15 July 2015

Mini-round-up: Greco-Persian edition (updated)

It looks like it will take a while for New Horizons to transmit all its Pluto pictures and data, but in the meantime there's plenty happening on our own planet.

Most important is the nuclear agreement with Iran, which by most accounts should prevent the ayatollahs from getting nuclear weapons, end the economic sanctions that have kept prosperity out of reach for millions of Iranians, and open up more connections between Iran and the rest of the world which will hopefully speed up the erosion of the theocratic hard-liners' power.

Republicans, of course, are taking their usual Groucho Marx approach to anything Obama comes up with.  Sorry, I'd rather rely on the judgment of actual nuclear-proliferation experts than that of doofus politicians who can't even keep track of who's on which side.

Oh, and invoking the Chamberlain "peace for our time" meme to attack any case of a negotiated settlement whatsoever, regardless of details or context, has surely reach the Godwin's Law point by now.

The full text of the agreement is here.  Some other worthwhile links:

BBC:  The key details.

The White House:  The case for the agreement.

Kaveh Mousavi :  What it will mean for Iran.

Booman Tribune:  What it will mean for international relations.

Update:  Politics Plus:  A round-up of reactions.

The other big international story of the moment is the Greek government's capitulation to yet more austerity as the price of a new EU bailout and staying in the euro.  It's not a totally done deal yet -- the Greek Parliament might still reject the agreement as too brutal, and Germany may even reject it as not brutal enough.  Whatever happens, with US media coverage of the situation being dominated by anti-Greek talking points, clichés, and (to be blunt) lies, it's important to keep clear what's really happening:

Paul Krugman:  Whatever you think of Tsipras, the austerity plan is a descent into vindictive madness.  And what the EU calls a "technocrat" sounds remarkably like a US Republican talking economics.

The Guardian:  This raw and brutal display of German power is causing anxiety across Europe.  The IMF warns that a deal is unworkable without more debt relief.

The Obama Diary:  Germany is demanding total humiliation.

Update:  The Greek Parliament has ratified the surrender.  The backlash across Europe has escalated to a boycott of German goods (so far on a small scale, though the ugliness of the German responses shown may change that), and protests by the left within Germany itself.  This last is a promising development since it was protests within the US that eventually reined in some of the worst of US imperialism in the Third World.

This is astonishing.  It took Germany decades of good behavior to rehabilitate itself after the atrocities of Naziism -- and now Merkel and Schäuble have thrown all that away in a matter of weeks.


Blogger Woody said...

How much humiliation is called for, in your opinion, Infidel?

All the best,

15 July, 2015 03:55  
Anonymous Zosimus the Heathen said...

Re the Greek crisis, unfortunately that's brought all the idiots out of the woodwork where I live. There've been a disturbing number of letters to our local daily claiming that we're headed exactly the same way Greece is (we're not), and that the only solutions are to smash unions, privatize and deregulate everything, impose massive pay cuts (on everyone except the people advocating them, of course!), make Tony Abbott Prime Minister For Life, and so on and so on ad nauseam (bonus points if the letter writer attempts to support their views by approvingly quoting the likes of Margaret Thatcher, as quite a few have done). Interestingly enough, re austerity, I've just finished reading a book about Haiti, which claimed that that country has been royally fucked over by that kind of thing; apparently, there's no shortage of vile individuals who think that, in the name of free market "reform" (and all the other bullshit that tends to be evoked to justify all manner of nefarious economic policies), that country's poor (who unfortunately seem to comprise the majority of the population) need to make do without such "luxuries" as basic education and health care, and even clean water! As is the case with Greece, I was left with the impression that the aforementioned austerity measures were intended more to punish and humiliate the people subjected to them, than to actually help their economy.

15 July, 2015 04:46  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

None of the Goopers running for president know the details of the multi-national agreement with Iran, but that didn't stop them from talking about how bad it is. Palinesque in stupidity, the Gooper mantra of "I'm agin it" goes on.

I wonder if Trump/Fart will join in the stupidity.

BTW, my contribution to the GOP dream ticket? Fart/Walker. It has a nice sound to it, no?

15 July, 2015 04:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say the US taxpayers should have to kick in for Greece too. Why should German taxpayers be the only ones stuck with the mess that another government created?

15 July, 2015 07:15  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Woody: The problem is that it's being laid on the wrong people.

Zosimus: Some of our own wingnuts were comparing the US to Greece on the day Obama was re-elected. They're completely clueless about the real nature of Greece's problems, of course.

Your impression about the intent to humiliate is shared by a lot of observers.

Shaw: Can I still dream of a Trump/Palin ticket that would let Hillary carry all fifty states?

Anon: It was the German government that made bailouts conditional on austerity policies that doomed Greece's economy to its current death spiral, making it impossible to ever pay the loans back. The US government had nothing to do with that.

15 July, 2015 16:20  
Blogger Woody said...

Thanks Infidel, that's the impression i'm getting.

15 July, 2015 17:35  

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