European Decline

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 »

The left is on the rise in France and England

Featured image France is poised to elect Socialist Francois Hollande as its president this weekend. The latest blow to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy occurred when centrist Francois Bayrou, the fourth place finisher in the first round, announced that he would vote for Hollande. Bayrou said he would do so despite his opposition to Hollande’s pledge to back out of an EU agreement binding France to reduce its deficit. The centrist leader cited Sarkozy’s »

Pascal’s Wager for Today

Featured image Stop the presses: a French intellectual has a good op-ed article in today’s Wall Street Journal—Pascal Bruckner’s “The Ideology of Catastrophe.”  It’s a nice tour of the apocalypticism that is popular with the media and the Left (but I repeat. . .), with a French twist: My point is not to minimize our dangers. Rather, it is to understand why apocalyptic fear has gripped so many of our leaders, scientists »

Power Line Ahead of Time

Featured image A week ago we warned about how the economic troubles in Spain were threatening to reignite the Eurozone crisis, and Thursday of this week Time got round to noticing in “Spain’s Death Spiral and the Hypocrisy of the Euro”: Anyone out there who thinks the euro zone debt crisis is over – and you know who you are – should take a good look at what’s going on in Spain. »

Whatever Happened to Growth Liberalism?

Featured image Quick, what quack said this: “There is a point at which in peace times high rates of income and profits taxes destroy energy, remove the incentive to new enterprise, encourage extravagant expenditures and produce industrial stagnation with consequent unemployment and other attendant evils.” The answer is (drum roll please): Woodrow Wilson!  He’s not a guy who said very many sensible things in his time.  To the contrary, as a certain »

Don’t Look Now, But . . .

Featured image The pain in Spain is felt mostly by the plain Joses, according to Alan Abelson in his “Up and Down Wall Street” column in this week’s edition of Barron’s.  This is not an April Fool’s Day joke, folks, even though you might think so from the related news item that Spanish hookers have gone on strike against bankers.  (But that still leaves politicians. . .)  While everyone is still digesting »

Battle of the Books

Featured image A follower on Twitter posed the following question to me and Jonah Goldberg in a Twitter post over the weekend: “Is there any rough contemporary corollary to the Lionel Trilling—Russell Kirk, lib.-con. intellectual battle?”  What Chad M (Chad 1320 if you’re Twitterversical) is referring to is the fact that Russell Kirk’s magisterial book, The Conservative Mind, was written largely in response to Trilling’s assertion in The Liberal Imagination that “In »

Go Away, Or I Will Taunt You A Second Time!

Featured image Today’s comedy segment comes courtesy of the madcaps at the European Union. Picking on the Europeans has become cliché, especially when they hand you such lame material, like the EU-produced video below that is supposed to convey . . . what, exactly?  Moviegoers may think it a slightly wacky homage to Tarantino’s Kill Bill, showing that Europeans are so much more civilized because they’d sit down and charm their opponents »

The Decline of the West?

Featured image Don’t look now (which actually always means, do look), but late today Moody’s cut the debt ratings of nine European countries.  Look for a bad open on the markets in the morning.  Beware of Greeks bearing gifts austerity packages. And yes, that’s Oswald Spengler in the thumbnail of this post.  In case you were wondering.  Was he just a century too soon–about Europe anyway? »

Athens In Flames

Featured image Athens is burning tonight, as leftists and others protest against the Greek Parliament’s vote in favor of the measures that are required by the EU in exchange for a 130 billion Euro bailout–enough to keep Greece afloat for now, at least. The rioters have nothing intelligent or constructive to say. They believe, evidently, that Greeks are entitled to consume far more than they produce, forever. Nice work if you can »