AGITATED markets, a tumbling pound-sterling, a downgraded credit rating: none of these should have been an unexpected outcome of the British electorate’s decision last weekend to opt out of the European Union.
The hopes of many of those who confidently expected the British electorate to vote, by a slender margin, for the country to remain in the EU have been dashed. All that is left to do now is to ponder the causes and background of this regrettable event, and consider its likely consequences, especially for relations with the United States.
With little fanfare, the German IFO Institute for Economic Research recently published a report on population projections for Germany which states simply that the country’s population is shrinking fast.
The victory of the Conservative Party and the debacle of the Labour Party in the recent British general elections is yet another sign of the crisis facing left-wing forces today, leaving aside the question of how, under the British electoral system, the Labour Party actually increased the number of votes it won but saw a reduction in the number of seats it now holds in Parliament (24 seats less than the previous 256).
The ‘West’ is a concept that flourished during the Cold War. Then it was West against East in the form of the Soviet empire. The East was evil against which all democratic countries – read West – were called on to fight.
The United Kingdom has been accused
of “sleepwalking” into the Ukraine crisis – and the accusation comes from no less than the House of Lords, not usually considered a place of critical analysis.
For a long time, citizens of the United States have firmly believed that their country has an exceptional destiny, and continue to do so today even though their political system has become totally dysfunctional.
The fact that in a referendum Switzerland has taken a path that goes in the opposite direction from that of Europe is an unusual fact which calls for reflection, especially because Switzerland has taken a much more progressive path, while we all were accustomed to see it as a very conservative country.
After the Italian sea search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum at a cost of nine million euros a month, through which the Italian Navy has rescued nearly 100,000 migrants – although perhaps up to 3,000 have died – from the Mediterranean since October 2013, Europe is now presenting its new face in the Mediterranean.
At last, after the obligatory summer break, the European Union (EU) has some new faces to fill the top vacancies on the team that began to emerge from the May 25 parliamentary elections.
The British government has published internal legal advice which it said showed it was legally entitled to take military action against Syria, even if the United Nations Security Council blocked such action.
At the last summit of European heads of state held in Brussels at the end of June, the main theme was youth unemployment, which has now reached 23 percent of European youth (although it stands at 41 percent in Spain).
The United States is being singled out for criticism after the Group of Eight (G8) rich countries failed to adopt a plan pushed by British Prime Minister David Cameron to require the creation of public country-level registries with detailed information on corporate ownership and activity.
Between 2010 and 2012, 868 million people worldwide were deemed hungry by a conservative definition. This figure represents only a small fraction of the world’s population whose health and lives are blighted by malnutrition.
With an international meeting aimed at resolving the political crisis in Somalia set to take place Thursday, the local media in this East African nation is awash with scepticism, referring to the efforts as a new system of re-colonising the country.