We live in a time of international crisis and conflict: from the European financial crisis, which is robbing millions of young people of their future, to the conflict with Russia and finally to the bloody rise of ISIS. All this is dominating the news coverage worldwide. But the Huffington Post does not only want to report about dramatic developments. Our goal is a global network, with editors and thousands of bloggers who address topics which move people in their everyday lives. And this network continues to grow more and more.
The impetus for NATO enlargement did not come from a triumphalist Washington. On the contrary, the U.S. initially resisted even the breakup of the Soviet Union. Since 1990, 12 European states have asked to join NATO. They all chose for themselves to belong to this cooperative military alliance. NATO membership was a key part of "locking in" their turbulent democratic reforms.
There was a bit of good news from Europe last week. Two of the nations that desperately need some respite from austerity essentially told German Chancellor Merkel to stuff it. France, under pressure from Germany and the European Union to meet the E.U.'s straightjacket requirement of deficits of no more than three percent of GDP (whether or not depression looms) informed the E.U. that they will not hit this target until 2017. The government of President Francois Hollande, under fire for failing to ignite a recovery, now plans economic stimulus measures -- and the target be damned. Under E.U. rules, France can be fined up to 0.2 percent of its GDP. The French seem to be saying, 'So sue us!'
The U.S. economy is growing slowly and Europe's hardly at all. The stock market lurch last week is a belated acknowledgement that our two economies share a common affliction, and Europe suffers more seriously. The affliction is austerity. And yet the main remedy being promoted by the U.S. government and its European allies is a trade and investment deal known as T-TIP, which stands for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. According to the deal's sponsors, T-TIP would help stimulate recovery by removing barriers to trade and promoting regulatory convergence and hence investment. The proposed deal is not popular in the U.S. Congress, which has to approve negotiating authority. The administration, say well-placed sources, hopes to cram through the necessary approval during the lame duck session of Congress after the November 4 election. That still will not assure approval, because the deal is also increasingly unpopular in Europe.
The challenger countries will once again try, as they did last December in Dubai, to wrest control from the coalition of stakeholders that has been governing the Internet under a contract with the U.S. government. If they succeed it will be the end of the world as we know it. There will be no Internet. There will be many nets: ChinaNet, Euronet, maybe Deutsche Net and France net and Brazil Net and Russia Net. It will resemble the world before the Internet with many private networks and a constant challenge of interconnection.