Daily Archives: February 1, 2012

“Outside” being the WTO, in this case

Dave Camp and Max Baucus, Congress’s two top dogs on trade, want the administration to try to make currency misalignment a WTO matter (originally Brazil’s idea). Good luck with that one. Since the WTO works by consensus, China can block this issue on its own. Regarding the renminbi, the consultancy fees for working out just how undervalued is undervalued would put international economists’ kids through college for decades to come. Read more

Yesterday, I was in Berlin where the temperature was -9. Today, I’m in Moscow – where its -19. But that’s enough about the weather, and about Russia (for now). It was an interesting time to spend a couple of days in Berlin, coming just after the EU summit, so let me summarise my impressions on where Germany stands on the euro-crisis. Read more

Nearly a year into their uprising, Syrians have finally won the attention of the UN Security Council. Last night the council put on a big diplomatic show of support for political transition in Damascus. Emotional appeals for ending the Syrian tragedy were issued by Arab officials and western powers, words that Syrian activists have longed to hear.

The question, though, is whether the debate on Tuesday night represents any real progress in terms of international action. The Russian (as well as the Chinese) statements last night were not as confrontational as some had expected, perhaps because Moscow wanted to avoid taking the Arab League head on.

But the Russian red lines were nonetheless enunciated, including a clear opposition to any threat of sanctions or any wording that could lead to military action and, most damaging to the Arab-western backed draft resolution on the table, a resistance to a Security Council imposition of a road map for a political transition. Read more