Archive for the ‘decline’ Category

The year 2025: Oil, dollar out; Russia, Islam in

November 21, 2008

Global warming could be a boon to Russia, a European country could be overrun by organized crime and the U.S. and its dollar could further decline in importance during the next two decades, says a U.S. intelligence report with predictions for the world in 2025.

The report, Global Trends 2025, is published every four years by the National Intelligence Council to give U.S. leaders insight into looming problems and opportunities.

The report says the warming earth will extend Russia and Canada‘s growing season and ease their access to northern oil fields, strengthening their economies. But Russia’s potential emergence as a world power may be clouded by lagging investment in its energy sector, persistent crime and government corruption, the report says.

By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer

Analysts also warn that the same kind of organized crime plaguing Russia could eventually take over the government of an Eastern or Central European country. The report is silent on which one.

It also says countries in Africa and South Asia may find themselves unstable and ungoverned, as state regimes collapse or wither away under security problems and water and food shortages brought about by climate change and a population increase of 1.4 billion.

The potential for conflict will be greater in 2025 than it is now, as the world’s population competes for declining and shifting food, water and energy resources.

Despite a more precarious world situation, the report also says al-Qaida’s terrorist franchise could decay “sooner than people think.” It cites its growing unpopularity in the Muslim world, where it kills most of its victims.

“The prospect that al-Qaida will be among the small number of…

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081121/
ap_on_go_ot/intel_trends_4

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U.S. Intelligence Experts Point To Future American Decline

November 21, 2008

The political, economic and military influence of the United States will substantially decline over the next two decades, according to the country’s leading intelligence organisation.

By Alex Spillius
The Telegraph (UK)
The National Intelligence Council analysis Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World will serve as a sobering reminder to President-Elect Barack Obama of the challenges he faces leading a country that might no longer be able to “call the shots alone”.

The use of nuclear weapons will grow increasingly likely by 2025, the report found, forecasting a tense, unstable world shadowed by war.

“The world of the near future will be subject to an increased likelihood of conflict over scarce resources, including food and water, and will be haunted by the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons.”

Mr Obama will assume power in January with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a resurgent Russia, an Iran determined to build a nuclear bomb and instability over the Palestinian territories.

The report also predicted that some African and South Asian states may wither away altogether, and organised crime could take over at least one state in central Europe.

Struggling to find a bright spot, researchers concluded that terrorism could decline if “economic growth continues in the Middle East and youth unemployment is reduced”.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/north
america/usa/barackobama/3492802/US-influence
-to-decline-NIC-intelligence-report-predicts.html

Submarine Deaths Underscore Russian Navy Decline

November 10, 2008

An accident aboard a Russian nuclear attack submarine that killed at least 20 and injured 22 late Saturday, is the latest in a series of undersea tragedies that have struck the Russian Navy as it struggles to regain Soviet-era capacities.

The ship’s nuclear reactor was undamaged in the incident, and survivors evacuated to the naval base at Vladivostok on Sunday, Russian officials said.

This video grab from Russian NTV channel shows the Russian nuclear ...
This video grab from Russian NTV channel shows the Russian nuclear submarine. Russian officials are investigating a gas poisoning accident on a nuclear submarine due to be leased to India that killed 20 people, as local people mourned the victims.(AFP/Ntv)

“During sea trials of a nuclear-powered submarine of the Pacific Fleet the firefighting system went off unsanctioned, killing over 20 people, including servicemen and workers,” Russian naval spokesman Cpt. Igor Dyagalo told journalists.

“The submarine is not damaged, its reactor works as normal, and background radiation levels are normal,” he added.

The malfunction of the firefighting system, which spewed deadly freon gas through the forward compartments of K-152 Nerpa, an Akula-II class attack sub undergoing diving trials in the Sea of Japan, has a little-known international twist. Though neither government has officially admitted it, both Indian and Russian media have been reporting for months that the 12,000-ton Nerpa was to be handed over to the Indian Navy early next year under a 10-year lease.

The acquisition would multiply India’s military capabilities in the sensitive Indian Ocean, and raise questions about Russia’s role in proliferating nuclear technologies. Indian news agencies reported last week that a team of 40 Indian naval specialists was slated to arrive later this month in Vladivostok to learn about the ship.

“India was one of the main supporters of Russia’s defense industries after the Soviet Union collapsed, and provided funds that helped to keep our aviation and shipbuilding going,” says Vadim Kozulin, a military expert with the PIR Center, a security think tank in Moscow. “It’s only been in the past three years that Russian military procurement budgets have been greater than the earnings from exports.”

According to media reports, the deal was struck in 2004 in which India paid up to $650 million to refit the Admiral Gorshkov, a Soviet-era aircraft carrier, and assist completion of the Nerpa, which had lain on blocks at the Komsomolsk-na-Amur shipyard since its construction was largely abandoned in 1991.

The Akula-II class of nuclear subs, a late Soviet-era design, are able to dive deeper, more than 600 meters, run more silently than previous attack subs, and move at speeds up to 33 knots while fully submerged.

Russian seamen line up on an unidentified submarine believed ...
Russian seamen line up on an unidentified submarine believed to be an Akula-class submarine during a military parade training in Vladivostok in this July 25, 2008 file photo. More than 20 people were killed and another 21 injured in an accident aboard a Russian nuclear submarine in the Pacific Ocean, the navy said on Sunday, in the worst submarine disaster since the Kursk sank eight years ago. The RIA agency quoted a source in the Amur Shipbuilding Enterprise as saying the accident occurred aboard the Nerpa, a Project 971 Shchuka-B attack submarine, known inside NATO as an Akula-class submarine. Picture taken July 25, 2008.REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev (RUSSIA)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20081110/ts_
csm/osub;_ylt=AtY6WORt6v_GyVKHZp.B1Cys0NUE

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By Sergei L. Loiko
The Los Angeles Times
November 10, 2008
Reporting from Moscow — A false alarm was responsible for setting off the emission of deadly fire-extinguishing gases on a new Russian nuclear-powered submarine in the Sea of Japan, killing 20 people and injuring 21 late Saturday, Russian navy officials said.

All but three of the dead were civilian specialists and experts on board the Shark-class submarine Nerpa for the performance test trial, according to the federal prosecutors office.

The ship’s nuclear reactor was not affected in the accident, and the submarine returned safely to port on its own, said Russian navy spokesman Igor Dygalo. The reactor was operating properly, and the radiation levels were normal, Dygalo told the Russian news agency Interfax on Sunday.

Dygalo said that, of 208 people on board, 91 were crew members and the rest were civilian specialists and experts overseeing the testing of the submarine.

Analysts said the large presence of civilians was probably a crucial factor in the high casualty count. The regular crew would have been far better prepared for the emergency situation when the gas-emission siren rang, said Igor Kurdin, a former Russian nuclear missile submarine commander and head of the St. Petersburg Submariners Club.

“Even if you are the president of the country present on a submarine,” Kurdin said, “you can’t rely on your security detail to save your life in a fire, because you need to be able to save your own life by using the rescue equipment properly and quickly.”

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/
world/la-fg-russiasub10-2008nov10
,0,3939263.story?track=rss

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MOSCOW – India’s navy was supposed to lease the brand-new Russian nuclear submarine that suffered an accident over the weekend which killed 20 people, news reports said Monday.

Read the rest:
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/081110
/world/russia_submarine_2

Biggest Post Election Stock Drop Ever: Obama Fear?

November 6, 2008

A case of postelection nerves sent Wall Street plunging Wednesday as investors, looking past Barack Obama’s presidential victory, returned to their fears of a deep and protracted recession. Volatility swept over the market again, with the Dow Jones industrials falling nearly 500 points and all the major indexes tumbling more than 5 percent.

The market was widely expected to give back some gains after a runup that lifted the Standard & Poor’s 500 index more than 18 percent and that gave the Dow its best weekly advance in 34 years; moreover, many analysts had warned that Wall Street faced more turbulence after two months of devastating losses.

But investors lost their recent confidence about the economy and began dumping stocks again.

“The market has really gotten ahead of itself, and falsely priced in that this recession wasn’t going to be as prolonged as thought,” said Ryan Larson, head of equity trading at Voyageur Asset Management, a subsidiary of RBC Dain Rauscher. “Regardless of who won the White House, these problems are not going away.”

“We’re in a really bad recession, period,” he said. “People are locking in profits and realizing we’re not out of the woods.”

Beyond broad economic concerns, worries about the financial sector intensified after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. began to notify about 3,200 employees globally that they have been lost their jobs as part of a broader plan to slash 10 percent of the investment bank’s work force, a person familiar with the situation said. The cuts were first reported last month. Goldman fell 8 percent, while other financial names also fell; Citigroup Inc. dropped 14 percent.

Commodities stocks also fell after steelmaker ArcelorMittal said it would slash production because of weakening demand. Its stock plunged 21.5 percent.

Although the market expected Obama to win the election, as the session wore on investors were clearly worrying about the weakness of the economy and pondered what the Obama administration might do. Analysts said the market is already anxious about who Obama selects as the next Treasury Secretary, as well as who he picks for other Cabinet positions.

“The celebration is over. Today we saw a bit of reality,” said Al Goldman, chief market strategist at Wachovia Securities in St. Louis. “President-elect Obama is coming into a situation with limited experience, having to handle an economy in serious trouble, a couple of wars and terrorism. It’s an extremely tough job.”

Read the rest By Sara Lepro and Tim Paradis, AP Business Writers:
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/081105/wall_street.html

America is Still Number One: Winner Should Move Away From Faddish Negative Spin

October 30, 2008

I hope whoever wins next week will dismiss all this faddish talk about American decline.

By Robert Kagan
The Washington Post
Thursday, October 30, 2008; Page A23

Is Barack Obama the candidate of American decline? To hear some of his supporters among the foreign policy punditry, you’d think he was. Francis Fukuyama says he supports Obama because he believes Obama would be better at “managing” American decline than John McCain. Fareed Zakaria writes weekly encomiums to Obama’s “realism,” by which he means Obama’s acquiescence to the “post-American world.” Obama, it should be said, has done little to deserve the praise of these declinists. His view of America’s future, at least as expressed in this campaign, has been appropriately optimistic, which is why he is doing well in the polls. If he sounded anything like Zakaria and Fukuyama say he does, he’d be out of business by now.

One hopes that whoever wins next week will quickly dismiss all this faddish declinism. It seems to come along every 10 years or so. In the late 1970s, the foreign policy establishment was seized with what Cyrus Vance called “the limits of our power.” In the late 1980s, the scholar Paul Kennedy predicted the imminent collapse of American power due to “imperial overstretch.” In the late 1990s, Samuel P. Huntington warned of American isolation as the “lonely superpower.” Now we have the “post-American world.”

Yet the evidence of American decline is weak. Yes, as Zakaria notes, the world’s largest Ferris wheel is in Singapore and the largest casino in Macau. But by more serious measures of power, the United States is not in decline, not even relative to other powers. Its share of the global economy last year was about 21 percent, compared with about 23 percent in 1990, 22 percent in 1980 and 24 percent in 1960. Although the United States is suffering through a financial crisis, so is every other major economy. If the past is any guide, the adaptable American economy will be the first to come out of recession and may actually find its position in the global economy enhanced.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/10
/29/AR2008102903202.html?h
pid=opinionsbox1

Major Retailers Feel the Squeeze From Consumers

December 27, 2007
December 27, 2007
As the nation’s merchants began poring — or weeping — over holiday sales receipts Wednesday, a surprising pattern emerged: even brands that for years have inspired the undying devotion of shoppers felt the pinch of tightening wallets.Once seemingly invincible marquee chains like Coach, Target, Starbucks and Abercrombie & Fitch are settling for ho-hum growth this winter, after surpassing even the most rosy expectations season after season.Though they sell very different products, at very different prices, these companies all shared the same bragging rights. Their customers considered them indispensable, even expressions of who they were.

But in this turbulent economy, the indispensable is becoming disposable…..

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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/27/business/27shopping.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Target Says Holiday Sales Down

December 25, 2007
By ELLEN SIMON, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK – Early holiday sales reports are weak, with Target Corp., the nation’s No.2 retailer, warning that its sales may have fallen in December.

A broad gauge of consumer spending released by MasterCard Inc., which includes estimates for spending by cash and checks, showed a modest 2.4 percent increase in holiday spending, excluding gasoline and auto sales.

Women’s apparel suffered especially, with spending down 2.4 percent, said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis at MasterCard Advisors. The category had been doing even worse, down 5.7 percent at the middle of the season, before a boost in sales over the past three weeks.

“It’s a continuation of a slowing trend we’ve been monitoring for two years,” McNamara said.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071225/ap_on_bi_ge/holiday_shopping;_
ylt=AtYh7kjfsdmW.d.GUJ3.47es0NUE