World View: Indonesia Increases Defense Spending to Combat China

This morning's key headlines from

  • Indonesia increases defense spending to combat China
  • Eurozone moves to negative interest rates to fight deflation
  • Dept of Homeland Security seeks a 'sarcasm detector'

Indonesia increases defense spending to combat China

Of the nations (Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines) whose sovereign territory China is annexing via military force, Indonesia has tried to stay out of the disputes with China and to concentrate on its own problems -- internal terrorist attacks and separatist movements. 

But now China's growing belligerence is causing Indonesia to shift strategies. According to one analyst:

The focus in defense spending is moving to dealing with external threats. There is a concern from an Indonesian perspective that the South China Sea should not become a Chinese lake and that freedom of shipping should be maintained.

Indonesia has some 17,000 islands to police, stretched across 5,300 kilometers (3,293 miles) from east to west. The Malacca Strait that Indonesia shares with Malaysia is a key shipping lane that links the economies of countries such as India, China and Japan. Bloomberg and National Interest

Eurozone moves to negative interest rates to fight deflation

With four euro zone countries -- Slovakia, Portugal, Greece, and Cyprus -- now in deflation, the European Central Bank (ECB) took the desperate step of setting the "deposit rate" to a negative interest rate, -0.1%. The "deposit rate" is the interest rate that a regional bank receives when it deposits money in the ECB. If the interest rate goes negative, it means that a regional bank must pay the ECB to hold its deposit. The purpose of the move is to incentive regional banks to lend money out to other businesses, rather than depositing it in the ECB. 

Few analysts believe that this interest rate reduction will make much difference. For that reason, ECB president Mario Draghi has announced that quantitative easing is being discussed. The United States "prints" $55 billion per month in quantitative easing to increase the stock market bubble. Business Insider and Bloomberg

Dept of Homeland Security seeks a 'sarcasm detector'

The Dept. of Homeland Security Secret Service has issued a solicitation for a "Social Media Software Analytics Tool," commercial software that will automate the process of monitoring social media, detect statistical patterns in real time, and visually present the data clearly and concisely. Among the required capabilities, the software must have the, "Ability to detect sarcasm and false positives." So if someone sends out a tweet threatening to kill someone, the software has to be able to tell whether the tweet is a joke or not. What could go wrong with that? Engadget and Federal Business Opportunities

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Indonesia, China, South China Sea, European Central Bank, ECB, Mario Draghi, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service 

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