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Britain resigns as a world power
May 21, 2015 |The Washington Post | Fareed Zakaria
"I was struck by just how parochial it has become. After an extraordinary 300-year run, Britain has essentially resigned as a global power.

Over the next few years, Britain’s army will shrink to about 80,000."... Why does this matter? Because on almost all global issues, Britain has a voice that is intelligent, engaged and forward-looking. It wants to strengthen and uphold today’s international system — one based on the free flow of ideas, goods and services around the world, one that promotes individual rights and the rule of law.

This is not an accident. Britain essentially created the world we live in. In his excellent book “God and Gold,” Walter Russell Mead points out that in the 16th century many countries were poised to advance economically and politically — Northern Italy’s city-states, the Hanseatic League, the Low Countries, France, Spain. But Britain managed to edge out the others, becoming the first great industrial economy and the modern world’s first superpower. It colonized and shaped countries and cultures from Australia to India to Africa to the Western Hemisphere, including of course, its settlements in North America. Had Spain or Germany become the world’s leading power, things would look very different today.
BBC  books  cosmopolitan  cost-cutting  cutbacks  David_Cameron  drawdowns  EU  Fareed_Zakaria  foreign_policy  forward_looking  geopolitics  globalization  industrial_economy  international_relations  international_system  internationalism  leadership  London  middle-powers  parochialism  punch-above-its-weight  retreats  rule_of_law  superpowers  United_Kingdom  Walter_Russell_Mead 
may 2015 by jerryking
More Reflection, Less Action
February 14, 2014 |NYT | By TONY SCHWARTZ.

Observation from President Obama, caught on an open mike during a stroll with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain in 2008:

“The most important thing you need to do [in this job] is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking.”

Judgment is grounded in discernment, subtlety and nuance.... Good judgment grows out of reflection, and reflection requires the sort of quiet time that gets crowded out by the next demand.

Regular reflection also provides the space in which to decide what not to do. At the companies I visit, no topic comes up more frequently than prioritizing....Time to reflect is what makes it possible to prioritize.... a tools that ensures reflection and prioritization is an old-fashioned handwritten to-do list, with a twist. Download everything that’s on your mind – not just calls to make and emails to send, but also ideas you want to explore, conflicts you haven’t resolved, and longer-term projects you intend to pursue...If you can’t decide whether something is worth your time, I try to stop and answer two reflective questions – a task that ends up saving rather than costing time.

1. Could someone else do this just as well or better than I can? If so, I try to turn it over.

2. Is the time and energy I invest going to produce anything I’ll still consider worth having done a month from now?

We need less conventional wisdom and more genuine wisdom; less sheer output and more insights that add enduring value.
time-management  reflections  wisdom  work_life_balance  insights  priorities  lists  GTD  judgment  strategic_thinking  Obama  David_Cameron  thinking  timeouts  meditation  contemplation  discernment  subtlety  personal_energy  slack_time  monotasking  sustained_inquiry  Tony_Schwartz  nuanced 
february 2014 by jerryking
Cameron could learn from the Grand Old Man's passion for economy
May. 17 2010 |The Globe and Mail| Neil Reynolds.
Thomas Huxley, the eminent self-taught scientist and one of the great intellects of 19th-century Britain, called William Ewart Gladstone, four times chancellor of the exchequer and four times prime minister, "the greatest intellect of Europe." And Huxley was a critic. Beyond all argument, this great liberal champion of laissez-faire was a smart man. By the end of his more than 60 years in public service, he had acquired a personal library of 32,000 books; by his own reckoning, and he was precise in his records, he had read 20,000 of them. But he wasn't merely smart. He was right. Democracy, he said, was a spendthrift affair. He governed accordingly....
With its constant clamour for foreign wars, 19th-century Britain provided Westminster with plenty of plausible excuses for going back into deficits - temporarily, of course. Gladstone, though, permitted no borrowing to fund these episodic misadventures. For a live-or-die war, he would have gone deeply into debt. For optional wars, he made Britain pay as it went. For these wars, indeed, he raised taxes....There are only four ways for countries to get out from under massive debt. They can inflate. They can default. They can pay down the debt over time. Or they can grow their economies at a faster pace - which makes the debt shrink in proportion to a country's national wealth.

Gladstone's genius was to repudiate the first two options as immoral and to embrace the latter two as practical.
United_Kingdom  Thomas_Huxley  William_Gladstone  Westminster  laissez-faire  leaders  David_Cameron  Benjamin_Disraeli  personal_libraries 
june 2012 by jerryking
Cameron seeks help of former US 'super-cop' - ProQuest
McDermott, John; Rigby, Elizabeth. Financial Times [London (UK)] 13 Aug 2011: 2
David_Cameron  riots  United_Kingdom  Bill_Bratton  Kroll 
august 2011 by jerryking

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