Whether we like it or not, we live in the shadow of Neville Chamberlain's Munich deal with Hitler. It must affect our perspective on any agreement of this nature. What we learned from Munich, though, was that deals do not finalize the results. What Hitler absolutely taught us was that what one says and even promises is not necessarily what one means.
The G20 summit this week, and the growing Syrian catastrophe, underscores the reality that we are living in a G-zero world. The bonds that once held nations together have severed, and there is nothing close to an international consensus on any hot-button matter being discussed today. Welcome to the G-Zero world, where we exist in a geopolitical power vacuum as the west declines and emerging nations (China, India) concentrate on their own domestic problems. It may be this way for a long while.
Rock throwing. Beatings. Bullets. Shouts of "F----ing kike." Ambushes. Theft. Threats. Tear gas attacks. This is not history. This is today. The French Jewish community expects and deserves a far greater degree of respect, as well as a strategic response to the blatant anti-Semitism they are experiencing.
I've always enjoyed Gérard Depardieu as an actor, but his most recent role, as an international tax dodger, is pure Academy Award quality. For those unaware of his theatrics, Depardieu left France last month in a huff over its proposed 75% income taxes on rich people. This is ironic: His surname in French sounds like it could mean "departure of God" in English.
During a recent jaunt to the City of Lights, I allowed myself to do something I had never done before during a trip to Paris... access to the Internet. I'm not big on being connected while I travel and I love to discover charming cafes and romantic restos on my own. This time around I decided to do some research.
There already are two currencies: the "Lutheran Euro," characterized by countries that are based on Protestant work ethic, discipline and thrift. Then there is the "Latin Euro," where style is often more important than substance. The euro crisis is this: The "Lutherans" are balking at bailing out the "Latins."