30 July 2015   Leave a comment

The Greek debt crisis has highlighted German economic power in stark relief.  For many in Europe, Germany has pursued its own interests using the standard of European integration as a cover.  The reality is far more complex than a simple replay of “the German problem.” Brendan Simms is Professor in the History of International Relations at Cambridge and has written a very thoughtful essay on what the crisis revealed about the flaws in the integration experiment that allowed German power to increase so dramatically.  He concludes by posing scenarios in which the power of Germany can be reconciled to the idea of a united Europe.

The IMF has made it clear that it will not participate in a third Greek bail-out unless there is an “explicit and concrete agreement” to reduce Greece’s total debt burden.  It is unlikely that the European Commission and the European Central Bank could find enough money to offer Greece meaningful help without IMF contributions.  But those two institutions are adamantly opposed to any debt forgiveness.  Given that Greece is also having a difficult time coming up with an acceptable plan, the likelihood of any resolution to the debt situation any time soon is remote.  But Greece needs to pay the European Central Bank 3.2 billion euro on 20 August.

Turkey has been launching heavy air strikes against Kurds in Iraq after some initial strikes against the Islamic State.  The air strikes end a shaky two-year truce between the Kurds and the Turks, and seems to be an attempt by Prime Minister Erdogan to shore up domestic political support.  The Turks claim to make a distinction between Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, but the distinction is largely spurious.  By attacking the Kurds the Turks are seriously compromising the US-Kurdish alliance against the Islamic State.


Posted July 31, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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