Among the many consequences of Europe’s years-long economic crisis is the hardening of the eurozone into two camps: a pro-austerity side, led by Angela Merkel of Germany and, under Nicolas Sarkozy, France; and a pro-stimulus side, which comprises pretty much everyone else.
The crisis continues, but the days of Franco-German neoliberal dominance (known around Europe as “Merkozy”) are gone. Not only is Mr. Sarkozy no longer president, but the Continent’s weak recovery has raised questions about the wisdom of Berlin-centric austerity. Outside Germany, many have been missing an anti-Berlin leader.
Suddenly, there are two candidates for that role: Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy.… Seguir leyendo »
El mes pasado, los BRICS (Brasil, Rusia, India, China y Sudáfrica) anunciaron la creación de su propio banco de desarrollo, que reduciría su dependencia del Banco Mundial y el Fondo Monetario Internacional, dominados por Occidente. Estas economías se beneficiarán gracias a la mayor influencia y flexibilidad que tendrán sus políticas monetarias. Pero no deben descartar las valiosas lecciones que ofrecen las recientes innovaciones en política monetaria logradas por los bancos centrales de los países avanzados.
En junio, el Banco Central Europeo, siguiendo el ejemplo del Banco de Inglaterra en 2012, identificó al «crédito bancario para la economía real» como una nueva meta de política.… Seguir leyendo »
Tan pronto como concluyeron los Juegos Olímpicos de Invierno celebrados en Sochi, Rusia dijo adiós al espíritu olímpico invadiendo y ocupando un país extranjero. Con su agresión contra Ucrania, el Kremlin ha violado la Carta de las Naciones Unidas, el Acta Final de Helsinki y otros acuerdos internacionales, incluidos el Memorando de Budapest sobre garantías de seguridad y el acuerdo sobre la cuenca del mar Negro, en el que se exponían con claridad cómo debían ser las relaciones de Rusia con Ucrania.
Se ha convertido a Crimea en una zona militar y, si sigue agudizándose la crisis, sus habitantes podrían encontrarse pronto atrapados en la línea de fuego.… Seguir leyendo »
Germany’s vaunted export machine has once again come under political fire. This time it started with one paragraph in the United States Treasury Department’s semiannual report on the world economy, which accused Germany of running an excessive current account surplus and putting deflationary pressure on the world economy.
The report coincided with the announcement by the European Commission that Germany’s surplus had repeatedly gone above 6 percent of its gross domestic product, a threshold violation that prompts a review by the commission.
A number of usual suspects, ranging from esteemed economists to popular commentators, were quick to join the chorus. Reading their articles, one gets the impression that the introduction of the euro was a grand German scheme to take advantage of its weaker neighbors, and that if only the world could make them spend more lavishly, it could solve everything.… Seguir leyendo »
Germans used to joke that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s penchant for communicating via fleeting text messages effectively marked the end of traditional historiography. Well, at least American spy agencies seem to have kept full track of the behind-the-scenes communications — in Berlin and beyond.
Regrettably U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration have yet to comprehend the scale and severity of the damage caused to America’s credibility among its European allies. The problem is not that countries spy on each other (they all do). Rather, it is the extent of U.S. intelligence gathering and America’s attitude toward allies that is most damaging.… Seguir leyendo »
In the wake of the chemical weapons attack near Damascus, Western military strikes against Syria seem imminent. And Germany will once again demand a special role.
With elections less than four weeks away, the developments in Syria are putting Chancellor Angela Merkel in a tough spot. Certainly, Berlin has felt compelled to ratchet up its rhetoric vis-à-vis President Bashar al-Assad, dubbing his regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons as the “breaking of a taboo” and a “crime against civilization.”
On the other hand, an escalation of the conflict could derail Merkel’s plans to coast to easy re-election on Sept. 22.
German political leaders know full well that the country’s public opinion remains highly skeptical of any military deployments abroad, let alone combat operations.… Seguir leyendo »
The North American Free Trade Agreement will be 20 years old in 2014, and all those who predicted it would bring about disaster have long gone silent.
Despite a painful initial adjustment period, Nafta boosted intra-North American trade, pushing its members to improve competitiveness and focus on their comparative advantages. Mexico is now a manufacturing powerhouse, and a North American energy revolution only furthers the bloc’s global competitiveness.
Something similar is occurring in Europe, where the euro crisis never became a trade crisis, in stark contrast to the 1930s trade wars. In fact, one of the key conclusions to be drawn from the balkanization of European finances and divergent euro-zone growth over the last three years is that the European Union’s single market needs to be deeper.… Seguir leyendo »