The Kensington Review

Week of 30 November 2009


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This Week's Commentary: Volume VIII, Number 39
Dubai Debt Crunch is a Bursting Bubble -- Dubai, one of the seven members of the United Arab Emirates, has had a good run for a sheikdom without much oil. The locals based that success on finance, real estate and tourism. They built an indoor ski slope, the world's tallest building and an archipelago of man-made islands, almost all of it on credit. The bill has come due, and the investors may not get their December 14 payment from Dubai World, one of the three government investment corporations. Whether Dubai World is bankrupt or merely insolvent is a minor question. The fact is very few investors will offer much money for future projects in the Middle East for quite some time. This is bad in a number of ways. [November 30]

Honduran Election Resolves Nothing -- The people of Honduras went to the polls over the week-end to pick a new president, and many hope that the election of Porfirio Lobo will end the political crisis that has gripped the nation for the last few of months. The election will do nothing of the kind. Mr. Lobo's election was held under conditions that render it null and void. Sadly, it looks like there is no way out. [December 1]

Obama Commits to Three Years of Afghan Fighting --Suetonius says that when Caesar crossed the Rubicon and committed himself to confronting his enemies, he said, "iacta alea est," the die is cast. Barack Obama is more a poker player, but all the same, last night he took a gamble as he outlined his strategy for Afghanistan. He will increase the US presence there by 30,000 troops and begin to withdraw after 18 months. His objective is to clear the country of Al Qaeda thugs, and train the Afghans to stand up for themselves. If it works, he's a genius, and if it doesn't, he's a one-term president. Sadly, there was another option the Pentagon never set before him. [December 2]

Swiss Minaret Ban Brings out Worst in Most -- Over the week-end, the Swiss held a few referenda, and one of them called for the banning of future construction of minarets in the country. Despite the confidence of the more liberal sectors of Switzerland that the plebiscite would go down to defeat, the thing passed with about 57% of the vote. Since then, some voices from the Muslim world have called for understanding and calm but a great many more have fallen for the usual victimhood line. Meanwhile, the Swiss are either delighted or embarrassed depending on how they voted. [December 3]

Copyright 2009 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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