Current Events

U.S. National Defense System Useless?

According to a study of the American Physical Society, published on July 15, 2003, the current U.S. “missile defense strategy” is “not feasible against potential threats.” The finding states, “Intercepting missiles while their rockets are still burning would not be an effective approach for defending the U.S. against attacks by an important type of enemy missile,” especially stemming from North Korea and Iran. The study continues, “Issues of timing severely limit the feasibility” of a so-called “boost-phase defense (disabling ballistic missiles while they are still under power).” The study found, too, that “defending the United States against solid-propellant ICBMs would be impractical in many cases, because of their short burn times.” In addition, the “Airborne Laser would not be able to disable solid-propellant ICBMs at ranges useful for defending the United States… Although a successful intercept would prevent munitions from reaching their target, live nuclear, biological, or chemical warheads could strike populated areas short of the target in the United States or in other countries.”

Der Spiegel Online commented on this report on July 16, 2003. It pointed out that “in case of North Korea, a protection through the National Missile Defense system would be impossible…. In case of [a successful intercept of a] North Korean attack on the United States, biological, chemical and nuclear warheads could still strike Alaska, Canada or the Western parts of the United States.”

The findings and other relevant information can be reviewed at the official Webpage of the American Physical Society, at

Problems in Iraq and Afghanistan

Bild Online published a damaging article on July 10, quoting Donald Rumsfeld as allegedly admitting that “weapons of mass destruction” were NOT the reason for the U.S. to invade Iraq. According to the article, Mr. Rumsfeld stated that the coalition “‘did not attack Iraq because we had entirely new proof for Iraq’s attempts to obtain weapons of mass destruction.’ Rather, the administration acted because they viewed the threat in a different light, based on ‘the experience of September 11th.'”

Der Spiegel Online reported on July 10 and July 16 that the U.S. so far spent 48 billion dollars for the Iraq war. The Pentagon expects to spend an additional 3.9 billion dollars per month. By the end of September, the costs are expected to top 58 billion dollars. These costs do not include money for the reconstruction of Iraq. The Netzeitung reported on July 10 that Donald Rumsfeld unofficially invited Germany to participate in sending troops to Iraq. The German government declined to comply, stating that they are already providing humanitarian aid, and that they do not have the capability to send troops.

Since May 1, more than 74 US soldiers have died, and more than 382 were injured.

In addition, according to Der Spiegel Online, U.S. costs are also rising in Afghanistan, from 900 to 950 million dollars per month.

Is the U.S. Buying Its Allies?

MSNBC News reported that the U.S. is going to transfer $20 million to Palestinians “to strengthen the hand of Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in a new peace process with Israel… The U.S. State Department approved the direct aid earlier this month to help restore and improve basic services in Palestinian areas vacated by Israeli military forces under a new U.S.-backed peace plan known as the ‘road map.'” A U.S. embassy spokesman was quoted in the article, saying, “‘This is the first time we have ever given 20 million bucks straight to the Palestinian Authority.'”

War Between U.S. and North Korea Inevitable?

“Former Defense Secretary William Perry warned that the United States and North Korea are drifting toward war, perhaps as early as this year, in an increasingly dangerous standoff that also could result in terrorists being able to purchase a North Korean nuclear device and plant it in a U.S. city,” according to MSNBC News. “‘I think we are losing control’ of the situation, said Perry, who believes North Korea soon will have enough nuclear warheads to begin exploding them in tests and exporting them to terrorists and other U.S. adversaries. ‘The nuclear program now underway in North Korea poses an imminent danger of nuclear weapons being detonated in American cities,’ he said in an interview.” Later in the article, he was quoted as saying, “‘Time is running out, and each month the problem gets more dangerous.'”

Any End to German Economic Problems?

Der Spiegel Online reported on July 16 that two-thirds of Chancellor Schroeder’s ambitious tax relief program for 2004 are to be financed by additional governmental debt. “The tax relief program will cost more than 7 billion euro. Almost 5 billion euro are planned to be financed through additional debt,” according to the article. The magazine pointed out, too, that because of the structural changes in his program, Chancellor Schroeder is promising the German people a decrease in the governmental debt of 50 billion euros by 2010.

The Richest And The Poorest

Bild Online published on July 10 a list of the richest and the poorest countries, based on the average personal income, life expectancy and education of each country’s citizens. The poorest countries are all to be found in Black Africa, Sierra Leone being the poorest of them all. It is interesting that most of the richest countries belong to the lost tribes of the house of Israel. We realize, of course, that this list is somewhat arbitrary, based on the three factors chosen on which the list was based. Strictly focusing on the economy, for example, the list would of course look differently. Still, according to the list, the 20 richest countries are, in this order:

(1) Norway
(2) Iceland
(3) Sweden
(4) Australia
(5) The Netherlands
(6) Belgium
(7) USA
(8) Canada
(9) Japan
(10) Switzerland
(11) Denmark
(12) Ireland
(13) Great Britain
(14) Finland
(15) Luxembourg
(16) Austria
(17) France
(18) Germany
(19) Spain
(20) New Zealand

Draft of European Constitution Signed

As Netzeitung reported, the European Convention signed last week the draft of the European Constitution. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called the document an “historical compromise that will make the European Union with its 25 member states more transparent and more capable of action.” The article pointed out that the draft constitution proposes an official European holiday on May 9. On that day, former French Foreign Minister Robert Schumann had described a united Europe as a necessary element for the establishment of peace on the old continent. The European flag will continue to portray 12 golden stars with a blue background. The official European hymn will be Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, known as “An die Freude” or, “Ode to Joy.”

As Stern Online reported, highly controversial Minister President of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, has begun on July 1 to occupy the chair over the European Parliament for the next six months. Berlusconi, who is sometimes referred to as “little Caesar,” is determined to finalize the European Constitution, while still in power. His hope is to have the first European Constitution signed in Rome by December of 2003, thereby establishing the Second Roman Treaty. The First Roman Treaty was signed in Rome in 1957. Der Stern pointed out that the First Roman Treaty signalized the “beginning of the success-story of Europe.”

Europe Begins to Show Its Muscles

As Netzeitung reported on July 10, the European Council has sharply criticized Russia for its anti-humanitarian policy in Chechnya [including the dismemberment of corpses and the kidnapping, the use of electro shocks and the beating of prisoners of war by the Russian Army]. The article commented, “Statements by the European Council with such severity are rare. The Council may do so, following the anti-torture convention, when a country does not cooperate or refuses to improve the situation based on the recommendation of the European [anti-torture] Committee.”

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