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first_img Harvard expert explores what the international community can do When the Cold War ended, the U.S. stood as the world’s pre-eminent power and looked forward to a new age of peace and prosperity. But a foreign policy overly focused on spreading American values dashed that promise, argues Stephen M. Walt in his new book, “The Hell of Good Intentions.”Walt, the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Kennedy School, says that failures linked to a strategy of “liberal hegemony” championed by Washington’s foreign policy elite have undermined the goal of advancing ideals like democracy and free markets and diminished the nation’s power and influence.The Gazette spoke to Walt about his critique of U.S. foreign policy and his belief that the remedy lies in a more restrained approach.Q&AStephen M. WaltGAZETTE: How do you define “liberal hegemony” and why has it been such a destructive foreign policy approach for the United States?WALT: Liberal hegemony refers to a strategy that seeks to use American power to spread liberal values far and wide, and in a sense try to transform the world in America’s image. So it’s not “liberal” in the sense of being left wing. Rather, it is about spreading the classic liberal ideals of democracy, human rights, rule of law, and markets all over the world. These are wonderful principles that Americans rightly defend. The problem is that trying to spread them around the world doesn’t work very well, as we’ve seen for the past 25 years.First of all, non-democracies are threatened by this strategy and they resist in various ways, and sometimes quite effectively. Second, when we succeed in toppling a dictatorship and then try to create a democracy, it turns out to be an extremely difficult task, as we’ve seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and other places. So instead of spreading our values, we end up with failed states, insurgencies, and terrorism. Third, this project involved the United States committing itself to protect countries all over the world, which meant we took on more and more security burdens without having more resources to accomplish those aims. This policy allowed allies to get a free ride and in some cases act recklessly under the protection of the United States.Liberal hegemony also involved spreading financial markets rapidly and trying to get more and more countries into our trading order, and rapid globalization just didn’t deliver as promised. We ended up with greater inequality here in the United States, stagnant lower and middle-class incomes, and eventually a major financial crisis.Stephen Walt. Harvard file photoGAZETTE: What is some of the evidence for your argument? And was there a pivotal moment when the mistakes began?WALT: The pivotal moment is really the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the unipolar era. The United States was really on top of the world in the early to mid-1990s, and it was an era of great optimism. Our relations with the major powers were good, including Russia and China. Democracy was spreading in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Markets were expanding. Iraq had been disarmed in the first Gulf War, and Iran had no nuclear enrichment capability. The Oslo peace process had begun. So there was this widespread belief that American ideals were going to spread around the world and that this was going to be relatively easy to do.But if you look at the situation we face today, relationships with Russia and China are quite poor, and those two countries are now cooperating quite closely against us. Democracy is in retreat in many parts of the world and under threat in places like Poland and Hungary. Even worse, American democracy itself is increasingly dysfunctional. India, Pakistan, and North Korea have all tested nuclear weapons in this period. The Oslo peace process was a complete failure and the two-state solution that we favored is further away than ever. And countries like Iran are now on the threshold of being nuclear weapons states if they decide they want to be. So given where we were in the early 1990s and where we are today, it’s pretty clear that American foreign policy didn’t accomplish what we thought it would. We are not solely responsible for all of those negative trends, but our fingerprints are on a lot of them.GAZETTE: Instead of relentlessly seeking to spread American values, what should the nation be doing?WALT: We should be focusing our foreign policy on trying first and foremost to make Americans safer and more prosperous here at home and to defend those core American values here in the United States. We should continue to stand up for these values and encourage other countries to embrace them, but primarily by setting a good example, by showing that these values work well in the United States. In terms of foreign policy I argue for a strategy that is sometimes termed “offshore balancing,” where the United States commits itself militarily only when there are threats to the balance of power in critical strategic regions like Europe, Asia, or the Persian Gulf. If no one is threatening to dominate these areas, the United States can stay “offshore” in terms of its military deployments, while remaining engaged around the world economically and diplomatically. Today, the only serious great power rival to the United States is China, and therefore the United States should focus most of its attention on maintaining a favorable balance of power in Asia so that China does not dominate that region. Offshore balancing is a much more restrained foreign policy than we have been following, but it is not isolationism or disengagement.GAZETTE: Is there a danger that if the U.S. shifts to a more restrained foreign policy, the vacuum would be filled by nations that do not support liberal values?WALT: I think that idea is mistaken. The United States has not been able to dictate politics in many parts of the world, despite repeated and sometimes costly efforts. As powerful as we are, we don’t control the evolution of local politics and political alignments in most of the world. We have some influence, but we have not been able to dictate what happens in the Middle East, we can’t determine the fate of Afghanistan after 17 years of war, we have not been able to steer the politics of a country like Hungary or Poland, which are moving in an illiberal direction. If the world’s most powerful country cannot do that, then other countries are not going to be able to do that either. We can do a lot to shape the balance of power in critical areas, but our ability to mold the politics of these regions and tell other countries how to organize their societies is very limited.GAZETTE: Had the U.S. followed the collapse of the Soviet Union with the policies you advocate, what would the world look like now?WALT: We would not have expanded NATO eastward in an open-ended fashion and our relations with Russia would be substantially better. In fact, over time, we would have slowly drawn down our commitment to Europe and encouraged Europe to take greater responsibility for its own defense. I think if we had done that beginning in the 1990s Europe would be in better shape today. The United States would not have adopted the strategy of dual containment in the Persian Gulf in the 1990s, which required us to keep troops in Saudi Arabia to deter Iran and Iraq simultaneously. Our presence there was one reason Osama bin Laden decided to attack the United States, so Sept. 11 might not have happened. Had we adopted a more even-handed approach during the Oslo process, we might have actually gotten a two-state solution. Needless to say I would not have invaded Iraq in 2003. And a more measured approach to globalization would have made sense as well. I’m not suggesting a different policy would have produced a foreign policy nirvana, but it’s pretty easy to see how a less ambitious and more realistic approach to foreign policy would have left us and much of the world in better shape today.Interview was edited and condensed. The latest violence in the Middle East Netanyahu, in the driver’s seat Israeli election results promise more settlements and warnings on Iran, with scant chance of a Palestinian state, Walt says center_img Peace in our times? Harvard Kennedy School panel explores: ‘Is War on the Way Out?’ Relatedlast_img read more

first_imgMore than half of federal transportation spending in fiscal year (FY) 2008 was directed to programs that contain subsidies, according to Subsidyscope, an initiative of Pew’s Economic Policy Group. The analysis comes from a new comprehensive online database on all spending on subsidy programs in the transportation sector. While Vermont received the lowest total amount, it ranked seventh in per capita funding, which was the highest in the Northeast.The project collected and aggregated data from USAspending.gov and other sources and built a searchable database of federal transportation spending; users can query by grant recipient, state, government program and many other parameters. The database includes information from 2000-2008.”Federal transportation subsidies cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year and are surprisingly hard to uncover,” said Subsidyscope project director Marcus Peacock. “At a time when lawmakers are concerned about the growing budget deficit, this information will help leaders make informed choices and set spending priorities.”In addition to creating the public database, Subsidyscope has produced several analyses of the sector. Some of the findings include:More than $45 billion of federal transportation spending in FY2008 was directed to programs that contain subsidies, an increase of around 20 percent since FY2000. The types of subsidies can be broken down into four categories: direct expenditures; tax expenditures; risk transfers; and contracts. Comparing direct expenditures by transportation mode, in FY2008, $30 billion was spent on highways, nearly $9 billion on mass transit, nearly $3 billion on aviation, $1 billion on rail, $387 million on maritime and $126 million was spent on other programs such as pipelines and recreational trails. Spending on tax expenditures and risk transfers totaled less than $4 billion.From fiscal years 2000 through 2008, California received the most transportation funding of any state – more than $38 billion. Vermont received the least, $1.5 billion (7th in per capita at $2,444). However, California received the least transportation aid per resident — $1,038. Alaska received the most money per capita, $8,183, almost eight times higher than California and nearly twice the next highest state (Wyoming $4,552). Higher subsidies per capita were generally found among the least populated states.The biggest transportation tax break is to employees for parking costs. In fiscal year 1998 the government lost an estimated $1.5 billion in revenue through this benefit. By fiscal year 2008, the number almost doubled to nearly $3 billion. By fiscal year 2014, it’s expected to reach almost $4 billion.Over the next several months, Subsidyscope will release spending and subsidy information on additional transportation-related programs, many of which have received little public scrutiny.Please visit www.subsidyscope.org(link is external) for access to all available databases as well as further information on federal subsidies.Subsidyscope is an initiative of Pew’s Economic Policy Group. The project aggregates information on federal subsidies from multiple sources and offers a comprehensive, searchable, open-source database of direct expenditures, which serves as a gateway for press, policymakers, advocates and the public. The project is guided by a broad and bipartisan advisory board of budget, fiscal and transparency experts and is assisted by its technology partner, the Sunlight Foundation.The Pew Charitable Trusts (www.pewtrusts.org(link is external)) is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.Source: Pew Charitable Trust. WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —last_img read more

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York As Mets and Yankees fans remember well, Doc Gooden routinely used to mow ‘em down from the mound. But the baseball ace was never much known for his fielding so when he agreed to be a pitch man for a new grass company, some might have thought he was lobbing a passed ball for a medical marijuana dispenser.That couldn’t be further from the truth. It turns out that Gooden has teamed up with Pennington Seed, which recently became the official lawn care company of the New York Yankees, for a special backyard “spring training” event Saturday at Home Depot on Jericho Turnpike in Jericho.Gooden is slated to be on hand for a meet and greet from noon to 1 p.m. at the store—and he’ll sign memorabilia, whether it’s Yankees or Mets collectibles.“As part of the partnership with the Yankees, Pennington is working directly with the grounds crew to develop a unique blend of grass seed that supports the aesthetic, functional and maintenance needs of the field,” said Brette Bennett, a Pennington Seed spokesperson. The main ingredient is Kentucky Bluegrass.Earlier this year Pennington Seed, Inc., which was founded in Madison, Ga., back in 1945, officially replaced the Yankee Stadium Grass Seed Mix from the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.Known as “Dr. K” for his impressive string of strike-outs every game, Dwight Gooden spent 18 years in the Majors: 11 with the Mets, most notably when he helped the team win the 1986 World Series yet notoriously missed the victory parade in Manhattan after a heavy night of partying, and three years with the Yankees, where he memorably threw a 135-pitch no-hitter in 1996 while his father was awaiting open heart surgery in a hospital. After that gutsy performance, Gooden presented his dad with a game ball.Gooden would frequently shine on the diamond. Off the field was where he often found trouble, as readers of his recent autobiography, Doc: A Memoir, learned full well. While the Mets were parading through lower Manhattan in 1986, Doc was in bad shape from all the booze and coke he’d self-medicated the night before.“As my teammates rode through the Canyon of Heroes,” he wrote, “I was alone in my bed in Roslyn, Long Island, with the curtains closed and the TV on, missing what should have been the greatest morning of my life.”And the worst was yet to come: a full-year suspension in 1995 for testing positive for cocaine abuse. But he pulled himself together, in no small part due to the encouragement of George Steinbrenner, “the boss of the Yankees,” who convinced the Doc to don pinstripes. It suited him fine. And now he says he’s been completely clean since 2011. But does that mean he has no grass stains on his uniform? Come to Home Depot on April 19 and find out.last_img read more

first_imgRecently we began working with several credit union clients to find good solutions for fully assessing their website’s ADA compliance. One point we know for sure is that the WCAG 2.0 AA will be the standard for Financial institutions to measure themselves against. But from there things get a bit murky!Through our research we came across a number of options for credit unions. There are paid and free scanning tools that claim to assess website ADA compliance, but we also found that often these types of tools miss important factors in determining if your site will meet compliance standards.The U.S. Government’s own website own this topic clearly states that “No automated evaluation tool can tell you if your site is accessible, or even compliant. Manual testing is always necessary.” Here’s what the U.S. Government says in detail about testing a website for ADA compliance:Another page on the this U.S. Government Website lists a lengthy number of possible testing tools that could be used to assess a website for ADA compliance, and explains that “you may find that you will use 8-10 tools just to verify one issue.” YIKES! Don’t know about you, but we don’t want to have to use 8-10 tools to do anything! But the key take-a-way is:Clearly, this is an issue that needs to be handled by an expert in website accessibility. Now, to be clear, we do NOT recommend that credit union IT staff undertake assessing their own website’s ADA compliance alone. The WCAG 2.0 is very lengthy and a bit confusing. But bringing your credit union website up to ADA compliance is good for a number of reasons. Principally, there’s concern that legally CUs will be required to meet these standards in 2018. Also, fully accessibly websites are also better preforming via search engines like Google, as many of the accessibility fixes also help with search engine optimization (SEO). We recommend that instead of tackling this issue on your own you work with an outside team of experts for guidance. We’ve found a great independent auditing company, Accessible 360. They specialize in live-user testing for ADA compliance, which is exactly what the regulations recommend, and this is the company we are recommending to all of our clients.Accessible360, co-founded by Aaron Cannon, a blind programmer/software engineer who has specialized as an accessibility engineer since 2007, conducts initial website assessments and full website audits for ADA compliance. They will then provide you with an audit summary report and a technical report for developers so that there is no question what needs to be done to bring your site up to standard. Auditing companies like A360 often provide on-going support of your CU’s website and may even give you a digital badge to place on your website, indicating that you are monitored by an independent ADA compliance company. Which is great for marketing and for demonstrating your institution’s commitment to accessibility.Accessible360 also provides expert rebuttals for their clients, should the institution be served with any kind of demand letter regarding ADA website compliance issues, which is a huge time-saver and would prevent your CU from needing to work with a lawyer for this very purpose. Sounds like a win-win to us! 67SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Meredith Olmstead Meredith Olmstead is the CEO and Founder of FI GROW Solutions, which provides Digital Marketing & Sales services to Community Financial Institutions. With experience working with FIs in markets of … Web: www.figrow.com Detailslast_img read more

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

first_imgThick smoke hung over Ukraine’s capital Kiev on Friday as forest fires smoldered on in the Chernobyl nuclear zone, while city officials said no radiation spike had been detected.The acrid haze hindered visibility all over the city of three million and the smell of smoke was noticeable even inside homes.The city on Friday topped the global ranking for high air pollution compiled by IQAir Group, outdoing places in China including Shanghai, as the coronavirus pandemic has led to cleaner air worldwide. The smog came with strong winds blowing in smoke from dozens of forest fires in surrounding regions, including the nuclear exclusion zone around Chernobyl power plant.A fire broke out almost two weeks ago close to the reactor that exploded in 1986 in the world’s worst nuclear accident.On Tuesday, Ukrainian authorities said  the blaze had been largely extinguished thanks to heavy rain.But on Friday a thousand firefighters with two planes and three helicopters were still battling a number of small fires in the wooded area some 80 kilometers north of Kiev, the emergency service said. Topics :center_img Kiev authorities assured residents there was no danger of radiation.”In Kiev, smoke and air pollution are being observed as a result of fires… but there is no radiation,” Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a video address.Officials nevertheless urged locals not to go out without urgent need and to keep their windows shut.The air pollution hit a city already under lockdown due to the coronavirus epidemic, with 4,662 confirmed cases in Ukraine and 125 deaths.In Kiev, people are allowed to walk outside but only wearing masks and not in groups of more than two.last_img read more

first_imgTrump tweeted on Thursday that the book was “a compilation of lies and made up stories,” which could undermine the argument that publication could pose a threat.The government supported its argument with filings from several senior intelligence officials who said publishing would damage national security.Simon & Schuster, Bolton’s publisher, has rejected the government’s accusations, and lawyers for Bolton said more than 200,000 copies of the book have already been distributed.Bolton’s lawyers also called an injunction an illegal prior restraint, citing the Supreme Court’s 1971 rejection of the Nixon administration’s bid to stop publication of the Pentagon Papers, which detailed US military involvement in Vietnam. Topics : The Trump administration is heading to court on Friday afternoon to urge a federal judge to block the publication of former national security adviser John Bolton’s memoir.US District Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington will consider the government’s emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to stop the memoir’s release, because it contained classified information and publication could threaten national security.Several excerpts have already been released from the book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” which is scheduled for release on Tuesday. The book has drawn attention for its withering portrayal of Trump, including alleged improprieties far more extensive than the accusations underlying the president’s impeachment trial, where he was acquitted in February.Bolton is a foreign policy hawk who was ousted last September after 17 months as national security adviser.He accused Trump in the memoir of exhibiting “fundamentally unacceptable behavior” that eroded the legitimacy of the presidency, and being driven by his own political interests.Bolton said Trump, who is seeking re-election on Nov. 3, once explicitly sought Chinese President Xi Jinping’s help to win a second term.last_img read more

first_img Education,  Statement Harrisburg, PA – Governor Wolf released the following statement on PASSHE and APSCUF contract negotiations:“I have monitored negotiations between PASSHE and APSCUF closely and I have had many conversations with both sides. Throughout all of this I have repeatedly urged both sides to continue talking until an agreement is reached.“We must ensure our professors are treated fairly while recognizing PASSHE’s difficult financial situation due to years of underfunding.“There is enough common ground for the two sides to reach a final compromise. Both PASSHE and APSCUF should continue negotiations until a final agreement is reached.“Avoiding a strike is paramount because a work stoppage will be devastating for the state system. Most seriously, a strike could drive a loss of students, which would further exacerbate an already precarious financial situation for the state system. We have to look no further than what happened to Temple University following the faculty strike in 1990. It took years for Temple to recover its student population.“We all agree that the higher education of our students is a top priority, and tomorrow students should show up to class and professors should show up to teach them.”Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf Governor Wolf Statement on PASSHE and APSCUF Contract Negotiations SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img October 18, 2016last_img read more

first_imgInformation is posted and updated on the California IMCA Speedweek Facebook page. Merced also opens the pits at 2 p.m., the drivers’ meeting is at 5:30 p.m. and racing is at 7 p.m.  MERCED, Calif. – California is the place Modified and Northern SportMod drivers will want to be, for the inaugural California IMCA Speedweek Aug. 10-15. All events are draw/redraw. Modified features pay $100 to start, Northern SportMod features $75, with IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing National, Shaw Race Cars Western Region and KMJ Performance State points, in addition to series points at stake.  Top five drivers in standings for each division receive point fund shares, in increments of $1,000, $400, $200, $100 and $100 for the Modifieds and $700, $300, $200, $100 and $100 for the North­ern SportMods.  At Petaluma, the gate opens at noon, the drivers meeting is at 3:45 p.m. and racing starts at 5:30 p.m.  And at Bakersfield, pits open at 3 p.m., the drivers’ meeting is at 5:30 p.m., hot laps are at 6 p.m. and racing gets underway at 7 p.m. Pit gates open at 1 p.m., the drivers’ meeting is at 5:30 p.m. and the first green flag flies at 7 p.m. sharp at Keller.  Pits open at 2 p.m. at Antioch. The drivers’ meeting is at 4 p.m. and racing is at 5 p.m.  Camping is allowed at each track but drivers and fans following Speedweek are reminded that no fires will be allowed. Several tracks will have Covid-19 forms to be filled out. Information about those forms is available from those tracks. IMCA Modifieds race for $1,000 to win their Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifying fea­tures while Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods chase $750 top checks each night.  Nightly entry fee for drivers who did not pre-register is $20. Pit passes each night are $45. All events will be broadcast on Speed Shift TV and FloRacing.  The inaugural California IMCA Speedweek presented by Hoppes Motorsports opens next Mon­day at Placerville Speedway, then travels to Petaluma Speedway on Aug. 11; to Antioch Speed­way on Aug. 12; to Merced Speedway on Aug. 13; to Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford on Aug. 14; and to Bakersfield Speedway for the Aug. 15 finale. Placerville opens the pit gate at 11 a.m. with the drivers’ meeting at 4:45 p.m. and cars on the track at 5:15 p.m. last_img read more

first_imgAMES, Iowa – Drivers in two of IMCA’s top series are on the receiving end of a contingency awards program with Z4 Products again this season.The pole starter and the Sunoco Race Fuels drawing winner at all Deery Brothers Summer Series events for IMCA Late Models, and the pole starter in each Hawkeye Dirt Tour for Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modifieds all receive bottles of heavy duty leak sealer and cooling system condi­tioner from the Ames, Iowa, company.“We enjoy promoting Z4 products regionally and founder Jerry Dakin is a really good guy in the industry,” noted IMCA Marketing Director Kevin Yoder. “We’re pleased to be able to get their products in the hands of deserving racers and will continue to do that throughout the summer.”The 30th annual Deery Series opens on April 8 at Davenport Speedway while the first Hawkeye Dirt Tour event is Memorial Day, Monday, May 30 at Benton County Speedway in Vinton.More information about Z4 Products is available by calling 515 231-0809.last_img read more