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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 8-Dec-2011
8-Dec-11 World View -- Pressure builds on euro summit meeting on Thursday and Friday

Web Log - December, 2011

8-Dec-11 World View -- Pressure builds on euro summit meeting on Thursday and Friday

Syria's Bashar al-Assad gives psychopathic interview to Barbara Walters

This morning's key headlines from

* Syria's Bashar al-Assad gives psychopathic interview to Barbara Walters
* Pressure builds on euro summit meeting on Thursday and Friday
* Germanophobia spreads through Europe
* Anti-Putin protests spread in Russia as Gorbachev calls for new elections
* Election fraud in Russia's North Caucasus region

Syria's Bashar al-Assad gives psychopathic interview to Barbara Walters

Bashar al-Assad interviewed by Barbara Walters on Wednesday
Bashar al-Assad interviewed by Barbara Walters on Wednesday

Last February, I wrote about Libya's Muammar Gaddafi giving a psychopathic speech to his people. I was reminded of that speech on Wednesday, by the interview given by Syria's president Bashar al-Assad to Barbara Walters of ABC News.

Nothing was ever Assad's fault. Everything was the fault of Americans, thugs, and al-Qaeda.

Assad: OK, we don't kill our people, nobody kill. No government in the world kill its people, unless it's led by crazy person. For me, as president, I became president because of the public support. It's impossible for anyone, in this state, to give order to kill people.

Assad gave one bizarre explanation after another. This one was pretty amazing:

Walters: Well in the beginning these protests, the women were marching with children carrying olive branches nobody at that point was asking for you to step down. It has escalated. Do you think that your forces cracked down too hard?

Assad: They are not my forces, they are military forces belong to the government.

Walters: OK, but you are the government.

Assad: I don't own them. I am president. I don't own the country, so they are not my forces.

Walters: No, but you have to give the order?

Assad: No, no, no. We have, in the constitution, in the law, the mission of the institution to protect the people to stand against any chaos or any terrorists, that their job, according to the constitution to their-- to the law of the institution.

Walters: The crackdown was without your permission?

Assad: Would you mind, what do you mean by crackdown?

Walters: The, the reaction to the people, the some of the murders some of the things that happened?

Assad: No, there is a difference between having policy to crack down and between having some mistakes committed by some officials, there is a big difference. For example, when you talk about policy it's like what happened in Guantanamo when you have policy of torture for example we don't have such a policy to crack down or to torture people, you have mistakes committed by some people or we heard we have some allegations about mistakes, that is why we have a special committee to investigate what happened and then we can tell according to the evidences we have mistakes or not. But as a policy, no.

This may have some interesting internal manifestations, since he's essentially blaming his underlings, including his own brother, for the crackdown, while not taking any responsibility himself.

When asked about the United Nations report accusing him of crimes against humanity, he said that the U.N. hadn't bothered to send him the report, so he doesn't know what's in it. When he was asked about the Arab League sanctions against Syria, he said that the sanctions didn't hurt Syria, but they hurt Syria's neighbors. When reminded that Syria has become isolated, "We have good relations with the world, but not vice versa."

He said that any attempt to overthrow him would bring disaster:

Assad: Syria is the fault line in the Middle East. You know, the Middle East is generally it's very diverse in ethnicities, in sects, in religions, but Syria the most diverse and this is the fault line where all these diversity meet so it's like the fault line of the Earth of the, of the Earth. When you play with it, you will have earthquake that is going to effect the whole region. So playing don't mean to overthrow me or to deal with me it's not about me it's about the, the, the fabric of the society in this region that is what I meant.

At the end of the interview, he was asked if he feels guilty for all the deaths:

Assad: I did my best to protect the people, so I cannot feel guilty, when you do your best. You feel sorry for the lives that has been lost, but you don't feel guilty -- when you don't kill people.

He is a "crazy person," as he suggests, though probably no crazier than any of the politicians in Washington or Brussels. ABC News

Pressure builds on euro summit meeting on Thursday and Friday

Greece's 2 year bonds at 140%
Greece's 2 year bonds at 140%

Possibly no financial summit meeting in years has been watched as closely as the one being held on Thursday and Friday in Brussels. The plan is to agree that all 17 euro zone countries will agree to treaty the commits them to accept sanctions if they ever exceed prescribed debt limits. To back this up, some bailout mechanism will be introduced, such as the ECB "printing" money and buying toxic bonds, or perhaps just guaranteeing toxic bonds from Italy and Spain, to try to force yields (interest rates) down. (Yields on Greece's 2-year bonds reached 142.3% on Wednesday. No, that's not a typo.) The Germans know that, in the end, they're going to be the ones to pay the tab for a failed bailout, which is why they're demanding heavy fiscal controls on wayward nations. An unnamed senior German official said on Wednesday:

"I have to say today, on Wednesday, that I am more pessimistic than last week about reaching an overall deal ... A lot of protagonists still have not understood how serious the situation is.

My pessimism stems from the overall picture that I see at this point, in which institutions and member states will have to move on many points to make possible the new treaty rules that we are aiming for."

The world financial community is looking to this meeting to save the euro. Whether these leaders can pull something out of the hat is what everyone is waiting to see. Reuters

Germanophobia spreads through Europe

Merkel is Salome, a seductress who is said to have created the distraction that allowed beheading John the Baptist, is here receiving Sarkozy's head (Bild/Guardian)
Merkel is Salome, a seductress who is said to have created the distraction that allowed beheading John the Baptist, is here receiving Sarkozy's head (Bild/Guardian)

A German newspaper has conveniently provided a collection of cartoons and a list of some of the comments made by commentators in other European countries. Here are some excerpts:

Bild (Germany)

Anti-Putin protests spread in Russia as Gorbachev calls for new elections

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (AP)
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (AP)

Former Soviet Russia leader Mikhail Gorbachev, a man well-respected in the West as the person who oversaw the reforms that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, has said that Sunday's parliamentary elections were unfair, and called for new elections. "The leadership of the country should admit that numerous falsifications and ballot-box stuffing took place, and that the announced results do not reflect the will of the people," according to Gorbachev. Gorbachev thus adds his support to the widening protests in Russia against another term as President for Vladimir Putin. Putin was president for 8 years, the maximum allowed by the constitution, and then ran as Prime Minister, placing Dmitry Medvedev into the presidency as what has now been admitted as a sham placeholder. Putin then arranged to modify the constitution so that he could have new presidential terms that would run to 2024, something that is now infuriating the protesters. VOA

Election fraud in Russia's North Caucasus region

Putin's United Russia party won a majority of the votes last Sunday, but just barely - just over 50%. Thus, the votes in the North Caucasus region are being questioned, as they appear to be obviously rigged. In ten Russian regions, United Russia's results were 30% lower than in the last election in 2007, in what appears to be a crushing defeat for United Russia. But in Chechnya and Dagestan, two provinces in the North Caucasus, United Russia added votes, getting 99.5% of the vote in Chechnya, and 91.4% of the vote in Dagestan. There were similar results in some other provinces. Still, as I recall, in Soviet elections in the 1970s, the Communist Party used to get 100% of the vote, so this must be an improvement. Jamestown

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Dec-11 World View -- Pressure builds on euro summit meeting on Thursday and Friday thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Dec-2011) Permanent Link
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