Friday morning in London a terrorist failed. There were flames but no deadly blast at the Parsons Green Station on the London Underground subway system in this, the fourth terrorist attack in London and the fifth in Britain this year. Not only did the as-yet-unidentified terrorist fail because he bungled his bomb-making, he failed because he failed to terrify.
Yes, there were the jumbled tweets about a fire and stampedes. Then, the report of a “major incident” in which more than a score of people had been hospitalized. Eventually even, a claim of responsibility by the Islamic State. But very quickly, it all felt routine.… Seguir leyendo »
From Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II, England was an empire. No more.
Brexit has turned the twilight years of the reign of Elizabeth II into the final chapter in the history of Great Britain. What its partisans, celebrating with flag-waving in the street, tearfully called “Independence Day” will unravel the role that England has played since the 16th century as a great power, along with the City of London’s reign as a financial capital of the world.
After Elizabeth I ascended to the throne in 1558, her merchant-venturers began an imperial quest. By Elizabeth II’s birth, Britain’s empire spanned nearly a quarter of the globe.… Seguir leyendo »
In the capitals of Europe, they are calling in the spies and the generals. I would call in someone far more frightening: an accountant. Europe’s states cannot afford the crises they have on their hands.
After the Paris attacks, the European Union needs to achieve three things: to restore control of its borders, screen and resettle its refugees, and retool its security forces to break the urban jihadist underground. Yet from London to Athens, governments are discovering that Europe’s financial quagmire has eaten away the very resources this security crisis demands.
Across the Continent, austerity budgets have cut the British Army to its smallest size since the Napoleonic Wars, slashed the Greek Navy, handicapped the Italian Coast Guard and seen Bulgarian border police officers protesting on the streets.… Seguir leyendo »
Russia and Ukraine are now at war. At least 2,200 people have died in the conflict; thousands more may die yet. The Western powers — America, Europe, NATO — now have no good options, but they cannot do nothing. President Vladimir V. Putin has left us with two dire choices, both fraught with risk: Either we arm Ukraine, or we force Kiev to surrender and let Mr. Putin carve whatever territories he wants into a Russian-occupied zone of “frozen conflict.”
It is a stark choice, and Mr. Putin is not rational. Any rational leader would have reeled from the cost of Western sanctions.… Seguir leyendo »
The blue-glass skyscrapers of Moscow City — fragments of Russia’s boom-time dream — are visible from the Kremlin walls, within which there was once hope that those towers could supplant the West’s financial centers. When the sun sets behind them, you can see that many of the offices lie empty.
In fact, the real hubs for Russian banking are in other countries. Moscow’s billionaires squirrel their fortunes abroad, and many businessmen register their companies as British, Dutch, Swiss or Cypriot — anything but Russian. Whistle-blowers would have us believe that even President Vladimir V. Putin stashes his money offshore.
Simply put, Russian money is frightened of Russia.… Seguir leyendo »