European Decline

Modern Day Xenophon Wanted: The Education of Cyprus?

Featured image This semester I taught Xenophon’s neglected treatise The Education of Cyrus, which many observers have compared to Machiavelli’s Prince.  Seems now we could use a modern-day financial Xenophon to update it as The Education of Cyprus, where, according to news out within the hour, there is going to be a four-day “bank holiday” to prevent a total run.  We keep being reassured that this is a one-off event; that surely »

Let’s not forget knife control

Featured image One of my 2013 predictions — coming soon! — is that rifles will trail knives as murder weapons of choice in the coming year as they have in the most recent five-year period for which statistics are available. Magical thinking underlies the calls for gun control in the wake of the slaughter of the innocents at the Sandy Hook school, but a relentless logic is at work in this anecdote »

Mark Falcoff: The view from Germany

Featured image Occasional contributor Mark Falcoff is resident scholar emeritus at AEI. He is the author of books including Modern Chile, 1970-1989: A Critical History and Cuba the Morning After: Confronting Castro’s Legacy. Dr. Falcoff writes to comment on the German perspective on tomorrow’s election: At this writing it is not clear who will win tomorrow’s presidential election in the United States. But if, as some surveys suggest, Mitt Romney is the »

The Nobel Peace Prize Went to What??

Featured image I’ve been away from the site most of the day because it’s taken all day to wipe up the snorted coffee all over my desk from the news that the European Union has won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Is today April Fools Day and nobody told me? I can hardly contain the paroxysms of mirth and disgust at this vain and self-regarding gesture.  Fortunately, I don’t have to.  The overachieving »

Groundhog Day Almost Over For Europe?

Featured image I’ve given up following the Eurozone crisis on a daily basis—as has much of the media it seems—because it has settled into Groundhog Day territory.  Greece—still a basket case.  Spain—still having trouble selling its bonds.  Italy and France—still behaving irresponsibly.  Germany: cough up more dough you tight-fisted Teutonic bastards.  How long can this circus go on?  It’s been going on for better than two years now at least, and perhaps »

Europe, the author of our latest economic woes

Featured image Yesterday, I referred to a poll in which a plurality of respondents assigned primary blame for our weak economy to President Obama. He was followed by Congress, Wall Street, and former President Bush in that order. As these were the only choices offered to the respondents, I would have answered “none of the above,” at least insofar as the current economic turn for the worse is concerned. For me, the »

“Hate speech” and theatre of the absurd

Featured image In England, it’s a crime to call someone a “f___ing black c___.” If you think I’m making this up, ask John Terry, the English soccer star who was just found not guilty of saying this to Anton Ferdinand, an opposing player, during a contentious match. Terry didn’t come away unscathed. He lost his captaincy of the England national team when the Crown decided to prosecute him. But one needn’t feel »

Three Perfect Days in Sofia

Featured image So first I’m without electricity and Internet at my home in McLean, Virginia, after a jam-packed week last week teaching an intensive one-week course on the history of American foreign policy in the Ashbrook Center’s MAHG program, and then I nipped off to Sofia, Bulgaria, to give a lecture and a full day of small group seminars for a joint program of the business school at the New Bulgaria University »

France: Don’t Look Now, But . . .

Featured image I’ve been meaning to offer some observations on what appears to be the disastrous start out of the box for France’s new president, Francois Hollande, whose Socialist Party saw its strength grow with the follow on parliamentary elections.  So what does he check off first on his to-do list?  Lowering the retirement age, from 62 to 60, for several classes of government employees.  I imagine Scott Walker won’t be vacationing »

Italy: Don’t Look Now, But . . .

Featured image Oh goody.  While everyone awaits tomorrow’s vote in Greece, and struggles to find out whether the recent fillip to Spain’s banks will work, there’s this squib in today’s Barron’s: Italy is moving into the crisis cross-hairs.  That development has chilled any euphoria over the recent Spanish bailout package.  Italy hasn’t yet taken international assistance, but its debt-to-GDP ratio stands at 120%. The euro’s end game is Italy, says Ed Altman, »

Europe: Don’t Look Now, But . . .

Featured image The news out of Europe is so unremittingly bad every day that I’ve simply averted my gaze every morning.  What is there new to say about another failed bailout (Spain this week), bank runs (Greece, every day), and failure of necessary reforms (Italy, or France lowering the retirement age of certain classes of public employees)?  From the looks of things ZeroHedge’s Tyler Durden hasn’t slept in months.  (You should sign »

Mark Falcoff’s Guide to the Guidebooks

Featured image Occasional contributor Mark Falcoff is resident scholar emeritus at AEI. He is the the author, among other books, of Modern Chile, 1970-1989: A Critical History and Cuba the Morning After: Confronting Castro’s Legacy. Mr. Falcoff writes: The Atlantic Web site has posted a rather provocative piece by Max Fisher on guidebooks to the USA. He reminds us (something I didn’t know) that the US is the world’s second largest tourist »

Looks Like the Horse Worked, Again

Featured image The satirists at The Daily Mash had fun with the European financial crisis a few days ago with some schtick on “Greeks Apologize With Huge Horse”: THE nation of Greece said sorry to the European Union with a present of an enormous wooden horse. Left outside the European Central Bank in the dead of night, the horse has now been moved into the ECB’s central lobby where it is proudly »

World to Germany: Drop Dead

Featured image We haven’t had a lot to say about the European financial Gotterdammerung for a while because it’s like watching a super-slow motion car wreck in a Michael Bay movie: the technical wizardry of the spectacle doesn’t change the prosaic and predictable result at the end of the scene.  But there might be a surprise ending on the way—a nasty surprise in which the supposedly sturdy central bankers of Europe turn »

In the U.K., the Nanny-State Apocalypse Is Now

Featured image How helpless can people become, in the grip of a relentless, cradle to grave nanny state? Here in the U.S., we still have time to turn back; most Americans are still horrified by the Life of Julia as a dependent of the state. But in the United Kingdom, the Rubicon seems to have been crossed. That is my conclusion, anyway, after seeing this piece in the Telegraph: the British government »

Is Europe Doomed?

Featured image In France and Greece, voters have rejected “austerity”–the idea that European governments should live within their means. In Italy, too, anti-austerity candidates are currently leading in the polls. French Socialist François Hollande vows to continue running huge deficits so that he can hire more public sector workers; in a burst of stupidity, he announced that “My real enemy is the world of Finance.” I suppose there could be a surer »

Sarkozy defeated; Socialist elected

Featured image As expected, Socialist Francois Hollande has defeated incumbent president Nicloas Sarkozy. With half the vote counted, Holland leads 51-49. French polling agencies project that Hollande will end up capturing between 52 and 53 percent of the final vote. With so many factors working against him — above all, the economy — Sarkozy ended up running fairly well. But France nonetheless will be saddled with a Socialist president and, by most »