Monthly Archives: June 2011

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP have won the Turkish election. But they have fallen short of the majority needed for the AKP to enact constitutional change without the need for outside support. That seems like a good outcome. Read more

Predictably enough, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP party seem to be heading for a strong victory in the Turkish elections. This success is a tribute to Erdogan’s extraordinary political skills and to the booming Turkish economy. However, while apparently cruising to victory, Erdogan found time to engage in a bizarre dispute with The Economist – which sheds light on his sometimes paranoid and belligerent attitude to the outside world. Read more

Audio Iran, Opec, US
In this week’s podcast: Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad’s role as Iran’s president is looking uncertain; Oil cartel Opec meeting descends into acrimony; And, we end the show in the US with the fiscal debate over raising the country’s debt ceiling. Presented by Gideon Rachman with Clive Crook and David Blair in the studio in London and Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran

The implosion of Newt Gingrich’s bid for the White House is wonderfully spectacular. The Republican’s entire senior campaign staff has just resigned – apparently driven over the edge by his decision to go on a two-week Greek-island cruise with his wife, rather than campaign in New Hampshire. The recent revelation that Gingrich had been extended almost $500,000 worth of credit by Tiffany’s, the jewellers, had also damaged his man-of-the-people credentials. Read more

A few weeks ago, I heard a senior person in the Obama administration talk about the situation in Syria. One of the problems with Bashar al-Assad, he said, was that the Syrian leader was still surrounded by his father’s old cronies. But one positive development, he mused, was that it was no longer possible simply to kill 10,000 protesters in a single city, as Hafez al-Assad once did.

I wonder whether that may be too optimistic? Read more

How will it feel when China becomes the world’s largest economy? We may find out quite soon. A few weeks ago, the International Monetary Fund issued a report that suggested China would be number one within five years.

Football crowds chant. Rugby crowds sing. Racing crowds bet. As for cricket crowds, as I discovered yesterday at Lord’s, they like to discuss the finer points of English grammar. Read more

If I had the money, the energy and the know-how, I would now be buying Peruvian stocks. The Peruvian stock market has been suspended, following a 9% fall, provoked by the apparent victory of Ollanta Humala in the presidential election. Many investors are deeply suspicious of Humala, fearing that he is the Peruvian version of Hugo Chavez. The fact that he has promised a windfall tax on mining stocks has meant that those shares have fallen particularly sharply. Read more

In this week’s podcast: The race for the Republican nomination heats up in the US; Yemen on the brink of collapse; the E.coli outbreak in Europe causes rift between Spain and Germany.
Presented by Gideon Rachman with Clive Crook in the studio in London, Abigail Fielding-Smith in Beirut and Quentin Peel in Berlin. Read more

Just a couple of weeks ago, it was conventional wisdom that Barack Obama is a shoo-in for re-election. The president had just claimed the scalp of Osama bin-Laden, and looks increasingly at home in the White House. And the Republican field looks uninspiring. But I think the dismal economic figures out today must surely dent any complacency about Obama’s re-election. I’ve heard it said by senior Democrats that the president cannot win if unemployment is still above 9% on polling day. Well, it’s just hit 9.1% again. Read more

I once had a near miss with Sepp Blatter. I found myself sitting next to him at a lunch and, searching for a topic of conversation, was about to introduce myself as the author of The Economist’s survey of world football. But, as I began speaking, I remembered that I had finished the article by describing detailed accusations of corruption against Blatter himself.

So, rather than complete the anecdote, I came to a mumbling halt. The whole conversation was a bit of a nightmare. Blatter is  charmless – boring, self-important and drippingly insincere. Still, in one sense, you have to admire him. He is an incredible survivor.  Read more