When the Portuguese Parliament failed to pass an austerity bill on March 23, the country’s Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, resigned. That move leaves Portugal leaderless for at least two months while facing a significant financial crisis: it must refinance nearly $13 billion of short-term debt by June. Investors have already pushed interest rates on Portugal’s sovereign 10-year debt to almost 8 percent, while credit-rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s both downgraded that debt’s quality on March 24.
On the 50th anniversary of the United Nations treaty that led to the global “War on Drugs,” a group of prominent officials and legislators from the United Kingdom declared the battle a failure and formed a commission calling for new policies to deal with problems associated with drugs.
The European Union is seeking broad new powers over the formerly sovereign nations of Europe, including direct taxation, further centralization of economic decisions, the ability to levy massive fines on national governments, harmonization of corporate tax policy, and more, prompting a fierce backlash by activists and even some governments.
A poll of public opinion in five nations of the European Union reveals a high level of distrust of government to solve the problems confronting them today. If the findings of the poll are accurate, a majority of Europeans in some of the largest and most influential nations of the EU believe that their governments are, in fact, part of the problem.
The European Union, which is enduring severe financial crises in several of its member states, including Greece and Ireland, and internal stresses in artificial nations such as Belgium, may soon face new woes. The fear of German or Franco-German hegemony is already producing some quiet anger among smaller nations.
Most Americans believe, as they were told by the media and taught in schools and colleges, that the Cold War “ended” with events including the so-called “collapse” of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the demolition of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. However, those who are aware of the true scope and nature of the international communist menace know that the Soviet Union truly never collapsed, but instead, has metastasized and adopted new and deceptive forms in the Russian Federation.
Collectivists always choose some enemy to blame for their failures. In America, the mantra against “the rich” is one example of that deliberate shifting of blame. Oil, tobacco, and drug companies — and countless others — face the wrath of those who subscribe to the collectivist myth. The political rhetoric is almost always ad hominem: attacking certain Americans and enterprises.
The Prime Minister of Turkey has a message for the 3 million people of Turkish origin now living in Germany: "You are part of Germany, but you are also part our great Turkey." Speaking on February 27 to an audience of thousands gathered to hear him in Düsseldorf, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (picture, left) told his “compatriots” to resist assimilation into German society ("Yes, integrate yourselves into German society but don't assimilate yourselves.”) even as he engaged in saber rattling as he stoked his audience: "Now Turkey will at last start building its own war planes."
Last month, while still in the midst of turmoil, the people of Albania commemorated the 20th anniversary of the alleged fall of Communism in their country.
On February 20, Albania’s ruling Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Sali Berisha, announced to a crowd of 300,000 supporters in the capital city of Tirana that just 20 years earlier “Albania managed to bring down the fiercest communism regime in Europe,” referring to the 40-year reign of communist dictator Enver Hoxha.