World View: Japan Deploys Anti-Missile Systems After North Korean Threats

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com:

  • Japan deploys anti-missile systems after North Korean threats
  • Slovenia denies that it needs a bailout
  • Cyprus scandal deepens over big withdrawals prior to bank shutdown
  • Donor nations pledge $3.6 billion in aid to Darfur

Japan deploys anti-missile systems after North Korean threats

North Korea's shrill, belligerent threats continued on Tuesday, as the government warned all foreigners to leave the country immediately because of an approaching war. Nobody really has any clue what to expect from the North Koreans in the next few days, but the hope is that it won't be anything worse than a new missile test. Nonetheless, Japan is preparing for the worst and is deploying Patriot anti-missile air defense units to defend against possible North Korean missile strikes. Japan has already deployed Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan to monitor the possible launch of North Korean ballistic missiles. Japan Times

Slovenia denies that it needs a bailout

A new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says that Slovenia faces an immediate banking crisis, with non-performing loans making up 14% of bank balance sheets in Slovenia, and that emergency action must be taken immediately. According to the report: 

Slovenia has been hit hard by a boom-bust cycle, compounded by reform backlogs and the euro area sovereign debt crisis. The reduction of public and private sector indebtedness is significantly weighing on growth amid tight financial conditions, growing unemployment and stalling export performance. Although important reforms have been adopted in 2012 and early 2013, additional and far-reaching reforms are needed as soon as possible to restore confidence and head off the risks of a prolonged downturn and constrained access to financial markets. 

Slovenia is facing a severe banking crisis, driven by excessive risk taking, weak corporate governance of state-owned banks and insufficiently effective supervision tools...

Potential growth has fallen significantly since the outset of the crisis. Boosting potential growth requires structural reforms, but the political economy of reform remains difficult, notably because it has been easy to use a referendum to veto a law. The ongoing discussion in Slovenia on ways to introduce stricter criteria on the use of referendums is hence welcome. Competition in the product market is not vibrant enough -- notably as state ownership is large and the Competition Authority has been lacking resources -- to facilitate economic adjustment. The labour market is not sufficiently flexible although an improvement is expected following the adoption of a recent reform aimed to reduce significantly labor market dualism.

So it sounds like Greece, Cyprus, and various other troubled countries. The state owns too many businesses and pays labor union members too much money, and it has borrowed too much money to support government expenses. The OECD is demanding that banks and other public assets be sold off and privatized, a suggestion that's always been wildly popular in other troubled countries. 

Slovenia's prime minister, Alenka Bratusek, denies that a bailout is required, saying that "The new government is determined to do everything in its power to solve its problems by itself." However, what she says is totally meaningless since, as we're all well aware, country leaders always lie repeatedly about needing a bailout, and always continue doing so until just a moment before they actually request a bailout. OECD and Guardian (London)

Cyprus scandal deepens over big withdrawals prior to bank shutdown

Six thousand individuals and legal entities withdrew tens of millions of euros in cash from Cyprus's banks and sent it abroad in the period from March 1-15, just days before the banks shut down and levied 60% or more on large deposits. 

The Parliament's Ethic Committee began an investigation and demanded that the Cyprus central bank hand over a list detailing transfers of more than 100,000 euros for the past year. However, the central bank failed to comply, according to an MP, Demetris Syllouris: "It was with great disappointment and anger that, when we opened the envelope, we realized it contained data for only 15 days even though we had asked for a year. This kind of behavior is unacceptable."

Syllouris also raised concerns that even the 15 day list was incomplete. The economy in Cyprus continues to worsen after the bailout agreement, and the finger-pointing and name-calling are expected to become vicious. Reuters and Kathimerini (Athens)

Donor nations pledge $3.6 billion in aid to Darfur

A donor conference meeting in Doha, Qatar, has pledged $3.6 billion over six years to finance the development of Darfur. The pledges include $500 million from Qatar, $35 million from the EU, $16.5 million from Britain, $1 million from Chad, and so forth. The pledges are, in my opinion, a total joke because the pledges from similar conferences in the past are almost always completely forgotten as soon as the conference ends. 

Darfur is like a terminally ill patient, semi-conscious in bed, where he's being kept alive by dozens of tubes attached to his body, delivering and removing various fluids. 

Darfur's civil war began as low-level violence in the 1970s as a fairly standard conflict between farmers and herders. What always happens is that the herders' animals trample on the farmers' crops, and then the farmers build fences to block the herders' animals. The violence worsened over the years, and the conflict transitioned to a generational crisis war in 2003, with the light-skinned "Arab" Janjaweed militia herders slaughtering the dark-skinned "non-Arab" farmers. That's when the United Nations "discovered" Darfur, and launched a donation-based program to protect the farmers from the herders. So the farmers were moved into huge refugee tent camps where they became entirely dependent on aid and donations from foreign entities. The financial crisis has reduced donations, and starvation is widespread in the Darfur refugee camps. 

As I've been writing for years, a generational crisis war is an elemental force of nature, and has to reach a climax. At some point, the Janjaweed militias will return to finish the job, slaughtering the refugees like fish in a barrel. That will finally end the Darfur war. AFP

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