As a democratic republic, it is our duty to know what’s going on in the world and to direct our government to protect our interests. Unfortunately, these days our leaders only give us the “mushroom management” treatment, and the news media follows in tow. If you don’t know what “mushroom management” is, check here.
While we gnash our teeth over the latest headlines – who Donald Trump offended today, what flag is flying where, and whether we will be sued if our barbecue smoke wafts over the neighbor’s fence – there is real international news taking place about which we are kept clueless. Here’s a sampling of news items you did not hear about today:
In a recent three-week period the Shanghai composite stock market lost a third of its value, and after a short reprieve, it dropped another 8.5% yesterday, as China’s economy shudders through a slowdown and a crisis of investor confidence. The 21-day loss in value exceeded four trillion dollars. Meanwhile, we are fixated on Greece, whose entire annual GDP is around $200 billion. If China’s economy craters, it could have a profound effect on our own economy. Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody told us what’s going on? Do we even have diplomatic relations with China?
According to a top Indian nuclear scientist, Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear weapons program in the world and expects to have 200 nuclear warheads by 2020. Most of them are aimed at neighboring India, and they have developed a serious stockpile of high-tech intermediate-range missiles. The BBC reported that Saudi Arabia intends to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan. There is international concern that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal could fall into the hands of terrorists. The Pakistanis also recently bought eight submarines from the Chinese. When is the last time you heard anything about Pakistan?
Nigeria’s exports dropped 27% from the same period last year due to declining oil prices and the “unpredictable political environment.” The Nigerian government continues to battle Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group, while simultaneously trying to restore its police services and pay its teachers for months of back wages. Meanwhile, reports emerged that a former Nigerian minister stole $6 billion of public money. Life in Nigeria is rough these days.
Russia’s arms manufacturers are enjoying rapidly growing revenues despite western sanctions and a weak economy. President Vladimir Putin’s drive to modernize his military and the booming trade in arms exports has provided a double-digit annual growth windfall for Russia’s defense industry. Simultaneously, China continues to build military facilities and claim ever-greater chunks of the South China Sea for economic and military purposes. While our adversaries expand their forces, the Obama administration announces further cuts in US military power.
We know that the news business is not what it used to be. It is naive to think that anything other than the most salacious and shallow headlines will ever appear above the fold. Nor can we expect our government to keep us enlightened. A few of us are blessed with representatives who go out of their way to keep constituents informed and involved. Most federal officials are only concerned with their re-election and power, and our money. So it’s all the more crucial that we make the extra effort, as citizens of the still-greatest nation on earth, to be informed about what’s happening in the world.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Daddy is a rare millionaire
I don’t care
Yeah you got the muscle
I got the news