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The European Countdown to Poverty

Edward Hugh, the Economist at A Fistful of Euros, is apparently trying to get his readers depressed by posting all these posts yesterday:

• Spain Finally, Finally Makes That Recession To Beat All Recessions "Official"

• Hungary's Second Recession In Two Years Worsens

• Italy's Recession Deepens

• Estonia's Economy Contracts At Record Pace At The End Of 2008

• The Czech Republic Probably Entered Recession At The End Of 2008

• Germany's Incredible Shrinking Economy

The last mentioned post sees Germany at the heart of the bailout requiring support from the rest of the EU, recommends EU bonds, and states that it "its the demography silly" and "Germany needs a demographic fix." What an excellent policy recommendation for Valentine's Day. Now, of you go.

Watch the following videos with more thoughtful policy recommendations:

Continue reading "The European Countdown to Poverty"

What should be on top of the Transatlantic Agenda in 2009

What are the most important areas for transatlantic cooperation this year? What are the main international security and globalization issues that Europe and North America should focus their energies on in 2009? We are running a poll on this question over at Atlantic-community.org and you are invited to vote as well.

The results shall be used to determine our focus topics at Atlantic-community.org and will be taken into consideration at Atlantic Review as well. You can choose up to three policy areas from these options and you can suggest alternatives in the comment section:

Strengthen counter-proliferation efforts.
End Iran's nuclear program.
Modernize the international trade order.
Reduce carbon-emissions.
Turn Russia into a strategic partner.
Define NATO's security role for the 21st century.
Improve "burden-sharing" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Integrate China into the international order.

Kyle is on hiatus, but Nanne and Joerg continue with full speed

Dear friends and beloved Atlantic Review readership: 

Due to a change in profession and the subsequent time-consuming training involved in my new position I will be taking a hiatus from Atlantic Review for the next several months. 

I enjoy the privelege of writing and engaging with you on important transatlantic issues, and look forward to the day when I can return as a full editor.  In the meantime, Atlantic Review is always accepting guest articles and applications for new editors.

If you would like to get ahold of me while away, please feel free to shoot me an email at kyle.atwell [at] atlanticreview.org.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Reads the Atlantic Review

Before travelling to Munich to speak at the Security Conference, David Miliband has read Kyle Atwell's Atlantic Review post NATO 2.0: Five ways Obama should bring "change" to Alliance.

The Foreign Secretary mentions Atlantic Review and links to us in his blog post Munich Security Conference.

Yes, Secretary Miliband is a blogger. He began blogging when he was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and continues to do so as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Here is the transcript and audio file of his speech in Munich.

The Emerging Afghanistan Strategy

In a long piece for the NYT, Dexter Filkins writes that the US is done propping up the mayor of Kabul:

The world has changed for Mr. Karzai, and for Afghanistan, too. A White House favorite — a celebrity in flowing cape and dark gray fez — in each of the seven years that he has led this country since the fall of the Taliban, Mr. Karzai now finds himself not so favored at all. Not by Washington, and not by his own.

In the White House, President Obama said he regarded Mr. Karzai as unreliable and ineffective. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said he presided over a “narco-state.” The Americans making Afghan policy, worried that the war is being lost, are vowing to bypass Mr. Karzai and deal directly with the governors in the countryside.

At the same time as Karzai finds himself out of favour, NATO is facing a difficult situation over its high commander, General Bantz John Craddock. The German weekly SPIEGEL has reported on an order of his to kill drug traffickers, which was refused by German general Egon Ramms, head of the Afghanistan command centre, and the American Afghanistan command general David McKiernan.

Continue reading "The Emerging Afghanistan Strategy"

America's Huge Health Care Costs

Americans and Europeans spend the same share of GDP on health care and education. "Properly measured, Mars and Venus spend the same share of income on these tasks," concludes Jacob Funk Kirkegaard from the Peterson Institute for International Economics: "The only meaningful difference between US and European expenditure levels is in private-sector healthcare spending, where the US private sector spends about three times more on healthcare than its European private-sector counterparts." (Read a summary of his paper on Atlantic-Community.org.)

Do Americans get better health care, given that their GDP is bigger than Europe's? Nope, in 2006, the "US performed poorly -placing last, in fact - among the six countries surveyed on six key domains of healthcare: Patient Safety, Effectiveness, Patient-Centeredness, Timeliness, Efficiency and Equity," writes Dialog International.

Related posts on Atlantic Review: "If It's From Europe, Forget It" and Other Comments on Health Care and Europeans are taller than Americans.

Just don't tag us...

Everyone is on Facebook. Everyone? There is a small community still holding out outside. But, just like there were still people without mobile phones eight years ago, they are looking more and more forced in their abstention. As Farhad Manjoo writes over on Slate:
Friends—can I call you friends?—it's time to drop the attitude: There is no longer any good reason to avoid Facebook. The site has crossed a threshold—it is now so widely trafficked that it's fast becoming a routine aide to social interaction, like e-mail and antiperspirant. It's only the most recent of many new technologies that have crossed over this stage.
Whether or not Facebook is of use to you will of course depend upon your circle of actual friends. Much like e-mail. Or mobile phones. When they're not using it, there's less use in it for you. Doing without will save you from multitasking cutting up your time even further. And there are downsides to Facebook, as Obama's speechwriter Jon Favreau found out when he was caught statue-groping Hillary Clinton.

As you will guess, this is a roundabout way of saying that the Atlantic Review, too, is on Facebook, and we welcome you to become our 'fans'.

Obama Has to Work with Two Germanys

Foreign Minister Steinmeier is "the president of Germany's Obama fan" and, for instance, "indicated right away that Germany would accept detainees from Guantanamo," while Chancellor Merkel takes "a reserved view of Obama, waiting to see what his administration's policies will look like," writes Spiegel International:

Barack Obama grew up knowing that there were two Germanys. Then the Berlin Wall fell, and he became accustomed to the idea that there was only one Germany. Now that he is president he has discovered, during his first few days in office, that Germany is divided once again. But this time the country is not divided into East and West Germany, but between Merkel's Germany and Steinmeier's Germany. And when it comes to their relationship with the new America, these two Germanys could not be more different.