In Washington they are arguing about a debt ceiling; in Brussels they are staring into a debt abyss. But the basic problem is the same. Both the US and the European Union have public finances that are out of control and political systems that are too dysfunctional to fix the problem. America and Europe are in the same sinking boat.
As part of the FT’s guide to the best books to read over the coming months, I contributed the following:
On The State of Egypt: What Caused the Revolution, by Alaa Al Aswany, Canongate, RRP£9.99, 208 pages
Al Aswany, an acclaimed novelist, is also a prolific journalist (and a dentist). In the years preceding the Egyptian revolution, he was a fierce critic of the Mubarak regime. This collection of his newspaper columns focuses on Al Aswany’s characteristic concerns – corruption, illiberal fundamentalism, autocracy, torture and the mistreatment of women. It is the authentic voice of Egyptian liberalism. Read more
Good luck to Yingluck, she is going to need it. The electoral victory of Thailand’s Pheu Thai party, led by Yingluck Shinawatra, could bring to an end a turbulent phase in Thai politics. If the Thai establishment and the Bangkok middle-classes accept the opposition’s victory, then the country’s first female prime minister might be able to break the cycle of coups, riots and instability that has plagued Thailand for the first five years. Read more
The revelation that the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn appears to be unravelling raises an obvious question – is is too late for DSK to resurrect his presidential ambitions? If this were a novel or a TV mini-series, the next step would clearly be for him to return to France, a vindicated man, and to be swept to the presidency. However, reality is likely to be a bit more complicated. Le Figaro are running a poll of their readers, asking whether DSK could yet become president – by roughly two-t0-one, they feel that the answer is No. And that, surely, must be where the odds lie. Read more
Welcome to the live blog where we are covering developments in the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), the former head of the International Monetary Fund.
All times are London time; New York is five hours behind. By Peggy Hollinger and James Boxell in Paris, Esther Bintliff in London and Barney Jopson and Johanna Kassel in New York.
21.22: Barney Jopson says DSK is still in New York and at lunch, apparently, at the TimeWarner Centre at Columbus Circle, which happens to be home to CNN.
Hang on, whispers that he’s now on his way back. Read more
I don’t know whose bright idea it was to schedule peace talks with the Taliban in Munich. But somebody with a sense of history might have avoided that location. Ever since Chamberlain and Daladier signed over the Sudetenland to Hitler there in 1938, the phrase “Munich agreement” has had an unfortunate ring to it. Read more