• Brazil’s Differences with Washington Are Unavoidable, and Positive

    Over the last decade an epoch-making political change has taken place in the Western Hemisphere: Latin America, a region that was once considered the United States’ “back yard,” is now more independent of Washington than Europe is. But while Latin America has changed, U.S. foreign policy has not — even now, with the election of […]

  • U.S. Must Solve Its Own Economic Problems

    President Obama will go to Asia and has promised to say something about the exchange rate between the Chinese yuan and the U.S. dollar.  It would be good if some enterprising journalist asked him why the United States is worried about the Chinese dumping their dollars, and why U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently said […]

  • President Obama’s Credibility on the Line in Honduras

    Last Friday an agreement was reached between the de facto regime in Honduras, which took power in a military coup on 28 June, and the elected president Manuel Zelaya, for the restoration of democracy there. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, in announcing what she called an historic agreement, said: “I cannot think of another […]

  • Ecuador and Bolivia Show That Even Small Developing Countries Can Pursue Independent Economic Policies, Stand Up for Their Rights, and Win

    Among the conventional wisdom that we hear every day in the business press is that developing countries should bend over backwards to create a friendly climate for foreign corporations, follow orthodox (neoliberal) macroeconomic policy advice, and strive to achieve an investment-grade sovereign credit rating so as to attract more foreign capital. Guess which country is […]

  • A New Role for the IMF?

    Rescued from a state of near-irrelevance by the world recession and an infusion of hundreds of billions of dollars (mostly from the U.S., Europe, and Japan), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is now thinking of expanding its role into previously uncharted territory.  In Istanbul for the fall meetings of the IMF, Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn […]

  • Occupying Afghanistan Is Making Things Worse

    President Obama is coming under attack from the Right for his reluctance to grant the request of General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, for more U.S. troops.  On the other side of the equation sits the majority of the American people, who are against sending more troops and in fact oppose […]

  • How Much Repression Will Hillary Clinton Support in Honduras?

    Now that President Zelaya has returned to Honduras, the coup government — after first denying that he was there — has unleashed a wave of repression to prevent people from gathering support for their elected president.  This is how U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the first phase of this new repression last night […]

  • Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story Will Find a Ready Audience

    When I first met Michael Moore more than 20 years ago he was showing a half-finished documentary to a few dozen people in a classroom in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was funny and poignant and had a powerful message. He had taken a second mortgage on his house — equipment for filmmaking was a lot […]

  • IMF Gives $164 Million to Coup Government in Honduras, Following Familiar Pattern

    The IMF is undergoing an unprecedented expansion of its access to resources, possibly reaching a trillion dollars. This week the European Union committed $175 billion, $67 billion more than even the $108 billion that Washington agreed to fork over after a tense standoff between the U.S. Congress and the Obama administration earlier this summer. The […]

  • American Public Still Ahead of Its Leaders on Foreign Policy

    Americans are famous for not paying much attention to the rest of the world, and it is often said that foreign wars are the way that we learn geography.  But most often it is not the people who have little direct experience outside their own country that are the problem, but rather the experts. The […]

  • Obama’s Deafening Silence on Honduras

    Seven weeks after the Honduran military overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras, the divide between the United States and Latin America continues to grow — although you might not get that impression from most mainstream media reports. The strategy of the coup regime is obviously to run out the clock on President Zelaya’s remaining […]

  • Myths about the U.S. Economic Model

    The Great Recession is allowing some widely held beliefs about the U.S. economy — which were the source of much evangelism over the last few decades — to run up against a reality check.  This is to be expected, since the United States has been the epicenter of the storm of policy blunders that caused […]

  • Obama Continues Bush Policies in Latin America

    There were great hopes in Latin America when President Obama was elected.  U.S. standing in the region had reached a low point under George W. Bush, and all of the hemisphere’s left-leaning governments expressed optimism that Obama would go in a different direction. These hopes have been dashed.  President Obama has continued the Bush policies […]

  • Anti-Venezuela Spokespeople Misrepresent Reality of Press Freedom in Venezuela

    Denis MacShane attacks the British left for defending Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez against an onslaught from the media, “New Cold Warriors,” and right-wing demagogues throughout the world.  His rhetorical trick is to tar the left with a new media law currently being debated in the Venezuelan Congress, which he says “would impose prison sentences of […]

  • U.S.-Brokered Mediation Has Failed — It’s Time for Latin America to Take Charge

    The mediation effort that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arranged to try to resolve the Honduran crisis, which began when a military coup removed Honduran President Mel Zelaya more than four weeks ago, has failed.  It is now time — some would say overdue — for the Latin American governments to play their proper […]

  • Hondurans Resist Coup, Will Need Help from Other Countries

    The military coup that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras took a new turn when Zelaya attempted to return home on Sunday.  The military closed the airport and blocked runways to prevent his plane from landing.  They also shot several protesters, killing at least one and injuring others. The violence and the enormous crowd — […]

  • Was the Iranian Election Stolen?  Does It Matter?

    Since the Iranian presidential election of June 12, allegations that the announced winner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory was stolen have played an important role in the demonstrations, political conflict, and media reporting on events there.  Some say that it does not matter whether the elections were stolen or not, since the government has responded to peaceful […]

  • Patent Fundamentalists Threaten the Future of the Planet

    The battle over “intellectual property rights” is likely to be one of the most important of this century.  It has enormous economic, social, and political implications in a wide range of areas, from medicine to the arts and culture — anything where the public interest in the widespread dissemination of knowledge runs up against those […]

  • Stealth Move in Washington Aims to Get $100 Billion for IMF without Congressional Debate

    “You don’t have to do this.”  Those are the near-last words of several victims in the Coen brothers’ classic, No Country for Old Men, as they try to convince the movie’s unrelenting assassin that he should spare them.  The assassin, played by Javier Bardem, finds this annoying, because in his mind these murders are pre-determined. […]

  • Oil Prices and Venezuela’s Economy

    Introduction The Venezuelan economy has grown more than 94 percent since the current expansion began in the second quarter of 2003.1  The overwhelming bulk of this growth has been in the non-oil sector.2  Throughout most of these five and a half years of unprecedented growth, the economy has often been characterized as an “oil boom […]