiat money system to follow. Your team did not make the link that for as long as the fed prints money producers of commodities will demand more of the rapidly declining American paper for their real assets."

This is by far the best weapon America ever invented and it can and is being used with impunity on the entire world. This is how Europe and China will be crushed. The process is as effective as an atom bomb but it goes off in slow motion day by day eroding the value of all the debts Americans owe to foreigners and the US government owes to anyone. It also erodes the value of fixed rate debt owed to banks on say mortgages. Why has it been able to get away with it? Because it is the only place in the world people can put money where they are sure someone will still be around to pay it back, even if those dollars will be worth far less than the loan was. This is the purpose of inflation and we here in the US need it now more than ever, to pay for the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which Europe and the rest of the world refused to lend a hand in even financing let alone fighting, to pay off the one trillion in debt the US government owes China, to pay for the unknown trillions that will have to be put in Americans' hands to pay for the millions of houses they bought but couldn't afford and would now be homeless without, and for all other debts public and private. The cheaper dollar price Europe's labor out of the market. If European based companies want to survive at all, they will have to buy their labor somewhere else while Europeans will stubbornly refuse to give up their high salaries and expensive social safety net they think is their birthright. Under terms of WTO they cannot subsidize their farms or industries nor can they enact protectionist tarriffs as we once let them. As the strategy is deployed, the US economy will head for recession, it may be in one already. The Fed having failed to stimulate the economy with lower short term interest rates, the Congress and President will pass all kinds of spending bills to put money in peoples' hands while IT IS THE TREASURY which will just keep printing whatever it takes to pay for it. Oil will shoot up to $150. $200 a barrel, even higher. When Americans can no longer pay to buy gas to run their cars and heat their homes at the same time they buy discretionary junk from China, they will give up on those cheap Chinese electronic toys and textiles and hunker down. The Chinese economy is a bubble depending to survive on exports, much of it to America. Watch what happens to Airbus. Boeing is going to kill it off with the help of the US Treasury. BTW, don't expect that $40+ billion USAF contract to EADS for refueling tankers to stand, Congress is furious over it, it's sure to be rescinded. And why is Congress so angry? Because France and Germany refused to fight the war in Iraq. Europe will pay for these wars one way or another far more than it ever dreamt.

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