France

The Puzzle of the 2012 Greek Elections

May 8, 2012 by

With the Greek Parliamentary election behind us—likely the first of at least two such contests in this political season—we need to take stock of the situation and separate myth from fact. My objective is to make sense of the electoral results by describing and analyzing the Greek political system in both its historic and nascent forms. The particulars of the bailout have been widely discussed elsewhere in the press and policy circles, and I will refer to them only in the ways in which they inform the topic.

European’s Have Rejected Austerity Madness: Will the U.S. Get the Message?

May 7, 2012 by

So the voters of Europe have spoken, and surprise, surprise: they are not too keen on fiscal austerity. France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, became the first incumbent to lose since 1981. In Greece, the mainstream parties that have been happily participating in the country’s national suicide were soundly rejected by the electorate.

The European Far Right: Actually Right? Or Left? Or Something Altogether Different?

May 4, 2012 by

Marine Le Pen’s ability to attract nearly a fifth of the vote in the first round of the French presidential election was a resounding victory for her party. While Le Pen’s Front National (FN) did not secure enough of the vote – 17.9% – to make the final run off, there is no doubt the FN voting bloc will be influential in deciding whether Nicolas Sarkozy retains office or Socialist candidate Francois Hollande becomes the 5th Republic’s first left President since Francois Mitterand.

ILO Urges Worker-Friendly Recovery Policies

April 30, 2012 by

Although economic growth has resumed in much of the world since the 2008 financial crisis, the global unemployment situation remains alarming and could worsen, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). European governments, in particular, should adopt more worker- friendly approaches in dealing with fiscal austerity, according to the agency’s “World of Work Report 2012″ that was released here and at its headquarters in Geneva Sunday.

Spain is the New Greece

April 29, 2012 by

Nearly one Spaniard in four is unemployed, according to data released on Friday, as the country’s economic and financial predicament prompted a government minister to talk of a “crisis of enormous proportions”. The data from the National Statistics Institute showed 367,000 people lost their jobs in the first three months of the year. At this pace, Spanish job losses are equivalent to 1 million per month in the United States.

Examining the Democratic Peace Hypothesis: A Neorealist Critique

April 26, 2012 by

Referred to as the “closest thing we have to law in international relations,” the democratic peace theory – the idea that democratic states do not go to war against each other – has been used as a champion ideology during the latter half of the post-World War II era and into the new millennium. For the theory’s mostly Western advocates, it is believed that as democracy is spread to all corners of the globe, so shall peace.

Taliban Attacks Weaken U.S., NATO Position

April 18, 2012 by

Sunday’s well-orchestrated - if unsuccessful - attacks by Taliban forces on Kabul and three provincial capitals in eastern Afghanistan could further shake ebbing public confidence in the U.S. and its allies that their strategy for securing Afghanistan is working. Billed as the opening of the Taliban’s spring offensive, the attacks also raise new questions about the timing and pace of the planned U.S. withdrawal from the country, as well as the fate of a longer- term strategic agreement that is currently being negotiated between Kabul and Washington.

See You in Nuclear Tehran

April 6, 2012 by

If someone wanted to back out of the April 13-14 meeting between Iran and the P5+1 group of international mediators to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, here is an excuse – Tehran has suddenly asked to move the venue from Istanbul to Baghdad. Now the question is whether the key participant in the talks, the United States, wants talks to go forward and why. On the one hand, one gets the impression that the Obama administration considers any form of communication with Tehran to be distasteful and would like to have an excuse to back out of talks. But, on the other hand, failing to produce any results is no good either.

Why Europe is not yet ‘A Culture of Peace’

April 5, 2012 by

It is undoubtedly true that the greatest unacknowledged achievement of the European Union (EU) is to establish ‘a culture of peace’ within its regional enclosure for the 68 years since 1944. This has meant not only the absence of war in Europe, but also the absence of ‘war talk,’ threats, crises, and sanctions, with the single important exception of the NATO War of 1999 that was part of the fallout from the breakup of former Yugoslavia.

Boomerang

April 1, 2012 by

Toulouse, Europe’s aerospace hub in the southwest of France, has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. A twenty-three-year-old French citizen of Algerian origin, Mohamed Merah, went on a shooting spree last month, killing seven people and terrorizing a million residents for ten days before a police sniper’s bullet ended his life. Among his victims were three unarmed soldiers, a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school.

Following Shooting in Afghanistan, Overall Question is Whether the Mission is Doable

March 12, 2012 by

The shooting of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday by a U.S. soldier and the Koran burning on the Bagram air base several weeks ago have American officials questioning whether these two events will make it next to impossible for coalition forces to carry through with the mission as planned until 2014, when the U.S. is expected to leave Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar Ratchet Up Pressure on Assad

March 3, 2012 by

Running counter to the wishes of the United States and other western nations, Saudi Arabia and Qatar recently announced that they are taking steps to arm the Free Syria Army (FSA). Despite the significance of this step, it is unlikely to shift the civil war in favor of the rebels. The FSA, armed with light weapons, suffered a number of strategic setbacks. Their tactical retreat from the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs paints a picture of a rebel group that lacks the operational capacity to challenge the Assad regime directly.

Trouble in Euro Zone Paradise?

February 24, 2012 by

The Europeans evidently thrive on instability and the ongoing threat of systemic risk. There is nothing else to explain the renewed hardline stance adopted by both Mario Draghi of the ECB and the German government on fiscal policy, just as the markets appeared to be calming down again.

Europe Must Choose Between an Iranian Oil Embargo and Default

February 20, 2012 by

Experts say that if Iran stops its oil deliveries to the European Union, the EU will need several weeks to find alternative suppliers. Britain and France, to which Iran stopped deliveries on Saturday, February 19, are unlikely to be hit hard, but Greece, which is tottering under the weight of its economic problems and is the largest importer of Iranian oil, will most likely have to declare a default.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

February 10, 2012 by

Nobody likes getting dumped on an anniversary. January marks the ten-year anniversary of the euro, whose introduction was supposed to herald an era of not just economic prosperity, but closer integration across the continent. But as the financial crisis grips Europe, enthusiasm for the euro is waning quickly among the public in many member states, and nations that had once pledged to adopt the currency are getting cold feet.

Page 1 of 3123