When Greece resisted demands for spending cuts from its creditors last year, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appealed to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, for talks with the other 27 heads of government.
His hope was that fellow leaders would be more sympathetic than the technocrats of the “troika”: the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Tusk rebuffed him and reminded Tsipras that the troika had been delegated by national leaders to monitor Greece’s bailout. The whole point of putting bureaucrats in charge was to avoid the politicians being tempted to cut Greece some slack.
Theresa May clearly hasn’t learned Tsipras’ lesson. Read more
Other Conservatives Should Be Wary of Imitating Kurz
The reason Donald Trump is unable to govern effectively, argues Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, is that he has a misguided view of negotiation: for him to “win”, somebody else needs to lose.
This cartoonish kind of “dealmaking” is the only thing Trump knows:
His whole business history is one of cutting “deals” in which he gets lots of gain and little risk and the other guy basically gets screwed.
This only worked up to a point. Trump went through numerous bankruptcies and exasperated so many lenders that he was reduced to seeking capital from shady international operators and money launderers in the former Soviet Union.
As Marshall puts it, “You can only screw people over so many times before they refuse to work with you anymore.” Read more
Italian Voting Reforms Could Have Little Impact on Balance Between Parties
Voting reforms enacted by the Italian parliament this week could do little to make the country more governable, an analysis of Ipsos polling data by Corriere della Sera reveals. The three main political blocs would remain roughly equal in size.
The new law allocates a third of the seats in the lower chamber on a first-past-the-post basis and removes the premium for the largest party.
The expectation was that these changes would hurt the populist Five Star Movement and help the mainstream left and right.
But it turns out the effect could be negligible. Read more
Andrew Sullivan sees similarities between Brexit and the presidency of Donald Trump. Both, he writes in New York magazine, are reactionary fantasies:
Brexit and Trump are the history of Thatcher and Reagan repeating as dangerous farce, a confident, intelligent conservatism reduced to nihilist, mindless reactionism.
Trump is the worst of the two. His absurd claims about the economy being a “disaster” before he took over and now posting record growth; his tough talk as substitute for foreign policy; his determination to reverse every one of Barack Obama’s policy accomplishments and his daily Twitter tirades are about as clear an escape from reality as one can imagine.
For the four in ten Americans who still support him, that is the point of Trump’s presidency: to pretend the modern world — with its changing climate and demographics, relaxed gender norms, declining religiosity, global supply chains and devaluation of manual labor — doesn’t exist. Read more
Trump Drives European Allies into Arms of China and Russia