The affairs of Bosnia with its al-Qaida's presence are more pressing than those of France. Turkey and its borders with central Asia and the middle east is of far more concern to the USA than disintegrating Belgium. Russia, a potentially newfound ally, is more mission-critical than grumpy Germany.

The United States knows that Russia will not jeopardize the relevance of the Security Council one of the few remaining hallmarks of past Soviet grandeur by vetoing an American-sponsored resolution. Nor can Putin risk further antagonizing Moscow hardliners who already regard his perceived "Gorbachev-like" obsequiousness and far reaching concessions to the USA as treasonous.

Weather derivatives have taken off during the recent volatility in gas and electricity prices in the USA. The bullish outlook of some re-insurers notwithstanding, the market is tiny less than $1 billion annually and illiquid. Risk transfer, risk trading and the refinancing of risk are at the forefront of current economic thought.

The strategic importance of western Europe has waned together with the threat posed by a dilapidated Russia. Both south Europe and its northern regions are emerging as pivotal. Enlargement would serve to enhance the dwindling geopolitical relevance of the EU and heal some of the multiple rifts with the USA. But the main benefits are economic.

My second posting was to an army assembly plant at An Nasiriyah where the main job was the uncrating and assembly of those vehicles from the USA that were to be forwarded to the fighting areas My task there was insignificant and lasted only about three days.

This conflicts with basic rights like the freedom to make economic choices. Anti-tax movements have sprung all over the world and their philosophy permeates the ideology of political parties in many countries, not least the USA. Taxes are punitive: they penalize enterprise, success, entrepreneurship, foresight, and risk assumption. Welfare, on the other hand, rewards dependence and parasitism.

USA accounts will help all Americans to share in our nation's wealth and to enjoy a more secure retirement. I ask you to support them. Fourth, we must invest in long-term care. I propose a tax credit of $1,000 for the aged, ailing or disabled and the families who care for them.

In the first phase, criminal activities yield income and result in wealth accumulation. In the second one, the money thus generated is laundered and legitimized. It is invested in legal, above-board activities. The economy of the USA during the 19th century and in the years of prohibition was partly criminal.

In both the UK and the USA, the government is much more heavily and pervasively involved in the minutia of accountancy, stock dealing, and banking than it was only two years ago. But the ethos and myth of "order out of chaos" with its proponents in the exact sciences as well ran deeper than that. The very culture of commerce was thoroughly permeated and transformed.

America forced to dedicate a growing share of its national income to debt repayment is "in growing hock" to its large creditors. Last month, Arab intellectuals and leaders called upon their governments to withdraw their investments in the USA. This echoed of the oil embargo of yore.