It is unclear where the B-52H bombers went in the Middle East on Saturday, but they left from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Minot Air Force Base is the only base in the United States that houses both intercontinental ballistic missiles in underground silos as well as a fleet of bombers also capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
This weekend, the G20 leaders’ summit takes place – not physically of course, but by video link. Proudly hosted by Saudi Arabia, that bastion of democracy and civil rights, the G20 leaders are focusing on the impact on the world economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In particular, the leaders are alarmed by the huge increase in government spending engendered by the slump forced on the major capitalist governments to ameliorate the impact on businesses, large and small, and on the wider working population. The IMF estimates that the combined fiscal and monetary stimulus delivered by advanced economies has been equal to 20 per cent of their gross domestic product. Middle income countries in the developing world have been able to do less but they still put together a combined response equal to 6 or 7 per cent of GDP, according to the IMF. For the poorest countries, however, the reaction has been much more modest. Together they injected spending equal to just 2 per cent of their much smaller national output in reaction to the pandemic. That has left their economies much more vulnerable to a prolonged slump, potentially pushing millions of people into poverty.