The world has a lot to say about the U.S. Here are our picks for the top global reads on stories making an impact in America.
Cyprus will vote on “blackmail” deal with EU
Whose financial problems would you rather have to clean up: America’s or the Eurozone’s? The answer to that question depends on the day of the week.
This time around, Cyprus is at the center of a financial crisis that is causing turmoil in that country and threats from other European Union member states. Here is the basic math: in order for the EU to grant Cyprus a 10-billion-euro bailout package by March 21, EU lawmakers are demanding that the Cypriot parliament place a hefty tax on all bank deposits. That levy would be 6.75 percent on deposits under 100,000 euros, 9.9 percent on deposits above that figure.
Cyprus’s parliament delayed a vote on the controversial law today, saying a vote will come late Tuesday instead. The parliament building is under heavy security, tourists in Cyprus are being warned to carry many forms of currency, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the maneuver “unfair, unprofessional and dangerous.” Germany’s Deutsche Welle reports that about one-third to one-half of Cypriot deposits belong to wealthy Russians.
The Cyprus Mail opines this rescue plan “will kill us.” Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades had recently declared such a heavy tax was not “even up for discussion.” The Mail concludes EU leaders have blackmailed Anastasiades:
The alternative would have been the collapse of the banks, state bankruptcy and exit from the euro.
Under the circumstances the president opted for the lesser of two evils, even though we doubt there would be many people who would give him credit for that. In effect, the EU offered a ‘rescue package’ that is designed to destroy rather than rescue what is left of the Cyprus economy.
Americans want Obama to butt out of Israel-Palestine conflict
The Jerusalem Post has taken sharp notice of a new U.S. poll: according the Washington Post and ABC, a whopping 69 percent of Americans think President Obama should not lead peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
The poll is a telling sign of what’s to come during Obama’s visit to Israel and Palestine this week. Obama is not traveling to the area with a specific peace initiative. As the Post reports:
The poll showed a serious decline among Americans in the desire that the US should take a leading role in arranging an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. In an April 2002 poll, 42% of respondents called for the US to lead the peace process, whereas 54% said Washington should leave it to the Israelis and Palestinians to resolve the conflict.
According to the poll, 55% of Americans sympathize more with Israel, 9% sympathize more with the Palestinians and 35% of respondents had no opinion or preference between the two sides.
Did U.S. counter-terrorism policies actually help create the instability that led to the rebellion in Mali and a deadly attack on a natural gas plant in Algeria?
In an article on the pan-African news network Pambazuka (published by Fahamu, “networks for social justice), Colgate professor Jacob Mundy argues that the U.S. has propped up various corrupt governments in the Sahara with military and economic aid, radicalizing opponents of those regimes and driving them into the arms of extremist organizations like al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
“US counterterrorism policy has allied itself and worked through regimes that have historically seen indigenous Saharan populations as threats to their access to the wealth of the Sahara,” explains Mundy. “These are conflicts that predate 9/11 by decades.”
It didn’t help that many of the arms used in the Libyan civil war ended up being smuggled south to radicals in Mali.