Con ogni probabilità, nemmeno il 2013 sarà, per Barack Obama, l’anno dell’auspicato “change”. Piuttosto, il braccio di ferro con il Congresso a maggioranza repubblicana intorno al tema del tetto del dedito federale – che dal primo ottobre ha portato allo “shutdown” di una lunga lista di servizi e alla messa in aspettativa di quasi un milione di dipendenti pubblici – sembra rappresentare l’ennesimo momento di difficoltà di un presidente fino a oggi incapace di soddisfare le attese (forse eccessive) sollevate all’epoca della sua elezione.
One year has passed since the new leader, Kim Jong-un (age 30), rose to power in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The alleged “Will of Kim Jong-il”, Kim’s late father, demanded that the successor mend relations with South Korea, and move to resume the Six-Party talks, with the aim of gaining recognition as a nuclear power. Given these mandates, the last year might be seen as rather unsuccessful. So how can we explain the current developments in North Korea?
In a country long known for its tradition of tolerance, the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) is an outlier. Vocally Islamophobic and unapologetically Euro-skeptic, the party has risen to global prominence by embodying the rise of Europe’s growing far-right fringe. At the forefront of the PVV is Geert Wilders – a Dutch parliamentarian infamous for his uncensored criticism of Islam.
The ever sage Lord Palmerston reckoned that «The function of government is to calm, rather than to excite agitation». That rather sums up Mario Monti’s approach. In his first year in government, he fulfilled the objective very effectively only to excite a great deal of agitation over his personal role in the future as his term in government came to an end. Next year there will certainly be much excitement around Monti before he resumes his more normal calming role.