Are Other Nations Still Doing Their Part?

Many European nations have not kept their commitment regarding troops and equipment for Afghanistan, but I am reluctant to say they are not doing their part. More than half of the forces assisting the Afghan fighters, or providing security in Kabul, were from countries other than the United States. France deployed nearly one-fourth of its navy and Great Britain sent its largest naval task force in 20 years.  Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark and Germany were among the 17 nations which sent forces. America could not have done its work without critical support from countries like Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
Japanese destroyers refueled coalition ships in the Indian Ocean. The Turkish air force refueled American planes. Afghans received treatment in hospitals built by Russians, Jordanians, and Spain. They also have received supplies and help from South Korea.

Wall Street Workers Leaving NYC for a Fresh Start

The stock market is expected to fall 50 percent in value

The stock market is expected to fall 50 percent in value

Many of my friends and colleagues are employed on Wall Street and this article is accurate. It is now expected that over 40,000 people in the NYC financial sector will be seeking new jobs. Bill Clinton was right in saying “Wall Street as we knew it is gone.” One of the most distressing factors is that the current crisis is global. Almost 70% of our growth in the last quarter was through trade, and if other nations are in a recession they will not be able to buy our products.

By VALERIE BAUMAN, October 26, 2008
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Bankers and brokers looking to escape the financial meltdown are scrambling to relocate their families, possessions and rarified talent far from Wall Street to places such as Florida, Chicago, Milwaukee, Virginia and Asia.

Travis Lacey left investment bank Jeffries & Co. and Wall Street behind in September to work for Baird in Chicago. He also left behind the nagging sense of worry that had plagued him since his company had started announcing layoffs earlier in the year. “Anyone in that environment, you never know what’s going to happen,” Lacey said. “There are a lot of good bankers that unfortunately are at the wrong place at the wrong time, especially in New York.” Corporate headhunters say Wall Street’s malaise will lead to a permanent talent loss for New York. It could help small boutique firms become bigger players with employees they would never have been able to lure from the city long-regarded as the world’s financial capital.

“We’re definitely hiring,” said Robert Escobio, chief executive officer of Coral Gables, Fla.-based Southern Trust Securities Inc., a broker-dealer and investment banking firm. “Right now we have the capital, and right now we’re looking to expand. And I think that’s what a lot of boutiques are looking to do, too.” Escobio said in the past few months, one out of every four or five resumes comes from top Wall Street firms – compared with about one out of 100 in years past.

Former Wall Streeters also tend to bring clients with larger net worth – another potential long-term blow to firms trying to recover from the meltdown – so boutiques and middle market firms stand to reap the profits. In turn they deliver something that’s currently elusive on Wall Street: stability. Jobs in the financial sector can pay anywhere from $100,000 to well into the seven-figure range depending on location, experience and the size of a firm, said Kimberly Bishop, vice chairman of Slayton Search partners, a Chicago-based headhunting firm. “There’s some talent available to some companies that wasn’t available before,” she said.

Wall Street workers who are thinking about relocating need to be flexible about income, Bishop said. Some junior Wall Street workers may be able to get more senior positions in smaller firms, getting comparable or better pay. But many more will make less while benefiting from a cheaper cost of living outside of New York City. “They are going to make less, most of them,” said Kurt Kraeger, the managing director of the New York Office of Robert Walters headhunting firm. “Even before this (economic downturn), the same type of positions overseas, let’s say, did pay about 20 percent less than you would make here … the people who go to smaller firms, often times the bonuses are smaller.”

New York is the top paying state for personal financial advisers, with an average salary of $131,660, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. Colorado followed, paying an average of $119,590, then Massachusetts, with an average pay of $116,170, according to the 2007 occupational employment survey. Idaho was the lowest paying state for financial advisers, paying an average of $50,980. West Virginia, North Dakota, Alaska, Nebraska and Kentucky all follow, paying an average below $60,000 a year for the same job.

Middle market and boutique firms are also appealing because they offer increased job responsibility and freedom, said Peter Kies, a managing director at Robert W. Baird, a Milwaukee-based middle market firm. “As every round of cuts occurred, we got an increasing flow of resumes,” Kies said. “You can have a Wall Street kind of experience and live in Richmond, Milwaukee or Chicago.”

Baird has seen roughly 50 percent more applications from Wall Street than they received last year, he said. European and Asian banks are also seeing the abundance of workers as an opportunity to strengthen their position in the U.S. market. “I’m noticing that people are willing to work places that they would have hung up on me if I had suggested it a year ago,” Kraeger said of his headhunting work.

More bankers are willing to go to Asia than ever before because it is still viewed as an emerging market, said James Constable, owner of Albany Beck Consulting, an English headhunting firm that places financial workers in jobs from London to Singapore. “Banks (in New York and London) are not looking to add to their work force in the short term,” Constable said in an e-mail interview. “This means that the volume is down, so instead the banks are opting to hire one senior candidate rather than a number of more junior ones.”

So far this month, Albany Beck has received 38 percent more resumes from Wall Street candidates willing to work overseas than they did in October of 2007, Constable said. New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli expects 40,000 Wall Street jobs could be lost by the end of the year. So far he said 13,200 people have lost jobs in New York’s financial sector since a year ago.

While some boutiques and middle market firms were hit hard by the economic downturn, larger banks had bought much more of the toxic mortgage-backed assets at the heart of the meltdown.

While headhunting to link new securities jobs with Wall Street casualties is one of the few growth industries these days, it’s not easy, said Robin Judson, managing director of Smiths Hanley Associates LLC, a New York City hiring firm. The finance job market is flooded with highly qualified executives and bankers, but “there aren’t enough jobs to go around,” Judson said.

Humanitarian Relief in Croatia and Bosnia

I want to thank the members of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe for giving me an opportunity to present a report on the humanitarian situation in Croatia and Bosnia. I am representing the American Security Council, a non-profit public policy research organization which has brought together a bipartisan alliance of statesmen who support a global leadership role for the United States. It includes such diverse individuals as Ronald Reagan, George McGovern, Richard Nixon, Michael Dukakis, Gerald Ford, Geraldine Ferraro, Henry Kissinger, Tip O’Neill, Margaret Thatcher, Lane Kirkland, and Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Before I begin I would like to call your attention to the full-page advertisement which is included in the back of my report, and is entitled “Stop Genocide in Bosnia”. This advertisement has appeared in publications across the nation and around the world. In the United States the ad has appeared in such publications as Time magazine, the Boston Globe, the Washington Times, and internationally it has appeared in diverse newspapers from Turkey to Tokyo.

As the members of the Helsinki Commission well know, not since the Second World War has Europe endured the intensity of destruction and degree of human misery that it is witnessing in the current Balkan War.

Television footage and newspaper reports depict a grisly drama of death and hate. Most of the victims have been non-combatants — the elderly, women and children — deliberate targets in the Serbian strategy of “ethnic cleansing.” In a new kind of small war, hospitals, churches, graveyards, schools and cultural treasures are systematically destroyed to “clean” entire regions for Serbian resettlement. Towns like Vukovar, Mostar, Banja Luka, Trebinje and many others are sparsely inhabited ruins of what they once were.

The devastation has unleashed a massive displacement of people. Victims of Serbian terror campaigns and from combat zones have flooded the region, and continue to struggle for their survival as refugees. The need for assistance is urgent. This report will outline some of the areas where international assistance will be of most value.

I want to emphasize that I personally was unable to visit Sarajevo, and the real credit for the work I am distributing this morning belongs to several senior Congressional aides. In particular, tremendous yeoman labor was done by Paul Behrends, who is with us this afternoon, and serves as legislative assistant to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, and to Brett Pfeffer, legislative assistant to Congressman Earl Hutto, a Co-Chairman of the bipartisan National Security Caucus in the U.S. Congress. I also want to direct special praise for the tremendous support we received from Ron Phillips of the ASC Foundation.

Although this report should not be viewed as a complete account of the humanitarian needs of Croatia and Bosnia, it does attempt to catalogue the basic medical, food, clothing and shelter requirements of the region. Hopefully, it also makes clear that institutions and relief agencies “on-site” are capable of delivering/distributing additional supplies. Table 9 lists the existing international commitments to date. Overall international support has been significant but inadequate.

The purpose of my testimony today is to provide you with an overview of the humanitarian situation in the former Yugoslavia. Delivering humanitarian supplies is perhaps the most basic duty of the international community. The fighting must be stopped but the citizens must first be saved. Surrounded by Serb-controlled territory, the 300,000 inhabitants of Bosnia-Hercegovina — mostly Muslims — have suffered under eight months of isolation and almost nightly bombardment from Serb guns. Unfortunately, I cannot possibly review all of the regions in which Bosnians currently suffer. I will concentrate primarily on those regions which have suffered the most.

The Croatian government is currently paying approximately $2 million per day to shelter the 600,000 refugees living in their country. Eastern Slavonia, a territory within Croatia, continues to endure Serbian occupation. Much of the assistance going to this region is confiscated by the Serbs. U.N. efforts to fairly distribute assistance has been criticized by non-Serbs. Many people are refugees in their own villages, living in gymnasiums, garages, and other substandard shelters. Many refugees have gathered in Vukovar, Vinkovci, Osijek and Slavonski Brod.

The type of supplies most in demand are food, clothing, medical supplies and blankets. There is currently great concern about protecting refugees from the cold. Therefore, plastic sheeting, simple stoves and thermos bottles are needed. Warm sleeping bags, gloves, hats, and footwear would be lifesavers.

Located within U.N. occupied territory, the needs of Western Slavonia are similar to those of Eastern Slavonia. There are fewer militant Serbs in this region, and assistance efforts should be somewhat easier here.

As an example of the type of challenges being faced, an explanation of the situation concerning the orphanage outside of Lipik is offered. Lipik is a small town near Pakrac, Croatia. The Lipik orphanage was home to approximately 80 homeless children, ages 1 to 16. The orphanage was the first building attacked in the Serb campaign to take control of Pakrac. The children hid in the basement as the bombs fell. Although the children survived, the building sustained several direct hits, destroying the roof and much of the building’s infrastructure.

The children are being housed temporarily in an old hotel. The cost to repair the orphanage is estimated at $2 million. If the building is not repaired soon the cost of repairing the building will increase to the point that it will be a total loss.

In Southern Dalmatia, small cities in the vicinity of Dubrovnik have been totally impoverished after enduring over one year of Serbian occupation. Slano, a small village north of Dubrovnik serves as an example of the type of total destruction suffered by many small towns. The church has been burnt. The hotels and cafes surrounding the main square are shells of burnt buildings full of rubbish and debris from the destruction. Most of the people are gone. There is no money to rebuild, and there are no building materials even if there was money. People are in a sort of emotional shock, numb from endless months of Serbian humiliations. Stories of young girls being raped in front of their families, etc., are common. Anyone who knows these hardy Dalmatian people quickly realize that they are in need of more than material support, and that the trauma of occupation has left deep psychological scars.

The region south of Nuem and especially south of Dubrovnik has been hard hit. Everything seems to be in short supply: money, electricity, fuel, food, medicine, blankets, and building materials. The advantage this region enjoys over the others is that the winter climate is more moderate than any other combat zone. Thus, the needs for protection against the winter is less severe here than elsewhere.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina the death toll continues to grow. Some estimates suggest that perhaps 100,000 people are already dead. The UNHCR estimates that there are over 2 million refugees in the former Yugoslavia.

Sarajevo, as bad as the situation is, represents only the tip of a large iceberg of need in Bosnia. Systematic human rights abuses and wholesale destruction of entire towns and villages have caused a hemorrhage of refugees and misery.

The needs in Bosnia are similar to those in Croatia with the exception that there is additional need for basic human care items such as vaccinations, basic hygiene items, tents, vitamin tablets, water purification tablets, and sturdy waterproof tarps. Mobile generators (for heat, light, etc.) are also in need if there is access to simple fuels.

Caritas, a German based humanitarian relief organization, and the Muslim Red Crescent are best suited to distribute most efficiently additional assistance to those in need in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Caritas has been phenomenally successful in channeling aid to those in need throughout Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Using unorthodox and audacious tactics, Caritas has systematically delivered vital humanitarian aid deep behind Serbian lines. Avoiding the main roads and known Serbian strongpoints, Caritas volunteers have used back roads and overland trails to get help to the most desperate.

The director of Caritas for former Yugoslavia, Vladimir Stankovich, has volunteered his logistics network to distribute any additional assistance. Most of their support is now coming from the European Community by truck to his headquarters in Zagreb. From there it is reloaded onto other vehicles and pushed forward.

I recommend that the Muslim Red Crescent also be used as a means to distribute assistance because of Caritas’ use of churches as distribution points. Some Muslims are too proud to accept charity from non-Muslims. To maneuver around this hesitancy, the Muslim Red Crescent would be a more effective organization than Caritas to assist Muslim dominated regions, especially the Krajina and Southern Bosnia.

While this overview is certainly not comprehensive, it is a good representative example of the suffering which is currently taking place in the former Yugoslavia. Given the severity of the humanitarian situation, Senator Dennis DeConcini (R-AZ) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) have introduced a resolution calling for a significant increase in humanitarian assistance. The DeConcini/Hoyer Resolution calls for “the immediate, effective and unimpeded delivery” of humanitarian aid to all civilian populations in Bosnia.

My final message is that while it is too late to save those who have perished, it is not too late to act — to back up our words with deeds.

Nuclear Weapons in South Asia

The testing of nuclear weapons in both India and Pakistan in 1998 emphasized the importance of a South Asian non-proliferation strategy. President Clinton has already said it is necessary to have “some new thinking on South Asia to help create a consensus between the Administration and Congress for a satisfactory solution” regarding regional issues on the subcontinent.

The South Asia Congressional Resolution was adopted as part of the Foreign Aid Reduction Act of 1995 (S. 961) and was signed into law by President Clinton. The resolution calls for a new strategy based on “A regional peace process in South Asia with both bilateral and multilateral tracks.” The Resolution also calls for “A commitment to work with the United States to limit, rollback, and eliminate all nuclear weapons programs.” Among the problem areas it addresses are territorial disputes, economic cooperation, counter-terrorism, narcotics eradication and missile proliferation.

The resolution is non-binding, and it does not outline how the United States and the South Asian nations should work together to achieve these goals. A primary goal of the American Security Council is the development of a new regional security and economic growth strategy. As the Congressional Resolution emphasizes, a new regional security and economic growth strategy is necessary to address the following problem areas:

Racial, ethnic, religious and economic tensions are clearly visible throughout South Asia.

For the past two decades, the proliferation of sophisticated conventional and strategic weapons programs has been apparent.

The South Asian population of 1.2 billion is definitely impatient in waiting for many of the benefits of capitalism.

A new strategy is needed to assist the South Asian region in anticipating, preventing, and, if necessary, retaliating against terrorism.

Criminal cartels are likewise an active danger in promoting the illegal drug trade in South Asia. Moreover, efforts to maintain stability and economic growth in South Asia are menaced by drug gangs that are sometimes allied with political terrorists.

The interests of the four most powerful nations in the world, the United States, Russia, China and Japan overlap in South Asia. South Asian uncertainty in this still heavily-armed region could lead to new rivalries among the major states.

An excellent definition of the current situation in South Asia was given by James Woolsey when he left his post as Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. “With the end of the Cold War, the Free World has slain a large dragon. But we now live in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of very poisonous snakes,” Woolsey said.

These deadly snakes thoroughly inhabit all of Asia, and South Asia in particular. They are coiled in the dark corners of the region, waiting for a misstep. The 1991 Persian Gulf War demonstrated to many nations how easily a sudden, sharp shift in a regional balance of power can jeopardize the entire international security outlook.

Additional reasons for the development and adoption of a new South Asia strategy have been emphasized by former U.S. Senator Charles Percy (R-IL), who previously served as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. In the policy journal Foreign Affairs, Percy outlined the need for a coordinated U.S. and international effort to maintain stability and provide for regional economic growth:

“Governments in South Asia now realize that insular, state-run economies have not achieved the levels of growth needed to catapult their large populations out of poverty. Instead these policies isolated their countries and denied them the benefits of international trade and investment. While isolationism may have seemed an attractive course, political and business leaders across the region now acknowledge the need to integrate into the global economy.

“In the past the United States supported autocratic regimes in South Asia, primarily for strategic reasons. In today’s post-Cold War environment Washington is largely neglecting the region even though it now better meets American democratic standards. Similarly, the United States needs to do more to ensure that the region’s economic liberalization is irreversible and that there is no backsliding into the tried and failed socialist past. U.S. policymakers do not fully appreciate the potential impact of South Asian trends on America’s long-term economic interests.”

Yet another reason for the necessity of a key leadership role by the United States on the subcontinent is because of the inability of the South Asian nations to make significant progress. For example, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was created at a summit meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh on December 8, 1985.

This so-called “poor man’s club” of 1.2 billion people was designed to foster regional cooperation, but it has unfortunately fallen far short of the resounding rhetoric of its past. “The fact is, SAARC has not taken off,” Pakistani President Farooq Leghari told his Association colleagues last May. “The reason is not far to seek. The suspicions and insecurity generated by the unsettled political issues in our region stand in the way of SAARC moving forward at the pace that it should be.”

The result has been numerous and stubborn bilateral military and economic disputes. Many of these have arisen because of deep suspicions regarding India’s intentions. With a gross domestic product of $214 billion, India is clearly the area’s largest economy. Past efforts to amend the SAARC charter so it could consider political disputes among its members have not been successful. Specifically, Pakistan wants the group to become a forum where it can press its territorial claims in Kashmir, and criticize India for brutalities and human rights violations in two-thirds of the territory that New Delhi administers.

Any new strategy must be based on the principles and goals of regional security, shared democratic ideals and economic opportunities. The United States should recognize that stability and market-oriented reforms underway in the region are consistent with U.S. interests. Accordingly, another effective course for this strategy program could be raising South Asia’s profile in the corporate community, and directing greater resources for commercial programs on the subcontinent.

It should also be noted that a rapidly growing South Asian middle class — coupled with industries that demand investment and technology — is helping to create one of the world’s most important emerging markets. This economic expansion is improving the region’s living standards. The South Asia Center would seek to develop a strategy with these security and economic principles in mind, and it would focus the attention of U.S. decision makers on the problems and opportunities of the subcontinent.