This Week in the News

The situation in the Middle East seems to be slowly reaching a climax. Israel appears to be more and more determined to use military means to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons project, and Benjamin Netanyahu might strike without prior notice to Israel’s allies. A mysterious deadly explosion at an Iranian missile site fuels rumors and suspicions about Israeli involvement, while Iran continues with its propaganda as portraying itself as an innocent, misunderstood victim of unfounded American allegations.

Turning to Syria, the Arab League suspended Syria and Jordan’s king is asking for al-Assad’s resignation.

Focusing on Europe, the recognition of the existence of a two-speed Europe, causing friction with Britain, and the desire for further economic and political integration is being expressed. The resignation of Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister “who dominated the country’s politics for 17 years and became Italy’s longest-serving post-war prime minister,” and the appointment of respected banker Mario Monti (called the “Italian Prussian”) has been described as “the most dramatic moment” of Italy’s recent history.

However, the sweeping political changes in Greece and Italy raise uncomfortable questions about the lack of democratic processes. Especially Germany’s and France’s attempts to save the euro at all costs are reasons for concerns. As USA Today put it, “Greek political leaders appointed former European Central Bank vice president Lucas Papademos as prime minster… [and] political leaders in Italy nominated former European commissioner Mario Monti to replace Silvio Berlusconi. The political classes in Greece and Italy are moving ahead without elections or referendums on what the people think… the people aren’t being asked for the approval of measures that would result in a loss of sovereignty…”

At the same time, Greece is still buying more German weapons than any other country, while Germany does not allow the use of some of its gold reserves to help indebted eurozone countries. In addition, stunning revelations about right-wing terrorism in Germany has shocked the country.

We conclude with the announcement that the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the Obamacare health care law in early 2012, with the decision being “likely to be handed down in late June, right before the Republican and Democratic conventions for the 2012 presidential election.”

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