February 22, 2011
Updated Open Thread on Region Rumbles
Idle note: UN chief Ban-ki Moon reports: "As I said extensively to Colonel [Muammar] Gaddafi this morning over the phone, I urged him that human rights and freedom of assembly and freedom of speech must be fully protected. " After all this, he's still just a colonel?! Anyway, new open thread on developments.
Posted by Matthew Hogan at February 22, 2011 01:11 AM
Filed Under: The MENA '48
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On (non-MENA) developments, working on some backend retrofits, will warn in advance of any site hiccups.
I am still around, more or less.
Posted by: eerie at February 22, 2011 02:37 PM
As a non-academic note on Gaddafi's speech this morning, that guy is batshit crazy, and I feel for the poor AJE translator who had to listen to, think through and translate that rambling lunacy. I could only bother with ten minutes of it at home, it was still playing when I arrived at work and on for two hours.
He said he didn't order the army to fire, then said "I haven't yet used violence, but am prepared to do so." using the bombed-out former palace and ranting about the US (Castro chimed in on his behalf, agreeing delusionally that this was all a NATO plot to invade Libya.) was aimed at his own people, but further cements his Michael Jackson-level lunatic status.
With the abandonment of the Interior Minister today, and two Air Force (real) Colonels yesterday, it seems like Gaddafi will be packing bags for Caracas soon. InshAllah
Posted by: Dawud at February 22, 2011 10:25 PM
Aqoul is going to be busy with lots of things to comment on, past 2 yrs not really, but the next couple yrs are giving Aqoul a reason to roar back.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 23, 2011 06:12 AM
Having followed parts of that speech, I believe that counting on The Guide leaving is not well-founded. He really is crazy in a quite clinical sense and it is very clear from his speech that he does - at this time - intend to die there, going out in a cinematic blaze of glory.
His family may differ, but I am not sure how they'd get to a Latin hideaway given the situation (logistically it could be impossible unless it were negotiated). As such, they have every incentive to fight like cornered rats, as they have to understand their facing a Ceaucescu type of ending.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 23, 2011 06:15 AM
Well, I figured the entire region revolting was a good reason to shake the dust off and rebuild the site.
Hopefully will complete everything this weekend, but just bought the apartment above mine and have to sort out moving, painting, etc. Very tedious business, need some kind of assistant.
Posted by: eerie at February 23, 2011 09:44 AM
I think a side note is in order on the awesome irrelevance being displayed by the EU. The Libyan situation is exactly the kind of thing that the new EU foreign policy "machine" is supposed to help sort out.
So the EU's big response to the crisis? After a week of death, destruction and outright civil war, the EU announced today that it was suspending negotiations with Libya on the Framework Agreement.
Oooh. Tough blow. If that doesn't bring Ghaddafi to his senses, nothing will!
Posted by: at February 23, 2011 01:00 PM
I need to bring this one up again, as a friend of mine keeps hitting this theme hard. From the WSJ: The Federal Reserve Is Causing Turmoil Abroad
This strikes me as a partisan talking point from the right in the context of US politics, but that doesn't take away from the objective part of the analysis, to wit: discontent tends to bubble up when underlying economic conditions get worse. Anyway, one point I've always had trouble with: "Consider, for example, that much of world trade, particularly in basic commodities like food grains and oil, is denominated in U.S. dollars. When the Fed floods the world with dollars, the dollar price of commodities goes up, and this affects market prices generally, particularly in poor countries that are heavily import-dependent."
I could never get my head around how having something priced in dollars would mean that the price going up or down in dollars would so heavily affect other country's economies. He explained that if it's priced in dollars, to get around exchange rate risk, you hedge your exposure via dollar transactions or just plain need to keep dollars for these purchases.
That made a light bulb go off in my head. As I'm not real familiar with developing country economics, a little more help on this would be appreciated.
Posted by: pantom at February 23, 2011 03:49 PM
For pantom -- I think it is more basic point. If you pump out dollars, prices go up, especially of things that are priced exclusively in dollars (though not just those).
If the price of core goods like food and oil -- the necessary sources of just about all transportation, manufacturing, communication (economic) and human body energy worldwide -- then that is a strong drag on the advances of marginal economies where lesser wealth makes paying more for these important necessities much tougher relatively speaking.
Whether the logic is working in the real world directly in these revolts, on paper it fits sort of: Fed pushes dollars, oil prices and food prices inflate, poor countries cut back to afford the hikes, job-loss and high inflation follows, subsidies for food are demanded, anti-government distrust thickens.
OTOH, if the economies in these places were devoured locally by the local rulers, as they have been, the very dry tinder wouldnt be there. And the violence of repression in good times and bad, have set up the situations with far more direct causation.
Posted by: matthew h at February 23, 2011 05:50 PM
"were devoured locally" should be "were NOT devoured localy"
Posted by: matthew h at February 23, 2011 05:51 PM
Posted by: matthew h at February 23, 2011 05:52 PM
I realize this argument is only a paper one, as it's pretty obvious these revolts are only minimally related to the immediate economic situation.
My question is a bit technical: let's say Egypt imports wheat from Russia. Is it normal for Russia to demand payment in dollars? Or does a rising price in dollars prompt hedges with USD as one side of the hedge? Would your average 3rd world cb be capable of understanding and properly executing a, say, collar as a hedge?
Apologies if this is straying a bit far into technical territory.
Posted by: pantom at February 23, 2011 06:51 PM
eerie, on the renovations tip, I'm also living in Toronto again and - while I currently work IT for a marketing firm, not even teaching as I'd prefer - I know several trustworthy contractors, Carpenters and plumbers working in the GTA, who might be of assistance. I believe you have my email if you wish and my assistance is of any benefit.
Posted by: Dawud at February 24, 2011 12:20 AM
Eerie, maybe just enabling a Comments RSS would help us all keep up with the sudden spike in activity?
Posted by: Guybrush Threepwood at February 24, 2011 01:09 AM
Reading further... Oh hai, assistance is available from these quarters as well.
Posted by: Guybrush Threepwood at February 24, 2011 01:12 AM