Spotlight on Geopolitics

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The end for a paper tiger

For over two decades now, we got used to being force-fed by the English-speaking media with regular upbeat stories about Ireland, EU’s own “tiger”. Thus for the first time in the young republic’s history, “the luck of the Irish” fatalism had given way to optimism and to the widely shared belief that Ireland had finally made it.… » read more

Last week’s top-level political meetings which took place in Brussels and Hanoi ended up with similar calls on the US to avoid stimulating the American economy by printing more dollars. Trying to stimulate growth by flooding the American banking system with liquidity is only of marginal importance to the US economy’s woes. Yet this is… » read more

The G20 finance ministers’ meeting which took place last weekend in Gyeongju, South Korea, did not do much to ease fears of a potential currency war between developed and developing nations. The only worthwhile achievement was an IMF-brokered decision to increase India, China and Brazil’s clout and voting power on the IMF board. Geithner’s initiative for reducing trade imbalances, squarely aimed at China,… » read more

The recent Merkel-Sarkozy compromise regarding penalties against EU states which ring up big budget deficits has been attacked by German coalition partners, experts and the press for being too mild on offenders. In an article published on Europe’s World (“Designing a new institutional architecture for the eurozone”), Mr. Jurgen Stark, executive board member of the… » read more

The IMF’s semi-annual meeting in Washington this weekend has failed to produce concrete proposals aimed at avoiding a currency war. The unrealistic pressure put on China to allow the yuan to suddenly appreciate by 20 percent has been strongly resisted by Zhou Xiaochuan, the Chinese central bank’s governor. He had good reason to do that: a big rise… » read more