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Why healthcare could prove to be Obama’s insurance policy

Not that I mean to boast or anything, but this particular writer is fortunate (or brilliant, whichever you prefer) enough to have been accepted onto a study abroad scheme to spend the next academic year in New York.

Inflated ego aside, this has allowed me the pleasure of spending my morning off browsing health insurance options from US providers. What is immediately striking is just how complicated it all seems, and how bizarre it is for a UK citizen so fond of the NHS to have to think about such matters.

Health insurance is currently top of my agenda, and it seems Barack Obama is intent on moving it up the agenda of the US electorate as well.

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A balanced budget? Not in election year

“We don’t begrudge success in America,” Mr. Obama said. But, he added, “We do expect everybody to do their fair share, so that everybody has opportunity, not just some.”

Hardly controversial stuff; or so you’d think. On Monday President Obama announced his budget for the 2013 fiscal year and along with it large swathes of his manifesto for re-election. In a campaign that is likely to be defined by economic issues, this budget was always destined to be political in nature. Yet, opponents have still found it within them to express commendable faux-outrage.

The words of leading anti-tax campaigner Grover Norquist were indicative of the criticisms Obama faced. He claimed “this is not an economic document, it’s not a policy document, it’s a political document”.  Of course, it goes without saying that a budget is, at least in the most literal sense, an economic document. Yet the measures announced by Obama are in some parts so lacking in excitement and originality that they will do little to change the economic course already set, and in others so flagrantly partisan that they have no chance of being passed. So in truth, the budget will have a minimal economic impact at best. Read the rest of this entry

Republican Presidential Race: The Candidates

With not long until the Iowa Caucus officially kick-starts the GOP Presidential race and the likelihood of Mitt Romney’s eventual triumph about as inevitable as the last two times I commented on the issue, it would perhaps be prudent to take a different approach and provide a short description of each of the candidates in the Republican field. Read the rest of this entry

Why is America starting to flex its muscles in the Asia Pacific region?

With the economic crisis in Europe and the winding down of the western presence in Iraq and Afghanistan the US government have moved their focus onto the Asia Pacific region. The USA recently hosted the annual Asia-Pacific economic forum which was held in Hawaii, which is Barack Obama’s birth place and the main US territory in the region.

Barack Obama also made a trip last week to Indonesia and Australia where he met a number of politicians and diplomats and also delivered several speeches in which he outlined his ideas for future US involvement in the region.  Obama announced on his tour of the region that he would send 250 Marines to North Australia and promised to increase this number in the near future.  Surely this military strategy would strengthen the already large American military power in the region; it would also send a message to other military powers in the region, such as China and North Korea.  China have questioned the move and many believe that it is a move which is counter to Chinese influence in the region.  China and the US are definitely  two of the largest powers in the region and an increase of US activity in the region is bound to worry the Chinese. READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

Dreaming up a New Enemy

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen is escorted by Chinese Gen. Chen Bingde, Chief of the Peoples Liberation Army's General Staff
Adm. Mike Mullen is escorted by Chinese Gen. Chen Bingde.

With another Remembrance Sunday come and gone, there’s hardly a more appropriate time to be evaluating the global balance of power, and the prospects for peace.

As ever, there’s plenty to keep the diplomats up at night: North Korea’s belligerence; brutally typical wars on the African continent, the Middle Eastern powder-keg – now more volatile than ever as Iran postures and outraged populations rise up. Read the rest of this entry

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