The global imbalances and the bubbles in the credit and housing markets that have been building up during the last decade have been noticed by many, and many had predicted that this would not be viable in the medium to long term. But as it often happens, the way this lack of viability expressed itself came as a surprise for almost everybody.
Thorbjørn Waagstein, Economist, PhD, since 1999 working as international Development Consultant in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Everybody has probably heard about Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez' weapon deals. Tanks and anti-air missiles from Russia, warships from Spain, training jets from China, air defence systems from Belarus. The US has expressed its concern that Venezuela is provoking an arms race in South America. Its actions could endanger regional stability the US says. Really? Venezuela is number 5 in Latin America in military spending, both in absolute terms and as percentage of GDP. The Latin American leaders in military spending are two close US allies: Colombia and Chile, which in relative terms spend almost three times what Venezuela does.