Jamaica has become a terrible example of what can happen when creditors, led by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are able to impose harsh austerity on a trapped nation in an attempt to collect on an uncollectable debt. Since the U.S. Treasury Department decides what the IMF does in the Western Hemisphere, Obama himself can claim responsibility for this failure.
Like Glenn Greenwald, we should be concerned about the Azov Battalion and high-ranking extremists in the Ukrainian government. But the real darling of the far right is Putin. It's no surprise that European extremists are intoxicated by his authoritarian style. The mystery is why some on the left have also drunk the Kremlin's Kool-Aid.
The new Greek government needs support in establishing pro-growth policies which create jobs, expand their economy and enable them to pay down their debts. Demanding that creditors are paid before any of that is allowed to happen may come at a very heavy price for more than just the people of Greece.
The time has come for the EU to stop running economic policy based on silly myths. If German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders in the EU cannot accept reality then Greece and southern Europe would be far better off breaking free of the euro and leave Germany to wallow in its 19th century economic fairy tales.
The president's forceful messages recognize that the crisis at hand is about much more than one nation's membership in the EU, but rather about protecting a global economy still fragile from the effects of the financial crisis and ensuring the strength of the Western alliance in these times of increasing peril.
Every day brings more headlines in the European debt drama: "Greece elects anti-austerity government." "Greek Finance Minister says he won't negotiate with the 'Troika.'" "Anti-austerity movements gain ground across Europe." What's behind these stories? What does the future hold? Are there any implications for the U.S.? Here's an overview of the situation as it currently stands.
Greece has been suffering from high levels of unemployment, and the standard of living has dropped precipitously, as a direct result of the cuts in government programs mandated by the EU and the IMF. The EU should have predicted this result: This was the great unlearned lesson from the experience of East-Central Europe over the last 25 years.