Politics In 60 Seconds

Christine Lagarde

Good morning. Here’s the news:

1.The Wall Street Journal reports: “After four years of fighting crises and pumping money into the financial system, the world’s central bankers are concluding that the global economy is still in a precarious position and the policy apparatus is ill-equipped to help. The mood here in the Grand Tetons, where central bankers and private economists from around the world gather each August, was distinctly gloomy.”

2. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde says that European banks may need forced capital injections to stop the spread of the eurozone’s sovereign and financial crisis.  The Financial Times reports that this is “one of the starkest warnings from a senior policymaker about the danger of a new global slowdown.”

3. Wolfgang Munchau today offers a typically lucid analysis of the crisis of the eurozone. He asserts that “(t)he crisis now has such force that it renders the existing resolution mechanisms defunct.” Which is to say: even a eurobond might not work.

4. The political upheaval in Syria has raised serious concerns that Syria’s vast chemical weapons arsenal (mostly weaponised sarin gas) might fall into “the wrong hands.”

5. Syrian President Assad continues to hold the upper hand in Syria. He is betting that NATO and the US have no appetite for intervention and that despite their tough talk, they will do nothing.  He’s probably right.

6. Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, was killed in a drone attack in Pakistan,  according to a senior Obama administration official. The attack further strained relations between the US and Pakistan.

7. President Obama’s job approval rating continues its relentless decline. Mr. Obama’s performance is viewed favourably by 38% of Americans and unfavorably by 55% of Americans.

8. Texas Governor Rick Perry has shrewdly positioned himself as a “10th Amendment” conservative in advance of the 2012 GOP presidential campaign. He hasn’t been consistent on “10th Amendment” issues however, giving critics plenty of fodder for attack.

9. Gov. Perry has also shrewdly positioned himself to the right of former President and fellow Texan George W. Bush. Perry eschews Mr. Bush’s brand of “compassionate conservative” politics, saying that it amounts to nothing more than greater Federal government over-reach

10. The insider wrap on Rick Perry is that he’s dumb. Politico’s Jonathan Martin digs into this subject in some detail. Martin ends up at shrewd, not knowledgeable.