10 August 2015   Leave a comment

seven months into her second term, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is facing possible impeachment charges.  The Brazilian economy has slowed considerably due to lower commodity prices, inflation is increasing, and the country’s oil company, Petrobras, is mired in a deep corruption scandal.  Only 8% of the Brazilian electorate approve of Rousseff’s policies and there are almost daily protests against her administration.  All of the emerging economies (the BRICS–Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, China, and South Africa) all going through an economic slowdown, a development that augurs ill for the global economy.

Violence between Turkish forces and Kurdish rebels has broken out into the open, ending a period of rapprochement begun by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.  The attacks have occurred as Turkey has joined the fight against the Islamic State but is using that struggle as a cover to contain Kurdish thoughts of independence.  The Kurds have been the most effective ground force against the Islamic State, but their successes have led to an expectation of an eventual recognition of their independence as a reward for their effectiveness.  Even though Erdogan regards the Islamic State as a potential threat, he apparently believes that moves for Kurdish independence consitute a greater threat to Turkish territorial integrity.

The migrant crisis in Europe has manifested itself in a variety of ways, but the rhetoric surrounding the migrants is hyperbolic.  Reading the press in Europe, one would tend to believe that Europe is being engulfed by an overwhelming number of poor people who wish to live off the social safety nets constructed by Europe over the 20th century.   The truth is quite different.  Nearly 70% of the migrants are not fleeing poverty–they are fleeing violence.   Most of the refugees are coming from places like Syria and Afghanistan where personal safety is at great risk.  Furthermore, the number of refugees is actually quite small.  According to The Guardian:

“In reality, the number of migrants to have arrived so far this year (200,000) is so minuscule that it constitutes just 0.027% of Europe’s total population of 740 million.”

Political rhetoric has distorted our views of what is admittedly a tragic situation but hardly an insoluble one.

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Posted August 11, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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