13 September 2014   Leave a comment

The media has a tremendous influence on foreign policy, and one of the most common techniques of news reporting on foreign conflicts is to cite the opinions of former military officers.  There is little question that informed military opinion contributes to the substance of the debate, but what is often unknown is the extent to which these retired military officers have links to think tanks that receive a great deal of funding from military contractors.  The likelihood of bias under such circumstances is quite high, but most of the time the public is never informed about these economic relationships.  We should all be careful to inquire about such possible distortions in our information.

The Ebola virus continues to spread in West Africa (as well as another strain in Central Africa) and the international response has been virtually non-existent.  It seems as if the world has decided that the disease can be confined to Africa and that there is therefore no need to work hard to eradicate it.  That response is both selfish and stupid.  As is true in virtually all other crises, we can choose to believe that things will work out on their own.  Or we can decide to prepare ourselves for the worst case.  The latter course of action is expensive and intrusive, but it seems the only reasonable course of action with a virus as virulent as Ebola.

Politics is often difficult to untangle, but the election in Sweden is particularly difficult to interpret.  It seems clear that after 8 years of center-right policies that emphasized free market solutions and privatization, that Swedish voters will turn to the left.  But the Social Democrats, the party of the traditional left, has not conducted a sterling campaign, and the lefty voters seem to be turning to the Greens and a new party called the Feminist Initiative.  What the policies are that these parties can support is unclear.  We’ll have to wait for the final votes to determine Sweden’s direction.

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Posted September 13, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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