- Britain and Russia return to previous position on Syria
- International outrage appears to grow over Syria
- Germany's Merkel prepares to strike back against France's Hollande on austerity
- Sweden's Loreen wins Eurovision Song Contest
Britain and Russia return to previous position on Syria
I originally thought that when the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning Syria's president Bashar al-Assad for Saturday's horrific massacre by the Syrian army in house to house slaughter of over 100 people, including dozens of children, Russia might be changing position and giving up its support for the "Assad Peace Plan," which means keep slaughtering people until you've exterminated everyone who utters a peep of protest. It turns out that's not entirely true. Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague met with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Monday, and they went back to talking about giving the "Kofi Annan Peace Plan" time to work. This would mean that Sunday's Security Council vote was not a change of position, but merely a signal to al-Assad to make sure that the next time he exterminates all the women and children in a village, he should make sure his army doesn't leave behind incriminating evidence, like tank shells. Moscow Times and Voice of Russia
International outrage appears to grow over Syria
I heard an offhand remark on the BBC today that Saturday's massacre might be "Syria's My Lai." This is an interesting allusion to the Vietnam War and very interesting from a theoretical point of view. The Vietnam War was a generational Awakening era war for America, a war in which the U.S. was humiliated and was arguable defeated. America was defeated by harsh political opposition in the United States, with a series of specific incidents turning the public against the war. The incidents that come to mind are the My Lai massacre, Walter Cronkite's declaration of American defeat, and the National Guard killing of four Kent State Students.
As I've written many times, Syria's current "civil war" is also an Awakening era war, coming just one generation after the real civil war that occurred in Syria, climaxing in the 1982 slaughter in Homa. As happens in Awakening era wars, public opinion against the war will continue to grow, until the war fizzles. Saturday's Houla massacre may well turn out to be one of the events that cause Syria's current war to fizzle, after which Kofi Annan and al-Assad can congratulate each other for bringing peace to Syria.
Germany's Merkel prepares to strike back against France's Hollande on austerity
There's been a noticeable shift in sentiment in Europe in the last few weeks, thanks to the recent elections in France and Greece, giving the popular vote to "hope and change" candidates who want to give up the hopeless austerity path and return to the even more hopeless path of uncontrolled debt and spending. France's new President François Hollande has won widespread support for his "eurobond" proposal, which would permit the eurozone to issue bonds that all 17 countries would be jointly responsible for. Germany opposes this because, after all, it would mean that Germany would be the ones guaranteeing the debts of the "profligate" countries. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been increasingly isolated by Hollande. Now she plans to strike back with a six-point proposal, the major terms of which are as follows:
- Deep-seated structural reforms for Europe.
- Government owned businesses are to be sold off.
- Labor union protections against wrongful dismissal relaxed and obstructive regulations for companies removed
- Special economic zones and privatization agencies, based on a German model dating from reunification of East and West Germany.
The intent is that a troubled country that wants to take advantage of eurobonds will be forced to begin with austerity steps that Hollande and France will not be willing to consider. Meanwhile, the euro zone economy continues to deteriorate inexorably, no matter what the politicians do, with the crisis du jour occurring in Spain's banking system, resulting in new high yields (interest rates) for Spanish bonds. Spiegel and Bloomberg
Sweden's Loreen wins Eurovision Song Contest
It's hard to describe the Eurovision Song Contest to someone outside of Europe, except to say that it's a high-prestige singing circus, where every European country chooses an act to compete, the more glitzy and outrageous the better, with the winner chosen by popular vote. Last year's winner was from Azerbaijan, so this years Eurovision contest was held in Baku, Azerbaijan's capital, resulting in numerous protests over human rights abuses. This year's winner was Loreen, a Swedish girl who put body and soul into her song "Euphoria." If you have a little time, click on a video of her performance.
For today's musical entertainment, here's the video of Abba singing 'Waterloo'. This was Sweden's first Eurovision victory, in 1974.