A lot of water under the bridge in the last thirty days.
First, because this blog focuses on issues critical to the national security of the US, it is appropriate to say that national security has been greatly enhanced by the victory of the Obama and the Democrats in the recent election.
Second, the world turns and there is no time to relax before dealing with issues. Problems like Iraq, Iran, health insurance, energy policy and the economy demand immediate attention.
Third, two pressing issues cannot be delayed until January and demand the President-Elect's immediate attention.
Incomprehensibly, Obama gathered some 25 or so famous economic and business leaders and produced nothing of interest to economic actors. How is that possible?
The economy and the markets are in turmoil and panic. Obama is required to make a statement immediately. Let me repeat: Obama is REQUIRED to make a statement immediately. Failing to do so may possibly turn a recession into a depression. The fear is almost a living thing.
Here is what the statement should say:
'My fellow Americans, we all know that our economy is a little weak right now.
I am not yet the President and will not be until January, but I know that markets need some reassurance that my future adminisration will act responsibly.
I have looked carefully at the situation and I will develop some solutions very soon that will ease the crisis. They are not ready yet but they will be soon.
In the meantime I can tell you that the underlying structure of the economy is sound and there are a lot of things going right as we speak. For example, the real estate market is adjusting to new prices and people are buying houses and borrowing money from banks. Of course, there are many homeowners in some difficulty, but we are working on a solution to that problem.
The FDIC is performing just as it should and all the depositors insured by the FDIC have not lost a penny. Some banks have been acquired by other banks and, while their CEO's and shareholders have lost some equity, their depositors have remained whole.
The auto industry is asking for some help right now and it employs a lot of workers. There is precedent for helping that industry, but it is too soon for me make a specific recommendation.
My administration will fix the things that need fixing and make the good things stronger. As a country we are committed to a market structure as our engine of economic growth. We may tinker a little with the rules and regulations that govern the market, but in the next few months we expect the markets to return to normal."
[BTW - I am available to write economic speeches for a very reasonable fee.]
RUSSIA AND THE COLD WAR
The Cold War was a horrible thing and it is over. Sadly, there are some Americans who seem to have an interest in re-creating it.
We have enough security problems without mindlessly creating new problems in Europe.
Russia under Putin and Medvedev are engaged in a long term process to build a democratic society. You can easily see the details by reading Medvedev's recent state of the union speech at: http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/speeches/2008/11/05/2144_type70029type82917type127286_208836.shtml
It is a speech remarkable for its focus on securing a good future for Russians.
The Russian government thinks that its national security interests have been slighted and ignored by NATO and the USA for some time. The missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic are major irritants to Russia.
Obama spoke with Medvedev on the telephone recently and opened a dialog. It is critical that this dialog be encouraged and expanded. There is no reason, IMHO, that Russia cannot partner with the US on many issues.