European Union Wins the Nobel Peace Prize, Norway No Longer Taken Serious


In what has to be considered one of the biggest pranks in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize the panel in charge of giving out the award decided on the European Union as this years recipient.  The rationale is simple I suppose in that one of the reasons the EU was founded was to integrate Europe to lessen the chance for war between member countries.  Since its founding no member state has fought another.  What those in charge of the award seem to have conveniently forgotten was the role that NATO played in Europe since the end of World War II.  Specifically the contributions of the US, UK, and Canada.  For it was these 3 members of NATO that do not reside on the continent of Europe but still provided literally hundreds of thousands of soldiers as a part of the NATO frame work to keep the peace on the continent that should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The reason I say this is simple  because nothing the EU is credited with having done would have been possible without the soldiers from these countries literally making the possibility of war between member states all but impossible.  Frankly the award being given to the EU for what NATO really accomplished is a slap in the face to all those who served in Europe as a part of NATO.  The reality of what happened last week was that the EU received an award that NATO should have been given.  This happened not because the EU deserved the award but because the EU is falling apart and those in charge wanted to give the organization some positive news for once.  This attempt at positive reinforcement failed miserably because any rational thinkers outside of mainland Europe know the EU is undeserving of the award.  The end result has thus been to further tarnish a damaged brand that already had looked incredibly incompetent after awarding the prize to President Obama who had done nothing to deserve it.  Perhaps it’s time to recognize that the award and the publicity that goes with it just is not what it has been hyped up to be.  To be honest it has become a joke.

http://blog.norway.com/2012/

Consequences Of Globalization


It is interesting to see the consequences of globalization taking place all around the world today.  People so often in the 90’s talked about how globalization would improve people’s lives across the globe.  To be fair to some degree that has happened in places like China where several hundred million people have been lifted out of poverty by moving from the countryside to the urban manufacturing centers of China.  Other nations like Germany have also benefited greatly from globalization in the form of the EU.  With the barriers to trade removed from the internal European market German companies have proceeded to destroy their fellow European competition and reap the rewards.  Unfortunately these two examples of countries benefiting from globalization have also cast a dark shadow across many other countries who have suffered while China and Germany have benefited.  In China’s case many of the jobs in manufacturing that now power the Chinese economy were once based in America.  The fallout from this in America has been significant because many of the jobs lost to China were some of the best paying jobs a non skilled worker could find in America.  Recently in the last several years there has been a small glimmer of hope in the American manufacturing sector where instead of losing jobs they have actually begun adding some.  It remains to be seen if this is just part of the economy coming back from the lows of the economic meltdown in 2008 or if this is part of a new trend of increased American industrial production over the long term.

The situation in Europe seems more straight forward where there is little doubt that the Euro has made life much more difficult for countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain to compete with Germany since they can no longer devalue their own currency to become more competitive.  The result has been that much of southern Europe chose to use debt to fuel economic growth (much like America has done) instead of trying to make their economies more competitive.  The consequences of this have been tragic for those countries with some like Greece in what can only be described as a economci depression.  One thing is for certain, you don’t seem to hear nearly as many world leaders talking up the benefits of globalization because the real long term consequences have now manifested themselves and it is not a very pretty picture.

Oh Canada!


 

Word out of the great white north is that Canadians are now more wealthy than Americans for the first time ever.  Several factors have contributed to this new development but the biggest without question would be the collapse in the US housing market, which in turn torpedoed Americans wealth since a house is most people’s biggest asset.  Besides the housing market the economy in Canada is stronger with unemployment at around 7.2% in Canada vs. 8.2% in America.  The real question is whether or not a long-term trend will develop where Canada is consistently more wealthy as America continues to struggle with extricating itself from the meltdown in 2008?  Only time will tell.

CANADIANS NOW RICHER THAN AMERICANS

200 Years Later


 

June 18 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  It is a war that it is not well understood or much remembered in America so I decided to give some key facts about the war below.

1.  What was the war about? 

          The US declared war on Britain because of the British Navy’s policy of impressment (stopping US merchant ships and forcing former British citizens to serve on British ships).  Also because of British restrictions on US trade because of Britains’ war with France.

2.  Who won?

          Both America and Canada (even though it was not a country at the time) claim to have won, the British who were busy battling Napoleon at the time don’t seem to really care either way.  Canada claims victory because they did stop several US invasions of their country.  The US claims victory because we also stopped several British invasions of the US, won the final battle of New Orleans in decisive fashion, and also destroyed most organized indian resistance across the frontier (indians were allied with the British).

3.  Interesting Facts about the war.

          2260 Americans died in combat

          15-20,000 Americans died from disease

          1160 British combat deaths

          3321 British died from disease

4.  One of the Great American victories of the war, the Battle of New Orleans, came several weeks after the war had ended.  Messages in that day and age had to be hand delivered, since the treaty was signed in Europe it took quite a while to get the word out.

5.  Even though the outcome of the war was probably a draw it did lead to a new American unity after the war, the organized indian resistance along the border was defeated which opened up new lands to settle.  US and British relations seem to normalize after the war.  America had fought Britain twice in a span of roughly 25 years, but with the end of the war the two nations enjoyed a prosperous trade relationship which eventually turned into so much more in the 20th century.

6.  The US national anthem the Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 while he witnessed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry which ultimately failed to take the fort.

War of 1812 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia