Friday , August 23 2019
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Party like it’s 1999

Summary:
Unfortunately, the Cold War is not over. The US just pulled out of an arms control agreement with Russia. Russia is still an expansionist power that invades peaceful neighboring countries and takes their land. (Just as it invaded Poland in 1939.) Russia is also the sort of incompetently ruled country that gave us Chernobyl. On the other hand, you might argue that this is all in the past. But is it? Here’s Bloomberg: The failed missile test that ended in an explosion killing five atomic scientists last week on Russia’s White Sea involved a small nuclear power source, according to a top official at the institute where they worked. The men “tragically died while testing a new special device,” Alexei Likhachev, the chief executive officer of state nuclear monopoly Rosatom, said at

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Unfortunately, the Cold War is not over. The US just pulled out of an arms control agreement with Russia. Russia is still an expansionist power that invades peaceful neighboring countries and takes their land. (Just as it invaded Poland in 1939.)

Russia is also the sort of incompetently ruled country that gave us Chernobyl. On the other hand, you might argue that this is all in the past. But is it? Here’s Bloomberg:

The failed missile test that ended in an explosion killing five atomic scientists last week on Russia’s White Sea involved a small nuclear power source, according to a top official at the institute where they worked.

The men “tragically died while testing a new special device,” Alexei Likhachev, the chief executive officer of state nuclear monopoly Rosatom, said at their funeral Monday..

The blast was the latest in a series of deadly accidents that have damaged the Russian military’s reputation. Massive explosions earlier last week at a Siberian military depot killed one and injured 13, as well as forcing the evacuation of 16,500 people from their homes. In July, 14 sailors died in a fire aboard a nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea in an incident on which officials initially refused to comment. A top naval official later said the men gave their lives preventing a “planetary catastrophe.”

Russia’s worst post-Soviet naval disaster also occurred in the Barents Sea, when 118 crew died on the Kursk nuclear submarine that sank after an explosion in August 2000.

Thanks for preventing a planetary catastrophe.

This time. .

If there’s one silver lining to the planet going downhill fast, it’s that the media no longer obsesses about issues like Singapore banning chewing gum.  Now I long for the silly trivia of the 1990s.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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