The Economist marks the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attack by examining what has changed in America. “A nation once joined together in shock and vulnerability is now riven by failure and recrimination”.

The Oz opines about the current biggest issue facing America and the rest of the free world: “Extending talks only plays into Ahmadinejad’s hands”. And comes out in favour of US military action to defang Iran before it is too late. The cost of this would be immense, as we have said, but if anyone has a less bad idea we’d like to hear from you.

Much closer to home is the neglected issue of Australia’s foreign debt. Fortunately Tim Colebatch is still following this matter and reports today. “Australia’s interest bill on its foreign debt has doubled in the past three years to hit a record $6.4 billion in June — almost 3% of the country’s income.

“As the nation’s net foreign debt has risen towards $500 billion and world interest rates have climbed, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that the quarterly interest bill on the debt has jumped in three years from $3 billion to $6.4 billion”.

It has become fashionable to downplay the importance of this economic statistic. But at a time when global interest rates are rising, the speed of Australia Inc’s gearing up is alarming, at least to this former economic policy advisor.

Read more at Henry Thornton.