Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Lisbon NATO summit overshadowed by economic turmoil

The leaders of the NATO countries may very well have adopted important new strategic decisions in Lisbon, but the gathering of this (at least formerly) great alliance seems to have been overshadowed by the current economic turmoil:

As Obama and other leaders spoke of “revitalizing” NATO, there were reports that the Portuguese military may struggle to make its payroll next month.
As the heads of state lay out a new “strategic concept” for the military alliance, an urgent bailout for Ireland’s banking system has dominated European newspaper headlines and TV news reports — with dire warnings that the financial crisis could sweep to Portugal and beyond. The government here recently imposed painful austerity measures including spending and salary cuts, as well as a hike in the Value Added Tax, raising it to 23 percent. But many analysts think these moves are too little, too late, and won’t insulate the coastal nation from the fallout.

“Most Europeans will be entirely indifferent to what NATO says or does in Lisbon,” said Richard Gowan of the European Council on Foreign Relations and New York University. “If they are waiting from news from Portugal, it's about the spreading Euro crisis — widely expected to hit Lisbon next — not military issues.”

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