The U.S. Politics of the Eurocrisis
The problem is, however, that even if Britain and the United States join in, European economies such as Greece and Spain keep contracting, making it ever more difficult for them to overcome their debt problems. Consequently they will keep on needing one bailout after another.
The eurocrisis has been festering for well over two years. What initially looked like a small problem, involving relatively small peripheral countries such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland, is now dragging the entire European economy into a recession.
During his first three and a half years in the White House, Europe was not high on Barack Obama's priorities. Belatedly, however, Obama seems to have realized that his own reelection next November might be in jeopardy if the eurocrisis leads to worldwide financial instability and global economic depression. Europe is the world's largest trading bloc. Thousands of American jobs depend on trade with Europe. Obama's chances of reelection are bound to diminish as soon as Americans start to lose jobs as a result of a eurocrisis spun out of control.
Nicolas Sarkozy, the former President of France, hoped that he would be reelected by the time that the eurocrisis would begin to affect France. He was wrong. France was hit sooner and deeper than Sarkozy expected, and he lost the elections. Similarly, Obama hopes that the eurocrisis will not begin to affect America before November. Play for time is the only thing he can do. And playing for time means the same for Obama as it meant for Sarkozy: He needs to persuade Germany to buy time by bailing out the bankrupt economies in Southern Europe.
During the past weeks, Obama has spent many hours on the phone with European leaders – and in particular with German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- to find a way to contain the eurocrisis. At this week's G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, more pressure was exerted on Frau Merkel.
Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, is the only country in Europe capable of bailing out insolvent countries such as Greece and providing enough financial backing to prop up Spain's collapsing banks.
The problem is, however, that even if Britain and the United States join in, the European economies along the Mediterranean such as Greece and Spain keep contracting, making it ever more difficult for them to overcome their debt problems. Consequently, they will keep on needing one bailout after another, without the prospect of improvement in the foreseeable future. In 2010, Greece received a first bailout of €110bn. Germany provided the bulk of the money. Earlier this year, Athens received a second bailout of an even more staggering €130bn. Again, Germany provided the bulk of the money. This summer, Greece will need a third bailout. Meanwhile, last week, the eurozone countries decided to give Spain €100bn to bail out its banks. As usual, Germany will have to pay most of the money. But analysts say that another €200bn might be needed to save the Spanish banking sector.
As long as the Germans believe that it is in their interest to save the euro, the common European currency which ties Germany to countries such as Greece and Spain, they are prepared to keep paying the euro's rising price tag. But the German people are becoming exasperated and angry.
A growing number of Germans is losing faith in the eurozone. Others feel betrayed. Even ten years ago, when the euro was introduced as the common currency of several European countries, a majority of Germans was reluctant to give up the D-mark for the euro. They were reassured, however, by their politicians' promise that there would be no bailouts. Bailouts between European countries are, in fact, prohibited by the European treaties. Nevertheless, Europe's politicians have found legal loopholes to impose them anyhow. Reluctantly, national parliaments have consented to the bailouts out of fear that the bankruptcy of one eurozone country would drag the entire monetary union down.
A poll last week suggested that 69% of the Germans want Greece to leave the euro and return to the drachma, and 29% of the Germans want Germany to leave the euro and return to the D-mark. Either event – a Greek exit or a German exit – is expected to have enormous repercussions and dramatic consequences, not just for Europe but for the entire global economy. The cost would be enormous, but some Germans reckon that ultimately the price tag for Germany might be less than the price of continuing with the present policies of seemingly endless bailouts.
To secure his own reelection, Obama has to persuade Merkel to keep footing the euro bill at least until his own reelection is assured in November. Obama is fortunate that Merkel is a staunch believer in European integration and seems prepared to continue the present policies, even in disregard of her own rising unpopularity among the German electorate.
Last Thursday, however, Merkel warned that Germany is not strong enough to prop up the rest of Europe. "Germany's strength is not infinite. Its powers are not unlimited," she said in a speech delivered in the Bundestag, the German Parliament, but meant for her colleagues of the G-20 and especially for Barack Obama. Merkel wants the G-20 to help the Germans prop up the collapsing economies of the European periphery. "It is a herculean task, but it is unavoidable," she said, although she hinted that Germany cannot continue to do it on its own.
Consequently, if Obama and other world leaders want Merkel to keep propping up the euro with German taxpayers' money, they will have to share some of the burden. Soon, the world will have to come to the rescue of Europe, and help to bail out the eurozone. Merkel knows that Obama needs reelection in November and that, if she wants to be successful in her effort to persuade America to assist her in her euro rescue effort, she needs to do it now. Until November, the euro's problems are Obama's problems, too.
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by Soeren Kern
Hamas would likely resort to violence to thwart any attempts to disarm the group. It is therefore highly unlikely the Europeans would confront Hamas in any meaningful way.
Spanish intelligence agents met secretly with Hezbollah operatives, who agreed to provide "escorts" to protect Spanish UNIFIL patrols. The quid pro quo was that Spanish troops would look the other way while Hezbollah was allowed to rearm for its next war with Israel. Hezbollah's message to Spain was: mind your own business.
If the European experience with Hezbollah in Lebanon is any indication, not only will Hamas not be disarmed, it will be rearmed as European monitors look on and do nothing.
What is clear is that European leaders have never been committed to honoring either the letter or the spirit of UN Resolutions 1559, 1680 and 1701, all of which were aimed at preventing Hezbollah from rearming.
by Debalina Ghoshal
According to former Bush administration official Stephen Rademaker, for the United States to respond to Russian violations of the treaty by pulling out of it would be "welcome in Moscow," which is "wrestling with the question of how they terminate [the treaty]" and thus, the United States should not make it easier for the Russians to leave.
by Guy Millière
Belgian security services have estimated that the number of European jihadists in Syria may be over 4000.
European leaders have directed their nastiest comments against the Jewish state, none of them has asked why Palestinian organizations in Gaza put their stockpiles of weapons in hospitals, homes, schools and mosques, or their command and control centers at the bottom of large apartment buildings or underneath hospitals. None of them has even said that Hamas is a terrorist organization despite its genocidal charter.
The majority of them are wedded to the idea of redistribution. Their policies are anti-growth, do not afford people any economic opportunity, and are what caused these economic crises in Europe in the first place. The United States seems to be following these thoroughly failed policies as well.
"Europe could not stay the same with a different population in it." — Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.
by Raymond Ibrahim
"I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah... There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell." — Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram.
Hillary Clinton repeatedly refused to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
In Malaysia -- regularly portrayed in the West as a moderate Muslim nation -- any attempt to promote religions other than Islam is illegal.
"The reason they want to kill me is very clear -- it is because of being a convert to Christianity." — Hassan Muwanguzi, Uganda.
by Dexter Van Zile
Rev. Hanna Massad does not mention that perhaps Hamas actually wants the blockade to end so it can bring in more weapons and cement to build attack-tunnels so it can "finish the job."
Hamas does not just admit to using human shields, it brags about using human shields. Why does Massad have to inject an air of uncertainty about Hamas's use of human shields when no such uncertainty exists?
The problem is that any self-respecting journalist would confront Massad with a follow-up question about Hamas's ideology and violence, but not the folks at Christianity Today.