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March 25, 2014

Podcast: Ukraine, Russia, And The Role Of The US In Global Security With Mediate's Noah Rothman

You may know Noah Rothman, editor at Mediate, for his daily coverage of the idiocy to be found on cable TV news but his educational background is actually in Russian national security and defense issues.

I took advantage of this to talk to him about the situation in Ukraine, US-Russia relations and the wider issue of America's role as the guarantor of peace and stability across much of the globe. While you may not agree with his support for America to act as the "world's policeman" but he makes an interesting case for it.

Listen: [Stream with Stitcher] [Download]

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On a related note, the Senate passed a Ukraine aid bill yesterday. This follows the House's action from about two weeks ago. Unlike the House however, the Senate's bill includes an unrelated item to approve and fund governing changes for the International Monetary Fund.

James Roberts of The Heritage Foundation sums up much of the conservative criticism of the reforms.

In late 2010 the IMF Executive Board, with strong behind-the-scenes support from the Obama Administration, proposed a series of reforms that would increase the voting power of certain emerging market nations.

Additionally, these reforms would double the amount of member countries’ national “quota” contributions—the primary source of funding for IMF loans. The higher “quota” levels would come from shifting certain special “emergency account” funds over which the United States has had more control. Loss of U.S. control over these “emergency account” funds could also expose U.S. taxpayers to billions of dollars in additional financial liability from morally hazardous IMF loans (e.g. to Greece).

The reform package would also change the rules for IMF Executive Board elections, and the U.S. would lose its current right to appoint its own representative to the board—the epicenter of power at the IMF.
Instead, under the new rules, the U.S. executive director would have to be elected and, if enough other countries were opposed to the person nominated by the U.S., it is possible that a future American President might not be able to name someone to the IMF who shared his or her political and economic philosophies.

One additional problem with the reform package is that in order to offset the costs, the Senate bill takes money away from the US Army and Navy.

House Republicans meanwhile want to do something useful...use this bill or a separate one to tie the IMF money to a one year delay in the anti-free speech regulations Obama's IRS is currently set to enact.

Only 17 GOP Senators stood up yesterday and opposed Harry Reid's effort to reduce America's influence at the IMF and to preserve the House's leverage to block the Obama IRS regulations.

Just remember when the media goes on and on about GOP obstructionism, the House already passed a clean Ukraine aid bill and the Senate could have done the same two weeks ago. The "delay" will be blamed on those crazy House Republicans but it's Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats who are playing political games with aid to the Ukraine.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:28 AM

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