Posted in The Gadfly by uniffors on the June 3rd, 2006

In this article, The Gadfly weighs the options available to Bush.

“The questions that arise now are: What would the U.S. resort to if the talks either do not take place or if they do, they do not succeed? Does President George W. Bush have the will and the time to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue before he steps down in 2008?”


Posted in The Gadfly by uniffors on the May 30th, 2006

The Gadfly says the Philippines must not play into the growing military alliance between Japan and the US. It cannot ignore other emerging powers.

“The least the Philippines needs is to be perceived as a country inextricably linked to a U.S.-Japanese alliance that seeks to contain or deter China. Much less should our country be considered as a rabid supporter of a Land of the Rising Sun seen by some nations as flexing its diplomatic and military muscle.”



Posted in The Gadfly by uniffors on the May 19th, 2006

The Gadfly’s latest contribution is on the Blair-Bush partnership.


Entitled “Axis of Feeble,” the editorial of the latest issue of The Economist describes President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair as “soul-mates” whose partnership has shaped world events in the last five years. But due to the debacle in Iraq and domestic problems, both leaders have been transformed “from soaring hawks into the lamest of ducks.”

The editorial opines that Mr. Blair’s contribution to the partnership has been significant because in him Mr. Bush “found a supreme political salesman and a dependable ally with a respected voice inside the UN Security Council and the European Union” as well as “a true believer, exuding conviction.”



Posted in The Gadfly by uniffors on the May 13th, 2006

An article by Thomas Palley in the Foreign Policy in Focus ( FPIF ) website entitled The Economics of Outsourcing: How Should Policy Respond provides an insight on the thinking in some sectors in the United States on the issue.

It also serves as a warning to countries like ours, which to a large extent depend on the outsourcing of services such as those provided by call centers, that notwithstanding the lip service they pay to the blessings of globalization, some decision-makers in the US may in the future call for the establishment of an international institution aimed precisely at curtailing outsourcing due to its negative effects on the American labor market.

Mr. Palley writes that global outsourcing is a debate about the nature of competition and what constitutes appropriate rules for governing competition within and between countries.

He cites the revolution in the retail industry exemplified by the emergence of large volume discount stores like Wal-Mart which initially pitted producers from the same country against each other but have now entered a new phase where they encourage rivalry among producers in different countries in the search for the so-called China price for the cheapest supplier and the lowest cost.

This big-box model delivers low prices but also erodes manufacturing jobs and wages in countries like the United States because when a rich capital-abundant country engages in free trade with a poor labor-abundant country, wages in the rich country fall.

The author advocates the creation of regimes of cooperation between countries to prevent tax competition and competitive devaluation. At the national level, he proposes that countries should invest in education to raise the productivity of workers.

Mr. Palley’s suggestion is to establish new forms of international regulation because worldwide outsourcing undermines the effectiveness of many existing national arrangements and this should be implemented by effective institutions of international economic governance.

International economic governance is the business of world institutions like the International Monetary Fund ( IMF ), the World Bank ( WB ) and the World Trade Organization ( WTO ) as well as regional and bilateral mechanisms. The issue of outsourcing falls squarely under the WTO because outsourcing involves not only goods but many services that have become tradable. So rather than create another international institution dedicated to handling the issue of outsourcing, the present institutions should be made to work effectively to address the problems that have arisen due to outsourcing.

ETA Declares Permanent Ceasefire

Posted in The Gadfly by uniffors on the April 24th, 2006

The Gadfly writes that the ETA declaration of a permanent ceasfire is just one step in a long process that could lead to a political solution to the Basque separatist problem in Spain. He believes that Spain’s experience could provide vital lessons for countries facing separatist problems like the Philippines.


The Israeli Elections and Kadima’s Policy of Unilateral Withdrawal

Posted in The Gadfly by uniffors on the March 30th, 2006

The results of the March 28 elections in Israel are evaluated by the Gadfly in the context of Israel’s domestic politics as well as the Mideast peace process. He thinks that the election results in Palestine and Israel have led both sides to uneasily adjust to the new realities prior to another attempt to revive the peace process.

Rural Unrest in China

Posted in The Gadfly by uniffors on the March 23rd, 2006

The Gadfly thinks that the impressive macroeconomic performance of China hides some dysfunctional elements that threaten to slow down the country’s economic growth and reduce its international influence. He discusses the unrest in the countryside and reports on Beijing’s plans to turn the worsening situation around.

Odious Comparisons between Thai and RP crises

Posted in The Gadfly by uniffors on the March 19th, 2006

The Gadfly moves closer to home by pointing out the differences between the crisis faced by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and that confronted by our very own leader, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He explains the nuances in terms of the roots of the crises, the response of the two chiefs executive, the role of the opposition and the part played by the military in local politics. He leaves it up to the reader to identify most of the corresponding developments on the Philippine side that make comparisons between the two heads of government odious.

Iraqization – Exit Strategy for Wrong Kind of Insurgency

Posted in The Gadfly by uniffors on the March 16th, 2006

The Gadfly shifts his attention to the mayhem in Iraq and discusses President Bush’s exit strategy – Iraqization – which he describes as a rehash of Mr. Nixon’s 1969-73 Vietnamization program. We all know, of course, what happened to that program.

South America turns Left

Posted in The Gadfly by uniffors on the March 12th, 2006

The rise to power of several leftist governments in South America is the subject of the Gadfly’s latest column. He examines some factors behind the development and the policies adopted by these regimes to respond to the challenges of globalization and the present unipolar world order.

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