Bill Emmott at PostGlobal

Bill Emmott

Great Britain

Bill Emmott is the former editor of The Economist magazine, a leading international current affairs publication from England. He is now an independent writer, speaker, and consultant on international affairs. Close.

Bill Emmott

Great Britain

Bill Emmott is the former editor of The Economist magazine, a leading international current affairs publication from England. more »

Main Page | Bill Emmott Archives | PostGlobal Archives

March 24, 2008 11:15 AM

A Welcome Global Slowdown

The Current Discussion:The global economy is quaking. Are we heading toward a global recession? Who's to blame?

The world economy has grown faster in the past four years than at any time since the 1960s. So virtually any slowdown is likely to seem alarming by recent standards. But actually, there's no need to panic.

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March 11, 2008 12:33 PM

Spitzer, Hypocrite and Idiot, Must Resign

The Current Discussion: New York State governor Eliot Spitzer admits he hired a prostitute. Should people care, and why?

Eliot Spitzer should resign, immediately. Although a person's sexual behavior should by rights be a private matter, and irrelevant to his fitness for public office, that presumption of privacy must be overruled when the officer concerned has been acting to attack the very thing that he has been doing, namely prostitution. We do not expect our politicians to be saints. But when they are shown to be rank hypocrites, they are finished. Their credibility is gone.

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February 20, 2008 2:58 PM

Fighting Chavez for Cuba

The Current Discussion: With Castro gone, will Cuba become America's 51st state?

The real question after Castro is whether Miami will now empty out, with all the Cubans there returning home. Time to sell Miami real estate?

But seriously, what is likelier to happen is threefold: first, a battle to control power, or rather to seize it from Raul Castro, whether by democratic or undemocratic means; second, a battle by commercial interests inside and outside Cuba to try to get the economy opened up in order to be able to realize huge potential gains in real estate and other assets; third, a battle for influence in post-Castro Cuba between Hugo Chavez's Venezuela and everyone else, most notably America.

Given the absurd and counter-productive economic embargo that America has imposed on Cuba for all these decades, this battle with Hugo Chavez is not one which America is in a great position to win. Perhaps it will, if Chavez overplays his hand and looks just like another imperialist from across the sea. But America needs to understand that it does not start with many advantages in this new game.

January 24, 2008 10:21 AM

Stock Market Swings: So What?

The Current Discussion: If countries around the world are doing so well economically, why are they still catching a cold when the United States sneezes?

They aren't: this metaphor is now entirely wrong. It is America that has a cold, though the Federal Reserve's dramatic interest-rate cut this week suggests that Ben Bernanke thinks it is getting pneumonia rather than just a cold. Since America accounts for 30% of the world economy and is most countries' single biggest trading partner, a slowdown or even recession in America is bound to affect everyone else as well. So while America has a cold, or perhaps pneumonia, everyone else is getting a slight sore throat and a few irritating sniffles. Those symptoms are worse in Europe than in Asia, but they aren't severe yet anywhere outside the United States.

Those symptoms aren't yet actually severe in the U.S. either, by the way. There has been just one month of rising unemployment. There's gloomy talk in Britain, too, yet here unemployment has actually been falling recently. Still, presumably the Fed can see something rather worse ahead for America than has yet been revealed in the economic data.

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October 30, 2007 11:36 AM

Falling Dollar a Blessing in Disguise

The dollar’s weakness just a temporary market blip? Are you joking?

The United States provided the trigger for an extraordinary credit crunch in August, thanks to the troubles in its subprime mortgage market. Merrill Lynch has just announced $8.4 billion of write-offs, and Citigroup is leading a (probably doomed) effort to put together a $75 billion bail-out fund for the snazziest, most incomprehensible and unpriceable securities. American house prices are falling nationwide, the first time such a national drop has taken place. The economy has slowed, by a full percentage point in the past year. To meet the payments on its international current account, the country has been borrowing the equivalent of more than 6% of GDP each year. The Federal Reserve has begun to cut interest rates, and is widely expected to cut them further. In such circumstances, wouldn’t you expect the dollar to be falling?

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August 8, 2007 9:04 AM

Like Torture, "If" Is the Key Word

The second part of the question almost answers itself. "Is this surveillance justified if it helps stop terrorist operations?" As in the case of torture, if surveillance were actually to be proven to be successful in stopping terrorism and thus saving lives, it would be hard to mount arguments against it.

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June 25, 2007 10:03 AM

Just the Sort We Should Honor

Personally, I find all knighthoods needlessly provocative: why should anyone be given the right to attach the word “sir” to their name, as if they were some kind of medieval warrior? (Memo to Queen Elizabeth: in the unlikely event you were thinking of including me in your next list, please press the delete button. But, Ma’am, “duke” I would consider…) Still, if my country is foolish enough to continue to hand out knighthoods, I cannot see how Salman Rushdie should be disqualified.

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May 8, 2007 10:58 AM

An Englishman Says Abolish Monarchy

As an Englishman, I feel a need to respond to the accusation that we are all twits who dote on the monarchy. In 1994 I wrote an editorial declaring The Economist, of which I was then the editor, to be republican and arguing that the monarchy should be abolished. It is an anachronism from a past age of deference, and stands in the way of proper constitutional checks and balances. Lacking any legitimacy, it can no longer be a check itself.

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April 23, 2007 10:48 AM

Not Decline, But Rupture with the Past

The moment when people start saying that a country is “doomed to decline” is generally a good time to buy its stock – or, at least, to become optimistic. France is certainly not doomed to decline. And the fact that after the first round of voting the country looks most likely to choose Nicolas Sarkozy as its next president is pretty good evidence for that proposition.

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April 3, 2007 1:56 PM

Gitmo Not Exactly Model Diplomacy

Given the complex nature of Iran’s power structure, this question is always worth asking. But it is not at all clear that the answer is particularly helpful in explaining the seizure of the British sailors nor the difficulty in obtaining their release. Governments, especially obstreperous ones that are not all that happy with their country’s status in the world, often behave in this way. You don’t need to solve mysteries about decision-making systems to see that.

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