Compass Point and Daily Links

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Compass Point

I have been out of town at summer youth camp and generally  out of the loop for a few weeks so my postings here have been non-existent. Be patient while I gear up again for this blog.

Working with young people keeps me in touch with the next generation of God's church. These 13-17 year olds who come to our United Youth Camps each year are a pleasure to work with. Some of them even seem to like working with us old folks!

I had a chance to spend a week overseeing a kayak program on a Pennsylvania lake and it was a real joy. I consider it a time to sow the seed of the kingdom of God among minds that are receptive to the message of the kingdom. It was a lot of fun but it is good to be back in the saddle watching and writing about our world and what it means for the gospel of the kingdom.

World Financial Crisis

While I was away the world financial markets took a major hit with the sub-prime situation. I have been sorting though the articles and found this one in the Telegraph to be interesting.

While the markets appear to have stabilized after the Federal Reserve took action the long term impact on confidence in  America could be weakened. America has the largest trade deficit among all nations. Other nations such as China, India and Russia hold massive dollar reserves. We are very vulnerable to financial meltdown. It is a serious crisis and sends another signal of a potentially massive reversal in American dominance.

I wonder sometimes if we are not living in a "9/10" financial period, one day away from a "9/11" financial catastrophe.

Did the Marshall Plan Really Matter?

Sixty years ago last June 5 Secretary of State George Marshall gave an address at Harvard that outlined the need for a European recovery plan in the wake of World War II. This went down in history as the Marshall Plan and paved the way for Europe's post-war recovery. Billions of dollars were spent in ane of history's biggest examples of foreign aid. In terms of good will and what it accomplished it was money well spent.

Sadly, most Europeans have forgotten this example of American aid. Niall Ferguson tells the story of this plan and what it meant to Europe in this New Yorker article. Here is the final paragraph of the article...

In all likelihood, then, Western Europe could have pulled through without the Marshall Plan. But it certainly could not have pulled through without the United States. At the time that Marshall made his speech in Harvard Yard, no one could be sure that all would turn out for the best in postwar Western Europe. No one could even be sure that the United States would deliver on Marshall's pledge. All people could remember was the sad sequence of events that had followed the previous World War, when Western Europe was swept by general strikes and galloping inflation, while the United States Senate reneged on Woodrow Wilson's "plan" for a new order based on collective security. The Marshall Plan was not the only difference between the two postwar eras, but, to West Europeans struggling to make ends meet, it was the most visible manifestation of American good will - and a mirror image of the Soviet policy of mulcting Eastern Europe. This, more than its macroeconomic impact, explains its endurance in the popular imagination. At a time when, according to the Pew Research Center, only thirty-nine per cent of Frenchmen and thirty per cent of Germans have a positive view of the United States, that is something worth remembering, and pondering.

For more on the benefit that America has provided the world see this article in the current WNP.

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