Saturday on SimonWorld

Apologies for the paltry posts today. In addition to Biz’s temporary return to South Dakota, I am a guest blogger on the esteemed Simon World this week.

tdaxp’s posts

The Japan-Everybody Else Soap Opera

Ridge: One North America Soon

Closer ties between U.S., Canada inevitable: Ridge,” by Michael Den Tandt, Globe and Mail 23 April 2005, (from Democratic Underground).

Former moderate Governor of Pennsylvania and congenial Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is talking up North American integration

Canada and the United States will inevitably move toward closer economic integration, including a customs union, in response to the formation of major trading blocks around the world, former U.S. secretary of homeland security Tom Ridge said yesterday.

On further economic integration — a hot-button issue for Canadian nationalists, who view it as a step toward political integration —

“The integration of the European Union, the growth of China and Asia, the emergence of a strong India on the international scene, as well as other regional economic collaboration — if we’re going to stay competitive in this part of the world, we’re going to have to do some of those things.”

North American competitiveness will require common standards and common goals, Mr. Ridge said, echoing a sentiment business leaders on both sides of the border have voiced.

This is great news. Besides minor benefits like helping the Global War on Terrorism, uniting North America is a great step forward.

It increases all manner of content flows and connectivity between North Americans. It allows North American businesses greater economies of scale, and North American citizens more choices and options. It gives North America a stronger voice on the world stage.

Tom Ridge is announcing a new American foreign policy: make North America domestic policy. North America is composed of three great, continent-straddling states. We should be one free and secure union.

Core Australia Exports Security, Capital to Seam Indonesia

I have been wondering,” by JackH, Simon World, 23 April 2005,

Australia is one of the “Core” countries of the world economy — fully functioning, deeply integrated, free, and open for business. Indonesia is a “Seam” state — it doesn’t fall into the Gap like North Korea, Yemen, or Congo, but it has significant problems. That’s why any effort by Australia to help its neighbor Indonesia along is good news. And why this is good news

First, the set-up

I have been wondering about why Australia’s aid package to Indonesia was so large when they announced it – 1 billion dollars Australian, $50 from every man, woman and child in Australia. Could it have been to buy the support of Indonesia in taking part in the ASEAN summit later this year?

And the delivery

During his visit, designed mainly to drum up Australian investments in Indonesia, Yudhoyono charmed his Australian hosts – even going to the extent of promising to support Australia’s inclusion at the East Asian summit in December.

In a speech at Parliament House in Canberra, Yudhoyono acknowledged that the relationship between the two close neighbours had seen many ups and downs over the years. “Recently we have begun to relate to each other differently,” he observed.

This is great news. The reformist leader of Indonesia is looking for business capital and a closer alliance with Indonesia’s southern neighbor. Australia, for her part, is looking to join regional cooperation societies and spend the money it takes to bring Indonesia into the world, now.

(Aside: I have a soft spot for Dr. Yudohoyono, as he campaigned for President while finishing up his graduate thesis. He gave his thesis defense using Power Point about a month before I defended mine. Politics-minded graduate students have to stick together.)