A Universal Currency Could End The Financial Crisis
Step back from the current crisis to consider the long view, and currency unions -- or even a single global currency -- have a fair share of appeal.
A universal medium of exchange could eliminate currency risk and jack up trade. It would mean speculators couldn't short an individual country's currency. Exporters wouldn't have to fret over the gap between a price on a contract and the value of the payment. A single currency could halt spastic swings in prices and end conversion fees, leaving more of the pie for little stuff such as R&D and employee health insurance. Oh -- and it could put an end to international disputes over currency manipulation. Hello? China?
The fact is, the modern economy and monetary system are too precarious for us not to examine every possible way to protect against future shocks. It's a bit like geoengineering: radical and outrageous at first blush but, given humanity's current predicament, not as outrageous as dismissing it.
Perhaps the seed for that universal currency has already been planted. The International Monetary Fund uses something called Special Drawing Rights, a crossbreed of four of the world's key currencies, to make certain kinds of settlements between IMF members. Could SDR someday morph into the One Coin to Rule Them All?
Syria: NATO 'Planning Direct Military Intervention', Russia Claims
Nato is planning "direct military intervention" in Syria, a top Russian official has claimed, suggesting the alliance may set up a no-fly zone and dispatch Turkish troops to the troubled country.
The head of Russia's security council said he had seen intelligence indicating plans for a military incursion were well advanced.
"We are getting information that Nato members and some Persian Gulf States, operating according to the Libya scenario, intend to move from indirect intervention in Syrian affairs to direct military intervention," Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Kremlin security body said in an interview published in Russia's Kommersant newspaper on Thursday.
"Syria has not become an object of interest for a new coalition of the willing in itself," he said. "The plan is to punish Damascus not so much for repressing the opposition as for its unwillingness to sever its friendly relations with Tehran."
U.S. Boosts Its Military Presence In Persian Gulf
Reporting from Washington— The Pentagon quietly shifted combat troops and warships to the Middle East after the top American commander in the region warned that he needed additional forces to deal with Iran and other potential threats, U.S. officials said.
Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, who heads U.S. Central Command, won White House approval for the deployments late last year after talks with the government in Baghdad broke down over keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, but the extent of the Pentagon moves is only now becoming clear.
The Pentagon has stationed nearly 15,000 troops in Kuwait, including a small contingent already there. The new deployments include two Army infantry brigades and a helicopter unit, a substantial increase in combat power after nearly a decade in which Kuwait chiefly served as a staging area for supplies and personnel heading to Iraq.
This week, the American aircraft carrier Carl Vinson joined the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis in the Arabian Sea, giving commanders major naval and air assets in case Iran carries out its recent threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic choke point in the Persian Gulf through which one-fifth of the world's oil shipments passes.
Navy officials say Iran might be able to temporarily block tanker traffic through the strait using antiship missiles and other weapons, but U.S. commanders say they can reopen the waterway quickly if necessary.
The Looming War With Iran