Welcome to the beginning of the long Memorial Day weekend! Here in Texas, we’re going to celebrate the long weekend by building arks and gathering up two of every animal.
Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category
Muslim Brotherhood leader and deposed President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi has been sentenced to death, along with more than 100 other people.
Most of the time, sentencing a popularly elected President ousted from power by the military would be a bad thing. This is not one of those times. Morsi tried to undermine Egypt’s democratic constitutional strictures (however weak and imperfect they were) in the name of turning the country into a radical Islamist state, following the classic African strongman blueprint of “One Man, One Vote, Once.” He lost an existential power struggle with the military and, in the long-standing traditions of the Arab world, he’ll be paying for losing with his life.
Both Egypt, and the world, will be better for his death, and the ruthless suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Greece managed to make its scheduled IMF loan repayment of around €750 million ($837 million) which “buys the country a few more weeks to reach a deal with creditors on fresh financing.”
Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said “Greece must escape the ‘strictness trap’ of budget measures that might hurt the economy and so prevent the country from reducing its debt mountain to manageable levels.” In other words: “We absolutely refuse to stop spending other people’s money to prop up our welfare state.”
So the farce will continue on a little longer, at least.
In other Greek debt news:
Also, here’s a helpful hint: When you start throwing things at police, you’re no longer part of a “protest,” you’re part of a “riot.”
And what says “Class” like defacing a World War II Monument?
“Hey greatest generation: Screw all of you! Defeating Hitler means nothing unless we can keep increasing the size of the welfare state!”
All the left’s temper tantrum will accomplish is reminding voters why they gave the Tories a clear majority in the first place.
And the Greece shell game over implementing reform (or, since it’s Greece, “reform”) continues.
Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (who’s evidently still doing the negotiating, reports to the contrary notwithstanding) has handed the Eurocrats a proposal that doesn’t match what was discussed in negotiations. It’s like a cheap farce, or a con game to see how long they can keep string Europe along without actually agreeing to anything.
Greece Syriza government has said to their creditors: Economic reality? We don’t need your stinking economic reality! “Greece defied its international creditors on Thursday, refusing to cut pensions or ease layoffs to meet their demands, dimming prospects of progress next week towards securing desperately needed financial aid.”
Greece’s government also rehired public sector employees they previously laid off. What’s giving the engine a little more gas when you’re headed for the wall at full speed?
Other Greek debt crisis tidbits:
David Cameron’s Conservative Party won an outright majority in parliamentary elections and will be forming the next government. Labour, after having managed to piss off almost everyone during last year’s vote on Scottish independence, was essentially wiped out in Scotland, all but one of their MPs replaced by candidates from the Scottish National Party, and right now is losing 26 seats. The Liberal Democrats were all but wiped out elsewhere, losing 48 seats, and UKIP managed nearly four million votes, but only a single parliamentary seat.
These were not the results which most pollsters foresaw, none of which saw the Tories getting more than 285 seats. Between this and the Israeli election results, it’s almost as if media pollsters have a systematic bias in favor of the big government parties favored by media elites…
Will Cameron govern more conservatively with an outright majority now that he no longer needs the rump of the Liberal Democrats in a coalition? Possibly. But if he reneges on his promise to hold a referendum on EU membership no later than 2017, expect to see a huge backlash against his leadership.
Update: Final count is 331 Conservative MPs.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has been demoted, evidently because the EuroCrats he was negotiating with hated his guts (a significant drawback when you’re trying to convince creditors to pour more money down the rathole that is the Greek economy).
Will it make any difference to debt negotiations? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on which of two reasons he was fired for:
Option 1.) Varoufakis was the designated Bad Cop in negotiations, and now he’s the symbolic sacrifice. “Golly, that Varoufakis guy was sure a jerk when he asked you to give us more loans without getting any reform in return! Now that I’m here as Mr. Good Cop instead, I’m sure you’ll give us give us more loans without getting any reform in return because we’re asking really, really nicely.”
Option 2.) A lightbulb (or at least a dim, flickering candle) has finally gone off above the heads of the ruling far-left Syrizia Party that they will, in fact, actually have to implement real reforms if they want to shake more dough out of Mean Aunt Angela, and that implementing reform will only mean they’re really boned, while defaulting and leaving the Euro would mean they would be completely and utterly boned.
Arguing for Option 2 is Reality and Logic, which have had very little to do with Syriza policy heretofore. Arguing against it is every single action of the Greek ruling class over the last five years. Best case, probably-too-optimistic scenario is that they’re going to try the God Cop Con first, then, when it fails (and it will), they may actually be dragged kicking and screaming to Option 2. Or at least appear to do so as part of the extend and pretend strategy that has characterized the entire Greek debt crisis since the beginning.
None of it changes the underlying problem: The Greek welfare state is unsustainable, they’ve run out of other people’s money to pay for it, and they refuse to reform it, even at the point of impending national bankruptcy.
Did you miss the riots in Baltimore on Saturday? You know, the ones CNN and other media outlets didn’t cover because they were too busy covering the White House Correspondent’s Dinner? Because mere rioting by the uncouth peasantry must wait while the overclass is engaged in glad-handing celebration of itself.
In other news: