Immigration, Digital Economy Reforms Justify Another Grand Coalition in Germany

German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, in parliament in Berlin, September 10, 2014
German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, in parliament in Berlin, September 10, 2014 (Wikimedia Commons/Tobias Koch)

German media report that the country’s Christian Democrats and Social Democrats are making progress in talks to form another coalition government.

  • There is reportedly a deal to attract more high-skilled migrants.
  • The parties are willing to spend €12 billion to expand fast Internet access across Germany by 2025.
  • They are also looking at tax incentives to promote digital research and investment.

The plans bely fears that another “grand coalition” would muddle through for four more years and not make necessary reforms. Read more

Retired Military Chiefs Caution Trump Against North Korea Strike

Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of America's Joint Chiefs of Staff, visits Beijing, China, July 11, 2011
Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of America’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, visits Beijing, China, July 11, 2011 (DoD/Chad J. McNeeley)

The Financial Times quotes four retired American military officials cautioning President Donald Trump against attacking North Korea. Read more

Republicans Must Not Abandon the Coasts

View of Madison Square Park in Manhattan, New York
View of Madison Square Park in Manhattan, New York (Unsplash/Daryan Shamkhali)

Kevin D. Williamson urges America’s Republicans not to abandon the coasts.

It’s all good and fine to point to the troubles of Democratic-controled cities and states, he writes in National Review, but in their rhetorical frenzy to abominate the blue parts of the country Republicans have put themselves at odds with many of its most successful communities, industries and institutions.

Republicans sneer at Silicon Valley and at the elite universities that educate the people who work there. In favor of what? A resentment-driven cultural milieu that insists that the “real America” is to be found elsewhere and that the “real America” looks like Hee-Haw without the music or self-deprecating humor. They insist that San Francisco is Hell on Earth but never ask why it is that so many people want to live there — or they just write off those who do as degenerates and hopelessly un-American.

That’s bad politics. Read more

This New Cold War Is Ideological Too

The skyline of Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2017
The skyline of Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2017 (Julian Buijzen)

Because Russia promotes an agenda that is native to Europe, few seem to realize this Second Cold War is just as ideological as the first.

If anything, the fact that Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine can tap into a homegrown Western reactionary movement that shares its beliefs makes the ideological challenge he poses more insidious. Read more

Italy’s Right Makes Pact, Democrats Open Door to Grand Coalition

Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, listens to former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi during a meeting of European conservative party leaders in Brussels, October 19, 2017
Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, listens to former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi during a meeting of European conservative party leaders in Brussels, October 19, 2017 (EPP)

Italy’s two other right-wing parties have given into a demand from the leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League, Matteo Salvini, for a “pact” against “shady deals” with the center-left.

A joint manifesto unveiled this weekend promises lower taxes, lower immigration and the reversal of a long-overdue raise in the pension age.

Salvini has ruled out deals with centrists, saying the “three legs” of the conservative movement — counting his own party, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the smaller Brothers of Italy — are enough to win the election in March.

The three are polling at close to 40 percent support, which may be enough to form a government. Read more

Both Left- and Right-Wing Critics of the NHS Have a Point

A hospital in London, England, February 21, 2010
A hospital in London, England, February 21, 2010 (Lars Plougmann)

Crises in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) always provoke the same ideological debate: the right blames “socialized medicine”, the left calls for more money.

Neither side is completely wrong.

The Financial Times argues there are too many administrators and not enough frontline medical staff in English hospitals.

Repeated government reforms have spurred fragmentation and only added more layers of bureaucracy.

But “cuts” (really: restraint in the growth of health spending) haven’t helped, especially when the population is aging and requiring more services. Read more

Brexit Takes Toll on Kingdom’s Global Influence

Tower Bridge in London, England, January 2, 2012
Tower Bridge in London, England, January 2, 2012 (Michael Garnett)

Politico reports that Britain’s exit from the European Union is already taking a toll on its international clout:

  • EU allies, including France, Germany and the Netherlands, abstained in June from a United Nations vote on the Chagos Islands, a British territory in the Indian Ocean that houses the Diego Garcia military base and is also claimed by Mauritius. The question of sovereignty has been referred to the International Court of Justice.
  • In November, Britain was forced to withdraw its candidate to fill a vacancy on the same court when it became clear it would lose a UN vote.
  • British diplomats are increasingly ignored in international forums. Read more