Bill Clinton Admits Free Trade was a Mistake and a Failure
Former President Bill Clinton, now UN Special Envoy to Haiti, took the opportunity of an appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 10, to apologize for having imposed free trade on Haiti during his first term in office. That policy was "a mistake," Clinton said, and helped destroy Haiti's ability to produce rice and feed its people.
About a year after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1993, the Clinton Administration reinstated ousted Haitian President Jean-Baptiste Aristide in power in 1994 on the condition that Aristide accept an IMF/World Bank structural adjustment program, including the demand to slash protective tariffs on rice imports. Aristide cut that tariff from 35% to 3%, which flooded the country with cheaper rice imports, and drove farmers, millers, and traders out of business, and into the slums of Port-au-Prince and other cities with their families. These impoverished and unemployed citizens are today's earthquake victims.
This policy "may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake," Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "I had to live every day with the consequences of the loss of capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people because of what I did; nobody else."
Haiti quickly became, and remains today, the fifth-largest export market in the world for American rice. Current Haitian President Rene Preval, who is an agronomist from the rice-producing Artibonite Valley, is urging foreign NGOs and government agencies not to just dump food on the country as aid, but rather to provide the seeds, fertilizer, implements and technology necessary to produce food in the provinces. Farmers, he insists, must be able to produce food and sell it, rather than seeking refuge in the capital because they have no livelihood elsewhere in the country.
DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) has a proud history of making seminal investments in breakthrough technologies that ultimately became critical components in our electronics-filled world, from flash memory to radio frequency (RF) semiconductors to microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). But DARPA does not develop technologies on its own. The Agency's approach is to set extremely challenging goals and then offer innovators at universities and companies the support they need to pursue those remote but exciting frontiers.
Technology is a driver of our times. Since its founding in 1958 in the midst of the Cold War, DARPA has been a driver of technology-and it's the Agency's program managers who are in the drivers' seats. As DARPA director Arati Prabhakar often puts it, "Program managers are DARPA's heart and soul."
Picture a sensor pixel about the size of a red blood cell. Now envision a million of these pixels-a megapixel's worth-in an array that covers a thumbnail. Take one more mental trip: dive down onto the surface of the semiconductor hosting all of these pixels and marvel at each pixel's associated tech-mesh of more than 1,000 integrated transistors, which provide each and every pixel with a tiny reprogrammable brain of its own. That is the vision for DARPA's new Reconfigurable Imaging (ReImagine) program.
Airspace for the flying public today is perpetually congested yet remarkably safe, thanks in no small part to a well-established air traffic control system that tracks, guides and continuously monitors thousands of flights a day. When it comes to small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) such as commercial quadcopters, however, no such comprehensive tracking system exists.
A new DARPA program could help unlock the potential of advanced gene editing technologies by developing a set of tools to address potential risks of this rapidly advancing field. The Safe Genes program envisions addressing key safety gaps by using those tools to restrict or reverse the propagation of engineered genetic constructs.
DARPA-supported researchers have developed a new approach for synthesizing ultrathin materials at room temperature-a breakthrough over industrial approaches that have demanded temperatures of 800 °C or more. The advance opens a path to creating a host of previously unattainable thin-film microelectronics, whose production by conventional methods has been impossible because many components lose their critical functions when subjected to high temperatures.
In a vision shared by innovators, entrepreneurs, and planners in both defense and civilian contexts, the skies of the future will be busy with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Unseen but central to the realization of this vision is wireless communication within and between those future fleets of UAVs that is reliable and resistant to both unintentional and ill-willed interference. "If these UAVs can't communicate, they don't take off or they don't operate the way we want them to" said Josh Conway, a program manager in DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office.
A DARPA program aimed at preventing attacks involving radiological "dirty bombs" and other nuclear threats has successfully developed and demonstrated a network of smartphone-sized mobile devices that can detect the tiniest traces of radioactive materials. Combined with larger detectors along major roadways, bridges, other fixed infrastructure, and in vehicles, the new networked devices promise significantly enhanced awareness of radiation sources and greater advance warning of possible threats.
Nothing is more iconic of today's high technology than the semiconductor chips inside our computers, phones, military systems, household appliances, fitness monitors, and even birthday cards and pets. Since its inception in 1992, DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) has helped create and prevent strategic surprise through investments in compact microelectronic components, such as microprocessors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and photonic devices. MTO's pioneering efforts to apply advanced capabilities in areas such as wide-band-gap materials, phased array radars, high-energy lasers, and infrared imaging, have helped the United States establish and maintain technological superiority for more than two decades.
Developers of imaging systems have long been beholden to certain rules of optics designs so well established and seemingly immutable as to be treated as virtual "laws" of physics. One widely considered pillar of optical design, for example, is that imaging systems must be built from a series of complex and precisely manufactured optical elements arranged linearly. The result of such assumptions is that certain high-performance imagery devices inevitably end up being large and heavy, composed of dozens or more optical elements.
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