Is the world about to witness another epic manhunt? It took almost ten years to hunt down Osama bin Laden. The search for Saddam Hussein took nine months, during which the Iraqi insurrection took hold. The fear must be that if Colonel Gaddafi remains at large for too long, he too will be in a position to severely damage the new Libya. Read more
By Gideon Rachman
Is there such a thing as a global mood? It certainly feels like it. I cannot remember a time when so many different countries, all over the world, were gripped by some form of street protest or popular revolt. 2011 is turning into the year of global indignation.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn popped back into the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund Monday afternoon to say goodbye to staff. I am as supremely unqualified to comment on the events in New York which led to his resignation as were many of those who did chip in. But, with his successor making waves in Europe with a pointed speech on bank capital, here is a brief thought on his tenure.
The standard view (which I largely share) is that a smart political operator seized the opportunity of the global financial crisis to turn round an organisation bereft of purpose and beset by drift. But having adroitly manoeuvred the fund into involvement in the Greek bail-out, DSK also risked it being dragged along in a rescue programme driven – incompetently – by the eurozone. Read more
Here we go again. Japan has a new prime minister. This is a truly momentous event – momentous, that is, for anyone who has managed to maintain a smidgen of interest in who runs the Japanese government these days. So this one goes out to all three of you.
Yoshihiko Noda will be sworn in as prime minister on Tuesday after being elected leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan on Monday afternoon. Read more
Drum roll. Tan-Tan-Tan-Tan. And the winner is…Tony Tan. After the tightest of electoral races, Dr Tan was on Sunday declared the president-elect of Singapore, beating out three other candidates who also happen to be called Tan.
The post is largely ceremonial. But the slimmest margin of victory for the government’s preferred candidate – just 0.34 percentage points over his closest rival – suggests there is something stirring in Singapore’s once predictable political scene. Read more
Just what the world needs – another think tank. Except that maybe, just maybe, this is a good idea. This week saw the launch of the Fung Global Institute, a self-styled Hong Kong-based independent research institute that wants to be the Brookings of Asia. Its mission is to produce “business-relevant research on global issues from Asian perspectives”.
There are a few red flags here, of which later. But the idea itself is timely. If Asia continues to grow at anything like its current pace, it will play an increasingly important role in the global economy. Yet it lacks anything like a coherent, intellectual voice. The global dialogue is being held in Washington, New York and London. Asia’s views deserve to be heard more – and not just in cacophony of a forum like the G20. Read more
Gaddafi, gold, Gaza
In this week’s podcast: Is the conflict in Libya finally coming to an end? The world’s new craze for gold; and, Gaza, renewed violence dashes hopes for ceasefire. Read more
Watching Oana Lungescu on the BBC’s Newsnight last night, I was grimly amused by a slip of the tongue from NATO’s spokesperson. Colonel Gaddafi, she proclaimed, was now “part of Libya’s blood-spattered future, I mean past.”
An unfortunate slip, which I will forebear from calling “Freudian”. Still, it does raise the question – is Nato close to saying “mission accomplished” in Libya; or is western involvement only just beginning? Read more
It was six months ago to this day that Muammer Gaddafi delivered his defiant rant against a popular rebellion, vowing to hunt down his opponents in every corner, inch by inch and, famously, “zenga (alleyway) by zenga.”
So hysterical was his outburst that it inspired a “zenga zenga” auto-tune that became all the rage in the liberated east of Libya, even though it was produced by an Israeli artist.
In the end, however, it was the fractious, rag-tag army of revolutionaries he had promised to pursue who swept, from zenga to zenga, into the leader’s stronghold of Tripoli, in a lightening journey that is drawing the curtain on his 42 year rule. Read more