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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 11-Nov-2011
11-Nov-11 World View -- World focuses on Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank for the 'Big Bazooka'

Web Log - November, 2011

11-Nov-11 World View -- World focuses on Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank for the 'Big Bazooka'

China to Philippines: 'Prepare for the sound of cannons'

This morning's key headlines from

* World focuses on Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank for the 'Big Bazooka'
* Greece chooses a technocrat as interim prime minister
* Italy also chooses a technocrat to replace Berlusconi
* Pressure grows on ECB's Mario Draghi for the 'Big Bazooka'
* Talk of a 'two-speed Europe' continues
* China to Philippines: 'Prepare for the sound of cannons'
* Prince William will leave wife Kate for the rocky Falklands

Greece chooses a technocrat as interim prime minister

Lucas Papademos on Thursday, after becoming Greece's Prime Minister
Lucas Papademos on Thursday, after becoming Greece's Prime Minister

EU officials breathed a sigh of relief when Lucas Papademos, a former vice president of the European Central Bank, was named the country’s new prime minister of Greece on Thursday, after several days of bitterly hostile negotiations among the political parties. Papademos is considered to be a "technocrat" rather than a "politician," which we can hope means that he does actual work rather than simply mouthing phrases. He certainly has his work cut out for him: He has to convince the Parliament to pass the collection of austerity measures that the EU is demanding before providing the next €8 billion bailout payment, which is needed pretty much right now. Kathimerini

Italy also chooses a technocrat to replace Berlusconi

Italy's Senate is expected to vote on Friday for austerity measures demanded by the European Union to avert a euro zone meltdown. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will step down within a couple of days, making way for a new emergency government. The interim prime minister is expected to be Mario Monti, a former European Commissioner who, like Papademos, is considered to be a technocrat, rather than a politician. Whether Monti and Papademos, neither of whom were elected by the people, can gain popular support for their harst austerity programs remains to be seen, but at least the politicians in Brussels are happy with the choices. Reuters

Pressure grows on ECB's Mario Draghi for the 'Big Bazooka'

ECB president Mario Draghi
ECB president Mario Draghi

Mario Draghi is the new president of the European Central Bank (ECB), replacing Jean-Claude Trichet, who recently retired. The fact that an Italian is replacing a Frenchman is problem enough, but a lot of people are pressuring Draghi to bail out Italy by having the ECB "print money" and use it to make massive purchases of Italian bonds -- a move being called the "Big Bazooka." Trichet would never have stood for this nonsense, but Draghi is the new kid, and he's being pressured hard. The Germans oppose this plan, and it would require renegotiating eurozone treaties, but it's increasingly seen as the only way to kick the can further down the road from where we are now. CNN

Talk of a 'two-speed Europe' continues

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quick to say on Thursday that her main goal was to preserve the eurozone and Greece's place in the eurozone. That's a big change from a couple of weeks ago, when she and French prime minister Nicolas Sarkozy lectured former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, saying that if he wanted Greece to remain in the eurozone, he'd better do as he's told. But now there's a new wrinkle. Sarkozy is publicly advocating a 'two-speed' Europe. He said that with 27 EU member states, growing to 32, 33 or 34 when the Balkan states join, deeper economic integration is impossible:

"In the end, clearly, there will be two European gears: one gear towards more integration in the euro zone and a gear that is more confederal in the European Union."

The division between euro and non-euro countries in the EU has been causing increased friction and hostility, because the eurozone countries are making decisions that affect everyone, and the non-eurozone countries don't have a say in the decisions. Talk of a split Europe is becoming increasingly serious, leading European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to object:

"Let me be clear - a split union will not work. This is true for a union with different parts engaged in contradictory objectives; a union with an integrated core but a disengaged periphery; a union dominated by an unhealthy balance of power or indeed any kind of directorium. [The EU is based on justice, equality and rule of law,] not on any power or forces.

If you've been following this debate, Dear Reader, then you must realize that we're in a time of major historic changes, with the changes occurring more and more rapidly each day. The feeling that events really are spinning out of control is growing. EU Observer

China to Philippines: 'Prepare for the sound of cannons'

There have been at least nine incidents since March between the Philippines and China over their conflicting claims to the Spratly Islands and the South China Sea. In the latest incident, on October 19, a Philippine warship became entangled with the cables of a Chinese fishing vessel, which at the time was towing 23 unmanned dinghies. The Chinese boat immediately left the scene, abandoning the dinghies. A Chinese newspaper has warned the Philippines against provoking China into taking retaliatory military action. "A counter-attack is likely," the newspaper said in a strongly worded editorial, adding that the Philippines "should prepare for the sound of cannons" from China. A columnist in the same paper urged Beijing to wage "tiny-scale battles" against both the Philippines and Vietnam "to teach them a lesson." Asia Times

Prince William will leave wife Kate for the rocky Falklands

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, will be deployed to the Falkland Islands for six weeks next February and March, in a routine assignment as a Royal Air Force search and rescue co-pilot. As 2012 will be the 30th anniversary of Britain's defeat of Argentina in the Falklands War. The RAF is making clear that William will not conduct any ceremonial duties while he is there, to prevent tensions from worsening. His new wife Catherine will not accompany him. William has increased his workload recently as he seeks promotion, and hopes that this deployment will allow him to take full charge of his helicopter. BBC

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Nov-11 News -- World focuses on Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank for the 'Big Bazooka' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Nov-2011) Permanent Link
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