Josef Joffe

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de febrero de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

La condena de Sarkozy es una victoria del Estado de derecho

La dura sentencia dictada contra el expresidente francés Nicolas Sarkozy, condenado por tráfico de influencias, confirma nuevamente una antigua verdad de la política. Aún en las democracias más afianzadas del mundo la corrupción sigue siendo una maldición.

El poder siempre atrae al poder. Su magia es superior a la de los sobornos, los poderosos no tienen que mostrar la billetera. Quinientos años antes del veredicto contra Sarkozy, Maquiavelo declaró en sus Discursos que «El oro por sí mismo no consigue buenos soldados, pero los buenos soldados siempre conseguirán oro». En otras palabras, los golpes le ganan al efectivo.

El poder es, entonces, la moneda más sólida en la política y crea tentaciones que no se puede exorcizar, pero hay que contenerlas y controlarlas.…  Seguir leyendo »

La lógica alemana del gasoducto vacío

La construcción del Nord Stream 2 —un gasoducto ya casi terminado que va directamente desde Rusia hasta Alemania— no se debió en realidad a la necesidad de garantizar la provisión de gas natural barato, sino al beneficio personal y los intereses nacionales de ambos países.

El gasoducto a través del mar Báltico enfrentó a Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea contra Alemania, y produjo un creciente coro de críticas locales contra la canciller Angela Merkel. Si la cuestión se redujera solo a moléculas de gas, tal vez el proyecto nunca hubiera empezado... pero entonces, ¿por qué lo hizo?

Volvamos a 2005, cuando Gerhard Schröder y el presidente ruso Vladímir Putin cerraron el acuerdo justo antes de que Schröder dejara el puesto de canciller.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Unión Demócrata Cristiana (UDC) de la canciller alemana, Angela Merkel, ha gobernado la República Federal de 71 años por un total de 50 años. Cuando ella abandone el cargo el próximo otoño después de 16 años en el poder, cabe esperar que otro demócrata cristiano la suceda. ¿Quién será?

En las próximas semanas, la UDC llevará a cabo su 33 convención partidaria y elegirá un nuevo líder. Quienquiera que sea muy probablemente será consagrado como el candidato de la UDC a canciller cuando Merkel abandone el cargo, y existen pocas dudas de que la UDC saldrá vencedora en la elección general de septiembre próximo, tras lo cual tomará la delantera en la formación del próximo gobierno.…  Seguir leyendo »

So Alex the Greek won, and the euro lost. Not quite. In fact, the bulk of euroland – the “Club Med” countries plus the mainstream left – are quietly triumphant. The southern tier and Europe’s social democratic parties never liked the diktat of the Germans, who have been cracking the whip of fiscal discipline and market-oriented reforms since the great crash of 2008. For years they have all preached cheap money and unfettered deficit spending.

Now Berlin’s critics feel vindicated and emboldened by the victory of Greece’s far-out left (Syriza), which will form a government with the equally radical right (Independent Greeks).…  Seguir leyendo »

Another Chapter 11 for Greece, the third in five years — and no exit in sight. The Greeks won’t do the eurozone the favor of absconding from the common currency. Never mind that they should never have been accepted in the first place, when they cooked the books to look prim and proper.

Not even Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the radical leftist Syriza party, wants out. Apparently on track to win the snap elections on Jan. 25, he has vowed: “We will stick with the euro, no doubt.”

Nor does anybody else — including Germany — want Greece to leave, if truth be told, even though the German leader, Angela Merkel, now has her minions spreading the word that a “Grexit” is no longer an absolute no-no.…  Seguir leyendo »

If the U.S. is currently ruled by stalemate -– with polarized parties crippling its Founders’ checks and balances -– Germany has too much uniformity and too little contest, which is the lifeblood of democracy.

Consider the numbers in last week’s deal creating a new “grand coalition” government. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, who once billed themselves as conservatives, and the Social Democrats, left of center, will control almost 80 percent of the seats in the German parliament. Imagine what Democrats Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would do with such a mega-majority in the U.S. Senate and House. It gets worse.

The Christian Democrats, the “Blacks” in German parlance, and Sigmar Gabriel’s Social Democratic Party, the “Reds,” are ideologically as similar as the quintessentially blue states of Massachusetts and California.…  Seguir leyendo »

Some of my best friends are very rich -- people with condos on Central Park West and tastefully refurbished palazzi in Italy. The puzzle: Why do so many of them vote Democratic or praise the high-taxing European welfare state?

How rich? When one of them had an art lover on the phone, who was offering to pay $30 million for a famous painting, he refused. Frustrated, the would-be buyer groaned: “Look, man, I just more than doubled the going price for this piece, and you still won’t take it. Why not?”

My friend’s riposte: “Right now, I am the only man in the world who owns this unique painting.…  Seguir leyendo »

A few weeks ago, Newsweek called her “Slow-Motion Merkel”. The magazine sniffed that she didn’t “want the job” of leading Europe. Well, Angela Merkel just took it, pretty much dictating to the rest of the EU how to deal with the let’s-spend-like-there-is-no-tomorrow Greeks, whose fiscal chickens have finally come home to roost.

In Greece she is Public Enemy No 1, and in the French media she has gone from Lady Lethargic to “Madame Non”. When she visits London this week, the German Chancellor will enjoy new stature and renewed clout.

Mrs Merkel led by slamming on the brakes and keeping her foot down.…  Seguir leyendo »

Imagine waking up one fine Sunday morning to learn that they are laying down barbed wire in Washington. The coils cut off the western side of the District from Northeast and Southeast. Over the next three years, the steel wire is replaced by a wall of concrete 12 feet high. Now you are trapped, and if you're on the wrong side, the Washington Monument might just as well be the moon. Grim guards at fortresslike checkpoints along the District boundaries go through your papers and your car before you may proceed on special transit roads.

This is what happened in Berlin, starting on Aug.…  Seguir leyendo »