There’s way too much news this week, from the Libya to the milleproroghe, from Macedonia’s electoral crisis to the role of social media in the events that have shaken the Arab world. Fini’s proclamation that the PM was not ‘anointed by the lord’ may hint at the beginning of the end on this side of the Mediterranean as well.
Look for a more thorough weekend update as your chronicler has other deadlines to meet this mild Friday morning.
For those who’ve spent time east of Apennines, ponder this bit from the Economist’s review of David Gilmour’s The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples.
Italy’s north-south divide remains gaping, too (though, as the author says, there is a less well known east-west divide either side of the Apennines).
2. As the holes in the immigration walls get harder to plug, shifting from Ceuta and Melilla to Lampedusa to the Greece-Turkey land border, Greece talks of suspending the Dublin Convention for asylum seekers. The Economist’sCharlemagne comes out with the following sound idea: “A painful compromise might be tried: if Greece wants to suspend Dublin II, it should accept a temporary suspension of Schengen and the return of border controls.” Me likey.
4. In Lexington, Obama’s handling of Egypt gets a look. Much howling and gnashing of teeth from John Bolton, Niall Ferguson and Michael Scheuer, among others. But maybe No-Drama Obama was the Decider?
Obama is said to have been more certain in private that Mr Mubarak’s jig was up than America’s public pronouncements (especially those of Hillary Clinton, his sometimes behind-message secretary of state) let on. He flatly rejected the Israelis’ analysis that the Egyptian president could hang on and that America should do everything to help him. Mr Obama’s conversation with Mr Mubarak on the evening of February 1st is said to have been the toughest between an American president and an ally since Ronald Reagan’s scolding of Menachem Begin during Israel’s bombing of Beirut in August 1982.
5. In Schumpter, the uneasy art-business axis is examined. Damien Hirst is one shrewd businessman.
Damien Hirst was even more audacious. He not only realised that nouveau-riche collectors would pay extraordinary sums for dead cows and jewel-encrusted skulls. He upturned the art world by selling his work directly through Sotheby’s, an auction house. Whatever they think of his work, businesspeople cannot help admiring a man who parted art-lovers from £70.5m ($126.5m) on the day that Lehman Brothers collapsed.
And following in his footsteps in Venice, perhaps the Zero Group? Stay tuned.