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Soros: China has better functioning government than U.S.

If nothing else, Glenn Beck probably has his top story set for tonight's show:

"There is a really remarkable, rapid shift of power and influence from the United States to China," Mr. Soros said, likening the U.S.'s decline to that of the U.K. after the Second World War.

Because global economic power is shifting, Mr. Soros said China needs to change its focus. "China has risen very rapidly by looking out for its own interests," he said. "They have now got to accept responsibility for world order and the interests of other people as well."

Mr. Soros even went so far as to say that at times China wields more power than the U.S. because of the political gridlock in Washington. "Today China has not only a more vigorous economy, but actually a better functioning government than the United States," he said, a hard statement for him to make because he spent much of his life donating to anti-communist groups in Eastern Europe.

Soros's statement is similar to the frequent "China-for-a-day" musings of columnist Tom Friedman. 

On a related subject,  Kay King of the Council on Foreign Relations has a new report out on the U.S. congress's impact on national security. King's critiques of congressional procedure, in particular the filibuster, won't be news to anyone who's read recent critiques of congressional dysfunction, but she makes a compelling case that because of limited public interest, congress is effectively abandoning its oversight role on national security affairs. Issues like energy, trade, and immigration are typically treated as purely domestic issues by congress, while membership on foreign affairs committees appeal only to members positioning themselves for higher office or those dependent on ethnic or business special interests.

King writes

When Congress fails to perform, national security suffers thanks to ill-considered policies, delayed or inadequate resources, and insufficient personnel. Without congressional guidance, allies and adversaries alike devalue U.S. policies because they lack the support of the American peopel that is provided through their representatives in Congress.

King provides a number of ideas for reform which will hopefully be a bit more palatable to U.S. sensibilities than taking cues on good governance from Beijing. 

Mario Tama/Getty Images

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Photo: Saudis prepare for great Middle Eastern jungle war of 2020

Saudi special forces take part in a military parade in preparation for the hajj in the Saudi holy city of Mecca on November 10, 2010.

Clearly the Saudis have no intention of letting regional rivals Iran gain an edge in the freaky cammo department. But just what sort of terrain are these armies planning to fight on?

MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images