EA January 2013

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Mali —“The French Way of War”

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john barry 1The seizing of the In Amenas natural gas extraction plant in the sandy wastes of southern Algeria and the subsequent deaths of at least 37 foreign nationals who worked at the plant was, of course, a tragic episode.    It was also a major strategic blunder by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, leader of the ragtag gang who overran the facility in mid-January.    Belmokhtar’s declared aim was to halt the French military action which had just begun in Mali --- or at least to deter other nations from joining the French effort.    The outcome was the reverse.   The four-day siege of the plant internationalized the crisis in Mali as nothing else could have done.

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Perspectives -- Britain’s Cameron Postpones “Big” Speech on Europe, Amid Uncertainties on UK Role in EU

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michaelwhiteTo say that David Cameron's big speech on Europe has been jinxed since its inception may be the understatement of the year so far.

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“The Revenge of Geography, What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate,” by Robert D. Kaplan

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billmarmoneditIf you like maps, as I do, you will find interesting, and possibly compelling, Robert Kaplan’s new book, “The Revenge of Geography.”  Kaplan likes maps, a lot.

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"Jean Monnet: Unconventional Statesman," by Sherrill Brown Wells

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michaelmosettigAs Europe endures some of its worst political and economic tremors since the Second World War, it is useful to have a well-packaged reminder of how it reached this historical point, for better and worse.  Recently, and grandly, it came in the Nobel Peace Prize for the European Union. Perhaps more practically, it comes in a workable and readable biography of a key figure in Europe's post-war evolution, the Frenchman Jean Monnet.

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The Euro Crisis Update – “Thank you, Greece, for Saving the euro!”

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paul_horne_realMired in depression and record unemployment, Greeks may not greet the New Year with joy. But the euro-zone, the E.U. and even the world, owe Greece a big “Thank You” for triggering major institutional, structural and financial changes that are saving the euro and making Europe more competitive.

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