John Lloyd (Continuación)

The migrants streaming across the Mediterranean to Italy, who buy their freedom from war and hunger from traffickers and die by the thousands doing so, confront Europe with its most hideous dilemma. The issue is sharper than the Greek crisis, the euro crisis or even the Ukraine crisis. Sharper because it is measured in a daily toll of corpses, most never found. It is palpable, human, pitiful.

And estimated 800 migrants died last weekend when a boat transporting them capsized. Most of the people, who came largely from Africa and Bangladesh, were locked in the boat’s hold by the traffickers.

The dilemma faced by Western Europe’s liberal democracies is that there are no good choices, no intervention of any kind that can staunch the conflicts and brutalities from which these migrants flee.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week in Britain, four men and three women faced the cameras in a broadcast debate that not only marked the start of a crucial election campaign but also served as proof of the meltdown of what had been one of the world’s most stable two-party political systems.

The plethora of parties vying for representation in the mother of parliaments may bring the mother of all political turbulence. The candidates are plunging Britain into an uneasy time that will only become more intense after the May 7 vote, there is no avoiding it.

With one exception, the men represent parties that have existed for a century — the Labour Party, led by Ed Miliband — or more — the Conservative Party, led by Prime Minster David Cameron.…  Seguir leyendo »

Today Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured backing from the required parliament members to form the next governing coalition. It was an undeniable victory for Bibi, after a nail-biter run up to last week’s legislative election. But Netanyahu’s triumph belies many shifts in Israel’s politics and society that could undermine his future.

For starters, it would be foolhardy to see Netanyahu’s victory as a victory for conservatives, en masse. Netanyahu’s party, the Likud, grew mainly by diminishing its allies on the right, Jewish Home and Yisrael Beiteinu, which saw their seat numbers drop to eight and six, respectively.

And the left didn’t quite lose.…  Seguir leyendo »

Raffaele Cantone, a fit and forceful man of 51, was appointed at the end of last year as head of the National Anti-Corruption Authority in Italy. If he fails in this role, it will be a terrifying moment for Italy. If he succeeds, he could transform the continent.

He is the most important man in Europe you have never heard of.

No surprise: Many see Italy as very corrupt. Indeed, according to Transparency International, it’s by far the most corrupt state in Western Europe; and in all of Europe, only Serbia and Montenegro — ex-communist states — have lower scores.

As Cantone has noted, this is a disaster for Italy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mid-afternoon in Rome, early summer 1924, by the banks of the Tiber. A young socialist politician, who had recently delivered a searing speech in parliament against the Italian leader, Benito Mussolini, and his fascist majority in the chamber, was seized, beaten, bundled into a car and stabbed repeatedly with a sharpened metal file until dead.

Mussolini probably didn’t order the killing of Giacomo Matteotti, though he may have been forewarned of it. The killers were arrested by the police: but the judges willing to prosecute were replaced with others friendly to the regime, an amnesty covered those convicted and the case was closed.…  Seguir leyendo »

A masked, black-clad militant, who has been identified by the Washington Post newspaper as a Briton named Mohammed Emwazi, brandishes a knife in this still image from a 2014 video obtained from SITE Intel Group, Feb 26, 2015. REUTERS/SITE Intel Group/Handout via Reuters

Once again,this past week, the Brits have found that a fellow citizen wishes to either kill them or convert them to a particular interpretation of Islam. Mohammed Emwazi, born in Kuwait and brought up in a middle class area of West London, a graduate in computer science from the University of Westminster is “Jihadi John.” He is thought — he was masked except for the eyes — to have been pictured in the videos of the beheadings of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning, and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter.…  Seguir leyendo »

A newly mobilized soldier trains with a weapon at the 169th training center of Ukrainian ground forces “Desna” in the Chernihiv region, Feb. 13, 2015. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

A belief that the world is plunging into multiple crises is now commonplace, at least in Europe. Continued Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, the Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told the BBC on Thursday, could be “the end of the end of the Cold War.” Mainstream economists have raised the chances of a Greek exit from the euro to high, and of a collapse of the euro to more than possible.

All these are possibles, could bes, question marks. We are in Donald Rumsfeld land, where there are known unknowns, unknown unknowns and few knowns. And because the stakes are so high, and so much for so many millions hangs on the outcomes of the present crises, efforts at resolution keep throwing up more known unknowns.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian servicemen attend a ceremony to bless ambulances in the Mikhailovsky Zlatoverkhy Cathedral (St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral) in central Kiev January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Russia is winning the battle for Ukraine. Pro-Russian separatists captured the airport at Donetsk, a bright new terminal now reduced to rubble, last week. Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the self-declared People’s Republic of Donetsk, has made it clear that he will attack Ukrainian lines once more. He will rely, as he has done before, on reinforcements from the Russian army and special forces.

As Donetsk’s airport was falling to the separatists, the embattled Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, travelled to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to beg for support. He told attendees that more than 9,000 Russian soldiers and several hundred tanks are on active duty in Ukraine and that 7 percent of his nation’s territory is effectively occupied.…  Seguir leyendo »