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Posts Tagged ‘France’

The Crisis of World Order

Posted by hkarner - 22. November 2015

Date: 21-11-2015
Source: The Wall Street Journal By ROBERT KAGAN

After Paris, Islamic State’s rise and Syria’s agony are shaking a weakened

Europe—and the international system. Can the U.S. summon the resolve to respond?

For several years, President Barack Obama has operated under a set of assumptions about the Middle East: First, there could be no return of U.S. ground troops in sizable numbers to the region; and second, undergirding the first, the U.S. has no interests in the region great enough to justify such a renewed commitment. The crises in the Middle East could be kept localized. There might be bloodshed and violence—even mass killing, in Syria and Libya and elsewhere, and some instability in Iraq—but the fighting, and its consequences, could be contained. The core elements of the world order would not be affected, and America’s own interests would not be directly threatened so long as good intelligence and well-placed drone strikes prevented terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Even Islamic State could be “degraded” and “contained” over time.

These assumptions could have been right—other conflicts in the Middle East have remained local—but they have proven to be wrong. The combined crises of Syria, Iraq and Islamic State have not been contained. Islamic State itself has proven both durable and capable, as the attacks in Paris showed. The Syrian conflict, with its exodus of refugees, is destabilizing Lebanon and Jordan and has put added pressure on Turkey’s already tenuous democracy. It has exacerbated the acute conflict between Sunnis and Shiites across the region. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How Islamic State Teaches Tech Savvy to Evade Detection

Posted by hkarner - 17. November 2015

Date: 17-11-2015
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Paris attacks raise possibility that extremists have found ways around western surveillance

Terror groups have for years waged a technical battle with Western intelligence services that have sought to constrain them through a web of electronic surveillance.

The Paris attacks, apparently planned under the noses of French and Belgian authorities, raise the possibility that Islamic State adherents have found ways around the dragnet.

French authorities say two of the attackers knew each other in prison, but it isn’t clear how the group communicated in plotting and coordinating the Friday attacks. Intelligence services have monitored communications from one terror suspect, Belgian Islamist Abdelhamid Abaaoud, between Syria and alleged associates in Belgium and Morocco. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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France’s surveillance is better than ours, yet it still failed. Upgrading the algorithms is vital.

Posted by hkarner - 17. November 2015

Date: 17-11-2015
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Subject: Paris Needs Silicon Valley

F Anti terrotist HQThe headquarters of France’s Anti-Terrorism Sub-Directorate outside Paris.

The news from Paris includes this dose of harsh reality for Americans: The French authorities failed to prevent coordinated attacks by Islamist terrorists despite having the most powerful surveillance tools in the Western world. It’s even harder for the U.S. to prevent similar attacks because the Obama administration denies American intelligence agencies access to information that could stop terrorists.

After the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, the French government proposed new surveillance laws favoring enhanced access to intelligence, weighing risks of terrorism to be greater than potential risks to individual privacy. The law was enacted in July, and thousands of budgeted surveillance staffers have yet to be hired. The law allows warrantless wiretaps, unlike in the U.S., where electronic surveillance requires a court order. In France an administrative body called the National Committee of Intelligence Techniques Control, which the prime minister can overrule, oversees surveillance. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Hapless President: Is François Hollande Re-Electable?

Posted by hkarner - 10. November 2015

Date: 10-11-2015
Source: Spiegel

Hollande1François Hollande is already viewed as the most unsuccessful president in recent French history. His hapless leadership has enabled the rise of Marina Le Pen’s far-right Front National. He plans to run again in 2017, but does he stand a chance?

There’s a scene in Yves Jeuland’s most recent film, in which two older men, one of them a well-known historian, talk about François Hollande. They’re guests at an evening event in the Élysée Palace, where the president is honoring author Jean d’Ormesson. The two men, wearing dark suits and holding champagne flutes, stand off to the side as they converse. The historian shakes his head and mumbles: “I have never seen a politician who had such good luck before his election, and nothing but bad luck afterwards.”

Hollande has often been the cause of much head-shaking during his three-and-a-half years as president of France to date. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The dispensable French

Posted by hkarner - 6. November 2015

Date: 05-11-2015
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

France has less and less influence in the EU, and fears to use what it still has

BACK in September, as Germany struggled to cope with the politics and logistics of the greatest influx of refugees in modern history, France decided to put on a show of European solidarity. French bureaucrats, armed with Arabic translators and loudspeakers, chartered three coaches and set off for the German city of Munich. The idea was to fill the vehicles with refugees and drive them over the Rhine to France, thus easing Germany’s load. The French had planned to fetch some 1,000 asylum-seekers. But in the end, only a few hundred could be persuaded to climb on board. It seemed they were not interested in French solidarity; they wanted to live in Germany. The coaches left half-empty.

The pattern was a familiar one. As Europe has scrambled to respond to the ground-shifting events of the past few months—first the Greek currency drama, now the refugee crisis—France has found itself increasingly marginalised: at best a junior partner to Mrs Merkel, at worst a mute spectator. With Greece teetering on the brink of expulsion from the euro zone in July, Mr Hollande cajoled, consulted and mediated. But it was Mrs Merkel’s word, after the best part of a long night, that determined Greece’s fate. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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France Will Modernize Greece!

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015, Observing GreeceKastner

Further to my recent article on the new Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS), which replaced the EU Task Force for Greece (TFGR) earlier this year, we now have the first evidence of the SRSS in action and it looks rather promising.

Here is the Protocol between the Hellenic Republic and the French Republic for a partnership for reforms in the Hellenic Republic. The signatories are no less than the Finance Ministers of both countries and they signed in the presence of the Greek Prime Minister and the French President. So this is more than just another document!

Just like with the TFGR, the SRSS facilitates the availability of the most competent resources in other EU countries to assist Greece. France has been selected to assist Greece with Central Administrative Reform, Tax Reform, Privatization and Public Asset Management. The protocol lists rather detailed goals and objectives. They all sound great!

The goals and objectives which the TFGR had stated after it was formed in late 2011 also sounded great. In fact, in would be interesting to make a point-by-point comparison. Chances are that the goals and objectives are rather identical. Why did the TFGR fail? For one: it never had the full commitment of the Greek leadership behind it; or to use the standard speak: it was never ‘owned’ by the Greek leadership. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Schäuble’s Gathering Storm

Posted by hkarner - 24. Oktober 2015

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The French Exception?

Posted by hkarner - 7. Oktober 2015

Photo of Kenneth Rogoff

Kenneth Rogoff

Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University and recipient of the 2011 Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics, was the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003. His most recent book, co-authored with Carmen M. Reinhart, is This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.

OCT 7, 2015, Project Syndicate

PARIS – More than ever, the French economy is at the center of the global debate about how far one can push the limits of state size and control in a capitalist democracy. To those on the left, France’s generous benefits and strong trade unions provide a formula for a more inclusive welfare state. To those on the right, France’s oversized and intrusive government offers only a blueprint for secular decline. For the moment, the right looks right.

Once nearly the economic equal of Germany, France has fallen well behind over the past decade, with per capita GDP now about 10% lower. France may punch above its weight politically, but it punches far below its weight economically. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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France signals EU treaty change to avert Brexit, warns on euro survivalevan

Posted by hkarner - 27. September 2015

‘We mustn’t close the door to the British if what they are demanding from other member states is acceptable,’ said French economic tsar Emmanuel Macron

Mr Macron compared the euro’s plight to a new Thirty Years religious war on the continent

Emmanuel Macron, the French economy minister, said creative ways can be found to amend the EU treaties and stop a European “Brexit” crisis from spinning out of control.

“We shouldn’t turn a treaty change into something traumatic or taboo,” he said, speaking in London on a visit to promote France’s “industrial renaissance”.

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The decline of the French intellectual

Posted by hkarner - 24. September 2015

By ; Politico

Updated 9/22/15, 7:21 AM CET

One of the most characteristic inventions of modern French culture is the “intellectual.”

Intellectuals in France are not just experts in their particular fields, such as literature, art, philosophy and history. They also speak in universal terms, and are expected to provide moral guidance about general social and political issues. Indeed, the most eminent French intellectuals are almost sacred figures, who became global symbols of the causes they championed — thus Voltaire’s powerful denunciation of religious intolerance, Rousseau’s rousing defense of republican freedom, Victor Hugo’s eloquent tirade against Napoleonic despotism, Émile Zola’s passionate plea for justice during the Dreyfus Affair, and Simone de Beauvoir’s bold advocacy of women’s emancipation.

Above all, intellectuals have provided the French with a comforting sense of national pride. As the progressive thinker Edgar Quinet put it, with a big dollop of Gallic self-satisfaction: “France’s vocation is to consume herself for the glory of the world, for others as much as for herself, for an ideal which is yet to be attained of humanity and world civilization.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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