Viernes, 1 de abril de 2016

China was poised to make its largest-ever investment in the United States this past week, after the Chinese insurance group Angbang topped Marriott in a bidding war for the Starwood hotel chain. The offer was extremely attractive: $14 billion in cash. But a chorus of skeptics urged Starwood to say no.

“Who are these guys?” Bloomberg News anchor Tom Keene asked. “It’s the Butch Cassidy analysis here. I have absolutely no clue what their balance sheet is. I have no clue how they’re going to finance this puppy. And more than anything: What’s their link to the Chinese government?”

Over at MarketWatch, columnist Tim Mullaney wrote: “Anbang’s CEO is no less than the son-in-law of deceased former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.…  Seguir leyendo »

If a Der Spiegel cover is any indication of the mood in Germany, then Europe’s largest country is on the verge of an explosion. Two weeks ago, the newsmagazine highlighted the country’s growing income inequality in a cover story on “the divided nation.” The cover photo showed a couple in a gilded room with a dozen other people stooped in a claustrophobic cellar below them.

Last week, the magazine featured the “uprising of the ‘Wutbuerger’” — a new German term combining the words for “rage” and “citizen” — to describe people mad as hell about the political status quo.…  Seguir leyendo »

After many failed attempts, the success of North Korea's recent rocket test should be a clarifying moment for the United States and its allies in Asia. When combined with North Korea's recent underground nuclear weapons test, last month's missile launch underscores how the precarious state of affairs in Northeast Asia threatens American national security.

The reality is that while the Cold War may have ended in Europe 25 years ago, it persists in Asia today. In addition to the North Korean threat, America and its regional allies must also confront escalating territorial disputes and challenges to regional stability in the South China Sea.…  Seguir leyendo »

Zaha Hadid in 2011 at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Europe

When I was still an architecture student at Yale, I got stuck in New York City traffic with one of my professors, Zaha Hadid, and her chauffeur. I asked her whether she had any advice for me, a young female architecture student graduating into a depressed market dominated by men. She simply said, “Come work for me.”

I told her, “O.K., but only if I get to design shoes.”

She replied, “If you work for me, you can design anything.”

Ms. Hadid died yesterday of a heart attack while in the hospital with bronchitis. I lost a mentor and professional hero, and the world lost one of its leading form makers.…  Seguir leyendo »

How Hedge Funds Held Argentina for Ransom

Perhaps the most complex trial in history between a sovereign nation, Argentina, and its bondholders — including a group of United States-based hedge funds — officially came to an end yesterday when the Argentine Senate ratified a settlement.

The resolution was excellent news for a small group of well-connected investors, and terrible news for the rest of the world, especially countries that face their own debt crises in the future.

In late 2001, Argentina defaulted on $132 billion in loans during its disastrous depression. Gross domestic product dropped by 28 percent, 57.5 percent of Argentines were living in poverty, and the unemployment rate skyrocketed to above 20 percent, leading to riots and clashes that resulted in 39 deaths.…  Seguir leyendo »

Laila and her sons at the Idomeni refugee camp in Greece on Wednesday. Eirini Vourloumis for The New York Times

When we first got here we had money to buy a little food. Now it’s gone. We stand in line for hours for a sandwich. My husband told a journalist recently: “People are fed up. Maybe tomorrow they will break down the gate and flood across the border.” The journalist said, “How many weapons do you have?” If we knew how to carry weapons or wanted to carry weapons we would not have fled Syria. We want peace. We are sick of killing.

We fled a war, and now the European Union is making war against us, a psychological war. When we hear rumors that we’ll be let into Europe, we celebrate.…  Seguir leyendo »

To Unify Europe, Face the Mideast as One

After the horror in Brussels, Europe is mourning once more. Rightly, the states of the European Union are also focused on bringing the perpetrators to justice and preventing a follow-up attack. Cooperating more effectively on counterterrorism while tightening security at airports and train stations would be a start.

But we must not lose sight of the bigger picture. The Islamic State’s goal in Brussels was to scare us and drive a wedge between us, and it seems to be succeeding. Here in Germany, and across the Continent, right-wing, anti-immigration parties are calling for their nations to turn inward, away from one another.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por primera vez en los años de vida democrática hemos tenido la experiencia de estar más de un mes en espera de candidato para ser investido. Este tiempo ha llevado consigo, en el fondo, un alargamiento de presentación electoral con todos los elementos de acoso, juego y extremismo que el discurso previo a las elecciones lleva consigo. Una sesión en el congreso con un candidato a esa investidura nos ofreció un espectáculo en el que se mezclaron elementos de agresividad, burla y desprecio. Enumero tres hechos morales, que me parecen destructores de la conciencia y de la esperanza españolas.

En estas semanas de confrontación y diálogo entre los diversos candidatos hemos asistido a un hecho que considero de inmensa gravedad: la perversión del lenguaje.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last autumn, when Angela Merkel opened Germany’s borders to refugees, my wife and I decided we would be happy to have some of them stay with us in our Berlin apartment. Mostly they would come and stay for just one night, arriving late and leaving at dawn to register with the city authorities.

One night the voluntary organisation that placed refugees with German families called us after midnight and said it had a Moldovan who needed a rest. So we Googled Moldova. We were OK with Syrians coming for a sleepover. But what about Moroccans, Eritreans, or the citizens of former Soviet republics?…  Seguir leyendo »

‘We now take it for granted that we are free to voice our opinions however outlandish they may be; to exchange goods and services freely within the law; to educate our children in any religion or in no religion.’ Photograph: ID.8 Photography/Rex

Everywhere we take things for granted – lights come on, post arrives, there is a school for the kids. Such things are just “there”. Only when they are gone do we notice their absence and realise their value. Imagine looking out of the window. What do you see – buildings, cars, people, walls, possibly some grass, or just the dirt on the pane? What you do not see is the glass. Think what living or working in Europe was like before the invention of glass. What is the “glass” of Europe? What is it that we do not notice yet implicitly value enormously?…  Seguir leyendo »

Extraños en tierra extraña

Jacques Lacan dejó escrito que, aunque sea completamente cierto lo que un marido celoso afirme acerca de su esposa, sus celos no dejan de ser patológicos: ¿por qué? La verdadera cuestión no es si «sus celos están más que fundados» sino «por qué son necesarios los celos para mantener su propia identidad». En ese mismo sentido se podría decir que, aunque la mayor parte de las afirmaciones nazis relativas a los judíos fueran ciertas, que no lo son, por supuesto, su antisemitismo no dejaría de ser (como lo fue) patológico, ya que oculta la verdadera razón por la que los nazis necesitaban esos prejuicios con el fin de mantener su postura ideológica.…  Seguir leyendo »

A tenor de lo leído en el reportaje de Mónica Ceberio Belaza, en el proceso contra Romano Van der Dussen, acusado de violación, se han cometido defectos que llevaron al ciudadano holandés a doce años de cárcel y a padecer un infierno jurídico. Leyendo la noticia, se tiene la sensación de que su sentencia estaba dictada antes del proceso y de que todo se desarrolló como si se intentara confirmar una sospecha previa. Los sucesivos intentos de Van der Dussen de aportar pruebas a su defensa, no aceptadas, los plazos de reclamación agotados ante tribunales sordos a sus argumentos, hacen pensar en las antiguas ordalías.…  Seguir leyendo »

De mi experiencia en la lucha contra ETA extraigo dos enseñanzas que pueden servirnos para vencer al terrorismo yihadista. La primera tiene que ver con el conocimiento del medio y la infiltración policial de su entorno. Para nadie es un secreto que los atentados no se evitan con medidas de seguridad sino con la detención de los comandos.

El comienzo del fin de ETA desde el punto de vista policial (no se olvide, clave en su derrota) se produjo al comienzo de los años 90 cuando la Policía y la Guardia Civil instalaron en Francia una auténtica base operativa, construyendo un mapa tan preciso de su organización y estructura que hizo imposibles sus movimientos.…  Seguir leyendo »

En el año 2009, cuando EEUU se acercó a un desempleo de dos dígitos, Tom Donohue, Presidente la US Chamber of Commerce, colgó unos enormes pasquines con la palabra “JOBS” (empleo) en las ventanas del edificio neoclásico que alberga la patronal estadounidense desde 1906, y que está enfrente de la Casa Blanca. Al cabo de los años, un sistema económico flexible y tecnológicamente avanzado junto a una política monetaria laxa han permitido a EE.UU. llegar casi al pleno empleo. Sin embargo, Tom mantiene todavía los pasquines respondiendo a la pregunta del porqué diciendo: “Quiero que desde la Casa Blanca se recuerde cada mañana que crear empleo es nuestra prioridad nacional”.…  Seguir leyendo »

La sonrisa del des(a)tino

Empecemos por una constatación fronteriza con lo obvio: un determinado acontecimiento, por celebrado como positivo que pueda resultar, no convierte en igualmente positivo y bueno todo lo que viene después, aquello a lo que abre paso. Así, por poner un ejemplo que pueda servir de inicial ilustración, hubo casi total unanimidad en celebrar la llamada caída del Muro como un triunfo de la libertad política y de la democracia, y no creo que hoy hubiera, ni remotamente, parecida unanimidad (más bien al contrario) en la valoración, pongamos por caso, de la figura de Putin, o de los actuales Gobiernos de Hungría o Polonia.…  Seguir leyendo »

The civil war in Yemen, which is now more than a year old, has been called a ‘forgotten’ and ‘hidden’ conflict, an orphan to the interest of the Western media and policy-makers.

Perhaps that is because, to the casual observer, Yemen has always seemed somewhat war-torn; or, conversely, because its war is, relatively speaking, recent. The fighting in Syria is now into its fifth year while Libya has been on a volatile path of decline since the death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Yemen’s civil war, although the latest iteration in a violent struggle for power between the country’s many factions, only entered its latest, most destructive phase about a year ago.…  Seguir leyendo »

In years to come historians may note the recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra, following closely on the heels of brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) assaults in Brussels on 14 March, and of course earlier in Paris, as a turning point in the five-year-old Syrian war. More than ever, Western populations and governments fear further mass killings in European and North American cities perpetrated by ISIS. While everywhere counterterrorist measures are being tightened further, urgent thought needs to be given to a coherent Western strategy to the greatest threat to democracy in decades. As Tony Blair argued in the Sunday Times on 27 March, without that strategy the West is likely to face ‘periodic but increasingly frequent acts of terrorism that will result in many more victims and start to destabilize our political and social cohesion’.…  Seguir leyendo »

During a surprise three-day visit, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Carpenter is meeting senior Belarusian defence officials and President Aleksandr Lukashenko. Offering an exchange of defence attachés, Carpenter has reportedly said the main focus of US policy towards Belarus is now ‘steadfast support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity’.

As a former director for Russia at the US National Security Council, Carpenter will be fully aware of the risks involved in incautious moves in Minsk. With Moscow portraying itself as under threat from an encroaching West, Russia will have been watching tentative steps towards rapprochement between Belarus and the EU and US with concern.…  Seguir leyendo »

The suicide bomber who killed seventy-two people on Easter Sunday in a park in Lahore, Pakistan has drawn condemnation from around the world. Among the killed were twenty-nine children, and another 370 people were wounded, many of them members of the country’s Christian minority. Far less noted, however, has been the attack’s equally devastating effect on relations between Pakistan’s army and civilian government, which threatens to bring further instability to the country’s Punjab heartland.

At the heart of the crisis are two men, General Raheel Sharif, commander in chief of the Pakistan army, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, head of the civilian government.…  Seguir leyendo »

Si todo avanza conforme a lo anunciado, el gobierno de Juan Manuel Santos y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) suscribirán en  las próximas semanas un acuerdo que ponga fin a más de 50 años de conflicto armado. Se trata sin duda de una noticia trascendental para Colombia, pero también para la comunidad internacional, que ha expresado de manera unánime su apoyo al proceso desarrollado en La Habana. Mucho se ha dicho sobre el rol de la comunidad internacional en la consecución de la paz y en la implementación del futuro acuerdo. Quisiera proponer en estas línea un análisis del otro lado de la moneda: el significado e impacto de este proceso en la escena internacional.…  Seguir leyendo »